Thursday, January 15, 2015

Scrapbook #4

I think we're overdue for some more randomness. So here's some more randomness! We've got a couple stories set in Terranis, a legendary monster, a Cards Against Humanity reference, and my attempt to pass the Bechdel Test in 30 seconds.

“The man with no cheek”

     The ruffians took their seats as one around the shadow-wreathed table, eyeing each other warily. They didn’t know each other, and all had been summoned here by an unknown benefactor via letters and copious amounts of zyer. So they came from their disparate corners of Terranis, gathering in the so-called heart of the world, the city Jorandek. Each looked like a veteran of dozens, if not hundreds, of fights and duels.
     Not sure when their potential patron would arrive, one of the men spoke to another man across the table. “So, how’d you get those scars?” The man across from him had a face criss-crossed with thin, precise scars, his hair mostly gone beneath a grid of scar tissue.
     “Every time I fight an enemy worth remembering, I give myself a scar so I never forget.” Came the reply. “You?”
     The first man to speak had a trio of deep gouges across his face, one eye left a messy ruin. “I fought an urorg, and it did this to me.” The others noticed the hide of an urorg hanging from his shoulders, and easily figured out what had happened next.
     The next man, wearing a brace of lethal daggers, spoke up. “Lost part of my leg to a rmoth. Turned its talons into my knives.”
     Then the next. “My wife decided to try biting one night in bed. She got a little too carried away and took my ear off one time, though. We were both screaming.” He grinned.
     The next pulled his vest open, revealing a badly healed wound in his chest. “Took a spear through the chest fighting in the Third Barbarian Wars, and survived. The chieftain that threw the spear didn’t.”
     The last man, who had been utterly silent and almost completely motionless, leaned forward, revealing a grotesquely burned face. It seemed as if nearly half of it had simply melted off, and his cheek was gone, showing the tongue sliding about within.
     “And you?” The first man asked the one with the missing cheek.
     “I tried to guzzle a pan full of bacon grease, hot off the stove. It didn’t end well.”

Two part-prompt. “It all started with ______”  “But it really didn’t, come to think of it. It was more like______”

It all started with:
forcing kids to eat Fun-Dip until they were having fun.
Charging naked into battle like the Celts.
Drinking alone.
White people.

But it really didn’t, come to think of it. It was more like: 
that one thing with the six boxes of fruit Roll-ups.
Using a loudspeaker system to blast the audio of a porno.
Being so far in the closet you can see Narnia.
Black people.


“Doctor Professor, what IS that creature?”
“Well my boy, it’s the remnants of an ancient Nazi program to genetically engineer a creature capable of killing any man. Its natural habitat is the swamp, hence came...from the swamp. It seeks to kill all men it finds, and then mate with any woman it discovers to spread its grotesque seed across the world!”
“How...did the Nazis develop a swamp beast? Are there even any swamps in Europe? And it’s just a mass of ooze and moss! How does it breed with our women?”
“Shut up and let me do the science! Only by exposing it to the antithesis of swamps and Nazis can we defeat it.”
“You don’t mean…”
“I do! Kosher salt! Lots of it!”

“Rainstorm, school is starting, and an unexpected ending”

“OK, here we are, children!” Mrs. Parnell called enthusiastically as the minivan pulled up to the elementary school. The five children in the back groaned, dreading this moment. Mrs. Parnell got out and pulled the side door open.
“Have a great first day of school!” She said, barely able to contain her excitement at finally having some blasted peace and quiet around the house. Johnny, her son, got out first, followed by four of the neighbor’s kids. Since they lived in the middle of everyone, the five kids were always at her house, creating a fierce racket. She had lost track of whether she had spent more on wine or excedrin to cope.
Overhead, thunder boomed, and rain began to fall. She cursed inwardly at her plans to relax in the sun on the porch with a mojito being dashed. Meanwhile, all five children cheered with vague enthusiasm and ran around, trying to catch raindrops in their mouths.
“Come on kids, head into the school.” They began to trudge towards the building, joining the trickle of kids heading inside. Mrs. Parnell watched them for a few moments before realizing the thunder was unnaturally rhythmic. Wait a second… that wasn’t thunder. It almost sounded more like...footsteps.
Suddenly an ear-shattering roar pierced the air around the school, annihilating every window of the building. Mrs. Parnell cowered, covering her ears, and looked towards the source of the sound. Just several blocks away, a 300-foot lizard came crashing towards the school. Its massive maw opened, and a blast of blue atomic fire burst forth, incinerating the entire school instantly. Godzilla continued his rampage unabated.

“Take your favorite hero or protagonist, and make them the villain. Take their villain and make them the hero.”

“You want to know what happened here? Why this universe is so different from the last time interlopers from yours broke through and mucked about?
“You know Kirk. The legendary captain of Starfleet. Him and several of his officers came to our universe, onto the ISS Enterprise. What they saw horrified them. Instead of a United Federation of Planets, we had a Terran Empire. An Empire that ruled a thousand planets and brought stability and order to a chaotic galaxy. Kirk felt our methods were extreme and brutal, but he didn’t understand their necessity.
“So he used his influence on our Spock, and taught him the ideals of his Federation. Spock took them to heart. He gained control of the Empire, and instituted reforms. He began to show mercy. Weakness. It didn’t take long for our enemies to attack. Within a few decades, the Empire was gone.
“Humanity is now a slave race, forced to work in conditions far more brutal than any we placed upon those species who served us. We are not even counted as sapient beings by our oppressors. We are less than objects to them. That is the legacy of your great hero.”

“The young woman got on the bus and began making her way to the back.”

The young woman got on the bus and began making her way to the back. She coughed once as the bus lurched forward, and grabbed the pole to steady herself. The people filling the seats ignored her, lost in their own worlds staring either at their phones or out the windows. She fell into the only open seat, behind a faintly sweaty man in a brown suit. Rain pattered against the windows. Her hair was stringy and matted to her face from both rain and sweat, and her eyes were ringed with red.
She coughed again, more fiercely, and again, and again, trying to keep her face covered and failing from the sheer violence of the coughing. The man shifted uncomfortably before getting up and walking forward to the standing area. The coughing stopped a moment later and the woman collapsed against her seat, sighing.
Several minutes of silence passed, and the woman suddenly sat up with a jerk. She stood and began to awkwardly walk forward. The bus came to a sharp stop, and momentum threw the woman forwards, into the man. He gave a small cry of surprise, followed by screaming as the woman ripped his throat out with her teeth. As the blood gushed from his throat, he caught a glimpse of her eyes, and his own went wide as he saw they were a mix of bloodshot red and the yellow of deadly infection.

“A thief breaks into a house, but the owner is holding a gun. Only four lines of dialogue.”

“What are you doing in my house?!”“Oh, come on, have you ever fired that thing before?”
“No, but it can’t be that hard.”
“I bet you couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist-”

“You! Freeze or I’ll shoot!”
“Robble robble, I’m so hungry!”
“I warned you, Hamburglar!”
“No, Ronald, noooooooo!”

“What are you doing in my house?!”
“Oh, God, no!”

“The last will and testament of the dumbest man/woman in the word”

Now that I think about it, I don’t think I gave her a fair chance. Sure, she left me for some other dude and banged him in my own house, but I could have been too hard. I’ll leave her all my stuff. No, don’t try to talk me out of-HURK!

"Romeo and Juliet didn't die. Also it's the 16th birthday of their child."

"OK Pete, what's the story you got for me?"
"Romeo and Juliet-"
"I love it! Classic story! Greenlight!"
"Wait wait, that's not all."
"You want to tamper with a classic? This is Hollywood man, show some integrity!"
"Just hear me out!"
"It's a sequel."
"I love it!"
"They didn't actually die."
"Plot twist!"
"They're still alive, happily married, and now their kid is turning 16."
"Ooh, a Renaissance Sweet 16! Swords! Ale! Blood! Courtesans!"
"Exactly! Of course, that's when both their families find out they're actually still alive and-"
"I've heard enough! Have $20 million dollars! Now get over here, this cocaine isn't going to snort itself!"

Interwoven prompt. "A robot rises from a heap of scrap. In a medieval village, someone wakes in a shallow grave. In the present day, a corpse in a morgue walks again."

"Look here, there's references in this book to it," Dendrin said excitedly to the others. Alex, Conrad, and Lucy all looked up from the books they were studying with mixed interest and wariness.
"What'd you find?" Alex asked.
"It's a copy of pre-Fall personnel logs, straight from the SAS Bastille. The flagship of Grand Admiral du Saniel!"
"I'm surprised something that old would be here in the middle of nowhere," Lucy said.
"Maybe the original settlers of Gronfalt came straight here from Kunskaborg, or one of those mages left it lying around," Alex ventured.
"Anyway, it talks about an android being damaged beyond repair and tossed into a recycling chute. Except, it was found a day later, back at its post, having somehow self-repaired from the scrap materials around it. That wasn't part of its original capabilities."
"So...that doesn't mean it somehow survived a thousand years and wound up in this tiny swamp village," Conrad said.
"Well, no, but this establishes the possibility that it could repair itself enough to theoretically survive that long," Dendrin replied, sinking into one of his psuedo-scholarly rambles. "Wasn't there an account we saw earlier from about AF 200 of a man waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of who he was?"
Alex began to shuffle through the books around him. "Oh yeah! The bandits trying to bury him were scared away because they supposedly stabbed him a dozen times before, but his wounds just somehow healed up. He wrote about that experience before disappearing a year later."
"Exactly! And then there's the report the mages brought with them of a corpse apparently coming back to life in the morgue back in Kunskaborg about ten years ago, and the Royal Academy realized it was this android!"
"And what the hell does that have to do with the price of tea in Weijin?" Ali asked derisively from across the room. Dendrin's mouth opened and closed a few times, unsure of what or possibly even how to speak momentarily.
"It means this entire search for an android that has survived over a thousand years isn't a wild imp chase," Alex bit back with venom of his own. "One of the people in this tiny village has centuries of actual memories of Terranis' history, and probably has all kinds of knowledge long-lost to us. If we could just find him and ask what he knows, the course of history would be changed."
Ali shrugged slightly. "Yeah, OK, I guess that'd be nice."

"You drive by a hitchhiker and yell out a five-second phrase"

"Suleman! Get a blasted car already!"

"Dude, run! The zombies are coming!"

"Excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupon?"

"And I would walk five hundred miles..."

"Describe a cookie, make it an experience just by describing it"

"BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!" The timer goes off. The cookies are done! The sheet is pulled out and set on the stove. Steam rises luxuriantly off of the cookies, scented with vanilla and a hint of cinnamon. The cookies themselves are puffed up, the dough almost slightly undercooked to keep it soft like a newborn's cheek. It glistens with a pale tan/brown color reminiscent of cool summer mornings on a beach. Sprinkled amidst the dough are glistening chunks of confectionary chocolate, melted and lounging over the dough like one of your French girls.

Anticipation builds as the cookies cool off to a temperature that won't burn the mouth like the coffee always does. A large bite. The dough practically melts in the mouth, embracing the tongue like a long-lost friend. The chocolate seeps through the tastebuds, indulging their every desire. As the bite is swallowed, the warmth travels down, comforting the insides like a blanket fresh out of the dryer. Eyes roll back with pleasure and a low moan fills the kitchen.

"A conversation at the office between two women over lunch"

"Mmm, these eyeballs are delicious!"
"I know, right? I can't get enough of these veins."
"Oh, you should try the brains for desert. I snuck some earlier, and they're amazing."
"I hope they're not too sugary, I don't want to over-do it. The liver's probably good, isn't it?"
"Oh, you know that's just empty calories. I'm sure they'll have plenty of snacks at the party."
"Yeah, you're right. I can't wait for that. This is going to be an awesome Halloween."