poiyurt t1_ja3v90g wrote

You would think, wouldn't you, that you'd want as little bad stuff in the previous lives as possible? Most people think that what employers are looking for is the most basic, milquetoast person they can find - means they won't commit a crime again, right? Not so.

See, what they're looking for is a pattern. Your last five lives, have things been getting better or worse? Reincarnation is a massive cycle, a rolling wheel of death and rebirth - but some scientist at a fancy university said that you could tell with 70% accuracy which way the wind was blowing for a person. There were two kinds of people - those going up towards heaven and those going down towards hell.

I rubbed the card in my pocket with my thumb. The lamination had already begun to peel from its surface from my constant worrying. Maybe soon I could rub it all the way off, and I'd finally get a job.

... Not likely. They'd print me a new one. The last five lives were on my birth certificate anyways, divined from putting the placenta through some machine. I sighed, and headed in through the door.

"Mr. Patel," the lady at the counter said, flashing me a brilliant smile. You only got a smile that good from years of customer service, plastering a smile on even when you wanted to bash someone's head in. "Please, take a seat."

I took a seat across from the lady, watching as she shuffled her papers. There was a bit of a tell to these HR types - I knew I'd already lost the job.

"L1 was a businessman, I see. A lot of donations to charity," she said. L1 - your first past life. He must have been trying to drag our collective karma up as much as he could with the money he'd made. I didn't think it'd worked.

"L2, a firefighter, L3, a war hero," she continued, the same spiel I'd heard a hundred times before. I braced myself for the next two.

"Then an orphanage caretaker... And our first president," she said, delicately.

She couldn't say she was disqualifying me because of it. But she was. Of course she was. It should have been an honour to be reincarnated from him, but no - these people were convinced that these things would even out in time. That some equally horrendous crime would occur in my lifetime before the cycle could put itself back into sync.

"We regret to inform you that due to the morality quotas placed upon all multinational corporations..." she began. I tuned out. I'd heard it all before.

"Perhaps we'll meet again in the next cycle," she said, cheerily.

"Yeah. Of course," I said, numb to her words. I left the office behind me, shaking my head.

"Could've left some luck for me, Henil," I murmured to the statue in the city square. Of course, he just stood there. Silent, unmoving, as he had for decades.

I shook my head and kept moving. There had to be some other place that'd hire me. And if not, well, there was always next cycle.


poiyurt t1_ja1jfwv wrote

I think there's enough, in concept, for a decent book about the street performers of France really being an underground cabal of magic-users that fight off eldritch horrors.

Unfortunately, I don't know nearly enough about the street-performance culture of France to write that.


poiyurt t1_j9z9mln wrote

If you asked a mime why they always had to be silent while performing, they'd say something about how it drew attention to the motions, or helped them to focus. That was bullshit.

The reason that silence was decreed by the académie pour l'obscurcissement des arts occultes et de la magie, was to make the real effect of the magic invisible to the average person. One interacted with the world with the hands first, the eyes second, and the mouth third. Not talking meant obfuscating a little bit of the magic from view.

Which is why, as the mime's yell snapped me out of my happy little stroll through the back alleys of Bordeaux, I watched as a pane of glass appeared before his hands, his palms flattened against it to brace against the coming impact. Through the glass, through the veil between realities, I caught the murkiest glimpse of something, a writhing mass of hands and arms and teeth, and then the sound of shattering glass.

The mime grit his teeth, shards of glass flying across his face and drawing red pinpricks of blood onto his white makeup.

"Merde... Run!" the mime repeated, forming yet another invisible box. He had a little more time now, wiping his hand across the glass as if to polish its surface. The horrific... thing on the other side slammed into the glass again, sending a loud hollow thud through the street. The mime skidded backwards, his shoes scraping along the pavement. That sent me running, scampering as best I could through the unfamiliar streets.

But the alleys I was running through now were not the same as the ones I left. The veil of reality that nice, normal people believed in had been torn from my eyes. In each window, I caught glimpses of that thing from the abyss, watching me with one of a thousand eyes. Arms and feet reached out from mailboxes and gutters, trying to grab me or trip me over. The sky had turned a deep wine-red, the sun a watchful eyeball.

And as I rounded yet a other corner, there stood the worst sight of all. It was a horrid mess of flesh and bone, taking up the entire alleyway as it languidly crawled towards me - this wasn't even a fraction of its true size. It whispered in a hundred different tongues as I stood there, frozen. And just in front of the monstrosity? A couple enjoying a morning stroll, none the wiser to the thing behind them.

"You alright, buddy?" the man asked. His words were gentle and caring, but he stepped between me and the woman, as one does between crackheads and the people you love.

I couldn't force a word out. What words would even befit the situation at hand? I motioned wildly at the thing behind them, trying to express with my hands what words couldn't do. The man put an arm across the woman's torso, forming a shield between her and me. Of course they didn't get it. They hurried quickly past me, the man muttering something about a drug epidemic.

And the thing was getting closer. But the way the man had put out his arm had put an idea into my head. If only I could do something! I reached out with my hands, as the thing drew ever closer, and brought up an imaginary sniper rifle to my eye. Just the way my brother and I had when we were kids. And I fired.

The thing screeched in pain, a sound that shook the earth and cracked the heavens. I had fired at the most vital-looking thing I could find, a mass of eyes and teeth and a large, bulbous vein. It recoiled, tumbling over itself back down the alleyway. Behind me, I heard the screech of tires.

There was a man, his suit and his skin painted a pure gold. He hovered in mid-air in a sitting position, with only the cane in his hand anchoring him to the ground.

"Get in," he yelled, though I saw no vehicle. "Your brother is waiting."

"Get in? What are you talking about?" I yelled back. The thing was beginning to advance once more.

"Come on, get in!" he yelled again, as it began to thunder down the alleyway.

I pointed my sniper rifle again, and fires, but nothing came out.

"Hurry!" he screamed, as arms and legs dragged the thing forward, grabbing at the windowsills and doorways of people who knew nothing of this world.

I ran towards the man and lifted one leg high up into the air, trying to find purchase on something. I merely stomped the ground. Once, twice, and then finally I felt my foot brush against something. I hurled myself forwards, a maneuver that would have cracked my head against the pavement if I hadn't instead felt soft leather against my cheek. And then suddenly the cobblestones underneath me were whizzing by, as the golden man and I sped away from whatever that thing was.

"What. The hell. Was that?" I gasped. I wanted to sit up to catch my breath, but I was worried that if I moved the spell would break and I would hit the ground at speed.

"The Mimic," the golden man said.

And whatever else I asked, he said nothing, the picture of the stoic performance artist. Only the slightest tilt of his cane changed our direction as we moved smoothly through the city streets.


poiyurt t1_j9p3tpe wrote

Not long enough.

My Wife Was A Magical girl But She Died In An Accident And My Daughter Who Is Turning 14 Is Becoming A Magical Girl Too? Story Of Military Father And Magical Girl, Quest To Become World's Best!


poiyurt t1_j9ohbdo wrote


The man threw himself through the cathedral's entrance, past the grand double doors, and hurried to haul them shut after him. They creaked in complaint, then slammed shut, the noise echoing across empty pews. The man doubled over, panting from the exertion.

When he finally looked up, his breath was taken away once again. The dome of the church above him was painted with saints and angels, sinners and demons. The scenes were beautiful, and dredged from his memory stories long-forgotten. He couldn't help but stare at it in wonder.

But he knew what lurked beyond. The drone was up there somewhere, a tiny black dot in a clear blue sky. Ten military-grade cameras had tracked his path, and its owners doubtlessly knew where he was now. The dome was pretty, but he knew it offered no protection.

"There isn't a service today," called the priest from the other side of the cathedral. "But you are welcome to stay here, if you wish."

"I won't be long," the man said, with a grim smile. He held his side and stiffly limped over to sit in a pew.

"Is everything alright?" the priest asked.

"No," he said, shaking his head. "They'll be here for me soon."

"... who?" the priest asked, worry written into the lines of his face.

"I... don't have the words to explain," the man said. "But they've already won."

"If somebody is after you, I will guarantee you sanctuary," the priest began, but the man shook his head. It was pointless.

There was a knock on the door, and as the priest turned to see who was there - and perhaps refuse them entry - a gunshot rang out. A stained glass window shattered into pieces. A bullet went right through the man's skull, leaving splattered blood over the pews.

[300 words, excluding title.]


poiyurt t1_j9nnslk wrote

Penelope didn't have a ton of memories of her mother. She was much too young when her mother passed. Her clearest memories were about her mother.

She remembered the funeral, a hundred people she vaguely knew giving her condolences she was too young to understand for a woman she had barely known. What eight-year old really knows who their mother is? You love her of course, and you know she gives you food and tucks you in at night. But how she felt about society, how she treated her friends, how long she had worked at some company with a long and nondescript name? She heard all that for the first time as the speeches were given in the cold air of the funeral home. A life lost too soon, they announced, by a drunk driver. She didn't understand either word, but they turned her stomach all the same.

She remembered her father returning to a bottle that he'd sworn off after he returned from his final tour of duty. Her mind had struggled to comprehend the scene in front of her as she peered through the gaps between the banisters at a sobbing wreck. You think, when you're young, that your father is invincible. So strong and so wise, and incapable of fault. Even he was a bubbling wreck before the cruelty of fickle fate. She remembered running off to bed when he came upstairs (she wasn't supposed to be awake). She pretended to be asleep as he kissed her on the forehead. She could smell the alcohol on his breath as he whispered, in shaky breaths: "Now don't you leave me too, Penny. I don't think I could take it."

She remembered her father telling her never to go into the basement. That was where her mother's office was, and he said it was better to leave it undisturbed. He couldn't bear to clear the room, couldn't bear to disturb any of it. It was preserved just as it was before her mom had left to buy ice cream from the corner store. The family photo of the three of them was perched right beside the computer monitor. The row of books was slightly askew - as it had been for years. And Penelope knew all this because when she was 14, she had broken in. She had learned off the Internet how to pick a lock with a hairpin, and tiptoed inside, doing her best not to sneeze at the layer of dust that had accumulated - her father cleaned it every month, but that wasn't nearly enough.

That's when she found the necklace. It had been hanging off the handle of the drawer, a simple little amulet on a silver chain. But the moment she saw it, it called to her like an old friend. She knew touching it would break a second taboo on top of breaking in, but she couldn't help it. She was at that age when curiosity dictated every action. The moment she did, she felt a heat on her skin, and her hands began to glow. She yelped in surprise as a bright pink streak raced its way up her fingers and across her arm, filling the air with tiny sparkles. And she found, to her horror, that she couldn't drop the necklace. It clung to her fingers as she flicked her hand, the chain jangling against itself.

"I knew you wouldn't leave well enough alone," came a voice behind her. Penelope's heart dropped, and she spun around to see her father in the doorway, staring at her with a resolute expression.

"I-um..." Penelope stammered, still trying to yank the necklace off her fingers. She grabbed it with her other hand, and it came free - but stuck to that hand instead. The flagrant disobedience of the laws of physics and magical sparkles could wait, the priority was the scolding that she was sure was coming.

"Didn't I tell you never to come into this room?" her father said.

"Yes, but... I'm sorry, Daddy," Penelope said, letting her hands drop to her side. The amulet dropped too, bouncing on its chain before swinging gently at the bottom.

"Just like your mother," her father said, shaking his head. "But I suppose I knew this day would come."

Her father walked over to the desk and sat heavily into the chair, something squeaking in protest as he did. He rapped the spacebar on the keyboard twice, and the computer sprung to life.

"The password's your name, and then the date of our anniversary," he told her.

"W-wait, you're not mad?" Penelope asked, confused, the sparkles still drifting around her.

"No, I'm not. I just wanted to wait as long as possible before you had to grow up," he said. "I think you know what's going on with the sparkles."

"No, I... I don't," Penelope said.

"Of course you do," her father interjected. "There's a reason I downloaded Sailor Moon onto your computer."

"I-I'm a magical girl?" Penelope said, her voice coming out somewhere between excited squeal and stunned surprise.

"As was your mother," he said, and he was opening a file on the computer. The image was of a woman - her mother - surrounded by little pink sparkles, giving a wink to the camera.

"Th-that's your phone's wallpaper, isn't it? That's just... cosplay, or um, photo editing?" Penelope said, still reeling.

"That's what she told me," he said, sighing. "I think your mother always wanted me to figure it out. But no, I only found out after she died, when I finally got this computer open."

"She... she hid it from you?" Penelope asked. It was all a lot to take in at once, and there were pressing questions to ask, but all she wanted to do was hug her father.

"Yes. I think she wanted to keep me - us - safe," he said. "I don't think she wanted you to take up this mantle. It's dangerous, really."

"B-but then why didn't you stop me from taking the amulet?" Penelope asked. "I mean, if mom didn't want me to do it..."

"Penny... do you know how your mom died?" her father asked, turning in his chair to face her. "They told you it was a drunk driver, didn't they?"

"I... yes?" Penelope asked, her stomach dropping again as the next of so very many revelations came crawling out of the woodwork.

"Your mother was an investigative journalist. She was trying to expose corruption in the government," her father said, his voice a strange mix of wistful and proud. "She had stopped being a magical girl by the time we met, she was too old for it - but she was always the same person. Principled, courageous, always wanting to save the world..."

"And if she had only told me," he said, his voice cracking a little. "About any of it, then I could've helped."

He shook his head, and looked seriously at Penelope.

"I have no illusions about stopping you from doing this, if that's what you want. You're your mother's daughter, and you're a strong-willed girl. I want you to decide for yourself. If you want to do this, to fight whatever evil she fought, then that's okay. You'll be 16, 17, by the time you're ready... same age as I was when I signed up," he said. And she saw in his eyes, now, that same intensity as when she was a little girl and her father was her safety and security. "I want you to think about it, seriously. You don't have to do this unless you really want to."

"But I'll be damned if I let you do it without my help. Your mom's not the only one who fought evil."


poiyurt t1_ixsw9ki wrote

Nonono. While I appreciate the praise, works of writing don't take from each other except in the case of copyright infringement. I'd love to see your spin on things.


poiyurt t1_ixqafmh wrote

Thank you for your praise! That was certainly the intention of repeating that little section, and I'm glad to know it worked.

It could definitely flow better, I agree. I've pretty much never written poetry before, I think I could count all my attempts on one hand. But once I had the idea for the story, writing out in prose just somehow felt wrong, like it could only exist in this form to evoke the right ideas. Plus at some point you can't really revise the flow anymore because you've read it too many times haha.


poiyurt t1_ixq3r94 wrote

"It cannot be," the knight cried out,
as all about began to shout.
For there stood she, kingdom's princess,
replete with crown and noble dress.
For had he known he'd not have dared,
To treat her as naught but a mare.

"It is true, but all is alright.
I blame you not, my dear sir knight."

"But," he cried, "I have searched so long
Hunting for a trace of your song.
Through the kingdom's valleys and hills,
past fields of grain and lumber mills.
In caves deep and mountains not,
places distant and long forgot."

"All to find the princess, thought gone,
had been beside me all along."

"I have done you a disservice.
Pray forgive me, my dear highness.
Take my head and my title too,
All that would make it up to you
I deserve not my knightly name,
my actions here bring me great shame."

He fell to his knees, hands a-quiver,
wracked with guilt over his failure.

"Your diligence is becoming,
your concern is truly touching.
But sir knight, you must understand,
how it was I received my curse.
I was locked in my father's keep,
Trapped, captive, and could only weep."

"In my desperation I swore,
I would pay any price, and more."

"If only I could flee my cage.
I screamed out loud, my mind enraged,
My heart knew naught but wanderlust.
To see the world, and not just dust.
I yearned to see the world out there,
for lush green forests and fresh air."

"The next morning, when I awoke,
Why, I just about had a stroke."

Some strange power had heard my plea,
and chose to play a trick on me.
My hands were gone, as was my hair,
Somehow, I had become a mare.
But before I could feel despair,
You arrived, answer to my prayer.

"My dashing knight, clad in armour,
Even then, you were a charmer."

"You chose me, of all in stable,
Since then, I have lived a fable.
Through the kingdom's valleys and hills,
past fields of grain and lumber mills.
In caves deep and mountains not,
places distant and long forgot."

"You have treated me with respect,
and helped, where you could, my subjects."

"You have righted wrongs, stopped evil,
always with a smile to people.
And though I fear I'm being vain,
always found time to brush my mane.
So, sir knight, for my forgiveness,
I ask one thing as recompense."

Please take me on your next quest.