gaborrero OP t1_jeepzjd wrote

Brijid ducked behind a column of the massive temple, a building made of vibrantly-painted carved marble. She had done so just in time; blue-white flame blew in her direction, with her remaining unscathed as she was opposite the fire's source.

She took out of her too-shallow pockets a candy and popped it in her mouth. Calling it a candy was downright cruel, as it was really more of a medicinal lozenge that happened to have a hint of sweetness to it, mixed in with the anise and licorice flavors. She could feel her mana rapidly restoring, and she looked down at the gauge on the gun in her hand. It was a magi-pistol; unreliable in situations dealing with magical beasts unless you had mana to spend.

There was a roar and stomping as the flames ceased. Each thundering step brought her target closer, and she could smell the fire on their breath. She closed up her gun and tumbled over to another column, running and running. She knew by the altar there was a fountain, but to get there safely was another story. The fountain wouldn't help much against a dragon, but if she was lit on fire, she'd want to be near it.

"Come out, little human," the dragon hissed almost sweetly in the voice of a young man. "I won't harm you... much."

Leaning forward from behind another pillar, Brijid caught a glimpse of the creature. It was several stories tall with massive, leathery, tattered wings, each with holes in them from misplaced shots. Midnight scales had been pushed back and to the side as a result of her prior bullets, and half of its distinct, reptilian face had been blown off. One massive eye was bloodied. It whipped its tail around as it crawled along the mosaic tile floor, searching for the human woman who dared to fight it.

She had seen it fall not once, but twice. She had seen its eyes roll to the back of its head. She had felt its breathing cease. And then it started up all over again, like it was just fine.

Its taloned hands and feet scraped across the floor as it approached. Desparate for a back-shot, she fished in her pocket for another candy. She pulled out her last one, gave it a kiss, and threw it further into the large hall, by another pillar.

"FOUND YOU!" The dragon turned and blew flame towards the candy and the pillar it was near.

Brijid took a silent step from behind her pillar and aimed at the back of the dragon's head with her gun. She could only hope her bullet would fly true.


gaborrero OP t1_jeelsx0 wrote

You'd think in this day and age there would be something more exciting on my mind than a series of thermos disappearances, yet, here we are.

The thermos I had was a gift from my parents, specifically my mother. It was apparently passed on throughout the generations and... yawn. Who gave two shits? It was over a hundred years old, and I couldn't prove it yet, but somehow, it was making every other thermos I bought vanish. It was driving me crazy.

The plan was simple: set up cameras in the kitchen when my thermos was away, take my thermos out, and then put a new thermos nearby on the counter. It was a flawless plan.

I hadn't prepared for what actually happened.

It was near midnight and I was nodding in and out of consciousness, watching the camera on my phone. The thermos from my parents started to move, shaking, only to start levitating in the air.

"What in the fuck," I whispered to myself as I watched the floating thermos knock the new thermos towards the garbage, until it was knocked in. It flew down to the garbage and knocked some trash around to hide it, and then flew back to its spot on the counter and resumed being still.

Without thinking about it, I uploaded the video to YouTube and ran to my door and locked it. It was getting hard to breathe, and I felt like I might faint. I started looking up a way to deal with demons... holy water and salt. Great. No holy water on hand, and salt was in the kitchen downstairs. You know, the kitchen. With the thermos. That was haunted.

Without thinking, I tried to call my mother, only to remember she was currently vacationing in Japan. She warned me she would be unreachable but I had tried anyway. The sound of her voice on her voicemail failed to soothe me, but instead, made me feel more frantic.

I had put that thermos to my mouth and now it was haunted. Had it always been haunted? DID MY MOM KNOW?!

Everything went black, and the last thing I heard was a knock on my bedroom door.

I lived alone.

I hoped.


gaborrero OP t1_jeejoup wrote

Patrick pondered the remnants of sandwich on the floor as he tried to distract himself from his miserable life. Life had come to a grinding halt for him; he had been fired, his wife was leaving him, and his children hated him. He had never felt more alone, which was saying something, since he had been in solitary confinement before.

No, he thought to himself. I have myself as company, the worst company there is.

A barrage of thoughts came at him and he wondered why he bothered, when even something that he could rely on before to bring him a little joy - eating - now resulted in everything tasting bland or even foul.

Small black dots began to collect on the ground, surrounding the crumbs he had dropped while eating. It wasn't that he was particularly sloppy, he just stopped caring recently. Could he really be blamed?

He watched as the ants gathering started to make a circle with their bodies. That's strange, he thought. It's like they're worshiping it or something... More ants arrived, and the circle grew, with inner circles within and markings.

"What in the..." Patrick fished in his pocket for his phone, eyes glued to the strange scene unfolding. He was too slow.

In a flash of light, all the crumbs he had dropped on the ground were gone.

"What the fuck!"

The ants went about disassembling, going on their merry way back to their ant hill. He grabbed his phone and opened his phone app, rapidly recording... the ants leaving. When they were dispersed, he looked to the video he had. It was just... ants. Walking away from him.

He knew what he had seen, but not what he had seen.

Patrick found himself with many questions, and the thought of giving up on life left him as his curiosity took over.

He needed answers.


gaborrero OP t1_jeb6ly9 wrote

I want to say that I found Nayyina, but the truth was, she found me. She found me amongst the shitheads who had attempted to ransack her village that was said to be rolling in cash and just choosing to live modestly.

Imagine our surprise when we started laying waste and found... nothing.

Nothing we could sell.

Nothing we SHOULD sell.

When the villagers had been gathered together, questioned, and some even beaten, Nayyina kept especially calm for a woman who looked so potentially frail. She just looked at us all with pity, like there was something she could see we couldn't.

Even when she took the butt of a gun to her face, she didn't glare or curse at us. She just looked so... disappointed. It was worse than being shot somehow. None of us liked it. Still, there was something about her I couldn't place... so when one of the other mercs took his gun and aimed it at her, I punched him right on the jaw. "Lay off."

"Bitch's looking at me you ass!"

"Only bitch here is you, I said to fucking lay off!" I looked at her. "What's your name?"

"Nayyina," she said, voice quiet but welcoming.

"Nayyina, then. Where are the goods?"

"We have none."

The villagers glanced at each other and spoke another language, which none of us mercs understood. I pointed at Nayyina. "Translate. Now."

"The only good we have is me," she said in response. "They are discussing whether they should offer me in return for being left alone."

"What are they, animals? Throwing one of their own to keep the peace?... yeah, I'll bite it. What's so special about you?"

She nodded her chin in my direction. "Your leg."

"... what about my leg?"

"It's broken, is it not?"

I felt uncomfortable being called out like that, and I wasn't sure how she did it in the first place. Nobody knew that my leg had once been broken, or else the mercs wouldn't rely on me as much. "... what of it?"

"Come here, and I'll heal you."

"Yeah right, what are you going to do, lay on hands and speak tongues and God will heal it?"

"I didn't say God would heal it, I said I would heal it. I don't speak tongues aside from this disgusting language. Now come here, and I'll care for you."

The other mercs egged me on. "Go on, then."

"Let's see if she can heal you, eh?"

"You aren't scared of some woman, are you?"

"Shut up, shut up," I mumbled as I approached her. "Magic isn't real, everyone knows that. This is a waste. Your hands are too small and your arms too weak to rebreak my leg. If you hurt me, Nayyina, I will hit you."

She placed her hands on my shin, and a bright, white light began to glow from her hands. I could feel years of pain alleviating, and I could see the other mercs staring on in awe. Before they had a chance to react, my guns were out, and I was shooting at each of them. Nayyina recoiled from the gunshots, but her work was done - my leg was healed.

"Thank you for your healing. How about we get out of here and take everything by storm, eh? Just the two of us."

Nayyina looked from me to her fellow villagers.

"Or I could make an example-"

"I'll go."

"That's what I like to hear, Nayyina. Call me Reto." I put my pistols in their holsters and offered her my gloved hand. "Let's show the world what we're made of."


gaborrero OP t1_jeb2t71 wrote

"Ahh! Not my bread!" cried out Emily. She had shaky hands thanks to her condition, and always would. "Somebody, catch it, please!"

A small being rushed forward and caught it, tiny hands outstretched. They were pink in color with an emaciated form and a long, rat-like tail. They had large, almost bulbous, sclera-less black eyes that shone in the dim light of the room.

"Yay! My hero!" The being in question walked up to the little girl and offered her the buttered bread. "Thank you!"

Em's mother sighed and asked without looking, "Did you really make our brownie catch your bread when I could just make you another slice?"

"Mom, his name is Tiernan, and I didn't make him do it."

"You know how brownies can be, Em."

"But it was falling... and it was going butter-side down..." Her mother gave her a look over her shoulder, that made Emily sink in her chair. She looked to the brownie in question, who was far too pink to be called such a thing in her opinion. "... I'm sorry, Tiernan."

"S'ok," Tiernan responded. He climbed up her chair to pat her head affectionately, before bounding away.

"You're lucky he's fond of you, you know. Most brownies never show themselves to their families."

"We're his family?"

"Yes, Em. Which is why it's important we treat him with love and respect."

"Okay!" Emily said with a big smile.

Her mother went over and gave Emily a hug. "You're so much like your father. I hope you live a long, happy, healthy life, Em."

Emily hugged her mother in return, hands still trembling against her will. "Don't worry, Mom. I will!"


gaborrero OP t1_jeb14p6 wrote

A knock, knock, knock came to my door.

"Looks like we have visitors," remarked Veno.

I sighed and stared at the orange tabby cat that was my familiar. "Thank you for that, why, I would think we didn't have visitors if it were just the knocking."

"You're welcome," he purred in response.

The knocking resumed. "I'm coming, I'm coming! Hold your horses, geeze." I got up from my cushioned stool at the table, leaving my mortar and pestle behind, along with the collection of small empty glass vials of various shapes.

When I opened the door, I saw three familiar faces. "... what brings you three here?" I asked, less-than-enthused.

"We're sisters, what are you talking about!" said the red-headed Morghan.

"I dropped out of college," I reminded them. "And that means that I stopped being part of the sorority."

"Like, you'll always be our sorority sister," said the tall, bespectacled brunette Yorana.

"Sisters foreverrr," the black-haired brown-eyed Effy practically triled as she gave me a tight embrace I refused to reciprocate.

"... you didn't have to come check on me," I said, disapproval growing across my features.

"Don't, like, frown so much, 'kay? It'll make you older faster," said Yorana.

Morghan helped herself inside as did the rest of the gaggle.

"Oh, sure, come in, just fine with me," I mumbled under my breath.

Veno climbed off the couch and approached the three women, who squealed and descended upon him with pets and affection.

"You don't want to do that," I said as I closed the front door, watching them.

"Why not? He loooves it, don't you, cutie pie? Don't you!?" said Effy.

The only words I could think of for Veno at the moment were best not uttered. He at least had the mind to keep his mouth shut. Morghan wandered over to my workstation and sat on my stool. "Ooh, did you go to a different college to become an apothecary?"

"No, I didn't."

"But you have herbs and everything laid out!"

"They're not for making medicine. Not exactly." I inhaled and announced, "I'm a witch now."

"No. Way," said Yorana. "Do you fly and everything?"

"I haven't... exactly... gotten flying down yet- HEY DON'T TOUCH THAT!" I admonished Morghan as she reached for a vial in my box of finished potions. She popped it open, cork in one hand, bottle in the other.

"Let's see if this works!"

"Don't drink it! DON'T DRINK IT!"

So, logically, she drank it.


gaborrero OP t1_jeaybrz wrote

The executrix sighed, looking at the ragtag group of young adults gathered. On the surface, they seemed fine enough; their clothing was clean and neat, as was their appearance, with their hair being well-kept and their skin unblemished. She, like everyone else in this city, knew the truth of these vultures. They kept their youth using forbidden magic, like their late father had. It was impossible to know what they traded away for their looks, but it was rumored to have been something priceless for each.

"I, Count Henrique Floris, devise and bequeath my property, both real and personal and wherever situated, as follows..." the executrix began.

Just as she was about to continue, a young woman entered the room. Her hair was in a messy braided crown and she wore a brown peasant's dress. She looked vaguely like the other young adults, but somehow, her youth seemed more authentic than theirs.

The others began to mumble and stare, but the executrix silenced them. "She's in the will, be still." She could feel their rising anger but continued. "To my son, Henrique, who shares only his name with me, I bequeath... nothing."

"What!" said Henrique demanded. Two of the other young men present snickered, as did the two women who were present before the late entry.

"To my son Aleist, whose troubles number greater than I do in years, I bequeath... nothing."

"Wow, father is going the scorched earth route, isn't he?" remarked one of the women.

"To my daughter Yura, whose troubles number even more than Aleist's, I bequeath... nothing."

Said Yura grumbled and crossed her arms, making no remarks. She looked to the peasant woman instead with a piercing stare.

"To my son Faus, who left home and surely only returned upon my death, I bequeath... nothing."

"Maybe if he gave me some money before he died I would have stayed around longer," Faus grumbled.

"To my daughter Mielle, the most rotten of my children, I bequeath... nothing."

Mielle scowled. "Rotten!? Rotten! If he wants to see rotten, I'll show him rotten."

The executrix looked from the will to the last person yet to be mentioned. "To my daughter Cecilda-"

"What, daughter?!"

"You can't mean that thing there-"

"-daughter of the late Arie, the only one to receive my gift, I bequeath all my possessions."

The falsely-young siblings looked at Cecilda, gazes intense. They descended into a cacophony of shouting and pointing and profanity, which made Cecilda recoil. The executrix approached her and placed a hand on her shoulder reassuringly. "Do you mean to insult your youngest sister and Countess?"

"Stop shouting at me!" Cecilda blurted out, and the siblings, who grew even more heated... fell silent against their will. The air was thick with suppressive magic.

"... you have the gift of Command, my lady?" asked the surprised executrix.

"Oh my Gods. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to..."

The siblings pointed at her and then at their own mouths, which she understood. But she shook her head no. "You can speak again only if you promise not to shout at me."

The executrix applied gentle pressure on the new Countess's shoulder. "Let's depart and leave your siblings to sort out themselves for now. There is a lot of paperwork for you to fill out." The young woman looked down a little and nodded her head. When she did, the executrix lifted Cecilda's head by her chin. "None of that now, you're the Countess, and the wielder of magic far greater than any of us. Walk with pride."


gaborrero OP t1_jeauhzd wrote

Nearly everything about the two clashed, but even on the battlefield, love can bloom. The only thing that was on their side was just that - they fought for the same side. Lennana was a Captain of the Mage Brigade, and Ezek was a Second Lieutenant of the Magiblade Militia. The Mage Brigade was rather prestigious, in that it required both extensive training and it was typically made of lower nobility. The Magiblade Militia was made of any conscripts - almost all commoners - that showed skill with swords and any traces of magic on them.

Somewhere in the chaos on the Western front, the two found themselves isolated, together, without the accompaniment of their charges. They were surrounded.

"A terrible day to die," remarked Lennana as she summoned forth two balls of lightning in her hands, magic crackling and jumping about with reckless abandon. Her back was up against Ezek's, who had his tell-tale scimitar drawn.

"I'm not willing die today, miss," he said politely, sweat trickling down his brow.

"Oh no," Lennana said with a smile in her voice. "I meant them."

"In that case, let's make short work of them and get back to the main fight."

"My dear," she said charmingly. "We are the main fight!"

She thrust her hands forward, lightning balls flinging at two people. The electricity chained and extended to a few nearby enemy recruits who collapsed to their feet. He charged forward and sliced at whoever he could see wearing a brown-and-green uniform. Blood sprayed across his face and clothing.

"Tch! Fall back!"

"Everyone! FALL BACK!"

The enemy began to retreat, and Ezek went to give chase. Before he could get very far, Lennana caught his wrist. "Let them go, and we'll live another day... what is your name?"

"Ezek. Yours?" he asked, still full of energy and desire to fight.

"Lennana of House Mieran."

"Forgive my boldness, my lady," Ezek said, lowering his gaze as he turned to face her.

She chuckled softly and leaned in to press a kiss to his forehead. "Forgive my boldness instead." When he looked up, startled, she gave a playful wink. "I can't resist a strong-willed man in uniform."

"But I... but we... we can't..."

"Stay in touch, dear." She hurried off to meet with her brigade. Even in the distance, he could hear her sweet voice barking, "None of you idiots better have any injuries, I swear, or else I'm going to-"

Her words faded as she got further away, or perhaps it was the sound of his own heart racing in his ears that distracted him. He looked down at his scimitar. He hoped he wouldn't have to use it on any of his militia today. They liked to try and escape duty. He walked towards a tree and briefly rested his arm up against it, and his head on his forearm, as he stared at the ground beneath them.

Was she just playing with him? Or was something more going to come of this? Would he rebuke- no. No he wouldn't. He couldn't, even if she wasn't a noblelady. He knew that by the warmth blossoming in his chest and the desire he felt shifting. If this really was to pan out, they could both be charged with treason; relations between those in the military was strictly forbidden.

"Gods help me."


gaborrero t1_jeahrks wrote

The sound of joyous laughter echoed just outside the humble hut that this peasant's family called home. The children playing were full of vigor and life, pretending to be knights and monsters, engaging in battle with one another. It was almost cruel to subject this poor, young boy to the sounds of people his own age making merry when he couldn't muster the strength to speak.

Nobody knew for sure what was wrong with him, and to be honest, it didn't matter to Arian. She emerged from the shadows of the boy's room, and her arrival stirred him into wakefulness. He saw her as a fair-skinned woman with long, straight, silvery-white hair and iridescent eyes. She was wearing a simple black robe on her slender form, otherwise barefoot. Arian approached the boy, but stopped a couple of feet from his bed.

"It won't be long now," she whispered to him soothingly. "It will all be okay."

"Do I... have to go?" the boy rasped out. He would be surprised at his ability to speak if not currently more awed by Arian's arrival.

She reached out a hand to him, but stopped herself from making contact. "The longer you stay, the more it will hurt," she responded.

The boy looked at her outstretched hand. He struggled to lift his own hand and took hers, holding it. "Will you stay with me?"

Arian smiled sadly. She noted that his parents were not home, and his siblings were among those playing outside. She closed the gap between them and nodded, standing beside his bed. "Of course... would you like to hear a story?"

"A... a story?"


The boy's eyes grew teary. It had been so long since anyone paid him enough mind to spend this much time with him. "Please."

"Once upon a time, a long time ago, the Underworld was a dark and dangerous place. Nobody could traverse it, save demons, the Lord-and-Lady of War, the King of the Underworld, his Queen, and the Winged Sisters. When someone would die, their soul would be set to wander the Underworld aimlessly, no matter how bad or good a person was, searching for any hint of life. If they were lucky, they found nothing. If they were unlucky... they were eaten by a demon and gone forever.

"For a long time, this was just how things were. One day, however, the King and Queen had a child of their own making. She was not their first, but she was their youngest. The young girl, unlike her siblings, was not born with any powers of which to speak. It wasn't until her third year that she came into knowing what she could do. She kept her powers a secret from her family, but not from humanity: she was the Lady of the Beyond Lands.

"She discovered she could summon a door in the Underworld that would open up to a world not unlike that which the mortals had come to know and love in life. Green, rolling fields; a perpetual, gentle sun; friendly, fluffy white clouds. From that age onwards, she would attempt to arrive before the Winged Sisters, and would gather up the souls of the innocent, the kind, and the reformed to come to the Beyond Lands with her. She still, to this day, searches the Underworld for any older, wayward souls who may have deserved to retire to such a place but had not found their way to her."

The small boy, in his bed, coughing, found himself smiling by the end of her story. "Is anybody I know in the Beyond Lands?"

"Do you remember your grandparents?"

"Nana is there?"

"Yes. She is. She talks about you often, and how you were when you were a baby."

Tears began to flow freely from his face. "I miss her."

"You don't have to miss her. We can go to her, together."

It's hard to say what goes through the mind of someone when they exhale their final breath; still, he did, like a long, relieved sigh. He sat up from his body and climbed off his body and bed, hand-in-hand with the woman before him. "Please, take me to Nana."

"As you wish."

The two of them, together, descended into the shadows of the room into the frightening, crimson underworld with its wine-dark sky full of baleful stars. As soon as they arrived, Arian outstretched her hand and a red, white, and gold door appeared before them. She opened the door inward, and behold, before them, the lands of which she had spoke: there was grass on endless hills and valleys! A warm sun, which he had not seen in weeks! People!...

... and an elderly woman with her arms outstretched, calling to him.

"Nana!" He sobbed and laughed, and ran through the door off to the woman. "Nana!!"

Footsteps were approaching Arian on all sides, and so, she closed the door as quietly as she could and allowed it to vanish before the unclaimed demons descended on her once more.

An endless cycle of misery and suffering, all worth it for that moment.


gaborrero t1_jdsu8es wrote

"There's nobody with a more punchable face than Harold."

"Harold... if he fell in a market, somebody would probably kick him for good measure."

"I don't wish death on the guy, but I wish he'd fuck off for a while."

These were the sentiments of residents of the Tower, a place both for cutting edge magical research and exploring ancient tomes on forgotten magics. There was plenty of information to be uncovered, prestige to be had, and... yadda yadda. Really, who gave two shits besides the pompous assholes that called themselves Tower Mages?

I'll never forget the lesson my mentor gave me when I was younger. He was viewed as a swindler and no-good mage, but he leaned in not two minutes after getting his ass beat in by thugs sent by the Tower to tell me, "Kid, there's a small secret when it comes to magic. You can literally make shit up and it'll usually work. Makes the guys who actually take it seriously really pissed off."

There was a part of me that wondered if nursing the wounds of this crazy young mage was worth it, but he offered to teach me magic as gratitude for my caring for him. The result? Well, I learned that magic was in everything, and that at its most foundational level, we were all magic. Even smaller than we could see or imagine, we were magic.

"What about the words of power?" I remember asking, and my mentor scoffed at me.

"Don't forget what I told you, Harold, it doesn't matter. What is magic?"

"Energy directed by intent."

"What is the Tower?"

"A load of shit," I said proudly at six. Twenty years later, my mentor was right: they were still a load of shit.

Unlike my mentor, wherever he went, I had no issue with using magic on the "innocent" mercenaries that were sent to "teach me a lesson." I didn't kill them of course, but...

One charged at me from behind while I walked down the street and I announced, "Bubble." The sound of his feet approaching came to a suddenly halt and I stood still as he collided with the invisible barrier that surrounded me.

I wasn't going to take any hits. I wasn't my mentor.

I turned to face the mercenary in question, a balding man with a scarred eye. He climbed to his feet and took a few steps back cautiously. When I opened my mouth, he must have assumed a spell was coming, because he made a run for it.

"... boo."

Maybe it's time I visit the Tower after all.


gaborrero t1_jdqr3lh wrote

Twenty years of love.

Twenty years of lies.

Till death do us part was a bold statement that assumed death was the natural end to all things. But that was a phrase that came about long after my kind had been forgotten.

My unwilling wife was a beautiful woman full of grace and poise, but the last year of our relationship had been bumpy at best. She was always headstrong and independent, challenging my thoughts and perceptions, but now, she challenged me as an individual, as a person.

When she said, "We need to talk," I felt my heart drop. I had treated her well, better than I had treated any other in any other form. But something was wrong. With her? With us? With me?

She was wearing high-waisted pale blue jeans with a light, airy plaid shirt over a white tanktop. She sat across from me at the table in our kitchen. It was a bright day outside, despite the mounting dread I felt.

As soon as I took my seat across from her, she placed her folded hands on the table. She looked me in the eyes, and the room fell quiet. Everything faded away. The alarm of the car outside going off didn't matter, nor did the cawing of the crows in the distance. I could hear her heart racing, but it wasn't like I had heard before. It was anxious, it was angry. She asked me but four words: "Where's my husband Tyler?"

I sat there, stunned. Tyler. I knew who Tyler was. I had consumed Tyler long ago, to be precise, twenty years ago. He entered my domain looking for his wedding band, and I rewarded him with infinite life through me. I took his shape, I took his ring, and emerged to find his wife before me. This man had loved his wife like no other, and over the twenty years we were together, I came to incorporate that love into myself. "Jessica..."

She repeated, getting increasingly upset, "Where's my husband Tyler?" My hand reflexively reached out for hers, but she recoiled. "Don't touch me."

The pain I hurt was magnified; it was his, and it was mine. To see her, feel her, reject me so obviously when I had given her everything, given my everything for her. "He's here. He's right here."

"For how long have you been pretending to be Tyler?" Her hands shook and she unlaced her fingers, balling her hands into fists.

"Listen to me, Jessica..."

She stood up and reached across the table, grabbing me by my shirt and scrunched her nose in utter disgust. "WHERE IS MY HUSBAND TYLER YOU FAKE?!"

"... do you want to be with him?" I asked calmly. This was the only way to save her, to save our love.

"Is he dead?"

"Not exactly."

"... yes. I want to be with Tyler. I married him and love him and want to be with him forever."

I loved her so much. I felt myself salivating. It had been such a long time...


gaborrero t1_jbo1wet wrote

Assumptions | (201 words)

Katherine sat hunched over her laptop, the world of pastries and coffee around her no more than a delicious afterthought. Her fingers glided easily across the ergonomic surface of her keyboard that her eyes never even focused on once. She had been doing this for years, and yet, this post she was writing...

... was interrupted by the local barista placing her latte down next to her. "Miss, your drink."

She didn't spare him so much as a glance, even as he continued to stand there, waiting for who-knew-what. When she realized he wasn't budging, her typing slowed to a halt and she dragged her gaze up to his goatee'd face. "... what?"

"You're here every day. I was just wondering-" Katherine picked up her cup and took a sip of her latte. She set it down with a loud *CLINK* and went back to typing, not sparing him another glance. "... wow," he muttered under his breath. He turned on his heels and walked away.

In another time or place, Katherine might have cared about how rude she appeared. But this bombshell wasn't going to write itself, and her twenty followers relied on her to give them an unbiased perspective on cutting-edge news!


gaborrero t1_j2e8l9a wrote

The city of Tofrahaeth had been abuzz for nearly a decade over the magical prodigy that was Michael of the Arbaeli family. He could bend the elements to his whim, explain complex concepts in terms even of a five year old could understand, and create magical items that would surely bring about a revolution in the kingdom of Orkugarthur in the near future. What he couldn't do, however, was summoning magic.

It was a damn shame that he wasn't me.

I would have given anything to be Michael, growing up. To see him, to know him, to learn from him. But we lived worlds apart - he was a noble of Tofrahaeth, and I was living as the son of a lumberjack in the outskirts of a little village two days away called Dulskog. What we lacked in people we made up for in trees with rainbow bark and silver leaves. Artists would visit our town to paint the trees and forest, but to me, they weren't really anything special; just a way to put food on the table.

My father assured me that one day I would follow his path in chopping down and processing trees to be exported to the city for a variety of goods. It wasn't a fate I wanted for myself, and truth be told, while I was no Michael Arbaeli, I had a secret of my own: I could do magic.

I had never held a proper wand or staff in my life, but I had discovered at a young age that the dreams I had of circles with strange shapes and unfamiliar writing were actually used in summoning. The words were lost on me; it would be a miracle if I could read them, because I could barely read and write Mothurmal or Vithskapti. I wasn't a noble or even a merchant's child, so why would I know how to read or write in the first place?

The act of summoning was actually pretty simple: you would draw the circle as required and then say... anything while thinking of wanting to have company. I don't know if this is how summoning was done in Tofrahaeth, but for me, it was sufficient. I had summoned all sorts of creatures and beasts in this way, though they always departed after half a day's time.

One night, I went to bed, wishing that I too could come to be as well known as the prodigy everyone spoke of. Over the course of the night, I had an unusual dream. There was a circle, yes, that I saw. But there were eyes. Many, many eyes. And a feeling that someone... or perhaps, more accurately, someTHING... was watching me. I woke up in a sweat from the dream and pondered if I should dare draw out the circle that had caused me such unease. But why else had I dreamt of it, if not to bring it to fruition?

I got changed and set out in the darkness into a small clearing in the wood where I usually drew my circles. Nobody would dare come this deep into the forest, especially at night. Indeed, there felt something eerie about the woods tonight - normally, the moonlight and starlight would reflect off the rainbow bark of the trees and produce a faint sparkle of color in every direction. Instead, there was just a thick darkness that choked the light out of the forest.

Perhaps that was my second warning, with the first being the feeling in my dream, that I should stop. That I should turn back. But still, I pressed on to the clearing. In the darkness, I took to drawing out the summoning circle as I had dreamt it. It was clear in my mind, clearer than they normally were. When I finished, I found myself staring at a large, complex image carved into the dirt. Despite the signs, I held my hands out in front of the circle and focused my intent: I wanted something to give me company, something that would help me be as well known as Michael Arbaeli of Tofrahaeth.

In an unusual display, red light began to spread along the lines I had carved until they all connected. Then, a column of light erupted forth and the earth shook, causing me to fall. Slowly rising from the ground came an enormous, wriggling mass of dark violet tentacles, the ends of each showing a luminous red eyeball. When it was finally finished emerging from the circle, it was taller than the trees and had knocked over several.

My body shook all over in terror. "Wh...what!" I couldn't help but speak as I backed away on all fours, not turning away from the creature. In that instant, all of its many-tentacled eyes focused on me, and it seemed to hunch over, glaring down at me.

"... child of mine," it intoned, sickly-sweet voice coming from I-don't-know-where. "We have much to discuss."


gaborrero t1_j2b4dm5 wrote

It was a cruel joke, I figured, that my parents picked a tortoise for my anima. There wasn't much playing to be done with her - I could talk and she would listen. Rarely, she would talk back, voice like tearing paper. Her face was wizened and craggy, and she always gave me her full attention.

I was lonely.

Unlike my friends, I couldn't really play much with my anima. They would chase and laugh and dance and sing, and all I could do is sit with mine, watching their frivolity.

Then, one day, it happened: Andrew's anima passed away. We were all of seven years of age when his anima lay itself down and didn't budge, eyes closed in a permanent, peaceful rest. As serene as it was, I will never forget how Andrew screamed and cried, begging his anima to open her eyes once again.

As we got older, the story was told again and again - friend after friend, person after person, had their anima pass away. On their anima's passing, they were declared old enough to work and told they had to take up an apprenticeship or go into the mines.

My parents were far from what I'd call rich; they worked every day of their lives, in sickness and in health, so that we could be fed. Our meals were humble, our celebrations modest, and we were the talk of the town for so many reasons. My father was a miner, and my mother, a weaver. They just barely held onto life and each other for so long.

Until finally, life too was gone from their eyes. I was only nineteen years old. My mother's raw scream of horror still pierces my mind almost as vividly as the image of how I found her the next morning when she decided she couldn't, wouldn't live without my father.

Still, I had my anima as company. She was slow and gentle, and rested her head on my shoulder as a way to soothe me. For a while, I didn't want to talk to anyone, no less my anima.

I had no choice when the magistrate arrived one morning with a knock-knock-knock on my door. When I opened it, this old woman's gaze fell on my anima. She was quiet for a time, and then informed me that I would have to move and become a ward of the state. As the law went, if you have an anima, you are not done developing and cannot work. I would be put into a home and cared for until the day my anima died.

She didn't speak often, but when the magistrate left, my anima slowly drifted her head through the air until she was staring me down. "Do not worry," she said in her voice like autumn leaves crunching underfoot. "I will always be here for you."


gaborrero t1_iy5nlrw wrote

I sat with my phone, proud of myself, when I received a notification. A response to my prompt!? Already!?

Nope. Turns out, it was a message from the mods of the WritingPrompts subreddit.

>Stop submitting superhero and alien prompts. They're just as bad as the dark lord ones, and you're spamming. Thanks! -- Mods at WritingPrompts

I felt the color drain from my face. No aliens? No superheroes? What prompts were left? Nothing that I would read, certainly.

A few taps on my phone later, I found myself satisfied with my prompt, and submitted it. Let's see if the mods think I'm not creative, now!

[WP] An r/WritingPrompts user struggles to write a prompt that isn’t about superheroes or aliens.


gaborrero t1_iy5m5y0 wrote

Weaving through the maze of the underground dungeon had been a cinch for someone like myself. I had spent the last two decades going through dungeons with my wife, and this one promised to be easy pickings, so I didn't think twice about her staying home this time.

There were countless rooms I had passed with nearly endless loot. I can't be luckier, I thought. I'm the first one to clear this dungeon, or at least get this far! I noticed there were strange things in the rooms I had entered - tables and beds and brushes, amongst other goods. I didn't think twice of it, nor of the clattering skeletons that attacked me with nothing but their meatless fists.

Finally, through chance, I came to a particularly nice look door. As expected, a skeleton came out as soon as I approached. What wasn't expected was its gear: a fluffy pink bathrobe with fluffy pink bath slippers.


"Sir!" spoke the skeleton, the first one to do so thus far. "Sir. You cannot- no. You are stepping on the fungi! Back it up!"

"What?" I looked down at my feet to see there was indeed a plot of earth with mushrooms growing out of it. I stepped backwards until I had stepped nearly all of the ones in my path, as walking on them was unavoidable. "Shit! Sorry! I didn't mean to-"

"You didn't MEAN to, but you did! How are you going to compensate me for my losses, hmmm?" asked the skeleton, putting its hands on its hips. "I was enjoying my tea before your clumsy, ungraceful living self trampled over my precious Fly Agaric."

"Your what?"

"Of course you don't kn-"

"Wait a second. I don't care. I'm here for the loot, and you're undead," I said, placing one hand on my forehead and extending the other palm-side out in an attempt to silence the skeleton.

"Loot? LOOT? You're lucky if you find anything worthwhile in these hovels - especially with you going about with reckless abandon, lowering property values. Do you know how long it took me to earn enough to get this close to the center of the dungeon?"

"A... long time?"

The skeleton said in a mocking, high-pitched voice, "A long time?" Before growling out, "Yes, a long time. A very, very long time. Now you leave here before I call for security and have a painting of you posted all over this dungeon!"


gaborrero t1_iy0g8og wrote

"Do you remember me?" she asked. She was a young woman in her late teens, early twenties. Faded black eyebrows coupled with a wavy blond wig, contacted eyes a stunning blue. She was thin, frail even, and on closer inspection, her pallid complexion was coupled with an abundance of blush applied over her body. She wore a yellow dress with sunflowers, inappropriate given the season we now were in.

I squinted my eyes uncertainly at her. "Se... lena?" I asked.

"Do you know what Hell you put me through in just sixteen-hundred words? Sixteen-hundred words was all it took to make me question my relationship with my boyfriend and to want to stalk some woman I never met before."

"Look... I'm sorry?"

"You're not sorry yet." She took a step closer to me, pulling her hair off her head and pressing it into my chest roughly. "I know what you had planned for me."

"I never even WROTE that down!" I countered, but her presence was imposing despite her diminutive stature.

She glared at me with such intensity it felt as if her gaze was boring a hole through my head. "You wanted a good-girl gone villainess? Guess what.

"Now you have one."