ANNUAL GRAND FICTION CHALLENGE PEOPLE'S CHOICE TIE-BREAKER RUN-OFF POLL


View Poll Results: Be the People and Choose Your Winner

Voters
51. This poll is closed
  • The Place

    27 52.94%
  • Like Snuffing Out A Candle

    24 47.06%
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Thread: ANNUAL GRAND FICTION CHALLENGE PEOPLE'S CHOICE TIE-BREAKER RUN-OFF POLL

  1. #1
    The Place
    By anonymous
    (Language, Drug Use)


    The Place looks just like I remember, a wide, low, cement block building squatting like a sick white toad between two slumping warehouses. “Why the fuck did you bring me here?”

    “I made you a promise, bitch.” Travis is grinning. “I always keep my promises.” He pulls the car to the curb and we both get out. “How long since you’ve been here?”

    “Sixteen months.” Actually sixteen months and thirteen days. Six more weeks and I’ll get my eighteen-month medallion. I don’t know why I’m going along with this. Travis means well, but he’s a dumb-ass.

    Even from the street I can hear the music; mean, jagged guitar chords, and a manic drum line. I know the sound. It’s DBD, Dead by Dawn. They never play anywhere but here.

    “Hey, dude, this ain’t a good idea.” I mean it. I really do, but that doesn’t stop me from following my dumb-ass friend up to the makeshift plywood doors. A long time ago somebody painted the warped plywood black and added two blood-red eyes and some gray bars to make it look like a gate into Hell, or some shit. I remember thinking it was cool, but now it just looks stupid. Sobriety will change a guy’s perspective, I guess.

    I stop and look up at the unmarked, white-washed façade of the building. It’s the worst kept secret in town; an illegal club with no official name, no bouncers, no manager, no rules, and only one band, DBD. Everyone just calls it The Place – if they call it anything at all.

    Travis, still grinning, grabs the knotted rope ‘door knob’ and pulls. The plywood scrapes across the filthy pavement. “D’you ever bring, Em here?” Even outside he has to shout to be heard over the frenetic music.

    “No.”

    “Just as well.” Grabbing my arm, he pulls me through the gate. “That skank wouldn’t ‘preciate the culture.”

    “Emmy’s no skank,” I shout.

    “No?”

    “No.”

    “Then how come she’s up on Geiger Hill bangin’ that hipster and you’re down here all sober an’ shit?”

    I’m not going to answer him. Fuck him.

    I feel guilty just breathing the air in this obscene shit-hole. But damn, it smells… comfortable. Pot mostly – will a contact high fuck-up my eighteen? – but, there’s booze in the air too and that nose-burning, industrial strength, cat-piss stench of somebody burning crystal close by. I’ve got no business being here. What if I just get tight with the music? Ignore the other shit? Let DBD build a wall of sound I can hide behind, hide inside of? Like angry hands, waves of music are slapping against my chest – something that solid has to be able to protect me, right? My body’s jumping and twitching in syncopation with the hammering drums. I can’t see the band. There are too many bodies packed together between me and the stage, all of them jerking and bouncing just like I am.

    “Told ya, bro,” Travis screams. “You’re forgetin’ her already.” That was his promise, to make me forget all about Emmy before morning. He thinks it’s working. He’s wrong.

    I use my elbows and shoulders to push my way through the mass of people surrounding the stage. No one minds. One guy with eyeballs tattooed on his cheeks sticks out his tongue at me; it’s pierced with two studs. “Kiss me,” he shouts. I head-butt him in both his left eyes and leave him bleeding and laughing. At the stage, I wedge myself between some bearded fat guy and a skinny chick with green hair and a hand on fat guy’s crotch. His eyes are closed and so are hers. Their expressions don’t change as I push my way in, but her hand moves to her own groin.

    Above us, the band is puking out its sound as if there’s no one else in the room. The lead guitarist stands motionless except for his hands, which move in a relentless blur. His head is bent, a black cowl of hair covering his face. Tattooed runes cover every visible inch of his naked torso. The bassist wears a long-sleeved white shirt, black pants, and sunglasses. Behind the front-men, the drummer attacks his kit with psychopathic glee. An open sore the size of my hand runs from just above his right ear to the top of his bald, yogurt-white head.

    Somebody else shoves the skinny chick aside. It’s Travis. “Far fuckin’ out!” He’s still got that grin on his face. Does anybody say ‘far fuckin’ out’ anymore? The music explodes from the amplifiers, pushing at my face and chest. The crowd presses against my back. In between, Emmy is fucking a hipster.

    “We there yet, bitch?” Travis pulls something from his pocket.

    “Where?”

    “Noskank City? In the land of Fuckitall?”

    “No.” He’ll never understand. Emmy didn’t get me sober – I did that. But I did it for her. To keep her. Then she left anyway – fuckin’ hipster.

    “Well, maybe you need a map.” Travis slaps a small tin-foil pouch down on the edge of the stage.

    “I’m sober,” I say, but my fingers are already picking at the crinkled edges of the foil. I know what’s inside. Nothing is inside.

    Nothing is sweet.

    Nothing hurts.

    The wrinkled flaps of foil unfold like the petals of a silver poppy revealing a thick line of white powder. “One bump don’t mean you’re not sober, dude.”

    I hate that stupid grin.

    I bring the shit up to my face and take it all in one deep snort. The nothing is cutting through my sinuses like cold lightning and the floor is falling away under my shoes. I jerk back, starting to drift. DBD’s guitarist is looking down at me. I can see his face now through the greasy black curtain of his hair. He’s grinning too. A permanent, lip-less sneer framed by ivory planes of ancient bone beneath eye sockets filled with empty... hungry... darkness. I’m the only one who can see him.

    Damn, I love this band.

  2. #2
    Like Snuffing Out a Candle (content & language warning)
    By anonymous


    Eight days I’ve been travelling with the Pasaw’ri, now. Eight days. I’ve given them everything they asked for and more. Rifles. Ammunition. Whiskey. Hiring the caravan to haul it all out to this god-forsaken place was no small expense either. And still, after all this time, I have yet to see a single trace of the prize I’m after. I worry these people may have gotten the best of me.

    Nevertheless, they maintain that there are gods in this wasteland yet. They say I’ll meet one, if I don’t turn tail and run before the raid. As much as I hate to admit it, that is a distinct possibility. I’ve never felt so anxious in my life. I suppose it’s a reasonable enough feeling, though; I’ve never seen a man kill before. Never even seen a man die.

    However, for this most singular of opportunities, I do believe I’m willing.

    *

    The settlement was not as Roland remembered it. When he’d arrived with the Pasaw’ri raiders weeks prior, it had looked like a small, dingy town standing alone in the desert. It was by no means impressive, but at least it was something. A small bastion of life in the endless dirt and sand and nothing.

    And now? A collection of toppled adobe homes and pale, husk-dry corpses. He’d watched the raid happen, seen dozens of slit throats, women and children carried away screaming, adobe homes leveled for sport. And still, looking over the wreckage, it was hard for Roland to connect this ghost town to the settlement it had once been.

    Ben Beale turned over a clay brick with his boot. “Well shit, you sho’ do know yo’ way around. Gotta give ya credit fo’ that, Buck. How you find this place, anyhow?”

    Roland shrugged. “You tend to find things. Godchasers go all over the place.”

    Ben nodded to himself, stroking his black bush of a beard with one meaty hand. “I guess you would, huh? But’chu know, this here?” He pointed at a corpse slumped over the remains of an adobe wall. “This ain’t right. You follow?”

    Again, Roland simply shrugged, refusing to make eye-contact with the big man. “Nature of the beast. Anyway, we ought to set up camp. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

    “Yup. Sho’ do.” Ben pat the handle of his holstered revolver. His dark skin was beginning to blend into the dusk, but his teeth grinned as white as ever. “Been a while since I brought down a god.”

    *

    I wept when I saw the goddess. Like a child, I wept.

    It was only the translator—Tene, I believe she was called—and myself, sitting on the cold ground among the dead, waiting. All the Pasaw’ri men had left soon after the raid, taking with them their horses and weapons and wagons full of plunder. But even with Tene beside me, I was alone. She refused to watch. Instead, she blindfolded herself and answered my questions all through the hours before dawn.

    The goddess has no real name, but the Pasaw’ri call her the Pawli Ml’tya, which according to Tene means “Mourning Woman.” She comes with the dawn to drink the blood of warriors killed unjustly, and to slay their unjust killers.

    But the killers were all gone. It was only Me, Tene, the corpses, and this radiant, porcelain creature, striding through the twilight.

    I confess, I wept at her beauty. I wept at the grace with which she moved, the enormity of her presence. I wept at the incredible savagery of her feeding. Even after all the gods I’ve seen in my travels, all the wonders written into the pages of this journal, I fear I may never witness anything so beautiful again.

    *

    Roland stared at Ben Beale from across the dying firelight. He watched the slow rise and fall of his chest, listened to the wheeze of his desert-parched breath. Big ol’ Ben Beale. The man who killed a hundred gods. The oldest godslayer in the West. All three-hundred pounds of him, sprawled out on a bedroll, snoring through the night, and still wearing his gunbelt.

    A warrior if Roland had ever seen one.

    As he removed the pocket pistol from his jacket and start around the fire, Roland could feel his heart pounding in his head. His firing hand trembled under the weight of the gun. He’d left his boots by the bedroll so as not to make a sound, scorpions be damned, but he could still hear every grain of sand crunching underfoot.

    He crouched beside Beale and leveled the gun against his temple. A thousands gods and creatures dead because of Roland’s research, and when it finally comes time to dirty his own hands, it’s one of the very men who put them down.

    He pulled the trigger, praying this wasn’t justice.

    *

    Those fucking red-skinned Pasaw’ri cunts. They must have known. They could have warned me. They could have said something. Anything. I can’t live like this.

    I haven’t slept since that night. When I close my eyes, I see her, burned into the darkness behind my eyelids. The subtle curve of her hips. The weight of her bare breasts. Her opalescent hair, floating on a breeze that isn’t blowing.

    The blood. The sheen of glistening blood, so dark against her perfect, porcelain skin.

    I lay here awake, reliving those hours over and over in my mind.

    I have to see her again.

    I have to feel her touch.

    *

    Roland sat beside the cold remains of what had once been the oldest godslayer in the West and watched the sun crest over the horizon, casting orange rays out through the purple dawn. His heart did not pound in his head. His hands did not tremble.

    A familiar silhouette slowly began to grow within the halo of the rising sun. As it moved toward him, he only felt alive.

  3. #3

    ANNUAL GRAND FICTION CHALLENGE PEOPLE'S CHOICE TIE-BREAKER RUN-OFF POLL

    Low voter turnout and a late run for one entry means that the People's Choice poll ended in a tie for two stories:

    The Place &

    Like Snuffing Out A Candle


    But, There Can Only Be One!
    (someone said that once, probably a Highlander, it's the sort of thing they tend to say)



    So, we now go into a 24 hour only tie-breaker poll
    , and that means every count votes! Strike that, reverse it. (someone else said that once or twice)

    To help you consider your vote, the two entries will be added to this thread immediately above this post.

    Heads Up!

    Read 'em and weep.

    (someone said that once, too)
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

    Nature abhors perfection - cats abhor a vacuum!

    "Faith can move mountains - she's a big girl!" (unknown/graffiti)

    If I act like I own the place, it's because I did.





  4. #4
    i'd like to say....both these are great. i had a hard time choosing.
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.”

  5. #5
    WF Veteran InkwellMachine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    In your pocket, stealing your pocket lint.
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    As long as the number of voters is even, I'm going to assume it's a tie. Because that's more fun.
    "Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised." --John Steinbeck

  6. #6
    Well, neither one was my pick, but I voted for the best of the two.
    "Put not your trust not in princes, in the children of men,
    in whom there is no salvation."
    Psalm 146

    Timely, isn't it?

  7. #7
    Pretty neat using the anon results - we should employ that for all future people's choice type polls. Much less likely to get that crowd sway and make everyone vote without the sheep factor.



  8. #8
    I like that too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pluralized View Post
    Pretty neat using the anon results - we should employ that for all future people's choice type polls. Much less likely to get that crowd sway and make everyone vote without the sheep factor.


  9. #9
    WF Veteran ShadowEyes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Northeast Pennsylvania
    Posts
    564
    Blog Entries
    1
    Well, that's one way to get people's attention lol.
    "All men are weak at some time in their lives. Strength does not make one capable of rule; it makes one capable of service." -- The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

  10. #10
    Member 20oz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    In a white, walled tomb
    Posts
    295
    I stopped what I was doing. Now back to xHamster.
    20oz of Vileness. Hidden Content

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