nobodysgeese t1_j857hrf wrote

It's been a while since I created a genuinely new character. The last one was probably Antoine, who was created for a four-part SEUS serial in July. He was in the airship airforce until an unspecified accident took an arm and injured his torso. After getting a clockwork replacement arm, he invested the remaining money from his honorable discharge to buy a small bistro in New Marseilles, a fictional city in steampunk Quebec.

Beyond a few standards, he tries to have the menu of his bistro rotate often. Sometimes he focuses on local cuisine to attract locals, while other times he makes meals from around the empire, to try to bring in new customers by appealing to imperial sentimentality. This is especially useful at attracting personnel from the large airship base in New Marseilles, many of whom have had these dishes while their ships were deployed across the empire.


nobodysgeese t1_j51i8l7 wrote

Maybe it was the garden, erupting in riotous growth. Or perhaps it was the trees, perfect for my youthful dream of a hammock. But whatever the reason, standing in the yard of my newly-purchased house, I felt young despite my age.

Of course it had to come to an end.

A noise made me turn and stare. A child was climbing one of my hammock trees. Their smile shining brightly, their laughter ringing high, misquemed me.

Upon reflection, I'd realize it was an overreaction. But even as the words poured forth, I felt my childhood dying.

"Get off my lawn!"

WC: 100



nobodysgeese t1_j4eqqse wrote

I wasn't expecting myself to slap me, and yet here I both was.

"Ow! Why?"

Myself snarled, "My temporal shenanigans! I control time and I only use it to fix one date!"

I glared back. "Well, if I understand time loops, I already did."

Myself poked my chest. "But you're past me, so you're to blame. Break the cycle. Don't do it."

I pressed the button anyway.

Five days ago and three hours later, wine stained my tuxedo and a slap burned the other cheek as I booted up the time machine. Past me wouldn't know what had slapped myself.

WC: 100



nobodysgeese t1_j49hpos wrote

All the ways that you described lies were great!

I also liked the overarching uncertainty from the narrator, where it isn't clear if he's stealing things (the things in his pockets?) and the buckets he's buying from Home Depot to store in his closet (because of the leaking floor? To hold the things he's picking up?). You nailed the unreliable narrator aspect, and while I'm not entirely sure what's happening, it's wrapped in such lovely language that the story sucked me in.


nobodysgeese t1_j49e7el wrote

>Lies are a lot like that. When I felt the first orange lie slide out of my mouth, I caught it in my hand and slid it into my pocket.

There's lots of wonderful imagery in this, but this is the first one that reached out and grabbed me. This is some great writing!


nobodysgeese t1_iwk6dgp wrote

His sister was baking at a frantic pace. Joey stood on his toes, but couldn't quite make out what was on the counter.

"Em, I wanna help."

She didn't look away from her stirring. "Sorry, Joey, not today, I'm trying to finish before Mom and Dad get back."


Emma grabbed a box instead of replying, and he slowly turned away. As she measured, however, she said, "Can you, uh, double check that there's butter in the fridge?"

Joey grinned and ran to get a stool.

Mom and Dad said the cookies were delicious. Joey rolled his eyes. They always said that whenever Emma baked, even when it was too salty or under-cooked or burnt.

But this time, instead of her usual 'thank you', Emma smiled and put a hand on his shoulder. "They should taste good, I had a great helper."

As Mom hugged him, Joey thought that it was strange how he could tell that their parents really believed their compliments today.



nobodysgeese t1_itf2ct5 wrote

The End of Day with God's People. Amen.

Brother Matthias blinked, looking between the bible and the stack of parchment he was copying on, and grinned. There was something deeply satisfying about finishing a manuscript. He checked his candle and winced at how little was left. A glance around confirmed he was the last one in the scriptorium, and he hurriedly snuffed out the light.

He winced again when the monastery bell sounded. If it was vigil already, then it was well past midnight. Matthias picked up his parchments to bring them to the binding table, when the bell tolled again, louder. On the third, loudest, ring, he ran for the door.

Bumping into shelves, Matthias cursed the caliginous interior of the library. The tolling of the bell grew deafening as it picked up speed, warning of mortal peril. The only other time he'd heard it, a fire destroyed half the orchard and threatened the chapel itself. His memory of the familiar route and the crescent moon's faint light brought him out onto the monastery grounds just as the tolling died.

Matthias jogged towards the chapel and its tower, belatedly realizing he was still holding the manuscript. Fellow nocturnal monks emerged from other buildings and joined him. He recognized Brother Andrew in the lead, coming from the kitchen. Ever since he'd forgotten, he'd always checked tomorrow's breakfast supplies if he woke late. He beat Matthias to the chapel and struggled with the massive double doors or open one a crack.. He took a single step inside and screamed, high and loud, stopping those who followed in their tracks.


Matthias froze as Andrew staggered back. A moment later, both doors slammed open, revealing the outlines of a pair of hulking, armored figures. They were featureless, backlit by the candles behind them, and Matthias caught sight of a monk on the floor inside. Just as the doors shut, his eyes were drawn to the broken, bloody spear protruding from his back, defiling the sacred ground. One of the vikings seized Andrew, forcing him to the ground and pulling out rope. The other moved towards Matthias, barking something in a coarse tongue.

Some remaining scrap of reason finally reached Matthias, and he turned and ran. The few others outside were already fleeing.

"Brother Matthias!" He forced himself to ignore Andrew's cry, and the sound of a fist striking that followed it; he could focus only on the harsh breathing and slapping steps on the flagstones behind him. The monastery's walkways, with their lovingly tended gardens and winding routes, became nightmares in the dark. Each shrub became a place hide another invader, and each decorative border threatened to trip him in his path.

A monk ahead of him fell, letting out a cry of pain. Matthias stumbled, fumbling with the parchments and losing half of them, hoping to lend a hand to help him rise. Then the fallen monk clutched his knee, and Matthias blinked away tears as he ran by instead, recognizing Brother John as he passed.

The footsteps behind him slowed as the viking reached his new victim. Matthias tried to console himself that Brother John was only caught, not slain. Everyone knew the raiders preferred captives to slaughter. He risked a look over his shoulder, needing to know.

The viking poked John's leg, and when he screamed, a knife flashed in the darkness. Matthias focused on running again. He had to warn the dormitories.

Another brother was there first. When he reached for the door, a viking emerged from the bushes surrounding the building and seized him. More vikings converged on the building where they could take the most slaves for the greatest profit, and Matthias turned to the fields instead. A few others were running the same direction, and Matthias didn't dare take the time to see if they were his brothers or raiders.

Through the herb gardens, he lost more parchments tripping over the low fence. He'd almost made it to the wheat fields, where he hoped to hide amid the tall stalks, when his foot found no ground. He fell into the drainage ditch, and fiery agony crawled up his ankle when he landed.

Gasping in pain, he curled up against the side of the ditch and mumbled an incoherent prayer.

He ignored the cries from the monastery, some of fear, others of pain followed by the sound of a blade striking flesh. He huddled in the mud until dawn, until the sound of flames replaced the sound of his brothers torment. He laughed, a broken noise, when the light revealed he was still, somehow, clutching a single page. Without meaning to, he read the words, ink smeared by the water

...the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile... they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur...

Matthias wept.

WC: 800