This is my dog. She usually sits behind me all day as I doodle, curled around my bum, occasionally putting her long chin on the arm rest or wedging her snout between my thigh and the chair. She is an old pup, so she snores heavily, sighs a lot, and sometimes hiccups. I love her a lot and she makes me happy, so here is my sharing happy thing of the day.
Hey guys, so I wanted to add to the humans are weird thing that’s going around, and this kinda came to me in the shower, so…enjoy?
Zah Rem was dying. They knew it the moment the Ra-Sek corridors
of the station began to feel cold. It had been easy to dismiss the chill at
first. The Humans always kept the main corridors to a barely tolerable 24
degrees Celcius, the Terran unit of heat. So Zah Rem had kept to Ra-Sek
corridors, content to survey the movement of their officers from the comfort of
But then they had Stopped in the Ra-Sek sustenance area. The
area was used infrequently as most of the new officers preferred to communal
sustenance area, and so some time had passed before a Terran ensign
accidentally stumbled across them. The human had run to get help, and that’s
how Zah Rem found themself in the infirmary, a heat unit glowing above their
bed as machines monitored every pulse of their internal fire.
To the Ra-Set, the Cooling was a very private matter. It was
some small mercy really- a natural death for a Ra-Sek happened over the course
of only days, and after the initial passing ceremony the Ra-Sek left the dying
in peace to contemplate their life. At least, that’s how it had been before.
A human, mouth closed
in a Ra-Sek neutral expression, sat at the end of their bed, eyes occasionally
flicking between the machines and their pad. This one was the human counterpart
of Zah Rems previous station and they knew this one well. She would not be
leaving unless the dying process miraculously reversed. Humans always seemed to
treat this like a logical possibility.
Zah Rem had lived such a long time, even for a Ra-Sek. They
had seen the rise of space travel for their people, the first contacts with
other races, some friendly, some hostile. They had seen stars flicker out of
existence. And then, they had seen the arrival of Terrans. What a ludicrous,
terrifying thing that had been.
The humans had arrived in strange, nonsensical machines
seemingly only barely capable of long distance space travel. Most of them had
arrived asleep. The Ra-Sek had initially been very wary of this smaller race. Humans
could regulate their own body temperatures. Humans lived short lives but took
life-threatening risks, seemingly for pleasure. Humans reproduced quickly and
freely, having offspring even in space, so far from their own world. Humans
would fight, losing limbs they could not regenerate, and then fight more.
In short, they were too dangerous not to make allies of. And
so the Ra-Sek had, and in their many years, Zah Rem considered this one of the
wisest choices of their people. The humans had helped them explore planets
previously thought uninhabitable. They had seen human shipmates run headfirst
into aggressive unknown flora and fauna and categorize it, collect it, and make
it known. In one instance, they had seen the entire brunt of humanity brought
to bear on a now extinct warmongering race, simply because this race had been dubbed
“bullies that don’t play fair”.
The human shifted in her chair. “Hey dragon, still alive?”
Zah Rem exhaled a plume of steam. They knew this word
referred to them, and that it was a reference to a Terran creature that may
have never even existed. They had seen a picture once, and they did see the
similarities to a Ra-Sek. That didn’t mean they had to answer.
The human sighed and flicked her eyes up and across, a human
gesture of annoyance. “I know you’re alive, your monitors are going. I wanted
to ask if you need anything.”
“Need? I am dying, there is nothing more I need.”
The human curled her upper lip, almost perfectly mimicking
the Ra-Sek gesture of annoyance. Human mimicry really was uncanny. “I know
that, but, is there anything you want? Water? Food? A book? Are you just…gonna
sit there until it happens? Aren’t you…y’know, uneasy?”
Now that was a strange word to use for this state, and Zah
Rem wondered if their translator had translated the Terran Common incorrectly. “Uneasy?
Why would I be…Uneasy?”
The general shifted in her chair again, suddenly transfixed
by her pad. “Well, I mean, are you…afraid?”
Zah Rem tilted their head, trying to mimic a gesture they had
seen humans use. “Why would I be afraid? I am dying, this is a normal process
for all living things.”
The human seemed frustrated, and Zah Rem once again saw the
wisdom of their own tradition of leaving the dying to cool in peace.
“I know that! I
just mean…aren’t you afraid of what happens next? Like, to you…after you die?”
her shoulders curled inwards.
After…death? Zah Rem snorted. “Nothing happens after death.
Death is the end of life…is it…is it not so for Terrans?” A pang of fear
twitched in Zah Rem’s core. Humans…died completely, true? They thought of all
their deceased human shipmates the other humans had burned, or buried under
soil, and suddenly they were…uneasy.
The general waved at
the air “Don’t call us that. And yeah, yeah, human’s die all the way too-“Relief.
“But, some humans…we have this…idea, that a part of us, the sentient part,
lives after we die. And, I don’t know where it goes, but death comes to collect
it, and guide it to where it’s supposed to go next.”
“Death…comes? As in, the concept of death is…sentient? and… travels to the location of the dying to
take their consciousness? Where? Why?” Zah Rem’s internal fire quivered, and the
monitors began to chirp and hum in complaint.
“Woah woah take it easy!” Their human counterpart stood,
touching their forelimb gently. This gesture would have been aggressive among Ra-Sek,
but they had long since learned that humans touched other beings freely. Her
hand was warm, and the heat soothed Zah Rem’s own heat. The monitors quieted.
“Y’know what? Forget I said anything, it’s just a dumb
Terran myth. You wanna see this picture of a cat I found?”
And, for once, Zah Rem really, really did.
The next few days passed quietly. Healers checked the
monitors as discreetly as possible and the general was a constant presence,
sneaking back in every time the Ra-Sek healers shooed her out. For the most
part, she worked on her pad, guiding the directors of her officers. Zah Rem was
mildly envious of this, but they felt the cooling settling in, and they were
content to reflect on past action instead.
Well, mostly content. Try as they may, Zah Rem could not
shake the idea of death as a sentient presence, and tendrils of fear began to
snake into the waiting, fear that, like in so many impossible ways, the humans
might be right about death. They did not want their consciousness to be taken. They
took to scanning the room when their human wasn’t looking.
This fear was probably what exacerbated the process. It
happened suddenly, their internal temperature falling, falling, and the general
was shouting, calling for help and Zah Rem knew they were beyond help, nothing could
help, but they were so afraid of Death being attracted by the cries, if only
And suddenly they were alone in a space that was not bright,
and was not dark. They…no longer felt cold, but not warm either. It made Zah
Rem…uneasy. And then they heard footsteps, and in the distance there was a
small flicker of light.
The light drew closer and closer, and with it Zah Rem began
to make out a figure in strange clothing. The figure wore long, black clothing
that flowed downward, with a hood that obscured the head. It was carrying a
long stick with what looked like a small ball of fire on top. They also saw the
glint of long, sharp looking metal, reminiscent of a Terran knife.
Zah Rem bared their teeth. A weapon. This must be Death. If
it was, it wouldn’t steal their sentience without a fight.
The figure closed in.
“Stop. Come no further.” Zha Rem growled. “I am Zah Rem of
the Ra-Sek. I have seen races rise and fall. I have seen stars flicker out of
existence. I have fought alongside humans.
I will not let you take my consciousness.”
There was a moment of silence. And then a strange sound came
from the hooded figure. A soft, musical sound, not unlike a Ra-Sek trill, very
much like…a human laugh. The figure lowered it’s hood.
Of course, Death would be a human.
Zha Rem felt the anger leave them all at once. The human
smiled, mouth closed, and reached its dark hand out to touch Zha Rem’s forelimb.
Their touch was warm, and Zha Rem felt the warmth coil around their core, lighting it once again.
I am a single adult human living in a house with two corgis. Got Girldog from a shelter when she was about a year, year and a half old maybe; got Boydog a few years later as an 8-week puppeh. And let me tell you something, from Day One, this has been a three-way psychological experiment. I no longer know who is manipulating who on a daily basis.
One of the first things I trained Girldog to do was not to bark at the dinner table; if she barked at me while I was eating, I put her in The Quiet Place (her crate) where she couldn’t see me. She learned almost immediately to subvocalize her barks, to let out a breath with just enough vocal cord vibration that I wouldn’t QUIIIITE consider it a bark and move her further away from the food. It’s a sound like this: “Hrrrr. Hrrrr. Hhhrahhh.” I didn’t realize how odd this was until my aunt came over and said, “That dog hissed at me.” “Yes,” I said, “she does that.”
Boydog learned to do tricks by watching Girldog. I never taught him to sit. He learned by watching Girldog get a treat for sitting. Once, I told both dogs to sit at the same time, while I held a treat in each hand. When Girldog didn’t sit quick enough, Boydog put his paw on her butt and pushed her down.
I hung a bell on the door and taught Boydog to ring it when he wants to go out. Girldog sees no reason she should ring the bell, as it is beneath her dignity, and she can get her way by barking instead. Boydog, however, will ring the bell for Girldog when she lurks around by the door, although he has no interest in going outside himself. Girldog has made Boydog her personal slave in this matter.
Boydog rings the bell when he doesn’t need to go out but thinks I have been at my computer too long. By the time I get to the kitchen, he’s nowhere near the door, but hey mom, as long as you’re up, let’s play! He obviously does not believe I can see through this extremely clever ploy.
Girldog once climbed onto a sofa, crossed the back of it, leapt from the sofa to my desk chair, leapt from the chair to the desk, and knocked all my stuff off the desk. (I wasn’t there, but it was obvious from the trail of destruction what route she had taken.) Then she got down and proceeded to ignore the bag of corn chips she’d encountered and focus her attention on biting my phone charger in half, chewing up a USB memory stick, and eating a pen. I still have no idea how she could be so smart and so dumb at the same time.
Boydog will chase a laser pointer (not uncommon for dogs introduced to them as puppies! Pro tip) but only when Girldog is not around, because she hates it for some reason and will tackle him for it. Girldog also likes to be outside while I want to be in, and Boydog prefers to have us both inside. Boydog will lead me to the laser pointer, pester me until I get it down, and then run around chasing the laser and barking madly. No matter how stubborn Girldog has been about staying outside, she wants to know what he’s barking at and immediately comes inside. (It is always the laser pointer he’s barking at, Girldog. Always.)
There is a chair in my bedroom that I cannot sit on. The dogs take turns sleeping on it, depending on who gets there first. The only hard and fast rule is that if the human sits on the chair, they will both lose their cool. The chair is for dogs only. I have not even tried to sit on the chair for about six months now.
I suspect I’ll be adding more of these as the three of us continue to train each other.
bsd really got me into learning about the rl authors, but ive been having trouble finding stuff about the japanese authors. do you have any recommendations for where i could start?
Ahhhh, I’m flattered you came to ask here for suggestions! I don’t think I’m the best person to ask, honestly, but I’ll do my best to help! Since you said it was BSD that got you interested, most of my recommendations will be from the Japanese authors featured in the series~
This is only to get you started, a bit of a sampler for what some of the literary greats have to offer.
– Akutagawa is the master of short stories, so there can be no better starter when it comes to dipping your toes in when it comes to Japanese literature.
Most of Akutagawa’s works deal with exposing the egotism of man and the flaws of the human spirit. His writing may be elegant and refined, but to others it comes off as unfeeling and cerebral; you’ll have to find out for yourself where you stand.
– “There are bodies buried beneath the cherry trees!” This line from one of Kajii’s most famous works is often quoted, probably because it associates the ephemeral sakura with the grotesque. Sakaguchi Ango also wrote a story with the same title, but I find Kajii’s to be the more memorable one between the two.
– BSD may have you fooled, but Higuchi is actually an extremely popular literary figure in Japan, due to both the quality of her work and her all too short life. “Separate Ways” is quite a short read, but it has a heartbreaking realism most stories twice its length can’t even hope to touch.
– And now, we enter the surreal. Though more known for being the originator of modern mystery stories in Japan, Edogawa was also considered a master of gothic horror. Be warned, this story can be disturbing so skip this if you have a faint heart! (As an aside, Ito Junji put a spin on the tale and published a oneshot inspired by “The Human Chair“ a few years back.)
( @illesty posted a good prompt earlier and I couldn’t refuse, so here you go my dudes! I hope I was able to do it justice, it was trickier to write than I thought aaah)
“Is everyone ready to go? This planet might be crawling with
Galra invaders, so we can’t afford to forget anything.” Shiro recited,
methodically fiddling with his helmet as he slid it on.
There were echoes of approval from the rest of the team as each member fastened their own armor and prepared their bayards. The process
was clockwork at this point, each step flowing one after another.
Lance slid his helmet on and groaned under his breath,
looking exhausted before the day had even begun. The rest of the team
looked psyched up to hit the battlefield, but something kept tugging in Lance’s
chest that couldn’t match their energy.
While toiling away in the middle of the night trying to grow our little friendly Croconana to cuddle size, we might have accidentally overdosed him. Within a matter of moments he was 1000% larger than he was before! We swear it was an accident! We didn’t mean for this to happen!!
Unfortunately, our lab proved too small for Colossal Croconana and he quickly escaped after we’d gone home for the night, and now he’s wandering on the loose. He could be anywhere! Approach with caution! Croconana doesn’t know his own strength.