FFM 2020 21: Killer in The Team

No prompt used.

Challenge: Write about something taboo, make it fun and include something goth.

My choices were: killing other people (who trust you), Tallon is having fun contemplating it and the ritual dagger.

Tallon chuckled. The one person in his team he was not supposed to kill lay in front of him, bloodied, unmoving and eyes glazed. It was ironic that someone else — his first planned target, Crayton — had done it for him, giving him a reason to start the killing spree.

It was a pity that Drue would not get to see Tallon slaughter his friends like initially planned, but the plan had to proceed.

Tallon clutched his stolen ritual dagger and went to join the rest of the group in lynching Crayton, a wicked smile on his face.

It was finally time to be the last man standing.

FFM 2020 20: Bonding

No prompt used. However, I’m continuing Raiyo and Levi’s story. I’m not entirely sure when this one’s set – either between the two already existing stories or before yesterday’s story — other than “around 1 year into Raiyo and Levi’s friendship”.

As a 1000-word story, this is my second entry for Little Prose 2020.

“You know, you’ve listened to me talk about my parents a lot,” Raiyo remarked as he leaned against the railing, sipping his coffee, “but I don’t remember you saying much about yours.”

Levi downed what was left of his tea. “There’s not much to say about them. I hardly know them.”

Raiyo frowned. Before he could say anything, however, Levi continued, “They’ve always been too busy with their work lives to do much with me for longer than I can remember. They pretty much outsourced raising me to butlers, nannies, daycares, schools… anyone who would do it in exchange for money so that they could keep making more.” The man flashed an awry smile at his friend. “I’m convinced they made me only so that they could have an heir.”

Now Raiyo regretted bringing the topic up. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Yours are far worse,” Levi noted. “I have nothing to complain about. They always made sure I had everything I wanted and needed, and everyone has told me that they’re not pleasant people, so their decision to have others raise me spared me from that.”

Raiyo stayed silent. He did not want to prod further; Levi did not let it show, but he was sure that the topic was sensitive. Raiyo could have sworn that the older man’s body language was a bit tenser than normal now.

Levi spoke up again after he was certain that Raiyo would not take the initiative to continue the conversation, “I do wish they would’ve taught me how to be a functional person. They gave me everything when I was a child, but the moment I turned 18 they kind of tossed me out with some money and told me to get my own place and ‘learn to be a member of the society’ with the promise that if I found a place to work at, they’d send me more money.” Levi tried to mask his discomfort with a chuckle, but it was as unconvincing as it could get.

“Levi, you don’t have to tell me everything if you don’t want to,” Raiyo said quickly.

“But I do want to tell you,” Levi said. He turned around so that he could stare into the horizon instead of the crowd while leaning against the railing, certain that no one would hear them. “I mean… you’ve told me so much even though it’s been clear from the beginning that you don’t like talking about your parents. Yet you still chose to confide in me. It’s admirable, your courage to talk about it.”

“You still don’t need to force yourself to-” Raiyo started.

“I know,” Levi interrupted, his voice soft. “Your choice not to continue asking made it clear. Don’t worry, Raiyo. I want to tell you. I really do.”

Raiyo nodded. “Okay. Just don’t push yourself too far, ok?”

Levi nodded back, grateful. He paused to gather his thoughts. “The first year on my own… it was tough. I knew little of how anything actually worked, having led such a sheltered life, so once I got an apartment, I first used my money to hire someone to teach me basic life skills like paying bills. Then I hired someone to teach me how to invest the money I had left. At some point, it got tedious, so I hired someone to manage the investments with the money I was making. Once that was out of the way, I took some courses to learn how to cook and do other normal things butlers had done for me my whole life.”

Roars of laughter coming from the crowd cut him off. Someone staggered to another spot as the main group of their coworkers got yet another round of drinks.

“I can’t imagine how hard it must’ve been,” Raiyo remarked. “How did you manage?”

“Luckily, I was a pretty fast learner. It helped a lot,” Levi noted. “I guess otherwise it was just making sure all the bills were paid, I ate something, got enough sleep and was everywhere on time, one day at a time. It’s not a year I reminisce fondly or am proud of, but I got through it. Once I was comfortable with how I was dealing with my life, I started to apply for jobs and eventually landed myself in a chain of entry-level statistics jobs that led me here all the while I studied at the open university. Once my parents started to send me more money, hired a butler to take care of the things I couldn’t when I was studying and working.”

“How did you end up staying here?” Raiyo asked.

“I’m not entirely sure. I guess it was just that they noticed that I’m good even though I don’t have a full degree and promoted me to a role where I felt comfortable staying at. It’s been two years since that promotion and I still can’t see myself going anywhere else.” Levi smiled. “The fact that they let me do my work at home and don’t force me to come to the workplace often is a bonus that makes up for these outings where the others get drunk and I’m just awkwardly on the sidelines, alone and waiting for the time when it’s socially acceptable to leave.”

“Good thing that I came along, then,” Raiyo noted, smiling. “Now you don’t need to be alone at these outings.”

Levi turned to smile at him. “Indeed. I’m glad that you’re my friend, Raiyo.”

“The feeling’s mutual, Levi,” Raiyo replied.

Another set of roars of laughter rose from the group.

“I don’t think they’ll notice if we leave now,” Raiyo mused. “How about we hit that arcade two blocks away?”

Levi’s face lit up at the suggestion. “Let’s go.”

The two men returned their mugs, said goodbye to their supervisor and left quietly. Raiyo had been right; no one noticed them leaving.

When someone did, the duo was already far away from the bar, competing against each other in various video games.

FFM 2020 19: Anime Marathon

No prompt used. However, I decided to write another story with Raiyo and Levi, this time concentrating on them acknowledging references to Death Note in themselves. This is set before their previous story, Hiding in the Office.

Raiyo laughed as Levi crouched on his chair, balancing his cake platter on his knees. Levi gave him a mock-glare in response. However, his eyes glimmered with amusement.
“You ready for the next episode?” Raiyo asked as he opened a new bag of potato chips.
“Yup. I want to see how Light tries to get himself out of that mess,” Levi answered, his glare already gone.
“Me too. Although, before we start, I’ll take a potato chip,” Raiyo made direct eye contact as he lifted a chip from the bag, “and eat it!” He crunched the chip as loudly as he could, sending some bits falling into his lap.
Levi snorted and pressed “play” on the remote. “At least Warren isn’t much like Watari. That hopefully proves that we’re not living in the middle of some iteration of Death Note.”
Raiyo chuckled at the thought. “It would be funny if we were.”
“I’d hate to be L if I had to be crouching nonstop for long periods of time,” Levi remarked as he shifted to sit cross-legged instead of crouching.
“I’m sure you’d get used to it. You already have the sweet tooth to match the role, after all.” Raiyo smirked.
“Well,” Levi mused as he prepared his retaliation, “I also wouldn’t want to get killed by you, my only friend, Light-kun.”

The two men chuckled as they stopped their conversation as the opening ended. The noted similarities — which kept on accumulating as their Death Note marathon continued — between the two of them and Light and L had become a staple for their private jokes.

Neither of them was planning to try tennis, though. They were both more comfortable without having balls flying at their direction at high speed; there was a bunch of other things about the two characters for them to imitate, after all.

FFM 2020 18: Loss

No prompt used.

Challenge: 55 words, include a birth, a death and an element of love.

The moment I saw her, I knew this wasn’t going to last. The child I had carried wouldn’t survive.

I heard her cry with a feeble voice.

The moment I took her into my arms she fell silent.

Then she was gone. The last nine months had been all we had been given to treasure.

FFM 2020 17: Hunting Inklings

No prompts used.

When the night fell, we were ready. Ria had managed to conjure a net for us both so we could carry whatever we managed to catch back to our camp without having the inklings dissolve on the spot; it would have been far more difficult to try to catch them — or as many as of them as possible — straight into bottles.

As we crept further like predators, I started to hear chattering. Inklings! Ria and I exchanged a glance and started to circle around the snickering from different directions, nets ready. The more we managed to catch, the better.

It was tough to discern the inklings from the dark ground, but I saw them glimmer in the tiny shafts of moonlight which shone through the gaps in the leaves. I looked up to see Ria ready as well. I nodded to her. She nodded back.

We rushed at the inklings.

The snickering turned into high-pitched shrieks as we swung our nets at the inklings. Many got away, but we managed to secure a few. There was nothing to silence them, though, so we had bear with it all the way back to the camp.

Once we got back, I observed the inklings we had caught. I had seen an inkling up close only once before; I had been six when my father had taken me to see them at the forest near our village. I had managed to catch one into my hands only for it to make an explosive dissolution right at my face the moment I had touched it. The ink had stung in my eyes for hours after that.

As Ria prepared the ink bottles, I spoke up, “My father used to say that inklings are merely ink animated by a spell without an end parameter other than being touched, not actually living creatures. Is that true?”
“It is, as far as I know,” Ria told. “Why do you ask?”
“I was just curious. It always felt a bit strange since they seem so… sentient.” I gestured at the captured inklings as they chattered in audible horror.
“Back in the City,” Ria pointed at the stars above us, “they say that a mage once animated his ink for safer transportation when he changed residency, but he made a sloppy work with the spell, most notably not making an end parameter that would trigger anyway. The only end parameter was a living being touching them. Some of those inklings escaped mid-transit and, as sloppily animated things left to their own devices tend to do sooner or later, started to duplicate in the wild. It escalated to the point he could not stop them, so he gave up and reported the matter to the nearest sorcery school. That school eventually gave up on their inkling hunt as well and instead started to research them.” She smirked. “In the end, that school got a source of infinite ink from them, renamed itself ‘Inky Academy’ and started to sell their inkling ink for extra money. Eventually, they started to gain so much money from the ink that they could gradually lower their tuition fees into oblivion without cutting from anything.”
“Inky Academy?” I had heard the name before. “So, it’s not just a myth that they sell actual inkling ink?”
“Not as far as I know,” Ria told. Her smirk softened into a smile. “We could always visit it and see for ourselves. I may be a fallen angel, but I’m still an angel. I’m sure that they won’t pass up a chance to interact with one.” She turned to look at the inklings. “However, first things first. Could you help me with the inklings? We probably have to make multiple hunts, but I don’t want to lose any more drops than necessary.”
“Of course, as long as none of them explode on my face.”
Ria laughed softly. “If any of them does, I’ll get the ink off, don’t worry.”
I gave her a lopsided smile and braced myself to meet the horrific memories from that one night in my childhood. “Let’s get to it, then.”

FFM 2020 16: Hiding in the Office

No prompt used. However, this is full of Death Note references, courtesy of me binging the anime, fanfics and the 2015 TV drama, L’s theme (and soon manga) recently, as well as listening to Light’s theme while writing this story. I also made a reference to the Death Note fanfic Chains of Fate.

As this is exactly 1000 words long, this is my first Little Prose entry for 2020.

The David Bowie Day challenge: 1) Pick lyrics from a David Bowie song, lyrics from a song you love and 2-3 News/Editorial article segments from any online source (each 3-5 paragraphs each), 2) Put them together into this cut-up text generator, 3) Collect at least ten lines of text from the cut-up generator and use them to construct the story.

My source choices were:

The prompts I chose, with the words in [these] being my edits to the generator’s output:

  • At the workplace.
  • To be scheduled.
  • Currently learning Finnish.
  • Lose the social connections
  • the tone got lighter
  • “Topics,” he said.
  • [you] have to learn an enormous amount
  • an unofficial channel to discuss
  • you can make yourself understood
  • You [to] hide so well

Raiyo looked at the screen, deep in thought. His workplace had become a strange place after the pandemic had started; the building was mostly deserted. He was one of the very few who had showed up there. He presumed that the others were there because they did not have the needed equipment for working remotely. But Raiyo? He was there to hide.

His parents knew that he was good at hiding, so they went out of their way to try to find him in unusual places where he might hide. That was the most vital part of his plan, though: he usually hid in places they would not even think of, so they assumed that he came up with elaborate plans to be out of sight. In truth, however, Raiyo hid in plain sight wherever he would not stand out and where his parents would not look. This time, it was his office. Because of the pandemic, few left their homes for work if they could work remotely. Therefore, his parents assumed that he would avoid public spaces, which gave him a perfect cover especially since he could stay holed up in the sweet solitude in his office for days without anyone noticing him there after work hours.

Once his break started, Raiyo brought the Discord window onto his main screen. It had become an unofficial channel to discuss work and everything unrelated to it — practically their virtual breakroom — recently, so just to keep up appearances he checked it every now and then. Otherwise, he would not have minded losing the social connections completely after everyone had holed up in their homes.

After all, the only person Raiyo did not want to lose contact with, his best friend Levi, was a hermit by nature — even more so than Raiyo, who preferred not to spend much time with people who were not close to him, namely everyone except Levi — so most of their normal contact occurred via the Internet anyway. There was no natural routine of communication to be disturbed by the lack of meeting face to face. As far as Raiyo knew, Levi was more than content in his characteristic seclusion, completely unaffected by the pandemic.

Levi’s Discord status read “Currently learning Finnish”. A small smirk rose on Raiyo’s face when he reminisced last night’s call with him; had he not followed the news, the older man could have very well been unaware of what was going on in the world outside his home.

“Languages are interesting. You should try one sometime,” Levi remarked. “You can make yourself understood with relatively little knowledge, but for proper communication you have to learn an enormous amount of stuff.”

“Too much work.” Raiyo gave a laugh. “English is enough for my needs.”

“It would be fun if we learned together, you know. Especially since we have topics,” Levi said. His tone got lighter. “It would be absolutely hilarious to discuss that crush of yours in Finnish!”

“She’s not my crush!” Raiyo hissed. Levi laughed in response, so he continued. “Levi, we have talked about this. I don’t have a crush on her. It’s completely one-sided.”

“Yes, yes, of course.” Levi chuckled. “But hey, think about it. You still have time to catch up with me with Finnish.”

“Okay, I’ll think about it,” Raiyo conceded.

They had discussed work and the pandemic for a while before Levi had had to go back to work. Raiyo, on the other hand, had gone to bed before leaving for work in secret early in the morning.

The break was over, so Raiyo shook himself from his reverie, shrunk the Discord window and got back to work. He had statistics to work on, after all, although the thoughts of Levi made the workload easier to bear; he knew that the older man had been working on either them or his writing or translation side projects all night long, munching cake or something else sweet.

Once his shift was over, Raiyo checked in on Discord to let his coworkers know that he was “fine” and looked out of the window. It was dark outside already, so he spreaded his sleeping bag under his desk, took his laptop, and ducked in there. No one was going to see him not leave the building, so he could spend the night there, munching chips in contrast to his sweet-loving friend.

News about Duolingo’s new Finnish course came up a few times as Raiyo browsed his social media feed and what Levi had said about learning Finnish came back to his mind. Finnish was a little bit too niche for Raiyo’s taste, but Levi had fallen in love with Finland ages ago. They had even planned a trip there, although it was on hold until the pandemic was over. Well, it was more time for Raiyo to save money for souvenirs and whatnot, so he did not mind it too much.

Perhaps learning a new language, especially an unusual one, would be a good idea after all — it would be something good to put in his resume. And, with Levi, it would also be fun.

A new smile came on Raiyo’s face. He knew exactly what to do.

He took his phone and texted Levi. I thought about it. I’ll learn Finnish with you if you let me come over. :)

Levi replied soon. Yas!! :D I’ll ask Warren to get you. You at work?


I’ll make sure there are apples for you when you get here 8D

Raiyo packed his things and sneaked outside with a huge grin on his face, trying hard not to jump and/or squeal in excitement. It was always a delight to see Levi in person, especially during a pandemic when they saw each other even less than normally.

After all, he was his best friend, and the only person who understood him so well.

When Warren’s car pulled up to the parking lot, Raiyo was ready.

Perhaps this pandemic would not be so bad after all.

FFM 2020 15: An Angel of the City

The prompt used: He was an Angel of the City. by SpearHawk.

Lasmis was an Angel of the City, one of the numerous. While there were many Angels traversing the Wilderness, most hidden from the Humanity’s sight, most of the Angels were in the City conjured in the stars.

Then there were the Fallen who had been cast out of the City into the Wilderness to fend off on their own. They were not welcome in the City anymore, not after breaking the rules. Once a breaker, always a breaker. They had to be cast out at the first offense lest they cause chaos and spread their rot further into the population.

The same applied to his friend Ria. Lasmis had been aghast to hear that she had fallen — she had never seemed to be one to fall — but after the shock had worn off, he had accepted it. Whatever had caused Ria to fall, she deserved whatever she encountered in the Wilderness.

Lasmis did not expect to see her again even if he chose to travel to the vast Wilderness to find her, let alone see her in the City to become one of the Reconciled, those who had fallen yet come back to take the oath to follow the rules once again at the risk of being forever cast out as a Demon, should they fall again. The Fallen hardly ever came back with such intentions, although he did not expect her to come back at all. Fallen or not, Ria had never been one for violence, not even after being wronged.

He could only hope that he was right about that when it came to her.

He did not want to raise his sword against his friend under any circumstances, no matter what she had become.

FFM 2020 14: After A Crash

No prompt used.

Challenge: Write a story in the style of one of the major Literary Movements and feature a theme of discovery or regret.

I chose to feature regret in realism.

I stared at the blood on my car, trying to figure out how a drive back home from work at midnight had made my car a deadly weapon. No matter how hard I tried, I could not remember seeing a soul on the streets until a human-shaped form had appeared out of nowhere and immediately smacked into the bonnet and windshield like a ragdoll. Aside from the death metal coming from the radio, the only sounds I remembered hearing were the screech of the brakes and the horrid crunches at collision.

I had killed someone.

I had killed someone and my car would never be clean from the evidence, no matter how thoroughly I washed it and got the dented parts replaced.

The police had said that it wasn’t my fault, that the man had been drunk, in black clothes without a single reflector and in the middle of my lane, that there had been no way I could’ve seen him and stopped in time, but it didn’t change a thing.

I had killed a man.

I should’ve taken the bus after all. If I had, that man might still be alive, or at least I wouldn’t have been the one to kill him with my car, the first car I had been able to afford without a loan.

I should’ve just taken the bus.

FFM 2020 13: A Wish for An Explosion

The prompt used: “I’ve heard that if you blow it up, you’ll get a wish.” by WindySilver.

“I’ve heard that if you blow it up, you’ll get a wish.”
“Yeah. Y’know, those mechas are a huge threat to us. I’m sure the adults would grant you a wish if you blew that place up.”
“If I had a death wish, I could just go there and get shot.”
“But you don’t, right?”
“I guess not, but I also don’t have a wish the adults could fulfill at least right now.”
“Well, blowing it up would still be appreciated, and I have the explosives for the job. Every bit counts in this war.”
“Yeah, right. My dad would chew me out if I made it back alive.”
“I know. Mine would too.”
“So, you coming with me?”
“Of course I am.”
“I knew you would. C’mon, let’s go. Time to blow up some mechs!”

FFM 2020 12: Lost Home

No prompts used.

The ice dragons watched their old home fall apart. Buildings and countless of items started to float once they met the ocean.

They had made it just in time, but they still observed the area to make sure they had not missed anyone. It was their duty to protect their humans.

It had always been.