All posts by jtwrites

Redux Riding Hood Art

I arranged for an artist to so me some story art and the project is getting really close to completion! He sent me the black and white version and only lacks adding color! The black and white image still looks amazing though, so I’m currently using it as a cover art for the online serial. Enjoy!

The All Consuming Void

Smash ‘Em Up Sunday: Cosmic Horror
Max words: 800
Included Words: Dread, Unknowable, Forbidden, Yellow
Sentence Blocks: “We were not meant to understand.” “It was a violation of the order of nature.”

“Easy Sam,” says an astronaut. “No need to take this on yourself. Some things were just not meant to be understood.”

Sam is looking through a window to a sickly yellow orb that they once called home. “I don’t buy it. Surely, time constriction came up in one of our scenarios. I have family down there, Steve.”

“Had,” Steve corrects.

Sam becomes distant.

“Sorry, Sam. You know those in our profession don’t get the luxury of family.”

Sam looks at the white volleyball-sized orb. Its simple glass box is sitting on a pedistool. The most powerful and forbidden force, she thinks as she looks at the orb with disdain. And we’ve put it in a glass box, on a pedistool.

“Who among them could have claimed what we can? We’ve retrieved the first known aftermath of a closed black hole.”

“Who are we going to tell, Steve? They’re all long gone. There’s no one to tell.” Sam gestures to the glass case. “It doesn’t make any sense. If this thing is dense enough to constrict time, it should have gravity! That stupid white orb is a contradiction.”

“This closing of a black hole is unprecedented, so we’re in unknowable territory here. Wait, what white orb?”

Their eyes meet, then move to a rotating red light on the wall.

“Is Doug in the airlock?” Sam asks.

They run to the door and look through the viewing window. “Doug!” Steve yells, banging on the door.
Doug is facing away from them and peeing, rotating his hips as he sprays around the bowl. “Be right out,” he yells.

“What does he think he’s doing?” Sam asks. “Is he really pissing in the airlock?”

Doug reaches up to flush as dread fueled fists bang against the door. “Geez,” Doug says. “When you gotta go, you gotta go.”

They watch as he pulls the manual override. He reaches for his face as his skin swells then cracks, releasing fluid and tissue to float out of his flesh enclosure.

Steve begins pacing, rubbing his palms against his temples.

“What the hell was that?” Sam asks, gesturing to the door.

Steve stops. “He didn’t know he was in the airlock. He couldn’t have known.” He walks over to grab Sam by the elbows. “What did you mean earlier by white orb?”

She pulls out of his grip and gestures to the glass box. “What else?”

Steve looks at the case and shakes his head as he approaches. “For me its a blue tetrahedron. We’re not seeing the same things, Sam.”

The lights begin to flicker and Sam’s balance starts feeling off. She reaches for a reassuring wall. “Something’s happening!” She yells, grabbing her head.

Her surroundings become a featureless black as all of her memories stand before her like rows of dominoes. They all retreat and she reaches towards them, then they are gone, erased like a magnet set against her hard drive.

Steve watches as her stare turns vapid. Her head ratchets, blank gaze aiming at him. The stare is a lifeless thing, a violation of the natural order.

The space between them grows, the floor seeming to stretch as the distance between them changes from five yards, to ten, to fifty.

“It’s not real,” Steve tells himself. “I’m still in the cargo bay.”

He takes an uneasy step, then another as he looks towards Sam’s distant stare.

“She’s only a few steps away. She has to be.”

The lights begin flickering and his eyes move to them and then to a now distant wall.


“No, it’s not real,” he repeats, a mantra as he continues towards Sam.

The movement is a black mass that slinks across the floor like phlegm oozing down a wall.

Steve’s steps begin to hasten despite the mantra, but he freezes as it draws close to him.

It rises beside him, black goblets dripping in elongated strands of mucus. It reaches out and he quickly windmills his arm to knock it away.

His arm becomes a memory as his shocked gaze fixates on the stump at his elbow. His arm had as much effect as butter swung at a hot instrument.

Steve howls. “It’s not real!”

The mass falls down on him.

To Support a Bully

[WP] End with “I’m not here because you want me here, I’m here because you need me here.”

You are a waterboy. The midday sun is blazing with no cloud or reprieve in sight. The offensive and defensive coordinators stand out among the football players giving guidance as their team continues to practice on a day of record breaking heat.

The sides reset, then start another play. The quarterback pump-fakes to a receiver and then hands it off to the running back.

The runner drives into the back of the offensive line as the hole didn’t open as it should have. He keeps driving with both sides pushing back and forth until he is brought down.

A whistle blows and the running back is walking back to the huddle with his hands on his hips. He then reaches up, unsnaps his helmet, and takes a knee in place while leaning on his helmet. When prompted the running back says he’s feeling dizzy so they call for water.

You hear them call, so you snatch up the bottle carrier and hustle over. You see the team huddled around Markus, the running back, who’s also a bully that’s constantly messing up your hair or knocking your books out of your hands.

He sees you and extends a beckoning hand. “Give it here, dweeb,” he tells you.

You open your mouth to reply when two poofs sound next to your ears as two mini-yous appear on each of your shoulders. One is in white with a halo and the other is in red with a pitchfork.

They both look down at the bully and then the white one leans forward to look around your face to your other shoulder. “Hey, Red, you can take this one,” he says before looking back to you with a nod and a wink.

You look down to the you with the pitchfork. “Alright, he says to you. “I’m not here because you want me here, I’m here because you need me here.”

Not-Steve’s Close Encounter

[WP] Paranormal phenomenon is real. Aliens have noticed and obsessively study Earth. One day while hiking, you’re being stalked by a faerie, but just before being snatched an alien abducts you, saving your life. They sit you down to discuss just how freakish Earth is.

The human ascends through a round opening in the floor with his arms and legs apart and shifting as he attempts to balance on some invisible mechanism.

The opening closes, allowing the human to step down onto the floor. He looks around to find a control room filled with busy bodies. They all seemed to have important work and continued on with their tasks while not sparring a glance for the dumbfounded human.

“Hello Steve,” comes a voice from over his shoulder.

The human turns back to the alien and shakes his head. “It’s Dave. Steve’s my twin brother.”

The alien’s head looks like an upside-down egg with human-like facial features that all sit towards the bottom of its head. It looks at the human, perplexed.

“I always knew you guys were real,” says Not-Steve.

The alien watches as Not-Steve looks around the control room with glee.

“Steve,” the alien repeats.

“Nope. Like I said, that’s my brother.”

“Do you realize you’re standing in an alien spaceship and surrounded by aliens?”

“Yeah. I always knew you were real though.”

“Well do you think it’s possible that we have more sophisticated technology than you?”

“Absolutely! You guys are light-years ahead of us. I just hope we never end up on opposite sides.”

“Quite. Well could you also believe that speaking may not be our primary means of communication?” It gestures to its enlarged head. “And that it would be reasonable to assume that telepathy was possible for us, allowing us to see into the mind of others to glimpse their true name?”

Not-Steve turns his palms up and gestures around the room. “Well of course! Just look at all this stuff in here?”

“Well, if you can accept all of that, why is it so hard for you to understand that your parents named you and then got you mixed up before properly labeling you, Steve?”

“Nope. I told you already. I’m Dave.”

“Alright, now you’re just being a Richard.”

“Nope–” Not-Steve’s eyes narrow. “Hey…I see what you did there.”

The faerie is shaking its fist at the space craft as the ship hovers in the sky. A light begins shinning on the ground next to the faerie and moments later, a human lands on the ground in a heap. The faerie looks back up, confused, then sees one of the aliens looking down through the opening.

“He’s all yours faerie!” Calls the voice. The door closes and the ship flies away.

Nothing is Forever

[WP] An unfathomably ancient cosmic entity drifting through infinite space passed by this weird little planet called Earth and heard over their broadcast radio signals this extremely annoying, but incredibly catchy song. It can’t get the song out of its head and is going insane.

A substance like mercury drifts through humanity’s solar system. It collides with various forms of space debris and its contact acts something like a hot instrument through butter. Everything is peeled away as it’s consumed, causing it to grow and sending a sheen shifting across its reflective surface. The contact causes no friction with the substance and doesn’t alter its course or speed.

As it passes Saturn and Jupiter, it passes through several moons, growing drastically and taking an elongated shape. It then collides with the debris of a human satellite, consuming it and incorporating it into its ever-shifting nature.

A ripple reverberates through the substance like a stone hitting water. Its intent begins reaching through various wave forms as it searches for more to consume. It eventually comes in contact with sound waves and shifts along the spectrum as various sounds sync with the ripples shifting across its form. It stops on a particular song and the ripples grow still. Words and concepts stream across the soundwaves and suddenly the evolving creature taps into the internet to absorb context for the playing song.

Encountering a squid reference online, its shape mimics a squid as its appendages start to squirm in sync with the song’s tune. A green sheen starts to shift up and down the creature’s body and it begins to waggle as if it were doing The Worm through space.

“All right, all right, all right, all right, all right, all right, all right, all right,all right, all right, all right, all right, all right, all right.”

The squid mimic becomes more animated, popping and locking to the song as it sails towards Earth. It lifts its appendages towards its head and waves them while continuing to sway.

“Shake it, Sh-shake it, shake it, sh-shake it.”

The squid’s body develops swaying shoulders, then four sets of eyes, each having a multi-faceted nature like a fly. The song’s video begins playing on all of the reflective surfaces as the band plays and dances on stage. Suspenders then start forming over its shoulders, its appendages merge and become a pair of legs with a flannel pattern.

The head shifts again and its proportions change as its head becomes an appropriate size to its body. The head takes on a humanoid shape, having eyes, ears, nose and facial features that shift to mimic the lead singer. Its torso adopts a solid green color as its human form finishes, and it nods vigorously to the beat.

The song’s chorus is coming up and it loses control, getting pumped to join in. It opens its mouth–then dies.

Reference song:

Hey Ya! by Outkast

Wellington’s Place Apartments

[WP] You walk the same way to work every day, and you’re sure that building wasn’t there before.

Jim’s amulet was an enigma. He had worn it his whole life, and it had sparked a conversation with a coworker when it fell loose as he was tying his shoe. “It could be worth a lot of money,” his coworker suggested. He could never part with it, of course, but that didn’t stop him from being curious. The amulet had been in his family for generations. How long exactly—he wasn’t quite sure.

Like a horse to water, his curiosity led him to an online search once he was home. It was hard to find specific information no matter how he described the thing. The black sapphire in its center was promising though. It didn’t seem like they were used often, and his search eventually led him to occult corners of the web. Ready to call it quits, he finally came across a historical cataloging of trinkets believed to have various protection benefits, along with the trinket’s origin. His amulet was in the list and his brief feeling of success was quickly replaced with a growing anxiety. It was listed as an evil-ward, and its origins are voodoo.

Voodoo, he thought with a growing since of dread. Had his family been involved in some way? Why would his family keep passing down something related to voodoo? Maybe they just didn’t know. After all, they didn’t have the internet. Surely, that’s it. Yes. They just weren’t aware of its origins. He had taken it off and stored it in a box beside his computer.

The next morning, he’s walking his everyday route to work. His head is still reeling from the night before. With a suitcase in one hand, he’s looking down at the phone held in the other. He periodically leans or turns away from passersby, but the wiki on voodoo has him transfixed. A lot of the information refers to various protection rites, seeming like voodoo was more often used for doing good than it was for harm.

A horn blares as he’s about to step off the sidewalk. He looks up too find he’s at a corner that he doesn’t recognize. Had he gone to far? He looks back and then to the nearby street sign. No. His left turn isn’t for another couple of blocks. He looks over to the building in this corner lot. Where did that come from? He thinks back, trying to figure out what was supposed to be there. A parking lot. This is supposed to be a parking lot. He stops a passerby then gestures to the building. “Excuse me. Do you know what this is?”
“Of course, I do,” says the disgruntled man. “It’s the Wellington’s Place Apartments.”

“Has it been here long?”

“What, are you new or something? The place is a city landmark. Been here for decades.”

“Landmark? Why would an apartment building be a landmark?”

“They’ve got tours, see for yourself. That Wellington turned out to be a real nut job, killed a bunch of people, hid them in the foundation, the walls, that sort of thing…and that was just during construction. He kept killing residents too. Eventually, people caught on, but he hanged himself in there before they were able to take him away. The city cleaned it up, but no one lives there anymore. Eventually, they claimed it as a landmark and now do tours…which is what you’ll have to do if you want to know anything else. I’m running late for work.”

The man walks away, and Jim stares slack jawed as he absently reaches for an empty space on his chest.

Serial Updates

I recently applied some helpful critiques to my Redux Riding Hood story. I’ve revised the first 2 chapters over on Royal Road and have also added Chapter 3. I will likely update the 3rd chapter once I hear back from my proofreader.

I’ve also adjusted updated the story for Duality Dissonance. The first two scenes are on Royal Road and will be updated on a fairly regular basis.

Lastly, I plan to look into Scribble Hub this week. I’ve been reading up on it as a place to post stories and I may start posting my Serial-Publications there soon! I’m currently just waiting for some completed cover art for Redux Riding Hood. Once I get that, I may start using this new platform!

I’m looking forward to it! Will share the details when I have them.

Happy reading!


Sisyphus’ Legacy

Theme Thursday Challenge
Max Words: 500

After finishing his draft, Dan walks into his office, ready to set into his revision. He grabs a seat in his fancy chair and turns on his special writing light as he prepares to set into his task. The computer comes to life and he goes right to his manuscript, migrating it from his writing software into a more refined word processor. Once the word processor takes hold, his MS becomes infected with so many red squiggles that it looks as if his words are adrift in the Red Sea.

The insurmountable volume of new information almost crushes him immediately. He runs his fingers through his hair and tries to process the amount of work ahead of him. He massages his face, shakes out his hands, and sets his mind on getting his words back on something more promising—like a snowy field or some other place without those annoying red lines. One step at a time, he tells himself. He starts on the first sentence then continues through the first paragraph, then he moves on to the second paragraph, and so on.

Hours pass. He finally finishes the first chapter and is mentally exhausted. He exhales and slouches deeper into his chair. He tries to feel some since of accomplishment over what he just achieved, but nothing comes as he just closes his eyes and rubs at his temples. He convinces himself that he deserves a break, so he mouses over to the save icon before shutting everything down. His mouse hovers over the silly floppy disk symbol, but the button doesn’t bolden to suggest he can interact with it. He clicks it and nothing happens. He tries clicking elsewhere to the same effect. He tries minimizing the window and still nothing. He starts to panic and sulk internally, muttering to himself, “no, no, no, no,” as he hits ctrl, alt, delete. He pulls up the task manager to find his program isn’t responding. “This can’t be happening,” he pleads as he runs his fingers through his hair and tugs at his hair. Suddenly, the computer locks up and powers down causing him to slam fists into the top of the desk, before shoving the desk’s contents off into the floor. He leans his face into his hands, on the verge of tears. “That didn’t just happen,” he says to no on in particular.

Suddenly, Dan walks into his office, ready to set into his revision. He plops into his fancy chair and turns on his special writing light as he prepares to take hold of his boulder once again. For the crime of not finishing his MS, Dan was forever condemned to revise his draft then have it crash, experiencing the loss of all progress only to have the moment restart so that he can do it all over again.

Colored Swords

[WP] As a kid you were found to be magicless and abandoned, having black mana rather than the element specific to colors of the other children being measured. One day a painter visits the orphanage to teach about colors and painting “mix red and blue, you get purple. If you mix everything, you get black.”

Fin sits on his bed, notebook in his lap and color pencils busy with their dance across the page. He’s wearing headphones, blocking out the world as he escapes into his sketching. Even as the other orphans cause a ruckus around the bunk-room, it doesn’t bother Fin as he continues existing in his other world.

He draws himself standing in the middle of the bunk-room and holding up a red paint brush. He’s holding like it’s a sword and he’s prepared to do battle. Thinking back to the mana colors that denoted types of magic, Fin always pictured himself having red mana, the color of emotion magic.

Across from him are two other orphans. One of the orphans wields a blue paint-sword, the color of motion magic. The other orphan has the green sword, the color of body magic. The three of them commence their battle. Swords clash and paint sails across the room in sweeping arcs as their battle royale unfolds. Fin gets lost in the battle. The colors intersect at places along the wall, forming what the art teacher had spoken of earlier that day. He colors quicker as the art teacher’s words try to invade his thoughts. He doesn’t want to hear the art teacher right now, so he creates more sweeping sword arcs and wall splatters to raise the battle to an epic scale.

Suddenly, the orphan’s real world antics cause something to hit Fin in the forehead, but he’s so engaged with his drawing that he absently brushes his forehead with the back of his hand, then continues filling in details on the intense color battle. He continues to detail the individual colors on the walls and the way the light reflects off each one. When his cassette player abruptly stops, reaching the end of the tape, he pauses to look over his work. He is awe struck by his level of detail, noticing subtle features he wouldn’t normally consider including.

Something on his hand catches his attention, and he glances over to find blue paint on the back of it. His eyebrows scrunch, then he looks up to see three orphans, each with a red, green, or blue paint sword. They are all looking around the room in shock as they try to process what they had just done to their bunk room. Fin quickly looks back to his page, then back up. His sketch is identical to the room except for one detail. There are bunks to each side of the sketch’s perspective, but there is an obvious blank spot in the bottom center of the page with only a foot-board ahead of this blank spot. The blank spot is the perspective of the photo—the perspective is the place he is currently sitting.

Nemesis Battle

[WP] A modern style suburb, complete with HOA and backyard cookouts, but set in a DnD style fantasy world.

If Woody Allen ever had a double, it would have been Barry, the middle-aged sorcerer. He stands just inside his tented glass storm dorm in a bath robe and house slippers while drinking his cup of coffee. Every sip calls for a dice roll to the side of his view. The number comes up, calling on his dexterity of 2, then digitally adding modifiers and the outcome under the dice. Every so often, his -4 modifier reminds him of his life choices as he spills his coffee on his chin and curses under his breath. He wipes his mouth with already stained sleeve of the robe. “Don’t min-max your life,” his family and friends had said.

He adjusts his glasses and looks out through his door of concealment. The sprinklers are about to cut off so he’s waiting to do battle with his nemesis. His neighbor, across from him is retrieving a garbage can after descending his elevated drive. The Jones’ house is a two story monstrosity that sits on a small hill like a hat on a head. Barry shakes his head as he looks his neighbor’s way with a mixture of scorn and envy. Why have more cars than you do garage space? They’ve already got twice the garage as the rest of the neighborhood and it’s just the two of them there. Who needs five cars? Mr. Jones stops for a moment to look over as Barry’s sprinklers continue to do their deed. After he completes his condescending stare, he nods and takes the garbage back up the drive where he can continue to look down on everyone. Prick.

The sprinkler shuts off and Barry prepares himself for the dungeon run he’s about to undertake. He downs the rest of his coffee, then sets the cup aside. He glares at his nemesis and tries to psyche himself up for the battle. Why his wife paid for the instillation of an anti-tamper mailbox with a DC of 8, he’ll never know. He tightens the knot of his robe then hyperventilates briefly. He adjusts his glasses, sets his chin, then opens the door, and steps into the dungeon.