What separates humans from animals is inconvenience. Animals looks at what nature and evolution gave them and even if they’re the smartest creatures there are, they’ll bear with it, doing what they can to make do.
Humans will look at nature and be like “this desert isn’t convenient for me to live in. I think I’m gonna build giant concrete dams over that river over there, transfer the power they generate hundreds of km all the way over here and air-condition the shit out of the entire desert, so I’ll be more comfortable”.
Whoo, good job everyone! That was a fun challenge :) You can read all past challenges and today’s HERE on this doc! It also has other’s who participated.
Here’s also mine below!
[END TIME lol I actually finished a contained short story for once!]
You sign the contract in crayon and pray that you haven’t already made a mess of things. The demon in front of you doesn’t see anything amiss, doesn’t question your choice of writing implements, doesn’t do anything but what she’s been doing for the past hour; smiling.
“There we go,” she coos and pets your hair like a mother would. “Easy, easy and so much time life, darling. You made a good deal.”
“…Thanks,” you say, trying not to lean into her touch. It’s been weeks since anyone but a nurse has touched you, even longer since anyone has touched you with something approaching the amount of affection this demon is showing you.
It’s a lie, you think, staring down at your hands. They’re thin and brushed with purple and blue, your skin nearly translucent under the weight of your medications. Your fingers knot in your flimsy hospital gown.
“Take care, kid,” the demon says and brings the contract to her lips. She kisses the crackling paper and smiles wickedly at you. “I’ll be seeing you soon enough.”
She disappears in smoke and fire, a vortex of light and sound in the sterile hospital room that sends all the machines hooked up to you shrieking. She takes with her the sense of peace she’d brought, probably something artificial too.
You sigh and begin to pull the IVs and patches from your body.
“Stop!” Nurse Blanchett rushes into your room, eyes wide. She’s wearing pastel pink scrubs today, the brightest color in the hospital. She grabs your wrist as you go for the heart monitor, pinning it to your side. “Lavina, you can’t pull the–”
She breaks off as, slowly, you lift your arms, forcing hers up. You’re strong, so much stronger than her, and she loses the concern in her eyes to fear.
“I’m checking out,” you say and she lets go, stepping back from you. You swing your legs over the side of the bed, your bare feet still thin, still sickly, but filled with so much strength that your knees don’t buckle when you stand. “Goodbye, Nurse Blanchett.”
You don’t have any normal clothes at the hospital, but that’s fine. You need to go shopping before your final destination anyway.
This is rather awesome and a bit depressing. The Los Angeles River used to be a wild, ephemeral river - moving across a large floodplain as it flowed from the mountains north of L.A. to the Pacific Ocean. However, a migrating river doesn’t work well in an urban area of 10 million inhabitants and in the 1930s the river was almost entirely paved. You’ve seen it in a variety of movies, I promise. Today, the river still flows in these concrete channels, built with levees to prevent flooding of the nearby structures. This video explores aerial views of that concrete river, including both dry and flowing sections.
Today, I fucked by accidentally walking across the North Korean border
I am an English teacher in Dandong, fairly big city in northern China. The city is pretty much right on the border of China and North Korea, and the border is something like 900 miles long and very sparsely guarded from what I heard and what I can see with my own two eyes. I’ve been here for roughly 2 months and against the advice of my Chinese colleagues in school (because I’m a restlessly curious person and more relevantly I’m a complete fucking idiot) I went for a long walk without thinking of where I was heading. Now I’ve been on walks before, usually for exercise. Normally I just walk around the populated areas, the downtown district and whatnot. Today I was pissed off because I had an argument with my coworker, full of pent up energy and consequently just kept walking in a straight line down the road, away from civilization and then across an empty concrete bridge over a river. 5 minutes after crossing the bridge I got out of my meditative trance and thought for the first time “Where the hell am I?” And then I sort of panicked. There were no signs or people around, just muddy countryside. Having seen all the documentaries and read all the articles about North Korea, I prayed I had not just inadvertently wandered into the Hermit Kingdom. And still the idea was so laughable, I seriously didn’t believe it would have been that simple to cross into and keep going without being stopped. But out of panic I turned around and walked back to the bridge telling myself I was a paranoid pussy. I called my friend on the phone walking back and told him where I walked roughly and he just screamed at me to “STOP TALKING AND RUN BACK ACROSS THE BRIDGE NOW”. We met shortly after, forgot about the argument we had and he was laughing his ass off. I pointed out the route I had taken and he confirmed yes I had crossed into North Korea but not that far. Almost far enough to regret it.
TL;DR accidentally walked across the Chinese border into North Korea
2 seconds. Tony had been out of the damn thing for two seconds before he’d gotten hit. Steve launched himself over flipped cars, tracing the side of craters, desperate to reach him. Tony, sprawled out on the concrete, a river of blood cascading down his temple, his eyes closed, his chest pinned under a giant piece of debris. The suit lay, discarded, half a dozen pieces scattered about the roadway. Tony had just taken it off… and then….that did… Steve shook his head, trying to wash out any thing that could distract him. His breathing was off, Steve could feel it, the pressure of tears building up in the center of his chest, like someone had attached a bomb there and it was pulsing against his organs, scraping his heart, squeezing his lungs and forcing his eyes closed so he didn’t have to see it anymore.
But he did. He did have to see it and he had to deal with it because Bruce wasn’t here right now and Steve knew next to nothing about first aid. All he knew how to do was recognize death when he saw it. And that really had nothing to do with training but experience.
“Tony, look at me,” Steve barked, his hand resting on Tony’s limp shoulder. He could feel his collarbone wiggle underneath the pads of his fingers as Steve made his way up Tony’s neck, trying to reach the pulse point. Trying to see… It was beating, slowly, unevenly but it was beating and that was half the battle of Steve’s panic. His eyes scanned the damage.
Tony’s chest took the majority of the hit, all four of his limbs sticking out in weird ways from around the piece of? What even was that? Steve touched it, feeling it crumble and dyeing his hands black. Asphalt, Tony had been hit by a piece of the ground. Jesus Christ.
Color draining, world tilting, he had to take a moment to steady himself, breathing back into some semblance of the living. Pressure, it was on his hand and it took two breaths for Steve to blink his eyes back open. Tony’s own eyes glinting in the sunlight, charming as always.
Imagine killing someone, and Tyler comforts you, knowing that you triggered the werewolf gene.
Rage. That’s all I felt. She had pushed me too far, and she knew it, because she had a smirk on her fake made up face. Stacy always did this, always acted as if she was superior to me. Well guess what? I can’t control myself. I lunged at her, knocking her on her ass, and she cried out as her head met the concrete with an audible crack. She had shock written all over her face, but I didn’t care. It felt nice to just release my aggression letting her know how much I hated her. How much she pissed me off. How much she just annoyed me when she tried to hurt me. Look who’s the superior one now, bitch. I slammed her head back into the concrete, and again, and again. Eventually life left her eyes, and I hadn’t realized what I had done until he lips started turning blue, and her eyes looked lifeless.
I fell back, and I pushed myself against a concrete wall on the opposite side of the alley. My breath sped up, and I was shaking. No. What did I just do? That’s the one thing I should never do. Shouldn’t have done. Not just because it’s bad, no but what curse I carry in my blood. The family curse. Every one who kills another, even by accident, every full moon you have to deal with every single bone in your body breaking repeatedly until you shift into a full wolf. Everyone says it’s the worst feeling, that you wish you were dead. That’s what I have to face. I can’t breathe… I can’t breathe, but I have to get out of here. I have to.
I pushed myself off of the ground, and I ran. I ran as fast as I could not once looking back. No one can know. Not a single soul. Of course I won’t be able to hide it when I’ll be screaming at the top of my lungs in only three days time, and then I’ll go on a rampage killing everyone in sight. Where will I go? Where will I chain myself up? What excuse will I tell my family? They can’t know, they would be so ashamed in me. They can not know about it. I won’t be able to deal with that down fall.
The next morning I didn’t feel like getting up for school, but I had to. My family would know something was up, because I usually like school on the normal day, but today is not normal. I barely slept, every time I closed my eyes, I always saw Stacy’s lifeless ones. I sat up, and I pressed a hand to my clammy forehead. I need to get a grip if I am to get through this school day, and every day for that matter. My life is permanently changed. I will never be the same. I got up, and I changed into an outfit I would normally wear. Normal. That’s what I have to be. I did my hair and make up, and then I put on a smile. How am I usually so cheery in the mornings? Now I see why people get annoyed with me before 10 a.m. I grabbed my school bag, and then I jogged down the stairs, went straight to the kitchen and followed my daily routine of saying good morning to my parents, messing with my brother’s hair, then grabbing a to go cup of coffee along with a muffin. I ran out the door, and got into my car. I drove to school, and I couldn’t stop shaking. I’m surprised I didn’t get into a car wreck. Or kill another person. Maybe I should, and say it was a simple car accident, my parents wouldn’t be ashamed of me then.
I shook those thoughts out of my head, and I took a deep breath to calm myself, I can’t be looking odd. Stacy was declared missing last night, so if anyone is acting suspicious then they will be a suspect. I can’t be a suspect. That’s not in my life plan. This isn’t in my life plan, who am I kidding. I got to the school, and I rested my hands against the steering wheel for a moment. Come on, I can do this. I have to do this.
I slammed my car door open, stepped into the frigid air, then closed the door sharply. I walked across the lot, and into the court yard. I felt paranoid, like everyone already knew. But how could anyone? No one saw anything. No one knows about my family. I have to get out of here. I felt panic bubble up inside of me, and I ran inside the school going straight to my locker. My hands fumbled with the lock, and I got frustrated, feeling anger and annoyance replace the paranoia and panic. In an instant I snapped the lock off. I quickly looked around me, and I didn’t see anyone so I rested my head against the cold metal, and I breathed deeply. Come on River, get a damn grip.
I was about to open my locker, when a firm grip latched onto my arm, and pulled me sharply. I let out a yelp, and I saw it was Tyler Lockwood. “Let go of me!” I said, and I pushed him off, and he looked shocked, but quickly gained his composure and had a knowing look on his face. I crossed my arms over my chest to keep me from feeling as vulnerable, but the effort was a failure. “Follow me. You need the damn day off.” he said lowly. How did he know? He grabbed my arm again, but this time I let him pull me.
He brought me to my car, but he opened the passenger door, and pushed me inside, and got into the drivers side, and sped away. “How did you…” I began, but he just gave me a pointed look, that basically said for me to shut up. I pulled my legs up to my chest, and I shivered. Not because I was cold, but from fear. It was like adrenaline being injected through my veins constantly. Almost as if I was in hysterics, but without the maniacal laughter. It must be shock then.
I must have zoned out, but when I came to I was in a bedroom, and not my own. I looked around wildly, and I saw that Tyler was leaning against a wall, with his arms crossed over his chest. He looked hot. Wait what? “You triggered the gene didn’t you?” he asked firmly.
“What are you talking about?” I quipped out, my self defense mechanism kicking in. Deny, deny, deny.
“Save the shit, River. I know your family has the werewolf gene. Mine does too. Guess what, I triggered it too. I’m a werewolf, and I know you triggered the curse. The look on your face says it all.” Tyler told me. In that instant I cracked. I started crying. Not the kind of crying you see in movies where the girls are pretty and fabulous, no. I was straight up ugly crying, sobbing, and shaking. I felt arms go around me instantly. At first I struggled, but the embrace only tightened. Once I realized I wasn’t being threatened, I relaxed into Tyler’s grip, and clung to him for dear life. He understood. He understands what I’m going through.
“Sh, I’m here. I’m right here with you, okay? I’ll help you through it. I know a place where I can take you. I’ll get more chains, I’ll take care of it. I promise. You don’t have to go through this alone.” he whispered.
“Why are you being so nice to me?” I asked, hiccuping.
“When I went through it… I didn’t have a person who understood by my side. All I had was a video of my uncle shifting to know what I was about to go through. That’s all I had. I’m not making you go through it alone. I’ll be right by your side until I have to lock myself up.” he whispered.
“Thank you. Please don’t tell my parents. They can’t know.” I whispered.
“It was Stacy wasn’t it?” he asked, and then kissed my hair.
“Yeah, she took her mind games too far. I lost control… it was like a rubber band snapped. I was fine, stretched, but then all of a sudden I attacked. No warning. I never felt something that intense. I’ve been mad before, but I haven’t felt…” I started but I just couldn’t finish.
“Rage, you haven’t felt the rage.” he said.
“No. No I haven’t. I’m used to being angry. I have massive anger issues, and I’ve always known about the family secret, but that’s why they told me. So I wouldn’t kill anyone, so I wouldn’t snap, so I always was prepared. I had to be careful. I had to keep my emotions in check.” I said.
“Calm, sh, you need calm.” he whispered.
“I have to tell my parents, don’t I?” I asked.
“Yes.” he whispered.
“I can’t… I won’t be able to look at them in the face.” I said.
“Okay. Do both of your parents work?” he asked, already thinking of a plan.
“Yes.” I said.
“Okay, this is what is going to happen. I drive you to your house, you’re going to pack your things, and you are going to write a note. Leave it in a place where they will see it, then we’ll leave for a while. Head out into the woods or something. I’ll come with you. My mom knows about me, and she’ll understand.” he said. I looked up at him with wide frightful eyes.
“You’d really do that for me?” I asked.
“Of course. I wish I had someone to do that for me. I’m not going to leave you to fend for yourself.” he said.
Two hours later we were gone. We were out of town limits, heading into West Virginia, where we would find a place in the Appalachian mountains to camp, and shift. I felt glad to have someone here with me. Who understood me. I love my parents, but they wouldn’t understand. They are only wolves because of them arguing and getting into a car accident. Apparently that was enough for the both of them to be triggered. I am a wolf because I physically slammed a girl’s head into the concrete excessively.
“River, stop thinking about it.” Tyler scolded. I glanced up at him from the window and I sighed.
“I can’t not. I don’t know how. Every time I think of something, it always leads back to a memory, which either leads to Stacy or my parents, which definitely leads to me being a wolf. I can’t… I feel so much guilt. Stacy was just having her harmless fun. She didn’t touch me. She didn’t threaten me, I had no reason to attack, but I did. That makes me a monster.” I said with my voice wavering.
“No. That makes you a werewolf. Any other werewolf would have done the same thing. After everything Stacy put you through, I’m surprised you even last that long, you’re the saint of the wolf hood.” he said, which only made me laugh, and he laughed.
“See? We don’t have to mope. We can have fun.” he said.