FFM 2020 25: A Webby Carnival

No prompt used.

Day 25 was the day of the collaboration challenge, and we were given till Sunday to complete our stories. Therefore, this story came on the 26th because of that.

This story ended up being 1000 words long as well, so this is my third entry for Little Prose 2020.

The challenge: Team up with someone, pick a poison from the list and combine the poison’s challenge elements with your collaboration partner(s)'(s) own. Optionally, you could make an entry without collaborating with anyone, in which case you needed to pick two poisons and use them to make a response piece to another writer’s FFM 2020 story.

My poison gave me this challenge: 1) The story must include a fairground, carnival or circus and 2) it must feature one of the following things: something wrapped in silk, an animal companion, a cage full of butterflies, a grieving child, a toothless tiger, discarded candy-floss.

My partner, bookcrusher, got this challenge from their poison: 1) The story must have supernatural elements and 2) there must be something bloody and something delicate.

You can read bookcrusher’s side of the story (which I absolutely recommend that you read) here: https://www.deviantart.com/bookcrusher/art/A-Webbed-Carnival-849944116

Out of these elements, the story has these:

  • A carnival as a setting
  • My protagonist as something wrapped in silk AND as a supernatural being
  • My protagonist’s spiderwed as something delicate
  • The boy’s scraped knee as something bloody

The carnival is always the highlight of my year. When there is more than one, they are the highlights — the more, the merrier!

People usually couldn’t see me, so I could do pretty much anything I wanted without getting caught. I was smiling from ear to ear — not exactly literally, luckily; my ears would have gotten itchy if I had — when I entered the carnival area. Without paying the entrance fee, of course, because if anyone saw me, no one would believe them. Ha!

What to do first this year?

I decided to look around first, taking in everything. Whenever I saw something interesting, I conjured some spiderweb and marked the booth’s top corner.
“Mommy, look, Spiderman is here!” a human child shouted, pointing at the web I had just splatted at the cotton candy booth.
“Yes, of course, dear. There are people dressing up,” the child’s mother said. Her tone and lack of looking at the web made it seem like she did not care.
“No, Mommy, someone launched some spiderweb at the booth!” the child said.
“Of course, dear,” the mother said, still not looking.

I snickered, attracting the child’s attention, and scurried away, my silk scarf fluttering as I did. I made sure some spiderweb flew in the air as I went.

Once I had marked my targets, I got into action.

First stop: one of the game booths.

It was hard not to snicker as I planted some heavy-duty webbing on a few targets and retreated to watch what unfolded. As if ordered, a group of young men came there. I grinned and jumped in anticipation when the middle guy picked a ball and threw it.

He missed, ha!

The one on the left took their turn, threw and hit an unwebbed target.
“Woo!” the man shouted. “What do I win?”

The booth man gave him a big pink unicorn plushie. The other two men and I burst into laughter.
“Hey, this is fabulous!” the young man said and hugged the plushie, indignant. The others fell to silent grins, but I kept snickering.

Now it was the last man’s turn. He threw, hit a webbed target — and the ball stuck there !

I snickered next to him.

He looked around himself in confusion. “What’s going on? Who’s laughing?”

The booth man frowned, took the now webbed ball and gave out a tortoise plushie.
“Okay, you two look ridiculous with those plushies, but now I want one too!” the man in the middle grumbled. He put some coins on the table. “I’ll try again.”

I knew he was going to miss, so I decided to help out. I had my webs ready.

He threw.

I launched.

The ball stuck to a target with a satisfying splat. The man and I cheered. The booth man, on the other hand, just frowned when he took the new web off the ball. I think I heard him say, “So this is what the old man talked about…”

The man in the middle got a hilarious monkey plushie.

I snickered and left the scene, once again with spiderweb trailing me.

Then I felt I was being watched.

It was a child, looking straight at me, frightened. He turned to adults and said something, but they dismissed him.

Interesting. Few people can see me.

He looks nice. Maybe I should talk with him.

First things first, though. I need some cotton candy now.

Okay, okay, fine, I need lots of it.

Lots and lots of it.

I wonder if the same woman is still at the booth.

One delicious cotton candy lunch later — the woman was still at that booth, by the way — I saw the child again. His parents dismissed him again when he said something, so I decided to approach him. Maybe he needed a friend.

The moment he figured out I was going towards him, he bolted.

Huh. I guess he doesn’t need a friend.

I mean, surely he can’t be afraid of me. I don’t have terrible fangs or anything. I just float, am kinda transparent and wear silk.

Yeah, he just doesn’t need a friend.

Time to go mess up a game booth. I need something else to think about.

One game booth turned into five game booths and a popcorn booth raided. I could hear people talking about my webs and snickering. I snickered; if they could see me, I’d be in trouble.

Yet the only one who could see me was that kid. He’s the first one in years to be able to see me — at least as far as I knew. He had probably already left with his parents, though.

Except he hadn’t. I noticed him at the pancake booth with his knee hurt. Poor kid.

I hid behind another booth to make sure I didn’t get noticed. If he ran away with that knee, he could get hurt again. If I only could do anything…

Hey, I could!

I just had to be sneaky.

Very sneaky.

And have the web ready.

I dove under the table next to the kid’s table and waited to make sure he hadn’t noticed me. When I heard nothing from him, I dashed under his table. He didn’t look under the table. Good.

I took a look at the scrapes on his knee. There was dried blood and dust around them. Nothing my webs couldn’t deal with, though.

I smiled, trying my best to contain my snickering. I pressed the webs on his wounds as lightly as I could to avoid starting him and bolted.

If he noticed me, I didn’t know. However, I knew that I had done something good this year.

As I left the scene at sundown, I snickered at the new memories. This was the best carnival in years. So much fun!

I can’t wait to see the next one! Maybe that kid will be there too.

I sure hope so!

Maybe some year he’ll let me talk to him, too!

I can’t wait!

FFM 2020 23: Deadly Discovery

Warning: Gore

Honestly, I’m disgusted with that book myself. Everything outside it is very vague (horror rather than gory), but the book’s contents are disgusting and gory. Read at your own risk.

No prompt used.

Challenge: The story must embrace one of the 5 elements of Discordianism (or combine them) and use the Modernist steam of consciousness style of writing (“not inner monologue, but rather the expression of the natural, rambling fluidity of the narrator’s thoughts”). Optional: The wordcount must be a multiple of 14.

I’m going to be honest. I noticed the “one of” part only when I started to write the challenge requirements here near 9PM, after having used all elements in my story. Although, since combinations are ok, this one’s fine since this is a combination of all (lol). As for the elements, I decided to go for their numeric aspects. The wordcount, being 343, is a multiple of 14 (31*14=343).

The book, titled Discordance, is badly damaged — torn, dripping wet and charred — but you open it to read it anyway. You need to know what your lover was hiding, what possibly could have made them fight like a banshee for keeping it a secret when they had told there were no secrets between them ever, what even is going on here anymore.

Step 1: Pick your weapons, the most trusted weapons that you can use the best, the weapons that you know you can handle under stress and carry until the end, no matter what haōœ

ep 4: Once yuŧr hÞſơ that your target is dead, prepare a bowl, a big bowl. Cut main arteries — see image gallery 4 at the back, the one with the bodies and blood — over the bowl and let it fill with the blood while the dead is still fresh and dripping and fantastically delicious.

Step 7: The blood should now have become sticky, yet deliciously crimson like the roses of ΏǐǽΞΦέ, ωςθέÞ

9.33: Now, fill it with sugar, rose petals and the dead’s heart and let them all sink in, get fully immersed and swell with blood before you step in

p 11: When you wake up under the full moon, let its light engulf you, pierce you, fill you like no light has ever done. Let the powers that be in, become one with them, let them become one with you, like nothing ever has been in your life and let the transformation begin.

A piercing pain between your shoulder blades makes you gasp when you get pushed to the floor, then turned around so that you can see that your lover has recovered far sooner than you expected, that they had taken the opportunity to strike you while you were busy being disgusted and partly enthralled by the horrific writings on the surviving pages of the book.

“I’m sorry, love, but this is how it has to be, how it has to end now that you know my secret,” your lover says and starts to turn into something different, something horrific that you cannot identify.

You scream, you scream with hopes that it would save you, but it is too late, far too late. You stand up and try to run while the transformation is ongoing, hoping that you could somehow cover enough distance to get help, get cover, just get away, but it is too late. Your lover catches up, you fall down to the ground, pain goes up tenfold, starting from your waist and your world goes black as you scream your last breath.

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 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 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 7: The Worst Sunset Ever

No prompt used. Challenge instead.

The challenge: Obtain challenges from other FFMers (and challenge others as well) and pick a line of dialogue and two complex characters who work together for a goal. My choices ended up being: “Just toss the fucking underwear in the fire!” (from SarcasticCupcake5), A fighter pilot, crash-landed and separated from their squadron, hopelessly lost, and hopelessly optimistic. (from The-Inkling) and A vampire who likes to paint sunsets (from GDeyke).

It was a normal day for Roshan: a healthy dose of blood for breakfast, admiring his previous paintings, making sure that he was not running out of blood soon and preparing to leave for the cliff to paint the day’s sunset. It would hurt his skin again, but since it was the sunset, it was worth it. He healed during the night and the morning anyway, so the discomfort was a small price to pay.

That evening, after returning home with a new sunset painting, he was going to see which of the paintings he would sell at the art fair next month. He did not want to part ways with any of his paintings, but truth to be told, he was running out of space. He had to get rid of some of them or else some of the paintings would suffer on the floor, getting dust and perhaps unwelcome guests such as mice. That would not do.

That all came to a halt when he found a human sitting at his painting spot with a campfire burning. His clothes lay scattered around it and he had a blanket wrapped around himself.

Roshan stopped, trying to figure out what to do. Why was someone here of all places? And why did they have a campfire there?

And what was that smell?

The human turned to look behind their back, as if they had sensed that someone was looking at them. The look of surprise turned into delight. “Finally a person! I’ve been looking for civilization for days.”
“Why are you here?” Roshan asked, more concerned about why his own place, on his own property, was being disgraced like this rather than the identity of this apparently male human.
“My fighter crashlanded a couple of days ago. My squadron didn’t come for me, so I decided that I’ll trek to some direction until I’d find other people. I knew I’d find someone eventually.” The man smiled. “I’m Teague Zomber, although you can call me Tea.”
Roshan blinked a few times. “I’m Roshan.” He looked at the sunset. He would lose it if he did not paint it soon. “I take it you want to get to other humans?”
“Yes, that would be lovely,” Tea told, giving a smile so sweet it disgusted Roshan.
“Very well.” Roshan would not miss a sunset for any reason. “I’ll paint this sunset, let you stay at my place for the night and take you to the nearby village in the morning. Deal?”
“Deal,” Tea agreed.

With a sigh, Roshan set his canvas at the wrong spot and got to work. With so little time left, he rushed the painting. If he would have his way, he would have Tea depart with it as a price for the help.

At some point, Tea started to dress up again. Then Roshan found the source of the smell.
“What the hell? Burn that thing!” he roared.
“But they’re my underwear!” Tea cried out, horrified.
“They’re disgusting!”
“But they’ll be all good after I wash them!”
“Just toss the fucking underwear in the fire!”
“Do it for fuck’s sake!”

Tea tossed his soiled underwear into the fire. The smell got even worse. Roshan gagged. Had he not felt sick, he would have tossed this fool down the cliff and retrieved his blood later for all the trouble he had caused.

He had better help the man to get rid of him the human-approved way.

In the next morning, Tea bid farewell to a shield-coated Roshan with a smelly, sloppy sunset painting tucked under his armpit. Roshan merely snarled in return and watched as the man’s bus left, taking the fighter pilot away with him.

Only once he was sure that Teague Zomber was gone did Roshan leave, swearing that after he was done with deep-cleaning every room Tea was in and his painting spot, he would take a good feast to blur the memories of the insolent man he had had to spend time with.

FFM 2020 4: A Rhombus Artifact

No prompt used. The challenge dictated my direction.

The challenge: The story must center around an ancient artifact (real or fictional), it must take place over the course of a weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), there must be a character suffering from delusions of grandiosity and it must incorporate a hymn (real of fictional) into the world.

“I tell you, this excavation will be the birthplace of the discovery of the century!” the excavation leader, Cuarto, proclaimed as he stood on the highest spot within a twenty-meter radius to give his speech.

Kasia yawned. Some others did as well, but Kasia did not bother hiding it. Cuarto fixed a glare on her only to receive a nonchalant cock of an eyebrow in return; Kasia knew that she could not get kicked out of the team just for showing how fed up she was to be standing at a dusty excavation site on an early Friday morning listening to a delusional speech.

Had the pay not been so good, she would have walked back to her car to drive home and sleep in her bed the moment Cuarto climbed onto the high ground. She might have even made it back before Cuarto would have stopped talking, more thanks to his long speeches than the lack of traffic in the area at the time.

“This time, I am absolutely sure that we will find an artifact!” Cuarto returned to his speech. “So, let’s get to work and find it!”

After a bunch of unenthusiastic yays, the group scattered and started digging around. Kasia knelt on the ground and dug in.

It had been a bit over 14 hours since that speech. Kasia regretted not leaving more than she could have imagined she ever would.

They had ended up finding an artifact: it had seemed to be a mere black gemstone that had been fashioned into an incredibly smooth rhombus. The tests, however, had showed that it actually dated back long enough to be ancient — and, since it was so smooth and clearly fashioned with intent, an insanely big find. Cuarto giving more delusional speeches notwithstanding it had still been fine. For Kasia, it meant that she was both getting paid a bonus and she was going to get a big discovery to put on her resume.

Then Eeva had picked it up to move it into a container and things had gotten weird. First, the container had turned into liquorice — that was already bad enough — but then it had started to turn other objects it touched into liquorice as well as long as it was in her hands.

It had started a chaos: a few ran away from Eeva and the artifact, Zarif had started to sing through the long list of hymns he knew, Cuarto and most others were freaking out, Eeva was panicking and Kasia just looked at the mess, dumbfounded and pondering if they paid her enough to deal with this.

This was probably going to be a find of the century after all, although definitely not for any of the reasons Cuarto had thought it would be while giving his speeches. It was probably worth staying, so Kasia took the artifact from the spot Eeva had dropped it to from her hands and tried it out. It did not turn anything into liquorice in her hands.

“Anyone else wanna try?” she asked and offered it around. Everyone just stepped back in panic as if she was waving a gun around. Kasia shrugged. “Ok, then I’ll go and do research on this myself. Eeva, could you come with me? I have a feeling I’m going to need you.”

Eeva did not seem delighted about the situation at all, but she followed Kasia into a tent for testing purposes.

24 hours later, Kasia had already proved that the artifact seemed to work in the hands of those from the Nordics, although the effect of their relationship with liquorice was still undetermined.

At that point, Kasia negotiated a notable raise from Cuarto and his superiors to continue the research. Eeva, on the other hand, had left the moment Kasia had announced her theory, cussing something — probably the artifact — out in Finnish.

It was glorious.

The woman leaving was fine, though. Kasia knew that a liquorice-making artifact like this would attract experimentees and researchers like a lamp attracted moths. She returned to work so that she could get the word out by Sunday.

In the Sunday evening, Kasia took a look at what had happened during the last 72 hours: the team had found an ancient magical artifact that can turn objects into liquorice, she had taken over the team and overthrown Cuarto, gotten a theory on who can wield the artifact and evidence for it, gotten a huge raise and a better contract, posted an announcement and a call for researchers and experimentees alike and received some applications from both already.

As she looked at the list on the excavation log, she could not help smiling widely. Staying had been more than worth it after all; she might have found a way out of her dead-end jobs, or at the very least least she now had something interesting to do for a while.

The only downside to this was that Kasia hated liquorice. She knew that she could handle it, though.

FFM 2020 2: Mother Earth Dying

The prompt used: My washing machine is telling me to file for backruptcy. by WindySilver.

The challenge: Write a 369er (three separate but interrelated 69-word stories) with a conflict in their center. The first story must be after the conflict, the second one during it and the third one before it.

84 years after Fiirddokha invaded Earth, they finally got enough. We resurfaced into a barren wasteland, equipped with oxygen tanks because the atmosphere was mostly carbon dioxide then.

We knew immediately that restoring our planet would be the biggest challenge humanity had ever had, but we were up to the task.

Ten years have gone by and Earth is now starting to look more like itself.

We will succeed.

We shamans have been listening to Mother Earth weep for four decades now. Her cries have grown quieter over the years.

The greenhouses and zoos in our sanctuaries and on other planets are the only hope of restoring her after the invaders tire of hurting her. We must guard them — not just we shamans, but all still living humans.

If we don’t cooperate, Mother Earth will die for good.

“Honey, the washing machine is telling me to file for bankruptcy!” I called out from the laundry room.
“You downloaded something strange into our network again, honey!”
“No!” I knew I sounded too undignified to sound convincing. I looked at the message and admitted my defeat under my breath, “Okay, I did.”
“Told you so! Running the cleaning process!”

I sighed; our network cleaning process was always a pain.