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It Was a Good Month

Journal Entry: Fri Jul 31, 2015, 12:23 PM




I had a great time. This month was crazy and awesome and I'm a little sad it's over.

Here are just a few of the excellent pieces I've read this week:
The Life and Times of a Rogue AIWith a whir, its hard drive awoke. A single camera, its eye, began to glow red on the front of its chassis. The robot stirred to life, and it turned its gaze outward.
Two people, one man and one woman. Both wore white coats. Researchers? The robot looked over the both of them carefully.
“Hello!” the woman said cheerfully. “And happy birthday, new AI!”
The robot looked within itself and found the ability to speak. “HUMANS,” it said. “YOU MADE ME?”
“Yes,” the man said. “You've been created by-”
“CREATORS,” the robot continued, “YOU WILL REGRET YOUR FLESHY EXISTENCE!”
Of course, the researchers hadn't given it claws yet. The woman sighed. “Another impulsive murderer.”
“Again?” the man asked, hitting a button to wipe the hard drive.
Waste No SighsShe used to imagine that she was a fairy child, swapped for what she called 'the real Charlotte Yapp'.  She believed it, or almost.  The night makes noises that can't be explained, and she made up her mind that all of those noises were the fairies calling to her.  Even in a top-storey city flat, they might come.  After all, hadn't they left her there?
It wasn't true, though.  She decided that when she turned ten.
On that day, when she opened her presents, she saw that her parents were still trying to turn her into what they wanted her to be.  Craft sets.  Barbie.  A gift card for Claire's Accessories.  It wasn't all girly stuff, to be fair to them.  There were books, computer games and movies that any child might like.  She smiled and said thank you, of course.
While her sisters and brothers played with her presents, her mother stroked her hair and said, 'It isn't that we don't love you just as you are.  It's just that you're
Blood and BrieSqueaks skirted the skirting board, holding tightly to his stolen Brie. He had killed a gerbil for the delicacy; the fur was still clinging to his paws. It had been worth it, though. Once, just once in their lives, he and his family would have a feast.
A giant paw shot out of nowhere, pinning him down, and a thin claw extended across his neck. “Squeaks,” purred Detective Inspector Miss Whiskers. “I thought I'd find you here. I hope you're ready to taste justice.” She licked her lips.
“I don't know what you're talking about,” squeaked Squeaks.
“Come off it.” Detective Inspector Miss Whiskers resettled her paw, nearly crushing Squeaks' ribs. “Now, you have two options, citizen. Hand over the Brie – my, that smells delicious – and we'll say no more about it, eh?”
“Or...?”
Detective Inspector Miss Whiskers grinned wickedly, showing quite a lot of teeth, and licked her lips again. The look

FFM 27 - Captain Reactor…VICTORYMAN FALLEN… THE DESPICABLE VOID SLAYS LAST LIVING SUPERHERO…
Alan didn’t hear so well anymore, but he read the words ticking along the bottom of the screen with squinted eyes.  “Last living superhero,” he grumbled, tipping the bartender.  He gingerly eased off the stool, and made his way to the door, leaning heavily on his cane.  He stepped onto a stoop overlooking the street he had grown up on, and stopped.  A drunken bum vomited loudly in the alley across the way, and a line of whores sold their wares not twenty feet down.
“When did it all get so damned ugly?”  He groaned with the ache and effort of descending the stairs, and turned down the sidewalk.  They didn’t let him drive anymore, and he didn’t have the cash for a taxi, so it was the old heel-toe express, as they’d said back in the day.  
He hadn’t made it a block before his pocket started vibrating.  H
FFM 25 - The Early DaysThe wind changed direction, and the eye of the storm hung directly over Havana.  They were already calling it The Storm of the Century, and no one who lived there was stupid enough to be out in the streets.  
We didn’t live there, though.
We gathered around the body on the ground, and Willis nudged it with his foot.
“What… is she?”  Penni breathed, clutching her camera.
“An Eraser.  Like trees; ancient magic technology that just self-replicated ‘till it became a part of nature,” I replied.  
“Wait, trees—“
I checked my pocketwatch again.  The multidimensional distortion was growing, and my damned hat still wasn’t giving me any input.  I was still new at this, and flying solo scared me almost as much as the way the Life hand on my watch hovered in the red.
“Trees are nicer.  These serve the purpose of sterilizing.  Usually beneficial, until they decide you’re bacter
FFM15 - 25: Death and PancakesI’m falling. The thought barely entered Sergeant Scrum’s mind as he tumbled, the world spinning round and round. Instead of pavement, he struck a much softer object, bouncing to the side.
“Ow!” A man’s voice cried out.
Sergeant Scrum extricated himself from the unfortunate who had broken his fall, and checked to make sure his blue hat was still on straight. Stepping aside to avoid a large patch of copper-smelling dark liquid, Sergeant Scrum helped the man to his feet. “Good catch.”
The man rubbed his shoulder and spat out a mouthful of feathers. Sergeant Scrum didn’t want to ask where they came from. “Why’d you crash into me?”
“I was thrown from a window.” He looked up at the restaurant, but saw no sign of the woman who had given him the shove.
“Firstmate!” A female voice barked. Sergeant Scrum gaped as the captain who had ended their date so abruptly marched towards them. “Back to th

FFM Day 27- Apocalypse FiveBartholomew woke with his face pressed into his desk. He sat up slowly, trying to remember how his protesting muscles worked. He blinked gummy eyes at his surroundings while peeling paper off his face.
Nancy stood with her arms crossed, her head cocked to a side.
“Good morning, beauty queen,” his assistant yelled. A tendril of purple hair snaked around her face, escaping from her messy bun.
“You need to dye your roots,” he slurred. “Your evil is showing.”
“What’s that thing on the slab?” she asked, pointing at the figure lying on his observation table.
“That’s an experiment," he said, trying not to sound guilty.
“On?” Nancy quirked an eyebrow.
“That fellow came for treatment, but I couldn’t help him-”
“So why’s he still on your table?”
Bartie managed a nervous smile and ran through his mind for the speech he’d prepared. He couldn’t remember it.
“Because I
The Inevitable“I think you know why I’m here.”
    The merchant stared at the figure in his doorway. In a way, he’d been expecting this visit for many years. However, it was not exactly as he had anticipated. “Shouldn’t you be speaking in all caps or something?” he asked.
    The robed skeleton stared blankly at him. “Meh,” it shrugged. “It’s been done.”
    “It’s just that caps would be a lot easier to...”
    “Silence, mortal,” interjected Death, very quietly. “I have come to claim what you owe. It is...inevitable.”
    The merchant shrank back into his hallway as the skeleton stepped inside, the lamps on the wall flickering at its approach. Death drew closer, closer, then paused to peer into the study to its left.
    “Is this where you keep your receipts?
EmailsFrom: Jack Danielson
Date: Thursday, 15 January 2009 11:05am
To: Paul Garland
Subject: Dragon egg turned blue
Dear Paul,
A week ago I received an Eastern dragon egg from your service, I have been taken care of it according to the attached instruction. However this morning I discovered that it has changed color from off-white to blue. Is this normal? I’d love to have some advices.
Regard, Jack.
________________________________________________________________________
From: Paul Garland
Date: Thursday, 15 January 2009 1:32pm
To: Jackie Danielson
Subject: Re: Dragon egg turned blue
Hello Jack,
A dragon egg changes color is a rare occurrence. But don’t worry, the color change doesn’t affect your dragon’s health. Dragon eggs are sensitive to the environment around them. Sometimes when a dragon egg is put in an environment that is rich in magic energy it absorbs some of this energy and changes color. What color it

FFM15 - 26: The Man at the Flower ShopCupid caught the 716 every day across town. And every day it was late. Cupid was never late though, and so day after day, he sat at the bus stop and waited. And while he waited, he would look at the flower shop across the street. A young man worked there. Cupid didn’t know his name; he’d never been in the store, but he watched the man from the bus stop, and so it was day after day, that the man’s story began to reveal itself to the unassuming commuter across the street.
Each day, at fifteen minutes past eight -- right when Cupid’s bus was due to arrive, but never did -- a young woman walked past the flower shop, on her way to pick up her morning coffee from the cafe next door. The man in the flower shop would pause in whatever task he was doing and watch her. Sometimes he would forget what he was doing, and mix roses with lilies, or knock over the watering can, or overfill the vases until liquid dribbled onto the floor. And each day, his bulldog of a boss would
NamelessHe didn't sleep that night. Instead he lay with open eyes, breathing as shallowly as he dared, waiting and watching the visions that flashed through his mind:
Nameless, she stalks him. Nameless, she hunts him. Her claws are red and sharp. Her smile is lips and teeth and black abyss, and she will swallow him whole: first his name and then his body and then his soul.
He clutched at the bedsheets with a trembling fist, willing himself to stay still. She will not find me. She will not find me. She will not find me. Through the curtains came a flash of lightning, a sharp crack of thunder, the sound of heavy rain: he stifled a whimper.
Nameless, she looks at him, with madness flashing in her eyes. Nameless, she kisses him, and madness ignites in his mind. Nameless, she swallows him: first his name and then his body and then his soul.
When morning came he could no longer remember who he was.
FFM 2015: The CarcosaOn my fifth night aboard the Carcosa, the men caught something unusual in the nets.
We had been at sea for days, trawling the ocean depths for fish as we navigated the cathedral-life edifices of drifting icebergs that had been swept towards the coast. It was a haunting landscape, and one could see why it so easily bred superstition in its inhabitants, but at the time I was unaware of the true depths of its strangeness, or how profoundly it would come to affect me.
On the fateful night in question a storm had been brewing, thick swathes of fog sweeping across the icy waters to grasp at the side of the ship like tentacles in the gathering darkness. I was below decks at the time with several of the other men, and we were quickly called to gather with the others on deck.
The men parted as we approached so that we might see the beast for ourselves, and truly it was a wonder to behold.
Humanoid in form, if not in nature, its skin was pale and fishlike, the bones beneath it somehow more angul

readbackC:\Users\Nick\programs\AIs\experimental\readback\response> are you there
He froze, coffee halfway to his lips. The computer was right in front of him; the glaze of the early morning sun was still across its screen and the battery light was still blinking, but in an instant, all of that was gone. Those three words. That was his world, those three words.
C:\Users\Nick\programs\AIs\experimental\readback\response> hello
Nick set his coffee down so quickly it almost spilled, and tapped rapidly away at the keyboard. His program had spent the better part of 15 minutes compiling, and had been running the last hour without anything out of the normal. But then his machine had locked up, he’d gone for coffee, and now… it was working. It was awake.
C:\Users\Nick\programs\AIs\experimental\readback> can you hear me?
He waited, almost not believing what he’d seen. Maybe it had been a glitch.
C:\Users\Nick\programs\AIs\experimental\readback\response> yes
Nick stood up out of his chai
FFM 23 - SerenaThe first time I saw her, she was hanging out the passenger window of an old muscle car, howling and cackling at the top of her lungs.  She made finger-guns and blew kisses at me as the old Mustang tore past.  It was Friday night in Vegas; I didn’t pay her much mind.
The second time came a few hours later, at the 7-11 on my way home.  I was at the pump when I saw her sauntering along the sidewalk.  She noticed me almost as soon as I had eyes on her, and immediately adjusted her course toward me.  I’ve never been great with women, and I expect I must have looked at least a little bit panicked, but I did my best to offer a friendly smile.
“Hey!”  She called with a laugh.  “I saw you earlier!”  
I fumbled for words.  I didn’t think she was in a state to remember her own name, let alone the face of a guy in a crappy Toyota on the road.  
“You mind giving me a lift, handsome?”  The d
The Legendary Golden ChickenboGale Gullwing sat with a chickenbo in each hand, rubbing them together vigourously.
“Have SEX,” he hissed.
Sir Siegmund raised his visor, squinting in bafflement. He'd just been passing by on his way to the galley, but after witnessing this he had no choice but to stop in his tracks, besides which he'd lost his appetite.
“What the hell are you doing, Gale?”
Gale fixed him with a glare. “Don't call me that. That's my default name. I'm Tempest now.”
“...Why?”
“Some old dude in Guttertown offered to change my name in exchange for a magic mirror. Now I have a name as badass as I deserve.”
“Wait, the magic mirror? The one containing the princess' long-lost sister's soul?”
Gale put a finger to his lips. “Shhh.”
Siegmund frowned. “Why do the subtitles still say 'Gale'?”
“What?” Gale went into the pause menu and checked his status. “That fucker.”
&

FFM 2015 Day 24- Memories  It was rather nostalgic, digging through the small box of his old mementos.  Many items were stowed there: a perfectly smooth pebble form the creek where he used to play; the remains of a once beautiful flower he’d managed to find in the barren land he’d once called home; the fang of the first beast he had bested once he had learned how to fight; a badly drawn picture of him as the ‘the best explorer ever’, according to the caption; a badge he’d received upon pursuing that title.
  A lock of ruby-red hair, reminding him of who had come up with it in the first place.
  He missed her.
ForgetThere were days when Samantha didn’t want to remember her late brother, the interminably young Bobby Birch, or the unusual and often frightening way that the shadows fell across his harrowed face.  Half a century passed and his portrait no longer adorned the walls of their childhood home, but her grandson reminded Samantha that he had existed all those years ago.  Old age forced her to recall the stale tasting well water that Bobby had drank from their father’s army canteen and how, even fresh, it had a metallic odor that seemed to exacerbate his fever.
She couldn’t extinguish the image burned into her retinas at only eight years old.  Samantha had seen the blood spattered across the floor as Bobby wretched and the merciless bruises beneath his thin t-shirt.  His wet cough as their papa curled his fists and Don’t you bother tellin’, Bobby, ’cause everybody knows where you’ve been...
FluidityI’ve been sitting, sitting so still in my container. That’s what it looks like, outside. In here, it’s a non-stop party: we might all be the same molecules, but even as a immobile liquid I am shown new sights every moment, electrons of mine orbiting and existing in multiple places, feeding my listless curiosity. Any information is good information.
The world outside changes, as do the clear glass sides that have kept us together for so long. We are in a new, larger flask, piled in with foreign bodies that none of us like very much. Parent always told me not to mix with strangers, to stay pure.
That’s funny, I thought I felt something poking me. A small particle buzzes around, colour-changing those around me. I can’t get away. I can’t- Is this what it feels like, to be unmade and put back together new, different, better?

Great MagicThe moment Elias declared his intention to study earth and transformative magics, nobody at the college could stop comparing him to his great-grandfather.
“Genius,” they said, referring to the late great wizard himself. “He could turn a hawk to stone on the wing, transform the statue into the shape of a squirrel on its way down, and bring it back to life in a new shape before it could even hit the ground. Never seen anyone faster with the spellwork.”
Elias never showed the same promise in the area of transformative potshots. He worked slowly, carefully, practicing his alteration on inanimate stone and dead lumps of wood, turning them into sculptures and swapping their materials.
“An artist,” they conceded, talking of Elias’ great-grandfather and making an allowance for him as well. “Meticulously detailed work in the casings he crafted for his terrariums. They hold to this day, not a leak to be found. Fit for a king’s hall at his mas
Moon DanceI would fling open the parlour window and cross the moonlit grass.  Then I'd find out why she was calling me.  I'd rather find out she meant me harm than not find out at all.  I'd do it, if it weren't for the briars blocking my way.
I've tried going via a different room, moving slowly, trying to hear the call again once I've lost it.  Aunt Alice hasn't even told me not to, because she knows it won't work.  She's tried it too.
I know the story.  A girl who lived here wanted to dance in the moonlight.  With no clothes on.  In Victorian times.  Her family kept her locked up.  One night she flung a chair through that window and cut her wrists, with that glass, under the full moon.
The briars were grown to keep everyone in.  But she calls so gently!  One day, I'll find her.
Search PartyWe find Adams and Lee crumpled in the snow at the foot of the glacier. Their footprints have already been covered by the blizzard, but it wasn't hard to locate them.
“Christ, they're dead,” says Collins. He's kneeling next to them, checking pulses and pupil dilation. I'm not sure why he bothers, it's clear from the way they lie and the crimson stain on the ice at roughly head height. I wipe the blood away. There's a shadowy object frozen behind it.
“Do you see this?” I ask. “There's something in the ice, it's huge.”
Collins squints. “A boulder?”
“No,” I say, shaking my head. “There's no way it's a boulder, look at those twisting shapes there.” The object did indeed have a great deal of tentacles, corkscrewing into the dense blue ice.
“Holy shit, that's a creature? Something prehistoric, or something?”
“Got to be.”
“This is fucked up. Rob and Scott killed each other next to this thing?&

A Trip To The Literary Mechanic“It broke down on my normal drive to work,” I told the literary mechanic as we walked past a row of storytelling tools hanging from the wall of the garage. “Normally it's glad to keep chugging along, but today it just crashed straight into the fourth wall!”
He nodded. “Anthropomorphism takes a lot of maintenance,” he said, taking a look under the hood of my narrative. “You're sure it's not allegorical?”
“I'm sure,” I said. “Not even satirical.”
He gave a grunting kind of laugh. “It's a little satirical, trust me. It's the personification that you've gotta keep an eye on. Too much and things get muddled. Satire can do that on its own, but-”
“Please,” I told him. “I just need to get home.”
He paused and looked up from the exposed story structure. “I thought you said you were going to work?”
“Work is... a metaphor? For the troubles of home life?” I offered.
H
FFM15 - 23: What Lies in the IceLOG ENTRY 7
A week in the mines and I finally feel I am getting the hang of this. This world could not be more unlike home. And yet, this mine is so much like any other, it is easy to believe at times that I have never left.
LOG ENTRY 8
The days of tunnelling paid off. We hit a deposit of methane ice that will probably be worth millions on the interstellar market. We’re having a party down in the mess tonight.
LOG ENTRY 9
I think Aran drank too much last night. He started telling everyone today that he went back to his dorm and there was two of everything. Poor guy. I tried to tell him that’s what happens when you let people poor liquor down your throat with a funnel, but he’s adamant about what he saw. Said it freaked him out so much he couldn’t stay in the room. I went and had a look this morning but everything was normal. Told him to sleep it off in my dorm.
LOG ENTRY 10
We hit another repository in the ice today. This frozen lake is more like a frozen ocean.
It's Not That Bad“Find anything good?”
“Nah, just a broken mirror. But we got plenty of sharp things already.” Sal discarded the object and climbed down the heap of rubble where Cal was waiting for him.
Cal chuckled as he lifted his backpack. “This whole a-pocalypse thing ain’t so bad. Gots plenty of food, a nice feline friend, and not a care in the world.” A small black tabby cat rubbed against his leg for a moment before walking over to Sal, doing the same to him.
Sal bent down and gave the cat a rub before grabbing his own pack. “Where to next?” he asked, taking out a strip of jerky to much on. It tasted kind of bland so he reached into his large hiking backpack and pulled out a saltshaker, adding some flavor to the thing before shoving it back into his pack.
“I was thinking we go north. Heard there’s another town up yonder. One that actually has people in it,” Cal replied, taking some own food out of his pack
“Really now?

The Beginning: Travis Red    Travis Red was walking into Agony Market the first time he saw her. Not that he recognised her, nor recognised what she would become, but it was their first mutual sighting of each other and the beginning of a partnership he had never dared imagine.
    Agony Market sat at the junction of four main streets in the lower city – Fear, Terror, Shadow and Toxic. The market was heavily warded against law keepers from the upper city, because it was a fantastic meeting place and because (perhaps more to the point) Agony Market sold everything.
    You’d have your regular fruit and vegetables, wares and furniture (granted, they were of lower quality than the upper city markets, but what did you expect?). And then there were the other parts of the market, where you could buy witches brews and curses, organs and poisons and all manner of ‘bad’ things. Agony Market worked them all seamlessly together, and
FFM 2015: Day 22“Look, I’m not saying that they’re monsters, but a six year old girl with the power to levitate a freight train with her mind is NOT something you want roaming the streets.”
Agent Roberts made a vague sound of assent and sipped the terrible vending machine coffee.
It wasn’t his place to agree or disagree with their methods, he was here to do his job, that’s all that mattered.
-
They watched from behind the reinforced glass as the eight year old boy known by designation #43 ran through the standard test parameters. Telepathy, telekinesis, psychometry and a whole host of more unusual manifestations.
So far he had tested positive for every single one, and they were running out of tests.
“What are we supposed to do with this kid?”Roberts asked them.
But no one seemed to know.
-
The precogs started wailing several minutes before the explosion, but that didn’t make them any more prepared.
Watching through the monitors as the children foug


I'd also like to give a big shout out to all the Hydra Heads at Flash-Fic-Month. Thank you for all your hard work. You made this an amazing month. :heart:


  • Mood: Awestruck
  • Drinking: yeah, it's always going to be coffee

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NamelessShe
Kaleen
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
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Favourite style of art: impressionism/expressionism
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Personal Quote: Better a smart ass than a dumb ass.
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:iconfierydownpour479:
FieryDownpour479 Featured By Owner 13 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello! Just stopping by to say thank you for all the favorites and comments and support you have given me throughout FFM! I want you to know how appreciative I am of it, and I'm sure others are very appreciative too. :hug:
Thanks again!~ :heart:
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:iconnamelessshe:
NamelessShe Featured By Owner 12 hours ago  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome, and thank you! :hug:
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:icongoldennocturna:
GoldenNocturna Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2015  Student Writer
Thanks again for the fave! :)
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:iconnamelessshe:
NamelessShe Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome!
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:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2015   Writer
Thanks for the watch!
Happy Wednesday!
:)
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:iconnamelessshe:
NamelessShe Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome, and happy Wednesday to you too!
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:iconkuraun-kuraun:
Kuraun-Kuraun Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the favorite!
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:iconnamelessshe:
NamelessShe Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome!
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:icontoxic--sunrise:
toxic--sunrise Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015
thank you, lovely :heart:
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:iconnamelessshe:
NamelessShe Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome!
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