“Winged Things” from Selina Fenech’s grayscale coloring book Fairy Art.
Colored with colored pencil and filtered by phone.
The original looked like this:
EXCERPT: Where Do I Go When I’m Not Here
By Harper Kingsley
Dedicated to any fans of evil!Darkstar
I go back to Earth sometimes. And even if its not real — there’s been SO much mindfucking going on — it is better than the horror story of reality.
I imagine grass and stars, of mindbending purple light coming from his eyes. Not touching me, but passing so close I could feel SOMETHING from it. A feathery brush of heat that almost felt like gravity; god, he was so heavy to be around. The air was always so THICK; I could never get enough of it.
I became his in a moment. My power became his power.
I was wrapped up in him — my god, my everything — and he had no idea of the great joy and fulfillment he brought me. Because I was just another minion. One more Darkster kneeling before the throne.
It should bother me to remember, but it doesn’t. Because I love him that much. Because he DESERVED a million billion faithful kissing his ring every day, vowing forever fealty.
Some said he was immortal. I have to believe it.
He always looks the same. Beauty and brilliance; it burns to look directly at him, but its impossible to look away. I weep some times for the memory of his face and the possibility that I’ll never see him again.
One freak portal, and here I am: trapped in hell. Hurtling through space aboard a sci-fi freighter with a blown actuator and a cracked FTL drive.
Title: The World Changes Quickly
Author: Harper Kingsley
I woke to the sounds of shouts and screams; boots thundered in the hallway. It was with a sense of confusion that I stumbled to the apartment door and peered out the peephole.
Soldiers in full tactical gear were herding my neighbors out of their apartments. I saw Mrs. Hernandez struggling with all the strength of her aging body. She was brutally backhanded and her limp body was carried toward the elevator.
Everyone else was being rounded up and shackled into lines of five people. The first two lines were prodded until they began walking toward the stairs.
My view was abruptly blocked by a broad chest. The man had to be a giant. There was a patch across his left breast that had what looked like a shooting star stitched out of red and gold.
I backed away from the door and looked around my small apartment. I didn’t know what was going on, but I needed a weapon. Something to protect myself from these invaders.
There was a whirring sound and a low Pop!
The lock fell out of the door and the door swung wide open.
The soldier tromped in–it was like something out of a nightmare. Heavy boots thumped against carpeting worn thin by use. The red glow of optics focused on me out of the featureless round helmet.
Into the drowny deep they’d gone, far past the places other men had dared to travel. Past arching cities and seemingly endless green jungle, they’d set sail from the farthest edge of the Last Isle of Men, intent on seeing all the world had to offer.
They reached the edge of the world after two years of sailing. As the sun was setting, they finally reached the place where the world ended and the curving blackness of space began.
They traveled along the invisible barrier until they found the Door. Then they left the world behind and traveled the multiverse, experiencing things they’d only ever dreamed of seeing.
Author: Harper Kingsley
Genre: murder mystery, suspense, different era
Characters: Major Ishmael Dupres, Captain Etienne Barnard
“I don’t know how my life got to this point. It must be some phobia of success.”
Looking at the words printed on the paper, Ishmael wasn’t sure what to think. He looked from the words to his lieutenant, then back down at the words again.
“And this was written on the body?” he asked. He was relieved his voice didn’t shake.
“Carved into the flesh.” Captain Barnard’s voice never shook. He was the steady firmament that upheld Ishmael’s command.
“That is most disquieting,” Ishmael said. “How many victims has it been? 10? 12?”
“10, sir. And he’s been getting creative with his knife. It’s a frightening turn of events. Women are scared to walk the streets alone as of late.” Barnard frowned. “The merchants are upset. It’s costing them quite a bit of business that most shopping is ending so early.”
“Ah,” Ishmael said. He stared down at the paper, the words written in an oddly elegant scrawl. “We’re going to catch you, you bastard.”
“We’ll get him for you, sir. I promise,” Barnard said.
Ishmael nodded. “I know you will. You are remarkably skilled at your job, and your squad are the best on the street. Get your kids out there and find this guy. I will reward each and every one of you.”
“Sir, you know that’s not necessary.” There was a tinge of pink high on Barnard’s cheeks. It was an oddly charming sight.
“I know I don’t have to make the offer,” Ishmael said, “but I have quite a large amount of money at my disposal. I would feel better using it to reward a job well done than on simple pleasures.”
“Still sir, you’re far too generous,” Barnard said.
They both knew that he would accept the money. Not just for his officers, but for himself as well.
From his earliest youth, Etienne Barnard had had a taste for the finer things. It was how their paths had first crossed in fact, when Ishmael was nineteen and Barnard was twenty-three. Barnard had been modeling for shopping money and Ishmael had been intrigued.
They’d shared a meal and a conversation, and by the time they’d parted that day they’d exchanged contact information. They’d formed enough of a connection that when Barnard found himself in a bit of trouble, he’d called Ishmael for help.
And through that help, they’d ended up in a lifelong career as police officers. It had been a strange jumble of events that led to this office and this moment.
Ishmael trusted Barnard when he said the murderer would be brought to justice.
He stared down at the words of a killer: “I don’t know how my life got to this point. It must be some phobia of success.”
“We have to get him off the streets. For the peace of mind of our citizens if nothing else,” Ishmael said.
This is a test of the members-only functionality.
Samantha Bee featured an awesome video on her show — “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” — about a politician pushing for justice. It seems that there was a giant backlog of untested Rape Kits and the statute of limitations was closing in. Good thing he was able to round up a bit of bipartisan support.
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) March 30, 2017
This is how the system is supposed to work.
You know, I’m getting tired of people telling me what I am and am-not concerned about, especially when it comes to my personal security.
“Look, nobody cares about my taxes.” Does something that’s equal measures wacky, horrifying, and war crimey. “See, nobody cares about taxes.”
“Nobody cares about their personal security.” Sells everyone’s metadata to Russia, but not China, since China already stole everything by state-sponsoring the Yahoo hack. “See, everyone’s information is out there. Nobody cares. Everyone’s still alive and operating normally. Ignore those dudes using your private information to steal your identity and spoof your friends. It’s cool, bro. The coolest.”
“See, somebody hacked the Social Security information of all federal employees, and look, nobody cares!” Waves hands wildly above head to show just how much nobody cares. “It doesn’t matter that you were born while your father served in the Army so your social security number was on file too. It’s not like anyone’s going to use that and your mother’s maiden name to steal your identity or the identities of your children. It’s cool, bro. Let it go. There’s nothing you can do to fix the problem.”
Our government fucked up. And now they’re fucking up again.
But don’t worry. They say everything’s fine. Keep drinking the Kool-Aid, it’s delicious, don’t look at the man behind the iron curtain, and certainly don’t question that individuals in the highest levels of government have ties to a hostile foreign government. Certainly don’t wonder if they’re being coerced to betray the American people.
They’re just going to be selling our metadata to private companies, injecting malware into our browsers in the form of directed advertising, and maybe even slowing our Internet speed whenever we look at sites they don’t approve of. Everything’s cool.
It’ll be just like having a nosy parent that doesn’t feel any compunction or shame about sharing all of our personal details with a bunch of strangers.
It’s super fucking cool. >_<
I’ve started growing a jalapeño plant.
I’m cheap. Rather than buying seeds, I just stuck the center part of a jalapeño in a sandwich bag with some dirt.
Whew-ee, I had to hold my breath while transferring the seedling. That dirt smelt spicy!
Still: fun, cheap, easy, and eventually delicious.
Price: $0 since I used kitchen scraps.
Author: Harper Kingsley
Universe: Kanon-verse (alternate universe version of Heroes & Villains)
Here I am, he thought. One day older. One day closer.
He squeezed his eyes closed. Drew a deep breath in through his nose. Then he pressed the button that raised the top portion of the hospital bed to an upright position. He clenched his teeth against the pain, feeling the lines around his nose and eyes pull tight.
If he lived, he would carry reminders of this experience forever.
Finally the pain shifted, released. He could breathe. The tears weren’t threatening to squeeze their way past his eyelids.
He took a few moments to regain his composure. Then he shifted the fingers of his left hand onto the call button. Concentrated. And pressed.
Thirty seconds later a nurse appeared. “Good morning, Blue Ice. Are you ready for your pain medications now?”
Warrick thought about saying No. Thought about pretending to be strong for one more minute and continuing to suffer through this agony that had become his life. Then he thought about cool relief from the nerve pain caused by his continuous brain seizures.
“Sir?” the nurse asked. “Is that a Yes or a No on the pain medication at this time? I need a verbal reply, as per your instructions.”
Sometimes Warrick cursed his past-self. That self-assured fool that had never truly believed he could be brought so low. Who never would have imagined a time when all he’d want was for someone else to make the hard choices, because he hurt too much to even care.
“Y-y-yessss,” he hissed out through his teeth.
Then there was sweet relief at the hands of his beautiful caretaker. He didn’t know her name, but he loved her with all the fervor of someone finally released from the grasp of wretched misery.
He drifted for some timeless state of being.
A few precious moments completely free from pain.
Time was pressing in on itself. Soon these moments wouldn’t exist. He would count his blessings in seconds, not minutes. Then milliseconds. Then no relief at all. Pain would become his world.
And then he would die.
I hate this, he thought for the millionth time. Why won’t someone come save me for once?
The door slammed open hard enough to take a gouge out of the wall. Caspian didn’t pause in his entrance, coming right to the side of the bed, his grin a fierce baring of teeth. His eyes were like blue fire.
Warrick’s breath caught. He was all aquiver. He felt a desperate hope blooming in his chest.
“I found it. I found it!” Caspian reached his hand toward Warrick’s face, then ever-so-gently, careful of his friend’s propensity for pain, brushed his finger along the arch of Warrick’s cheek. “As long as you hold on, you miserable fuck, you’re going to be out of this hospital bed in a month, walking around. But you’ve gotta hold on, you hear me War? Can you hold on?”
Warrick drew in a shuddering breath. He formed the words slowly, carefully, wanting himself to be clearly heard. “Y-es. Ho-lding onn iss hw-wha-at I do b-es-t.”
Prompt-Fill: 016. hand 2A
It was gone. Only a stump remained at the end of his wrist. They’d amputated his hand.
Tears gathered in his eyes. He’d trusted them when they said they wouldn’t do anything without his permission, yet they’d drugged him and cut off his hand. The betrayal stung even in the face of his loss.
The door began opening. He hurriedly wiped his eyes dry on the pillowcase and the shoulder of the hospital gown he wore.
By the time the nurse came in, he had a stoic expression on his face. She didn’t mention the redness of his eyes, simply gave him a smile and asked him how he was feeling.
“I’m feeling like they chopped off my hand,” he snarled, then bit his lip, instantly contrite. “I’m sorry. It’s not your fault.”
She gave him a sympathetic look. “From what I understand, it’s not your fault either. A decision had to be made or you would have died.”
“I know.” He avoided looking at the bandaged stump. He looked toward the window instead. “It’s sunny out there. All those days of rain, and now it’s sunny.”
The nurse—PAM, said her nametag—moved around the room. She opened things and shut things, checked readings on the machines and changed the IV so quickly and expertly he wouldn’t have noticed if he wasn’t watching.
“It’s a beautiful day,” she said. She crumpled up a blue paper cloth and tossed it in the garbage can. “I think I’m going to recommend that you get some time outside today.”
“What?” He gestured with his hand at his stump. “They cut off my hand yesterday.”
“That was yesterday,” she said. “This is today. And while the stump is still tender and I wouldn’t jostle it around, it should be okay while you sit in a wheelchair in the garden. It’s a lovely sunny day and we don’t know when the sun will next decide to visit us. You should get the chance to enjoy it a little.”
He wanted to object—”I don’t want to leave my room. My hand. They cut off my hand“—but the thought of being outside with the sun on his face was too appealing.
“Okay,” he said instead, tone grudging.
“Good.” She smiled brightly. “I can tell already that you’re a fighter. You’re going to be okay. I’m sure of it.”
“If you’re sure,” he said doubtfully.
“I’m sure,” she said. She glanced at her watch. “And I’m due on another floor in five minutes. So I’m going to run out of here. If you need anything, the call button is right there. Lunch is in forty minutes. And I will see you tomorrow. Bye!”
“Bye,” he echoed, but she was already gone. The clicking shut of the door was the only sign that she’d ever existed.
“How weird,” he whispered. But he felt better.
Sure, they’d amputated his hand, but he was still alive. And maybe he could 3D print himself a cool prosthesis. It was terrible. But it was going to be all right.
“I’m alive,” he said.
And when his family came to visit he managed a tremulous smile that gradually became real. Because they loved him. They were here. They’d made the decision he couldn’t manage to make.
He was alive.
There is a kind of “Cabin In the Woods”-type horror scenario happening in “American Dad” S12E07: “Ninety North, Zero West”.
They fail to stop the Santa archtype from returning the Titan’s eyes, and the Endbringer wakes up.
In its weakened state, angry!Steve runs into it with the train, popping its eyes out of its head. But if he hadn’t done that …
“What is even happening?” He struggled to pull his right glove on, wishing once again that he’d ordered those new uniforms. But this is what he had – something leftover from ’02 and smelling just a bit dingy – and he’d make the best of it. He always did.
“I don’t know, Dad. They’re just telling us all to get out of town.” Ashley wore her uniform and looked so much like her old self that it ached, but he could tell by the uncertainty in her voice that she was still scrambled eggs.
“We’ll help with the evacuation, but we’ll keep moving toward the [exit] points,” he decided. She had no place being in a fire fight, and she wasn’t leaving his side. So he’d just have to stick clear of whatever disaster was rocking the town. “Grab our Go Bags. We leave in fifteen minutes.”
Evan strode down the short hallway to his favorite bathroom and locked himself inside. He was trembling and sweating and he didn’t know why.
Except she’d been dead. There’d been a funeral. She’d been out of his life for so long that he was beginning to get over her loss. The pain had never left, but he’d been putting his life back together. Then she was back again.
He’d been through an emotional yoyo-fucking. Like he’d been strapped down and the Safe Word was unpronouncable and the fear was just starting to get overwhelming. He was shaking, on the edge of tears.
They should already be leaving the apartment. But he needed a few minutes to pull himself together. A little self-care now would mean better effectiveness later on.
He set the timer on his phone, then stripped out of his clothes. He stood in front of the mirror naked. Stared into his own eyes as he took five deep breaths.
Then he reached into the medicine cabinet and took two pumps of lube from the bottle and closed the mirror.
Evan held the cool jelly-like glob of lube in his hand and stared into his own reflected eyes.
He saw the flame burning in the blackness. Pupil and iris, gradually swallowed up by flame until he stared into pits of beckoning flame, tendrils reaching out like lashes. Ghostly echoes of hands and figures, indulging in pornographic acts.
He stared into those flaming depths, gorgeous sea anemone of beckoning flame, blues flickering ghostlike across the oranges and yellows. He imagined pressing himself into those wavering appendages and letting himself be pulled inside.
His hips rolled forward as he thrust into his right hand, his left palm pressing against the counter edge as his fingers desperately flexed and held on. He kept his lips pressed tight together and breathed in and out through his nose, huffing puffs and grunts that he consciously tried to slow down.
He was thrusting faster and faster. Those flames were eeling out of the darkness inside that other-him’s head. Flames were spooling out in writhing tentacles that slipped and slithered down his chest, around his thighs, and wrapped around both legs and feet. He was enshrouded in living flames.
He was caressed by the flames. They stroked across his shoulders, down his arms, prickling a trail of goosepimples. He shivered and flexed.
Tendrils looped around his chest, passing over and in his belly button before looping down between his legs and back up. It made him slide his bare feet apart and lean into the counter, arching his back as he thrust helplessly.
Evan was lost.
He knew he was.
But where else was he supposed to go?
Retirement or not, he was still the Flameburst.
He still loved the flames.
And they were taking him over now. He could feel it and he loved it, even as he hated the person he would become.
He’d do anything to protect Ashley. Even this.
He was fucked faster, harder. He was making a pitched whining sound that he tried to stop but couldn’t. His body was out of his control. He was being engulfed by the flames.
His hips thrust faster and faster. He was gripping the counter with desperate strength, his shoulders hunching forward as he jerked off.
He was focused on his groin. His breath was hitching and breaking as he whined/gasped, his bare toes flexing and lifting him up and down. He was close, he could feel it. He was so close.
So close, so close – a tear trickled unnoticed down his cheek as he desperately tried to reach that precipice. His thighs were trembling and he was stroking faster and faster, his hand slidng in a mix of lube and precome.
He could feel himself being opened up. Even as he fucked his fist, the flames were reaching around and up inside. And some part of him – the still stodgily straight part – wanted to protest what was about to happen. But the rest of him remembered that it felt so good to come.
He hadn’t been able to masturbate without the flames for years. And sex with normals had become a no-go when he’d nearly burnt that woman. Plus he thought flamelets dripping from his dick was a sign that his body wasn’t safe for sex with others.
He’d forgotten how good letting go felt. And how gorgeous his mirror-self was.
Flames licked over his body, urging him faster and faster. He was close. So close. So… close…
A fist of flame punching up into his body. That’s what it felt like. But instead of pain, there was a flooding warmth that arced through his whole body – bowing his back and zipping down to his fingers and toes – before recirculating around to pool in his groin.
He came so hard that he blacked out.
The Flameburst left the bathroom. He’d showered and done what he could to fix the old uniform. It had been saved in a box as a memento of the Good Old Days, and he’d gained a couple of pounds since then.
He moved his arms and legs up and down as he walked into the living room. He was going to need to stretch some of the stiffness out if he hoped to be combat effective.
He smiled at Ashley when he found her wearing a dark green peacoat with the bags and supplies arrayed around her. She was ready and waiting to go. “Good job, sport.”
She smiled at him a little uncertainly. “Okay.”
He stared at her for a moment. Without her memory, she didn’t know about his little swaps. She wouldn’t remember the warnings signs and avoid his triggers.
Evan would be angry if Ashley burned up. The Flameburst would probably feel regretful about it later too. Especially if Evan refused to swap with him anymore.
Everything was so beautiful and bright. Everything burned and he could make the whole world dance. But he had to hold himself back. Had to remember consequences and reasons why burning the world wasn’t allowed.
“Let’s get out of here, kiddo,” he said, trying to sound as jolly and Dad-like as he assumed Evan would. He hadn’t paid much attention to Evan’s interactions with amnesiac-Ashley, but he wasn’t capable of feeling fear.
The Flameburst pulled a parka over his uniform to cover it and to protect him from the icy weather outside. He zipped the coat up under his chin and flipped the hood over his head before putting on the backpack.
He wobbled a little as he adjusted to the weight, silently cursing his out of shape body. Then he grinned at the challenge.
He felt the flames flare around his heart: a burst of heat and pleasure rippled through his blood to engulf his limbs and groin. He flexed his buttocks and thighs to keep from thrusting forward.
It felt so strong.
Evan hadn’t been feeding his flames enough.
He’d been a dangerous explosive walking amongst unknowing people. The wrong word or gesture could have had him lash out with dangerous consequences. It was a careless disregard for safety.
Which said a lot about Evan’s mental state.
The Flameburst breathed in and out, a flame flickering at the back of his throat as he retaught his body control. He couldn’t allow any accidents.
“Let’s go.” He let Ashley open the door, but he stepped out first. He would keep her safe.
This is a rawfeed story, which means that it’s coming direct from my brain to the computer screen. There may be word usage errors and editing problems.
THAT TIME I TOLD YOU
by Sol Crafter
They met for the first time in the lunchroom when they were 10 years old. It wasn’t an instant connection–it took two weeks of sharing a table before they got to talking–but they became best friends after that.
To Conrad, meeting Jamie was the first time he felt alive. It was as though color flooded into an otherwise empty world.
It had never been great at home. His parents were always fighting, always yelling, always looking at him with resentful eyes as though to say “It’s your fault all our dreams are dead”. Going to school was his chance to get away from the tension and the loneliness. He did okay in his classes.
Until Jamie came, he only went to school to get away from home. The other kids were just the kids he played with at school–he wouldn’t call any of them a best friend.
Jamie was his best friend.
And so, because Jamie played the guitar, Conrad learned to play the bass. Because Jamie loved singing and music, Conrad learned to carry a tune and even started writing songs in a spiral bound notebook.
He would spend the night at Jamie’s house with Jamie’s doting mom who always tried to get Jamie whatever he wanted, even though she was a single parent without much money. He might have been jealous if she hadn’t been so nice to him, welcoming him into her home as though he were another son.
He became part of their family.
“We should start our own band.”
They were in Jamie’s room, each taking up an opposite end of the bed as they flipped through magazines and listened to music. Jamie had a tendency to flail his feet with the music, so Conrad had thrown a pillow across his ankles and had his arm propped on top.
“Huh?” he asked, looking away from the glossy pictures of pocket monsters fighting a guy in mecha armor.
“I said,” Jamie raised his voice with a mock-serious frown that turned into a smile, “we should start a band. What do you think?”
Conrad looked at him. He seemed serious, or at least determined to have his way. They were already playing instruments together. It didn’t bear much consideration. “Okay.”
Jamie grinned. “Yeah! We are gonna be rockstars.”
I watched an iHeartRadio Green Day Live performance on the Audience channel and it made me so happy.
Not just because it’s Green Day and I grew up listening to them, but because they were right there on the screen playing music.
Remember when there used to be whole stations that played music videos? Where did those all go? And if you say “the Internet” I’m gonna yell at you, because I only started watching music videos on YouTube because they stopped playing them on TV.
Seriously, if I could turn on the TV and tune it to a station that showed music videos, recorded music concerts, and like Behind the Music/Where Are they Now segments, I would watch that channel all the time.
Because you know what? I don’t want to have to watch everything on my computer, Kindle, or phone. I don’t want to waste my limited Internet watching stuff I should be able to watch on TV.
I bought these Clorox Handi Wipes from Walmart and I really like them.
Use them for wiping counters or drying hands or whatever, then rinse them clean and let them air dry. The little breathing holes means they drive quickly.
The cloths are big, so I cut one down into 4ths. This makes it about the size of a paper towel from a select-a-size roll.
I looked on Amazon, and they do have them for sale: Clorox Handi Wipes Multi-Use Reusable Cloths. There’s different sellers, but this one is 72 cloths for $13.39 and seemed the best deal. (72 cloths = 24 rolls of paper towels. But I think it can equal more since I cut my cloth into four pieces. So 24 x 4 = 96 ^_^)
I’m not sure how much I spent at Walmart for my small pack of 6, but they were worth buying. I can wash a counter, rinse and wring out the cloth, and wash another counter. Much better than paper towels, and more hygienic than squishy sponges.
I think I’m going to sew some color coded thread onto the cloths so I can designate some for use in cleaning the kitchen, the bathroom, dusting, etc. I would really prefer not to mix them up.
Criminal Minds has been on for a while. If you haven’t heard of it, its a police procedural-type show following a group of FBI agents with the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit). Their job is to hunt down and arrest serial killers.
Some episodes raise questioning eyebrows. Some episodes are definitely worse than others. But on the whole it’s an interesting show.
There are some memorably good episodes, such as Season Eight’s fifth episode, “The Good Earth”. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but even on second viewing its still fascinating.
The summary does not do the episode justice:
Summary: When four men go missing in rural Oregon, the BAU searches for a common link among them in order to track them down. Also, JJ becomes upset when her son Henry doesn’t want to celebrate Halloween this year.
The nice thing about Criminal Minds is that the episodes largely focus on the case, telling things from the perspective of both the victims/unsubs and the FBI agents. There have even been several times when I’ve wished to hear the “And then…” story of the victims – the “10 years later and I’m doing fine” accounts.
And that’s neat.
I guess I’ve just gotten tired of so-called procedurals that focus on the lives and families of the main cast to the detriment of the show’s quality. If you’re trying to pack a whole storyline into an episode, you have to cut something when you begin including the personal life dramas of the regular characters.
I used to love CSI: Crime Scene Investigators. There was plenty of pseudo-science, interesting crimes being solved, and the main characters were a somewhat blank canvas on which fanficcers built a thriving fandom.
Then the show got a bit TMI. People began turning away from the canon material. The fandom lost its luster and the show its viewing audience.
Same with Scandal to a degree. I devoured the first season and was raving about how great it was. Then there got to be too much sex and not enough story. Then too much of “Olivia meets Huck” and clumsy spy stuff and I was done.
In some instances, less is more.
Don’t ruin the characters we love by giving too much detail about things we don’t care about.
Plot over porn. Storyline over fanservice. Quality over quantity.