Friday, July 25, 2014

100 Words a Day 643, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 13/23

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The creaking of the gatarra’s joints matched that of the screen door. Her small pack of cats was gathered outside, waiting to be fed. They struck up a chorus as she opened the door, but did not enter the old house she lived in. She stepped onto the porch wearing a shapeless hat, old pajama pants, and a long sleeve shirt with holes in the elbows. The cats crowded around the food bowls and ate, oblivious to the old woman’s odor. She stepped back inside without noticing the neighborhood boys watching. They had long given up making fun of her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

100 Words a Day 642, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 12/23

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The way through the funeral home was laden with wreathes.

“Guess he was connected,” I remarked to my wife.

“Shh,” she scolded, glancing around.

“What? Everybody knows.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to say it.”

I let the matter drop as we sat down.

Once everyone was seated, someone got up and began to speak.

“Times like this remind me of wabi-sabi. From the acorn comes the tree. The tree falls and turns to dirt, a home for new acorns. Tony understood this. He lived his life knowing it wouldn’t last, but conscious that that’s just the way things are.

Monday, July 21, 2014

100 Words a Day 641, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 11/23

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They sat in the tree, looking over the lake, and watching the sunset. The rhythmic lapping of the waves blended with the leaves, rustled by the soft breeze. Both inhaled deeply, filling their noses with the smell of the fresh water. Sighing, they relaxed further into each other’s arms and continued to watch the sunset in silence. After a moment, the sun finally set. It was a moment of aware. As darkness descended the two parted forever. Their lives marched on and when they reached a difficult road they would call to mind that supreme moment of unity and relaxation.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

100 Words a Day 640, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 10/23

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The teacher stopped her lecture midsentence. She swallowed a sigh.

“Yes, Paul?” she asked, desperately trying to hide her exasperation.

“What if it’s a list of a list? How does that affect the equation?”

Veronica saw the class roll their eyes collectively, and she wished she could do the same. Paul was a pochemuchka if there is ever was one. His incessant questions were the talk of the teachers’ lounge every year.

“Why don’t we save the enrichment questions for later, Paul?” Veronica said.

“Okay,” Paul replied, his smug and self-congratulating smile making several of the other students retch silently.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

100 Words a Day 639, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 9/23

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Joel stood up from the bar and faced the man in black who had been harassing him.

“Why don’t you sit back down before you get hurt,” the man said.

Joel put a finger on the man’s chest and calmly said: “It sounds like your mouth is writing checks that your ass can’t cash.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

“Well,” responded Joel, “you do have a regular backpfeifengesicht.”

“A what?” the man asked, leaning forward and trying to stare Joel down.

The only thing he stared down was Joel’s fist.

“Looked like you wanted a knuckle sandwich.”

100 Words a Day 638, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 8/23

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Rachel and Laura sat on the CTA bus as it bounced along Ashland avenue, the driver making no attempt to avoid the numerous potholes. They did not know each other and had no shared connection, apart from both being on the bus and both staring at the dirty floor. They looked up together, their eyes meeting, and a moment of mamihlapinatapei passed between them.

There was recognition there, that they were both awkward and hated talking to people. That recognition made each want to reach out to the other. Unfortunately, neither wanted to make the first move, which required talking.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

100 Words a Day 637, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 7/23

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Waldeinsamkeit, that was the only way to describe the feeling. I was surrounded by figures as I walked through the woods. They didn’t speak to me, nor even acknowledge my presence. They beings made no noise and disturbed nothing as they floated, so it seemed to me, through the woods. Their bodies were translucent, almost clear, and I would lose track of them in the fading light. As the sun descended, I began to feel more and more alone. I continued through the night, using a lantern to find the forest trail. The wraiths were invisible in the dark night

Monday, June 16, 2014

100 Words a Day 636, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 6/23

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“The advent of the ereader and permafree has resulted in two phenomena, a reduction in the volume of books cluttering people’s houses and an increase in tsundoku. People have easy access to more books than ever; you can download whole catalogues of work with the touch of a button. However, these books are competing for attention with a myriad of similarly easy to access distractions, and, as a consequence, often remain unread. People who would like to be readers are finding themselves with more space, because they no longer need to physically store their books, but more unopened, unread books.”

100 Words a Day 635, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 5/23

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Goru faced the man who blocked his way on the forest path, his enemy. The sun was overhead and the trees swayed in the cool breeze. The resulting komorebi made him squint, his eyes teased by the fluttering light. His sword emerged from the scabbard with a slow, scraping sound. He held the sword towards his opponent, turning the blade in hopes of reflecting the sunbeams into the man’s eyes. He advanced by sliding his feet forward, one at a time, along the ground, gripping the earth with his toes. The other man did the same. The two slowly closed.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

100 Words a Day 634, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 4/23

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A lot of tingo goes on in the neighborhoods of the space ring. It began when the wealthy pioneers of space living began rubbing shoulders with the poorer inhabitants, brought in as a part of the service economy or when the financial barrier to entry was lowered. The indolence of the rich meant that they failed to care when one of their less fortunate neighbors did not return some inconsequential item borrowed for some minor purpose. The resulting culture that developed was one where people never returned what they borrowed and too lazy to replace the items they were missing.

Friday, June 13, 2014

100 Words a Day 633, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 3/23

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“I hated Waiting for Godu; nothing grinds my gears like iktsaurpok,” Edward said.

“Excuse me?” Alex replied.

“Yeah. Nothing is worse than waiting around for someone. I’m always on time and hardly anyone I know is on time. I respect other people’s schedules and they don’t respect mine,” Edward ranted.

“Uh hu…” Alex replied. “Well, if you know people are going to be late, why don’t you just show up late yourself?”

“Because that’s rude!”

“Well, I suppose, if they end up arriving on time. But if you keep showing up on time when you know they won’t, that’s crazy.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

100 Words a Day 632, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 2/23

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“Papakata. Papakata. Papakata,” the children shouted as they chased Jeffery down the dirt road. The boy limped away from them as fast as possible, doing his best on uneven legs. One leg had recently become longer than the other and the other children had started teasing him mercilessly. It started with name calling and progressed to kids mimicking him, before arriving at his schoolmates assaulting him. Now he ran home as fast as possible after school. Initially, the other children caught him easily. He was beginning to get faster and they were beginning to get bored with the whole experience.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

100 Words a Day 631, 23 Untranslatable Words From Other Languages 1/23

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“I wish I was in France.”


“I wish I was in France. It’s so romantic there.”

“How would you know that? You’ve never been.”

“I just know. I can just imagine myself sitting in a little café by the Seine.

“Oh, and is Paris more beautiful in the rain?”

“Ugh, no Owen Wilson sucks. It’s more beautiful in the summer, when love is in the air.”

“Sounds like someone has a serious case of fernweh. Have you ever even met a French person? While they may have a reputation for being romantic, they definitely don’t have one for fidelity.”

Sunday, June 8, 2014

100 Words a Day 630 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 27/27

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Her text had said it was lumming out. When she stepped into the room I figured it out.

“You’re soaked,” I said.

“Yes,” she replied, her ill humor evident in her voice as water soaked the floor beneath her feet.

“It’s kinda hot,” I said, with what I imagined was a twinkle in my eye.

“It is not hot. I am uncomfortable; I am cold; I want a hot shower.”

“Can I join you in this hot shower?” I asked, wiggling my eyebrows outrageously.

A hint of a smile shined through her disgruntled façade. “I suppose that might be acceptable.”

100 Words a Day 629 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 26/27

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The curmuring began on the train. It was after the first murmur that I that I decided my initial conclusion as to whether or not those leftovers were still good had been wrong. As the rumblings in my gut worsened, it was as though I could feel the results of my bad decision traveling through my digestive track. I was clenched and sweating by the time I got to my interview. A look of understanding came over the receptionist when I asked where the bathroom was. I can only imagine what was going through her head as I waddled away.

100 Words a Day 628 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 25/27

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“I broke up with him because he’s a slubberdergullion. It had nothing to do with his job,” Kathy said.

“A what?” Georgia asked, a look of confusion on her face.

“A slubberdergullion! A lout! A laze about! He just sat around all day.”

“Did he at least do some housework?”

“No! He just sat around getting fat, which I wouldn’t have minded if he was cleaning the house or working.”

“Yeah, if you aren’t keeping the house up or working, you should at least keep yourself nice to look at.”

“I know, right! Ugh, why are boys so fucking dumb.”

Thursday, June 5, 2014

100 Words a Day 627 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 24/27

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“Yeah, I had to put H.P. Lovecraft down.”

“Why? His stuff is boss.”

“Yeah… It triggered my lethophobia.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, basically, I am afraid of the end of the world.”


“Yeah, so you can imagine how reading about something like the inevitable conquest of our reality by some being too terrible to comprehend makes me feel.”

“Ha, yeah. I can see why that might freak you out, dork.”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s just a scary story dude and it isn’t even that scary. Ooooh,” he said, waving his fingers for emphasis, “the unpronounceable monster is coming for us all.”

100 Words a Day 626 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 23/27

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“Ow!” I cried, hopping up and down holding my foot, having stepped on my dice. I let out a sigh of relief as the pain faded, and sat down.

I just did not understand. I double checked the floor after we had finished playing Dungeons and Dragons, and I had not been able to find any dice. I was sure I put them all away.

It was just like them to be so resistentialist. Every time I rolled them it seemed they came up a one; it only makes sense that they would try to hurt me physically as well.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

100 Words a Day 625 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 22/27

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“The theme of the effigy made animate goes back a considerable ways, perhaps beyond Galatea, and into the distant past. At the end of the twentieth century the character tended towards the benign. Pinocchio is a children’s story about a quokerwodger that is given life by supernatural means and goes on to experience a number of life lessons, for example. Since then, the animated figure has taken on a more diabolic form. Murderous dolls were only the beginning. It quickly became living statues devoid of all conscience before settling on machines, these metal figures crushing humanity with cold, steel fists.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

100 Words a Day 624 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 21/27

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The jail contained two distinct groups Sunday morning. The first group would probably end up in prison. It consisted of people apprehended on suspicions of committing crimes, usually theft or assault. The second group consisted of people sleeping off a night of bad decisions, the first of which was having too much to drink.

Today, this second group consisted of teens. They had been hauled in, completely fuzzled, during a noise complaint. Someone’s parents were out of town and they had thrown a party with the liquor cabinet.

I wish I could be there when they get back into town.

Castle Ravenloft

Castle Ravenloft is a cooperative, exploration game based on the Dungeon and Dragon 4th edition rules. It is a recent addition to the adventure game genre and owes much to what is perhaps the most famous game of that type, Heroquest. The players take on the role of heroes, descending into the depths of a dungeon, or in this case, Castle Ravenloft. Unlike other adventure games, which require a player to run the dungeon and monsters, Castle Ravenloft is totally cooperative. The dungeon is generated randomly each playthrough, increasing replayability, and the monsters have scripts to determine how they act.

The mechanics of the game are loosely based around Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition, but lack much of the complexity and the roleplaying elements found in D&D. Each character begins the game with a number of powers that they can use during the adventure to fight monsters. In addition, each hero has an ability that enhances the fighting prowess of nearby heroes or helps defeat non-monster challenges. The mechanic for challenge resolution involves rolling a twenty-sided die, adding any bonuses, and comparing it against a difficulty number. If the total meets or exceeds the difficulty number, the roll is a success.

Gameplay is broken into turns. Each turn involves three phases: Hero, Exploration, and Villain. During the Hero phase, the player moves their piece through the dungeon and attacks monsters or disarms traps. During the Exploration phase a new piece of the dungeon is revealed along with any monsters or events associated it with. Finally, in the Villain phase, the monsters act.

The missions are diverse and challenge the players in a variety of fashions. There are a numerous boss fights, including one against a reanimated dragon skeleton. There are fetch quests, a defend the fort scenario, etc. One of the more difficult missions involves the players beginning isolated and unable to aid each other.

The high degree of difficulty makes Castle Ravenloft very satisfying. However, it does cause some problems. It feels necessary to always have one player take the role of the cleric. Without a doubt, the cleric is the least exciting character, but being able to heal the other players has proven, in my experience, to be too useful an ability to leave behind.

Castle Ravenloft is the first of three, so far, games based on the Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition rules and is regarded as the most difficult. There is a high degree of randomness, between the twenty-sided die, dungeon generation, monster spawning, and traps that can cause rapid and spectacular losses. That said, the more players there are, the less likely it is that a sudden Total Party Kill will occur. If you believe gaming is not fun unless it hurts, or if the idea of killing monsters and taking their stuff gets you out of bed in the morning, Castle Ravenloft is right up your alley.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

100 Words a Day 623 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 20/27

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It was summer. Therefore, it was hot. I dragged my feet across the hot timbers of the boardwalk, sweating, on my way to work. I hated that job, absolutely hated it. The tourists were rude; the bosses were abusive, the air conditioning nonexistent.

I forgot about all that while passing The Hot Sun, an outdoor bar. It was lined with a row of women that made me stop and bite my knuckle. They all faced the bar, ignoring everyone. I had never seen such a row of callipyian women. The thongs they wore vanished between the sweet cheeks they possessed.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

100 Words a Day 622 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 19/27

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I pressed myself to the wall to more fully hear the muted sound, music like nothing I had heard previously. The mysterious player was creating harmonies previously unknown to me. Their unknown instrument possessed a bright timbre and otherworldly tone, generating notes that were monsterful.

I returned every night that week to the small crawlspace where I stored my objects of sentiment and out of season clothing to be serenaded by that fascinating sound. Each night the piece was different. As the week wore on, the sounds became dark and ominous, finally becoming so terrifying as to preclude my returning.

Friday, May 30, 2014

100 Words a Day 621 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 18/27

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“You’re such a beef-witted douchenozzle!” Cassidy shouted at Grady, who stared at the floor.

“Don’t you have anything to say? How could you do this to me? I thought you loved me.”

Grady kept silent.

Cassidy continued her tirade against her contrite boyfriend until she was interrupted by her phone. It was her friend Sara.

“Sara, you will never guess what happened. I found lipstick in Grady’s pocket. I can’t believe he was cheating on me.”

There was a pause. “What? Yeah, it’s an Avon product.”

Another pause.

“What! He’s been selling Avon and was too embarrassed to tell me?”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bad Ass with a Mysterious Past

Shadow, Wolverine, Boba Fett. Everyone has their favorite antihero or villain with a mysterious backstory. They are rugged, independent, pay lip service to the law, and don’t play well with others. Basically, they are everything a social outcast, (i.e. a nerd, before it was cool), from a country of pioneers that revolted against the motherland would want to be. While their mysterious past is rarely the main appeal of such a character, it certainly is a key part of what makes them interesting.

It would perhaps be wrong to say people love mystery or they love to solve puzzles. Rather, people have a need to figure things out, an urge to find some kind of resolution. The desire is so strong that it compels them to create the missing pieces of the puzzle, or it drives them insane. For evidence of this, look up some of the theories about the secret meanings of Don Quixote.

This compulsion has the unfortunate tendency to ruin characters for whom mystery is part of their allure. When Shadow, from Final Fantasy Six, is first introduced, we are informed that “he’d slit his mama’s throat for a nickel,” and “He owe allegiance to no one, and will do anything for money. He comes and goes like the wind.” If one finishes the game without learning his backstory, they are left with little beyond this initial impression, and the less said, the better. It allows the player to imagine a vague backstory as they will while focusing on the core of Shadow’s character, his awesome ninja skills and killiness.

When the player learns Shadow’s backstory, he ceases to be this ruthless badass with some vague past and becomes a guy who robbed a train, fathered Relm and then ran from his guilt over abandoning his partner in crime. He moves from being an awesome, killy ninja assassin guy to a man fleeing from his past, which detracts from his characterization as a badass. It leaves the player with a vaguely unsatisfied feeling when Shadow’s background fails to live up to the nebulous backstory they have constructed for him. The same is true for Wolverine, Boba Fett, or any other character antihero or villain with a mysterious past.

So, let’s leave the background of the badass, independent guy alone. It’s better that way, unless you want him to turn out to be a clone, or a depressed train robber, or a farmer from Canada.

100 Words a Day 620 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 17/27

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It was a puzzling case, the one that currently had Inspector Colt perplexed. It looked like a double murder and a suicide, but something did not add up, as these things tend not to when a protagonist is involved, and that bothered Colt. The narrative of events seemed a bit too obvious, the kicked in backdoor, the note, even the placement of the weapon.

Colt paused in his walk when he reached the lakefront. He removed his pipe from his mouth and refilled it with sweet tobacco. After relighting it, he set off again, continuing his lunting and his thinking.

100 Words a Day 619 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 16/27

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I emerged from the dark recesses of the forgotten cave and found myself in the red and purple twitter-light. The mountainside was silent, but that meant nothing. Many explorers had learned, to their folly, that the natives of this terrible place could move as shadows when it suited. I squinted into the fading light. Seeing nothing, I bent all my efforts to penetrating the wall of silence, hoping to hear the sound of shifting stones that would indicate another presence, I heard nothing. It was when I reached my climbing gear that I heard a pebble bouncing down the mountain.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

100 Words a Day 618 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 15/27

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I arrived to the station to find chaos, everyone rushing about. Every desk was covered with papers, some loose, some in three-ring binders. Someone had forgotten to close the blinds in the conference room. It was obvious they were engaged in furious debate on the current crisis.

I made my way through the tangle of people, hearing snatches of conversation as I did so. Most of it had to do with what would come to be called The Event, but as I passed the water cooler I heard two of my coworkers brabbling furiously over some morsel of celebrity gossip.

Monday, May 26, 2014

100 Words a Day 617 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 14/27

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Curglaff, that is what I experienced when I did a cannonball into the pool at the Parador in Jaen. It’s a hotel in a castle on top of a mountain, or tall hill I suppose. I wouldn’t really be able to tell you the difference. The pool was without a doubt, the coldest body of water I have every experienced, even in the summer; though I am sure this is no longer the case as their more upscale clientele no doubt demand warmer water. And I am saddened by that. Nothing made you feel tough like jumping in that pool.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

100 Words a Day 616 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 13/27

“I’ve become a regular jollux,” Jeff said.

“A what?” Sara asked.

“It means I’m fat,” he replied.

“Ah, baby, you’re not fat!”

“Yes I am,” Jeff insisted, cupping his belly and giving it a jiggle. “Look at this.”

“Oh stop it,” Sara said, rolling her eyes. “I still think you’re sexy.”

“But when we started dating I was in great shape. Now I am doughy.”

“I like you with a bit of pooge,” Sara said, laughing at her boyfriend’s sad face and rubbing his stomach. “You were nice to look at back then, but I really prefer this cuddlier version.”

100 Words a Day 615 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 12/27

“Man, did you see Becky today?”

“Yeah dude, she is looking super hot. What did she eat over the summer?”

“I don’t know, but I am definitely sitting next to her at lunch. And probably getting her number.”

“Whatever dude, there’s no way she’s going out with you.”

“Why not? She certainly won’t pick you over me.”

“Maybe not, but she thinks you are a huge douche.”

“I can make her change her mind.”

The two boys fell silent. After a moment, Josh spoke again.

“Man, she used to be such a howler.”

“Yeah, but she’s a regular snoutfair now.”

Monday, May 12, 2014

100 Words a Day 614 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 11/27

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“You would be lucky as to end up with a man like me!” Gary declared at back of the attractive woman walking away from him. The other patrons of the bar turned to stare.

“Keep on walking. If you can’t recognize quality in a man, you must be trash yourself,” he continued.

Two large bouncers floated through the crowd towards him.

When they were in front of him, he spat a series of vitriols at them.

“Your short ass is out of here you little cockalorum. It’s up to you if you want to leave with all your teeth intact.”

100 Words a Day 613 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 10/27

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I rounded the corner of the jungle trail and found myself frozen. Before me stood a panther, long and sleek. Its large eyes met mine and I was gorgonized. It continued to stare as it sank back onto its hind legs. My brain demanded that I turn and flee, but my muscles failed to respond. Once it was ready to spring, the cat shook its tail, which reminded me of how my housecat looked before it jumped on a toy mouse. It leapt through the air and sailed towards me, but was blown to the side at the last moment.

100 Words a Day 612 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 9/27

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I was eating breakfast in the small cabin’s kitchen. I had slept great. The walls were thin but neither the abundance of nature outside, nor the two couples, Jeremy and Jessica and Ricky and Veronica, had made any noise. It left me hopeful. If an isolated, romantic cabin wasn’t eliciting the behavior the movies said it normally did, maybe she wasn’t as enamored with him as I had feared.

The bubble of hope welling up inside me was instantly deflated when Jeremy and Jessica entered. The elflocks running through her hair left no doubt they had been doing last night.

Friday, May 9, 2014

100 Words a Day 611 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 8/27

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Once everyone had their coffees and lattes and whatnots, it was time for the morning twattle session.

“Did you see that Eric is wearing the same outfit as yesterday?” Sharon said to Veronica, titillation evident in her loud whispering.

“I did!” Veronica responded. “And Susan is looking very relaxed today,” she continued, casting a glance across the room at one of their other coworkers.

“Psh,” Sharon said, leaning away and putting a hand on Veronica’s shoulder. “You look very relaxed today too, Veronica.”

Veronica turned bright red before putting her finger to her lips. “Shhh, don’t tell anyone,” she implored.

100 Words a Day 610 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 7/27

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“I don’t understand Chicago weather,” Krissy said to Lizzy.

“What do you mean?” she responded.

“It’s December. It’s cold. That makes sense. But one day it’s zero out and the next day it’s thirty five with enough apricity to melt a glacier.”


“So? That’s not normal! Everywhere else it gets colder gradually, with a little variation, through the winter and then gets warmer then.”

“I guess. We are just tougher in Chicago. We roll with the punches.”

“Ooooor people in Chicago are crazy to live here.”

“Psh, you suburbanites are just soft and squishy, getting lost in a cul-de-sac.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

100 Words a Day 609 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 6/27

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On the way home from the airport, my dad started telling me about some book he was trying to read.

“At first I was having an okay time of it. But I’ve been jargogled by string theory. I can’t wrap my head around it.”

“It is a bit weird that string theory says the universe is made up of music,” I replied.

“Yeah.”v “Even weirder how people like Tolkien had things like the primordial melody before string theory was conceived.”

“Yeah, or those monks in that Terry Pratchett novel.”

Having run out of literary examples, we turned to other topics.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

100 Words a Day 608 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 5/27

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When I left the house, it was warm enough for sneakers. I smiled when I felt the unseasonably toasty sun. As I worked, I saw the sun vanish, hidden by dark clouds. The stereotypically ominous clouds made me apprehensive. It turned out to be apprehension well founded; it started snowing. Oddly, the evening warmed up enough that the snow, which had been sticking during the day, began to melt. Consequently, I found myself walking through grey slush, the snowbroth quickly saturating both my shoes and my socks. The squishy sensation would have been pleasant, except that my feet were freezing.

100 Words a Day 607 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 4/27

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Anna staggered into the bright kitchen with gummy eyes, a haggard face, and disheveled pajamas.

“Late night?” Jennifer asked in a cheery voice.

She received a grunt in reply. Jennifer nodded. Anna was as grumpish as she looked.

“How late were you up last night?” Jennifer asked, maintaining the sickeningly sweet tone from before. It continued to grate on Anna.

Another grunt.

“I hate you,” Anna said, pouring herself a cup of coffee.

Jennifer hummed as she washed her dishes and cleaned the stove before preparing for work.

Anna stewed in the kitchen drinking her coffee and slowly cheering up.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

100 Words a Day 606 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 3/27

Check out the article here “Ugh,” Shane said after the first half mile of his and Larry’s morning run. “I feel really crapulous today. Overeating and getting loaded last night was definitely a mistake.”

“We can run slower if you want,” Larry said.

“No, it’s cool. I’ll be fine,” Shane managed to get out between huffs.

Larry made a skeptical face, but refrained from commenting on Shane’s unusual pallor.

They ran their usual circuit, Shane’s misery from overindulgence slowly transforming into misery from exercise. By the time they finished, the color had returned to his cheeks and he did not look like he would vomit.

100 Words a Day 605 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 2/27

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The magistrate entered the courtroom. He moved through the ritual at a stately pace, as befitted the circumstances. His polished boots gleamed as he passed in front of one of the numerous windows illuminating the hall, the sunbeam warming his face, but failing to penetrate the layers of clothing his office demanded of him. When he finally reached his chair and sat, the charges were read.

“Nicholas Flannigan is accused of the most serious crimes of arson and murder, which were brought to the attention of the Justice after he was found hugger-muggering in an dark alley near the fire.”

Friday, May 2, 2014

100 Words a Day 604 27 Delightful Obsolete Words It's High Time We Revived 1/27

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Day[9] was hungry. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that it was lunchtime. And he was in the school cafeteria. And everyone else was there, eating.

His stomach growled and his mouth watered. His mother had given him money for lunch, but he was saving it to buy a pizza on Saturday.

He sat at the short end of one of the long lunch tables. At the other end was Felicity.

She looked up. “Do you want some of my sandwich?”

Wordlessly, Day[9] went and sat next to her.

“I couldn’t stand you sitting there groaking at me.”

Thursday, May 1, 2014

100 Words a Day 603

“Do you know what the May Pole represents?” Krisy asked me, giggling and leaning towards me.

I ran my along her side and let it rest on her hip. “No, but I’d love to hear about it,” I responded.

“Well, let’s just say I can’t show you at the bar. We’d have to go someplace private.”

“I can think of a private place we can go where you can show me,” she said, continuing to giggle and rubbing her foot against my calf.

“Yeah?” I said. “Where’s that?”

“My place,” she replied, grinning.

She leaned forward and I grinned back.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

100 Words a Day 602

Jefferson and Ophelia had not moved in several hours, except as required by the video game they were playing.

“This is awesome,” Jefferson thought. “Ophelia is awesome.”

He was shocked out of his brief thought by the sound of his character dying.

“Boo yah! In your face,” Ophelia shouted, jumping off the couch for emphasis.

She pushed her thick-rimmed glasses back into place and sat down, cracking her knuckles while she waited for Jefferson to pick a fighter from the character selection screen.

As darkness descended, a chill filled the air.

“I’m cold,” Ophelia stated.

“I’ll get you a blanket.”

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

100 Words a Day 601

“I entwined myself in the rope and lowered myself from the rafter. Lord Kodo was sleeping alone. That was not part of the plan, but I proceeded unfazed. After Lord Kodo had breathed his last, I returned to the ceiling and considered Lady Kodo’s likely location. After deciding she would mostly likely be in her sister’s apartment, as she was visiting from her own estate. I arrived at the guest suite via the rooftops. After disabling a guard, I made my way through each room until I located Lady Kodo. After ensuring the dripping poison had taken effect I egressed.

Monday, April 28, 2014

100 Words a Day 600

The car was in the driveway and the front door open. The whole house was silent, unmoving. Max approached, peering at the windows, trying to ascertain whether or not anyone was inside. Seeing nothing, he opened the door with the tip of his pistol, listening for any noise within the home. Welcomed into the home by silence, he stalked through the foyer and into the kitchen. He faced the door on the other side of the kitchen, but searched for anything unusual with his eyes. A knife was missing from the knife block. It was not in the dish drain.

100 Words a Day 599

The man had a round, bare head. It looked as though it was from a combination of balding and shaving. His face blended into his fat neck, both were bare of hair. His unremarkable lips wore a smile and were framed by light jowls, the sign of a man on the cusp of giving into sloth. A life indoors had left him with pale skin, but splotched with red from too much drinking and a generally indifferent attitude towards health. His eyes sat behind an unremarkable nose, their blue irises startling and were filled with not intelligence, but animal cunning.

100 Words a Day 598

It was raining. Johnny and Steve sat by the window, head in hands, and looked at the wet, grey world, expressions of boredom plastered to their faces. They had already exhausted their allotted video game time for the day, and then some, and their mother was deaf to their pleas for more time. The boys had read until they could not stare at the page anymore and determined that it was Colonel Mustard who in fact was the murderer. Now they looked out the window, hoping against hope that the rain would stop and they could play in the yard.

100 Words a Day 597

It was on an abyssal night and under a gibbous moon that I stumbled upon the cyclopean ruins in the wild land time has forgotten and first saw upon their twisted steles the eldritch writing that no the mind of man could not comprehend, composed of sounds that no human tongue could pronounce. The strange letters made my mind ache, sending me stumbling deeper into the alien ruins until I was hopelessly lost. I wandered the overgrown site until the setting of the moon, when the place was plunged into ebon blackness and the strange animal sounds began to echo.

100 Words a Day 596

Gertrude, not her given name, found a seat on the bus and pulled out the zine she had picked up from Vinyl Only Records. The zine was printed on cheap paper with an old printer, giving it what they liked to call a vintage look. That is to say, it was hard to read sometimes.

There were reviews of several recent releases, they were too mainstream for Gertrude though, and she skipped over them. Below that were reviews of shows in people’s garages. One review caught her eye and she resolved to attend their next garage show, Makeshift Bidet.

Friday, April 25, 2014

100 Words a Day 595

Johnny stared out the window, waiting for the mailman. It had been four weeks since he sent in his twenty box tops and fifteen dollars. His propeller beanie should be here today, the cereal box said four to six weeks.

He checked the clock again. Thirty seconds had passed. He wondered if the mailman would even come today. He had to though, to deliver the beanie.

“Sweetie, I told you it might not come right away.” His mom said, passing through the room and seeing him. But her words were cold comfort to a boy that just wanted his hat.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

100 Words a Day 594

He sat at the keyboard, sweating. The hands on the wizened clock on the desk next to his laptop marked time’s inexorable progress towards the deadline. Each tick was like the turn on a lever controlling the tension on a rack. Roger felt the tension building as the gears cranked on. He had visions of himself being torn asunder when the clock ticked over.

The document in front of him was blank. He needed something, an idea, anything, to submit tomorrow. It did not have to be great, just good enough, but he could not think of a single thing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

100 Words a Day 593

The python squeezed its coils and threw another loop around my body. The scales made a hiss as they slid past each other. Remembering something I read somewhere, I attempted to unwind the snake by pushing against head. As I felt the breath being squeezed from my body I abandoned any pretense at reason and began to struggle as wildly as I was able. Suddenly I awoke in bed, but I still felt that python constriction. After a moment, I noticed a familiar smell and realized what was wrapped around me so tightly, my girlfriend, cuddling me in her sleep.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

100 Words a Day 592

Sara stepped off the elevator on the fiftieth floor. Even the door to the firm was nicer than any other door she had ever seen. When she pushed, it swung open on well-balanced hinges. The receptionist was polite and helpful, directing her to her new desk, which faced a window overlooking downtown.

The skyscrapers of the city had been constructed during a time when buildings were about aesthetics rather than symbols of domination or wealth. They held her gaze for some time, though it was eventually pulled away by the shimmering azure water of the lake that hid behind then.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

100 Words a Day 591

“Everybody wants the events in the life to have meaning, fit neatly into some story. That’s why you are here; you want to figure out what drove me to do what I did.”

“I’m just here so you can tell your side of the story.”

“My side of the story? Will that change things?”

“I suppose not. But just like everyone wants to have life be a story, don’t we all want to be the one to tell it?”

“Not me.”

“Why not?”

“I’d rather be silent and leave you tormented by the why than indulge in some egotistical narrative.”

Friday, April 18, 2014

100 Words a Day 590

She realized she was awake when she could feel the rough wood of the table beneath her. She tested her legs and then her right arm, moving each in turn with no pain and a full range of motion. When she moved her left arm it felt clumsy and heavy. She turned and saw why. Her arm was no longer flesh, but a construct of metal and wood.

“There was too much damage to repair,” a voice behind her said. She tried to look back, but was unable to see the speaker.

“It’s okay. It’s better than it was before.”

100 Words a Day 589

It was the first warm day since the previous autumn and the people were out in droves. The buses were packed with people wearing the shortest shorts they owned and tops that cried spring with all the desperation they could muster. Lily found herself stuffed between two middle aged men and regretting her decision. Every time the bus hit a pothole, the jolt cast her into one of them. She cringed at the feeling of their fatty, wizened flesh rubbing, however incidentally, against her own. Eventually, the bus deposited her at the beach where the it was colder than expected.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

100 Words a Day 588

Cecil watched the monster warily. His former friend’s arms had been turned into snakes. They hovered in the air, looking for an opening. Cecil advanced with his sword held before him. Before he could strike, the snakes were on him. He did his best to dodge their fanged mouths, but when he broke away he was bleeding in several places.

His former friend flashed him a monstrous grin while the snakes waited for him to attack again. Cecil steeled himself and advanced anew. This time, he accepted the bites of the snakes and struck the head from the former man.

100 Words a Day 587

Mclean looked out the window of the Celestial Keep. He could see Storm Island, home of the elementalist, floating in its perpetual thunderstorm. The black clouds roiled, sending purple lightning to slam into the ground below. Mclean had read that the storm had left the world below crisscrossed with lines of craters, though he had never left the floating islands and could not speak to the veracity of such things.

The door opened; it was one of the acolytes, wearing a white robe.

“Teacher, they are ready in the hall.”

Mclean nodded and followed the young man down the stairs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

100 Words a Day 586

Hekus stood at the edge of Charnoptus and stared down at the blasted realm below. He contemplated one of the vast oceans created when the floating continents had been torn from the surface of the world. His people were considered to be among the most bizarre living in the skies, but the creatures below, mutated beasts and warped parodies of men, were far more outré. A noise made Hekus turn; a corpse construct stood behind him.

“It is time,” the thing projected into his mind.

Nodding, Hekus started towards the great citadel where a ship awaited to take him below.

Monday, April 14, 2014

100 Words a Day 586

The students stood at the front of the classroom, expressions ranging from bored to nervous visible on their faces.

“Does anyone have any questions for our study abroad alum?” the advisor asked.

A girl in a striped shirt raised her hand. “What was the hardest thing about communicating that you encountered that you weren’t expecting?”

The tallest student responded. “There’s a lot of essential vocab that you are never taught. For example, how do you talk about how you want your hair styled? You can give general indications with the vocab you learn in school, but it won’t be perfect.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

100 Words a Day 585

Grok inhaled deeply and placed his hands on the tunnel wall. He exhaled slowly and felt the veins of ore running through the rock; there was a rich seam. He opened his eyes and marked the spot so the miners would know to make the next cut there. After returning his chalk to his pouch he wiped his hand on his robe, leaving an infrared dust smudge on the smooth fabric. The small goblin moved down the tunnel, searching for the next vein. A small ooze trailed after him. It appeared bright purple to his darkvision. Its name was Glop.

100 Words a Day 584

Their whole lives they had been preparing for the tests they had just passed. The boys were excited as they entered the training hall. The expansive room was larger than any building in the small villages they hailed from. Along one wall was a rack holding a myriad of strange implements of death. They ranged from small daggers to long polls with enormous spiked heads. The children were shuffled into the room by two attendants dressed in blue. Once they were all inside, the doors shut with a boom that reverberated throughout the unyielding, grey stone of their new home.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

100 Words a Day 583

The doorbell rang. He jumped up. It was a delivery. He cradled the package as he made his way back to his room, smiling. Inside, he shut the door and eased the box onto the bed. Grabbing a pair of scissors, he sliced the box open with surgical precision. Reverently he lifted the flaps and removed the contents. It was protected by Styrofoam, which squeaked as it was removed. Finally free of the packaging, his computer was resplendent. He held his breath as he opened the screen before hitting the power button. A blue light came on and he beamed.

Friday, March 21, 2014

100 Words a Day 582

“The Spanish slide back to fascism was rapid, and accomplished with little fanfare. As a culture, they are well-disposed to the adoption of totalitarian rule. They first experienced it when the peninsula was brought to heel by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. The monarchy continued despite attempts to move away from absolutism. After the Spanish Civil War, the country was ruled by General Franco, whose reign only ended upon his death and the declaration by his successor, Juan Carlos, that the fascist government was ended. Even after that, there was an assassination intended to restore the military-backed regime to power.”

The Terran Gambit

Before we get stuck in, let me say I was given an advanced copy to read in exchange for a review. You can find the book here. Additionally, for what it’s worth, I grew up on a healthy diet of fantasy literature and Star Wars.

The Terran Gambit, by Endi Webb, is the first book in The Pax Humana Saga, a Space Opera series detailing the struggle of the Resistance against the Corsican Empire, also known as New Rome. The first book centers around Jacob Mercer, a fighter pilot in the Resistance, and his involvement in Resistance efforts to free Earth from the tyranny of New Rome and their Pax Humana.

At first blush, I would say the author was heavily influenced by a number of things:

The remake of Battlestar: Galactica

Grand Admiral Thrawn

His Phd in physics

If you like space battles, The Terran Gambit has plenty. It begins with one and it ends with one. They move along at a good clip and range in content from dogfights to battles between capitol ships to hand to hand combat in the bowels of some mammoth floating gun platform. The description of the space battles was the first of several instances that made me think of the remake of Battlestar Galactica. In addition to having space battles generally described in a manner lending itself to the cinematic, the dog fights involve ships that have maneuverability comparable to what I recall seeing in BSG.

The elucidation of the way advanced technology works keep it firmly rooted in Space Opera. That is to say, there is no attempt at long, boring, and internally-consistent explanation to get in the way of dat space battlin’. That said, the characters do receive lessons on how the tech works. The reader, however, is not subjected to the details, rather just that there is some sort of constant or formula to figure out this or that, enough for verisimilitude. There is ftl travel as well, I think. I was not exactly clear on how it worked, except that it required time for the engine to warm up and there was a limit to the jump distance, which also reminded me of BSG.

Webb’s characters are familiar, but not tired. Two that stood out to me were Anya Grace and Megan Po. Anya is like a NSFW version of Starbuck from BSG. She is rash, insubordinate, generally what you would expect of someone whose job is to fly really fast and blow things up. She also looks like she will be part of a romantic subplot. I would have found either of these characters underwhelming on their own, but together, they work for me. Megan Po assumes a motherly role towards her comrades in the Resistance. She joined the Resistance for revenge, and the idea of a mom flying really fast and blowing things up is awesome.

In a world where people have taken to buying books in the same way they buy sugar, as cheaply as possible by the pound, Endi Webb has written a text that gets in, blows shit up, and gets the hell out, as it should be. The Terran Gambit is bursting with space battles, a rebellion against an empire, and a villain that people will love to hate, and it does it all in a space that won’t leave you wondering when the damn ship will explode already. If you like Space Opera and you don’t like wasting your time, Mr. Webb has written a book for you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

100 Words a Day 581

A creak drew my gaze to the top of the staircase. Standing there was a girl whose beauty struck me like a lightning bolt. When she descended, it was as though she was a seraphim descending from heaven, her hair floating about her like six fiery wings.

I made my way towards the drink table at the base of the stairs, desperately searching for an excuse to talk to the radiant girl. I arrived when she was a few steps away from the floor. I looked into her eyes. They were blue; their icy color cut me to my soul.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

100 Words a Day 580

My phone buzzed. It was a text message:

OMG, he replied!!!!!

That was exciting. Ophelia had been fretting all weekend about emailing this guy on Okcupid. They were both pretty shy and nerdy, good match.

I put my soda down after taking another sip and replied.

That’s great! Wha’d he say?

She forwarded me the email. He was taken by the clever pun. Some people say puns are awful, but not this one.

I know because I wrote it.

Reply sent, I leaned back in my chair, took a sip of soda, and gave myself a pat on the back.

Monday, March 17, 2014

100 Words a Day 579

The deer was too hot and forced to slow down. Its breathing was loud and haggard. Slowing to a walk, the deer looked around the forest, seeking some sign of its pursuer. It felt a sense of relief, sure that it had finally lost the predator this time. The lack of oxygen made its legs shaky as it continued through the forest. Suddenly, there was a loud crash behind the deer. Its ears perked up. It was the predator, on the deer’s trail again. The deer fled as fast as it could, but it was getting tired and overheating rapidly.

100 Words a Day 578

Undulating tentacles hung from his face. He stooped over a faded manuscript, squinting to read the faded writing. On one side of the text was a stack of parchments, and the other a dictionary. He glanced between the two, translating the ancient text, while the tentacles turned the pages and held the glowing stone that provided light.

He felt the sweat beading on his brow. Without thinking, he reached back with his monkey tail grabbed an old cloth, and wiped his face with it. Replacing the towel, he picked up a glass of water and gave it to the tentacles.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

100 Words a Day 577

“We can learn a lot from the Purple Shirts,” the speaker began. “Their politics aside, they were masters of the spectacle. They forged a unified image articulated by bold color choices and recognizable symbols. They presented themselves as a group that people wanted to belong to. This, coupled with the unique economic and social conditions allowed them to achieve power.”

The students took notes silently.

“Conventional advertisers can learn a lot from the Purple Shirts. By accident or on purpose, they successfully presented a product to fill a niche in the market, in their case a social and political one.

100 Words a Day 576

They were walking home, for just one more, and laughing. The alcohol gave them a happy stumble. They were one block away when the final drink from the bar hit Jake like a cannonball.

“Woah,” he said, careening into a wall. He leaned against, waiting for the world to settle down.

“You alright man?” Bret asked.

“Yeah, thanks. I just gotta rest here a second.”

“Okay,” Bret leaned against a lamppost and waited.

After a few minutes, Jake pushed back onto unsteady feet and the two friends continued down the street. When they reached Jake’s, they stumbled up the stairs.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

100 Words a Day 575

The invading army left the gates in splinters and charged towards the palace. They came on with a cacophony of cries, each man imagining the valuables hidden away in the emperor’s treasure room, and his harem. When they reached the first of the marble steps, a fantastic and terrifying thing occurred.

The stone lions that lined the stairway came to life. With stony roars, they leapt from their perches and met the army with their rocky claws and fangs. The weapons of the men bounced off their magical flesh. When the lions were done, they returned silently to their vigil.

100 Words a Day 574

“Wilderness has reclaimed that place,” Gregor said. “No one has returned since it was abandoned. Not even bandits make their home there.”

Edward swallowed as they crossed the bridge, entering the wild land.

The first thing he saw was the old guardhouse. It was a squat, stone building, wrapped up in vines. There was a bird’s nest atop it. A fierce-looking raptor stood sentinel. It looked down at the two men with disdain.

“I’ve never seen a bird so bold in the face of man,” Edward said.

“The beasts will only get bolder the deeper we go,” Gregor replied grimly.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

100 Words a Day 573 La Pintura Negra 16/15 Bonus Painting!

“See, there’s this awesome painting The Colossus, that may or may not be painted by Goya. It’s related to how he might not have painted any of the Black Paintings, but that’s a discussion for another day. Point is, there are people who are worrying about who painted this bitchin’ painting. I mean, it’s like the semi-transparent Mediterranean forbearer of Paul Bunyan and the Jolly Green Giant put together. What’s cooler than that? They are never going to sell the painting. And even if they did, it’s not like the value is going to change because it’s not a Goya."

Monday, March 10, 2014

100 Words a Day 572 La Pintura Negra 15/15

The grotesque man ambled down the road, strumming a dirge on his guitar. A host of the aberrant and malformed followed him. Their shambling procession wound through the hills, as far as the eye could see.

Those who could avoided the train of degenerates. Their unwashed bodies and begrimed clothing gave off a fetid stench that warned people away. Those who could not avoid the train were forced to join it.

Anyone coming into contact with the procession contracted their disease. The effects were varied. Some became stricken as though by a plague. Some became hideous mutants. All became outcast.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

100 Words a Day 571 La Pintura Negra 14/15

They sat deep in the cave, far away from the prying eyes of the men. The group consisted of women from throughout the land, representing all social classes and colors of people. They leaned in close, eager to hear what the goat-headed beast said, all except one young woman who sat apart from the circle. The goat-beast spoke to them through the night. He taught them dark things that would get them burned by the priests, were they to find out about them. After the meeting, the women dispersed back to their places in society, secretly practicing what they learned.

100 Words a Day 570 La Pintura Negra 13/15

The procession trailed behind the woman. Her great bulk made the going slow, but the imminent arrival of her child urged her to move as quickly as possible. She needed to reach the shrine of San Isidro and bathe in the sacred fountain to ensure her son would have a prosperous reign. All the women of the royal court walked on the journey. They were dressed like humble religious, their clothing dirty from the long march. They neared the plateau, tall and narrow like a giant column, atop which waited the city. They felt relief as they entered its shadow.

Friday, March 7, 2014

100 Words a Day 569 La Pintura Negra 12/15

The soldiers took aim at the people below. The bullets dropped several members of the procession, sending the rest into flight, frantic to reach the safety of the mountaintop. With a banshee howl, two of the marchers leapt into the sky and went hurdling towards the soldiers. One was a man of dirty, olive skin, his features orcish. The other, a woman, was pale-skinned. Her strange features were hidden by a brilliant red cloak that stood out amid the drab and muddy land. The two flyers screamed and incantated, but to no avail. The ruthless firing of the soldiers continued.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

100 Words a Day 568 La Pintura Negra 11/15

“I never liked soup much when I had my teeth,” one of the old men remarked to no one in particular.

“That’s funny,” the other man said with a skeletal chuckle, “I never liked color as much as I do now that I can’t see anything.”

The first man ignored the second. “Is there any more soup?” he asked himself, hobbling over to the fire and peering into the pot.

“How should I know? You do the cooking. I can’t see anything.” The second man replied, his irritation evident in his voice.

“Looks like there’s just enough for another bowl.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

100 Words a Day 567 La Pintura Negra 10/15

It started with a beautiful woman, as it often does. People got angry; rash words were exchanged, and before anyone knew it, a date and a place were set. It rained the night before, turning the field into a quagmire. Several people came to watch, standing well away from the swampy field. With little ceremony the two men waded towards each other. When they were within swinging distance, they let loose hell. Mired in the soggy ground, neither man could escape the blows of the other and soon they both felt warm flows of lifeblood running down their ruined faces.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

100 Words a Day 566 La Pintura Negra 9/15

The landscape was barren and grey. Hovering above the twisted land were three hideous women, each as grotesque as the ruined land they surveyed. Their focus was on the only moving thing for miles, a man. He walked with slumped shoulders. One of the women held a skein of fine thread. The shimmering line ran down to the man and bound his hands behind him. At the behest of one of her companions, the woman surrendered the skein to her sister, who held a pair of scissors. With no emotion, she cut the thread and the man fell down dead.

Monday, March 3, 2014

100 Words a Day 565 La Pintura Negra 8/15

The material of the sofa was uncomfortable. Leocadia ignored the itching, happy to have something to lean against. The funeral was into its third hour and she could see several of the mourners swaying unsteadily. She hated when people died in the summer. Her black dress was uncomfortably warm.

The dress was solid black, except for the sleeves, which were diaphanous. It was not generally considered conservative enough for a funeral, but she wore it all the same. It had a black veil and that was more than enough for Leocadia. Several of the women looked at her with disapproval.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

100 Words a Day 564 La Pintura Negra 7/15

The plateau loomed in the background. The sun struggled to peek out from behind the grey rock, but cast only a feeble light. The men posed for a photograph prior to ascending the lonely cliff face.

Ruffians would not be the most accurate word to describe them. Certainly they were poor and ragged, but they lacked the stomach for crime. Rather, they were simply poor men with no better prospects than a laborious, dangerous climb up an uncaring rock face.

After the photograph they looked up with trepidation. Each man felt as though some grey specter looked back at them.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

100 Words a Day 563 La Pintura Negra 6/15

Their ugly faces were tanned from living outside and dirty from living in squalor. The women looked on at the man in the white shirt, his hand between his legs. One was leering over his shoulder. Her big, red lips were open in a wide smile, showing crooked teeth.

Neither the man nor the two women bothered hiding what they were doing. The hunger, cold, and constant misery had driven them long past the point of shame. They now took what pleasure they could when it was available to them.

The respite from their misery was brief and quickly forgotten.

100 Words a Day 562 La Pintura Negra 5/15

Judith shed no tears as she raised the knife over the sleeping Holofernes. Her maid prayed in the corner, for what had happened and what was about to be done. The brutal general was spent, having exhausted himself with drink and Judith, and snored as he lay haphazardly on the bed. The deed fresh in her mind, she brought the knife down without mercy. Holofernes awoke in time to see the dead look in the girl’s eyes and feel the push-pull of the blade sawing through his neck before death overtook him.

Her task complete, Judith left with his head.

100 Words a Day 561 La Pintura Negra 4/15

The ragged men huddled around their fire, warding off both cold and the dark. They were of diverse ages, some barely showing stubble while others had full beards. Having shared their meager foodstuff and consumed the wine, they grew bored. One of their number produced a book. Most of the men were illiterate and stared at the cover without reaction. Eventually, they found one among them who had learned his letters. When he read the title out loud a murmur of anticipation ran through the men. The first story detailed a tryst between a highborn lady and her lowly servant.

Friday, February 28, 2014

100 Words a Day 560 La Pintura Negra 3/15

The old man and the friar shuffled through the night. They were miles from town or village and without bedrolls, so they trudged on. The old man used his cane to steady his steps, and the friar used the old man.

“We must surely find the town soon,” the friar said, leaning close to the old man’s ear.

The old man said nothing. He continued walking, feeling the stones of the road beneath his cane.

The friar had finally had enough of the silence. A frustrated gurgle issued from his throat and he began tearing at the old man’s beard.

100 Words a Day 559 La Pintura Negra 2/15

The dog sat, submerged in the sand. It did not remember how it had arrived at its present state. As a matter of fact, it could not remember anything before realizing it was buried in the sand. It looked around. The landscape was a featureless tan, except for two things. There was someone watching the dog. They made no move to help him; they simply stood and observed. Then there was something else the dog could not quite comprehend. It looked as though someone had managed to spill coffee in the air and it had left a dark stain there.

100 Words a Day 558, La Pintura Negra 1/15

The titan put the child to his lips and bit with naked savagery into the soft god-flesh. With each maddening mouthful, he ensured the continuation of his reign anew. Gore covered his hands and chin, dripping down into the darkness, the silence broken only by his grotesque mastication. He had hidden himself away, but had any been present, they would have been unable to see the insanity that left his eyes wide and staring. After a loud swallow, he took another bite, and then another, until the small being had been consumed completely and then went back into the light.

Monday, February 24, 2014

100 Words a Day 557

He washed the dishes in a mechanical fashion, a trite description for an activity that one does thoughtlessly and through repetitive motion. It is much more than that though. It’s efficient. It leaves the mind free to ponder. Alternatively, one can focus on washing the dishes, turning their mind completely to that mindless activity. This has the curious effect of turning a thoughtless, automated task into an undertaking requiring considerable mental fortitude. The practice of maximizing one’s efficiency, and mechanicalness, necessitates the elimination of all extraneous movements. Curiously, regardless of one’s achievement, they still appear quite mindless to the observer.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

100 Words a Day 556

The clouds gathered ominously in the sky and I hurried home. The wind cut through the trees, making them shake in anticipation. I closed the door against the chilly gusts and threw my bag down on the floor. It was late and I was tired. I barely managed to undress and stumble into bed. I sighed and settled in. It was darker than normal owing to the storm clouds. The wind whistled and shook my window. My eyes were already heavy; I was on the verge of dozing. The siren song of the wind lulled me into a deep sleep.

100 Words a Day 555

It was a warm summer night so I left my window open. The breeze was pretty constant in the summer and I loved letting it lull me to sleep.

As I lay there, the breeze danced across my back and I felt myself sink deeper into the soft mattress and pillow.

The chimes outside my window clinked softly as the wind danced through them.

The smell of green grass filled my nostrils, bringing a smile to my lips and eliciting a contented sigh.

The odor of the barbeque from earlier lingered; my mouth watered, and I dreamt of succulent things.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

100 Words a Day 554

He was due to arrive in ten minutes. There was thirty minutes left till dinner. Everything was proceeding according to plan.

“That smells amazing,” he said as he entered, rising up to his full height and flaring his nostrils to inhale as much of the sautéed garlic smell as possible.

“I know,” she thought.

“I’m sorry,” she said with feigned embarrassment, “I’m running a little behind on my cooking.”

“It’s fine. I don’t mind hanging out in the kitchen.”

In the kitchen, dinner was on the stove. It crackled and sizzled and was a riot of reds, greens, and yellows.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

100 Words a Day 553

The weird weather had created a thick fog that sat unmoving in the streets. The rain had melted the snow, leaving large, dirty puddles at all the crosswalks.

They stood in the drizzle, waiting for the bus, and looked at the heavy fog. It had reduced visibility down the skyscraper lined street to a block or so.

“Hey man. The fog is like a fog door in Dark Souls. You don’t know what’s beyond it. It could be anything.”

“Yeah, or like that horror movie with the fog. There could be anything out there, and we’d never know.”

“Fuckin nerds.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

100 Words a Day 552

“And so it ultimately came to pass, fascists came in the guise of antifascists and created a totalitarian state that was as invasive as any dystopian fiction. Curiously, it was the country’s own ideological preoccupation with equality that allowed their new masters to come to power, rod in one hand and the banner of egalitarianism in the other.”

“The other half of the island, seeing the plight of their neighbors, opted for less government. Rapid acquisition of things like utilities occurred, and as more of their necessities came under the purview of increasingly large corporations, they too found themselves enslaved.”

100 Words a Day 551

“I put the shadow of my hand over this country! When I came to this place there was nothing, fractured tribes, no civilization, no learning!”

He stood up from his throne and held his gilded sword, the symbol of his rule, over his head; the people kowtowed before him.

“Where there was once nothing, now there are farms, cities, learning! Mothers no longer fear letting their daughters walk the streets on moonless nights. The specters of disease and famine loom no longer over these lands!”

He put his sword down and exhaled before continuing. “I demand so little in return.”

Monday, February 17, 2014

100 Words a Day 550

The Corpse Mound rolled down Michigan Avenue, leaving smashed buildings in its fetid wake.

“Well, there’s something I never thought I’d see,” Rachel said, double checking her ax.

“Yeah, no kidding,” Cecilia agreed.

The two hefted their weapons and walked purposefully towards the ball of bodies, which reminded them vaguely of Katamari Damacy, not that either of them had ever played.

The ball gave no signs of slowing as it approached them, and they continued to walk towards it. The other inhabitants of the city were fleeing from the ball, generally running west and into the hands of more monsters.

100 Words a Day 549

They had their arms around each other before the door shut. They crushed their bodies together, feeling heat wherever they touched.

The clothes began flying off. Vintage t shirts, ironic glasses, and fashionable shoes were everywhere. They were down to pants when they encountered a serious problem.

Both of them struggled to stay upright with their pants around their ankles.

“Skinny jeans,” she said with a hint of an embarrassed smile.

He was grateful she was struggling with her pants as well.

Things had cooled down considerably by the time they had managed to struggle free of their tight denim.

100 Words a Day 548

“Ugh, I hate geese! They are so loud!” Terah exclaimed.

“Well, I’ve got a solution for you. Come with me.” Ed replied.

Terah and Ed went outside, picking up a strange looking rifle on the way. Ed took Terah to a spot near a flock of geese, which ignored them.

“Watch this,” Ed said, smiling.

He put the strange rifle to his shoulder and pulled the trigger. There was a loud crack and one of the head of one of the birds fell to the ground.

“Woah! How did you do that?” Terah asked.

“Remember the shuriken gun in Quake?”

Friday, February 14, 2014

100 Words a Day 547

A laser blast rocked the hovertruck.

“Shit, Don Juan Casanova didn’t waste any time scrambling his goons.”

Casey Jones began weaving between buildings, desperate to avoid the laser fire of the agile hoverspeeders.

“Get back there and see if you can give them something to think about!”

Clint staggered from the cab, pulling out has laserpistol as he went.

He stumbled towards the back, intent on lowering the gate enough to fire at the bikes. The truck jerked to the side, causing a box to crash to the floor, its contents spilling at his feet.

It was a rocket launcher.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

100 Words a Day 546

As practice was finishing Hugo asked Edward if they were still on to hit Club Arotika that night. After receiving an affirmative, Hugo asked Don if he wanted to go. Don wasn’t tempted; there would be some totally bodacious ladies there, and they had a reputation for being up for a good time. Don had a nice lady waiting at home. She knew how to cook and always made delicious things. She’d told him there was something special on the menu that evening; he hoped it was lamb chops, just like the ones he used to get at Greek Islands.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

100 Words a Day 545

The greatest tragedy in love is love unattempted. It leaves people feeling unfulfilled, possessed of an ineffable disappointment and a yearning for closure, be it finding the heights of heady, amorous eternity or dwelling forever in the black house of love not only lost, but scorned. Narrative Imperative drives people to finish a love story, if even only in their head, to avoid that feeling of having eaten but still being vaguely hungry. Imagine if Romeo and Juliet had separated and simply gotten on with their lives. That would have been boring shit and no one would have watched it.

100 Words a Day 544

The tiger dragged the body through the street. The people peeked through cracked doors or shutters. None dared to face the orange demon. The corpse was largely free of blood; the tiger broke the boy’s neck with the crushing grip of its jaw. The beast looked neither right nor left as it pulled its meal down the street. When the tiger reached the tree line, it let the fleshy corpse fall from its mouth and gave a roar. The villagers huddled together, not daring to leave their flimsy huts. Satisfied, the tiger retrieved its meal and vanished among the trees.

Monday, February 10, 2014

100 Words a Day 543

He didn’t cry as his classmates jeered, nor when Biff slapped his book across the room. He knew it would just make things worse, so he stood and stared silently at the floor. When Joannifer ran laughing over to Biff and pulled him away, to go behind the bleachers no doubt, Barry did nothing. Eventually the crowd dispersed, bored by the spectacle of a stock-still boy. He trudged across the room and retrieved his book, placing it in his backpack. When the cafeteria was empty, he let his face contort with rage. The anger of revenge boiled up within him.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

100 Words a Day 542

There was no smell; the body had been removed. Detective Slade made his way through the house, examining the other rooms. He unlocked the basement door, having acquired a spare key to the house from the victim’s sister. He descended the creaky stairs, banishing the darkness with a flick of the light switch. The basement was unexpectedly dry. There was a rack hanging with laundry. It was dry. The rack was next to a washer, which was loaded. The cover was up and there was a scoop of laundry detergent waiting to be added. It seemed the victim was interrupted.

100 Words a Day 541

And again he vomited. His stomach cramps were nearly unbearable and he could no longer stand. Once the heaving had stopped though, he resumed eating the cherries. When the first one burst under the pressure of his teeth, its sweet juices made him forget the pain. He swallowed the syrupy mash, feeling it scrape his raw esophagus and settle into his aching belly. The seeds were scattered all about him, mixed with half-digested vomit. He reached with a shaking hand for another mass of cherries from the sack he had bought. They still tasted so good; he continued to eat.

100 Words a Day 540

They ran through the graveyard as fast as they dared. It was dark and the headstones difficult to see. Sam felt detached as he ran. It was so cliché, a bunch of teenagers hanging out in a graveyard at night and suddenly zombies begin popping out of the ground. The sight of a hand thrusting up from the ground broke his reflection and he tried to put on more speed.

There was a certain amount of Narrative Imperative present in Colma being ground zero for the zombie apocalypse. There were many times more people buried there than were living there.

100 Words a Day 539

The last two days had been hell. He had crashed his ATV and was unable to walk. He had spent two cold nights in the woods, shivering and afraid, and two hot days dragging himself along the ground. His neck ached from looking up and his shirt in tatters. He pulled himself up one last hill with aching arms.

He crested the hill and saw the town. Despite his exhaustion, dehydration, and pain, he began to cry tears of joy. The sun touched the town’s whitewashed church, nearly blinding him with brilliant reflection. He found renewed strength and pulled on.

100 Words a Day 538

Years of fickle showers had taught him to be an expert knob-turner. He set the water and walked away, knowing it would need time to settle on a temperature. He placed his towel on one radiator and his robe, which he had inherited from his grandfather, on the other. When he stepped into the shower, the water was hot, quickly washing the chill of the day from his bones and down the drain. Several minutes passed while he let the warmth sink in, feeling his skin expand at the heat. A hot towel waited for him and after, the robe.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

100 Words a Day 537

Gregor pulled the tome from its resting place, groaning under its weight as the shelf groaned in relief. He staggered to the table and let the book down. It was bound in red leather with Tales of Dragons written in gold lettering on the cover. Cracking the book, Gregor began searching for entries on Blackwing. He was a dragon that had terrorized the region for decades and there was much written about him, and even more oral history. If the assault on his lair was to succeed, Gregor would have to sift through the legends surrounding the fiery, black beast.

100 Words a Day 536

“Man, I just started the sweetest book! It’s called El señor de los anillos. It’s an ethnography about a bunch of strange cultures, but it’s written in this amazing format of a professor giving a lecture of filibuster proportions.”

“Oh man, that sounds amazing! I’ve never heard of a text like that!”

“Yeah, it’s revolutionary. I bet it will spawn an entire genre. There’s just one problem.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, every now and then, just when the lecture is about to get going, they interrupt it with an action scene! I mean, a whole freakin’ chapter where something goes on!”

100 Words a Day 535

I rarely cried after my teenage years, whether because of some cultural conditioning or natural temperament I cannot say, but that’s who I was. That didn’t stop me from bawling when my mother passed.

I was there for her end. She decided to go peacefully at home, far from the sterile hospital where the doctor had delivered the news.

After she exhaled that final time, I broke down, crying on my knees. I gradually slipped from the bed until I was balled on the floor, oblivious to everything except that the woman I had known my whole life was gone.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

100 Words a Day 534

"The Companions are way better than the Fellowship!"

"What the shit are you talking about? The Companions have a kender with them."

"I'll concede that. However, all of the Companions have flaws and are real people. There are no walking Deus Ex Machinas in the group.”

“Hey! Gandalf doesn’t always pull them out of the fire.”

“You’re right, when Gandalf isn’t there to do it, Aragorn or Elrond does it.”

“What about that old guy in the inn?”

“You mean the one who gets the party started? It takes a whole book for anything exciting to happen in Tolkien’s books.”

100 Words a Day 533

He walked among the little people, and was loved for it. They owed him their taxes, but nothing more, certainly not their affections. He was welcomed into every village with cheers. He ate with lords and farmers and took their concerns to heart. They showered him with adulation because of the way he treated them. They who owed him so much; they had no sword over his head nor hand on his coin purse, yet he treated them as equals. They judged him as a man should be judged, by his behavior towards those who held no leverage over him.

100 Words a Day 532

Everyone jumped as the door slammed open. They turned and found Philip double over and panting. After he caught his breathe, he spoke:

“Did you guys hear!?”

His friends said nothing; they merely stared at him in confusion.

“J.K. Rowling is going to rewrite Harry Potter!”

“What do you mean?” Rachel asked.

“She is rewriting Harry Potter so Harry and Hermione get together at the end.”

“Yes!” Rachel exclaimed. “I always knew it should be that way. Ron is a loser.”

“What! That’s nonsense! Ron and Hermione were perfect for each other!”

The arguing went on for quite some time.

100 Words a Day 531

The Leather Rebels roared into town, the pounding of their steeds’ iron hooves drowned out by their spectral screams. Leaving a trail of torn ground in their wake, they marauded through the town. They set fire to everything they passed, laughing at the screams of those who cowered in futile shelters. Once every structure was a crackling inferno, they took turns leaping their nightmare mounts over the wreckage, laughing when one of them failed to clear the jump. They always emerged from the firestorms unscathed and returned again to jumping. When the town was cinders, they vanished into the night.

100 Words a Day 530

The mines were vacant. The fires burned low; no bellows stoked them. The sound of hammer on anvil was a drizzle where normally it was a torrent. The mountain kings had assembled all their subjects and slaves in the great halls. The goblinkin were dressed in the finest they could muster. Most had backs bowed by grueling labor, but here and there those could be seen standing tall with proud chests. It was the day of their emancipation. Generations of goblins had toiled to fulfill the contract that saved their race and now days of sweat were at an end.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

100 Words a Day 529

Using a C-step he got behind the last attacker, holding the man’s sword up with the crook of one of his Deerhorn Knife, and stabbed the man’s kidney with the blade of his other knife. The man grunted in pain before collapsing.

Feng let his hands fall to his sides and stood panting, the bodies of the bandits surrounding him. He wasn’t sure if they were dead, but they were incapacitated. As the adrenaline ceased to course his veins and his training faded back to the recesses of his mind, the enormity of his first kills made him shake uncontrollably.

100 Words a Day 528

“First, drizzle the olive oil on a plate. Then add salt and any other seasonings; I prefer garlic and onion salt and pimentòn. Heat the pan on high. While it’s heating, put the steak on the plate and then rub it with the olive oil and such, ensuring an even coating. Then use the steak to scrap any leftover oil into the pan before popping the steak on. If the pan is sufficiently hot, the steak will sizzle. Turn the steak over once it has charred. After a few more minutes, cut it open and check if it’s cooked enough.”

100 Words a Day 527

“Got any weekend plans?” Josie asked Felix.

“I’m hanging out with Annie.”

“That’s cool. What’re you guys going to do?”

“Just hang out. Apparently she is going to make some ribs with this recipe I love. I think she also has some beer.”

“That sounds exciting. What’s the occasion?”

“I don’t know. I think she’s got some movie she wants to watch or something and is using the food to bribe me to watch it. Usually she does that sort of thing with her housemate, but apparently she isn’t going to be there?”

“Dude, she wants to hookup with you.”

Sunday, January 26, 2014

100 Words a Day 526

After the necessary formalities, Greg stood up and started speaking.

“I am happy to report;” he began, “that we reached complete, national saturation of Xmart stores last quarter and our market share is up considerably.”

He paused for several moments of clapping.

“Now that every consumer in Generica can enjoy the low prices and variety that has made our company famous, it’s time to begin looking towards the international market. My team and I have found several promising locations in a number of countries.”

One of the assistants handed each of the men at the table a large, black binder.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

100 Words a Day 525

“I just don’t understand, father,” the young ruler said from the deck of his yacht. As they sailed away, he stared back towards land and his burning capitol.

“It should have worked. Everything made perfect sense. Why was there a revolution?”

The old man looked at his son, eyes full of the sympathy only a father could know. “I told you before son. Every form of government works on paper and any form of government will fail if its participants don’t play along. I ruled as I did because it worked well enough and tried to account for human whimsy.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

100 Words a Day 524

The skinny, human merchant looked across the table at the soot-colored dwarf. His clothing was luxuriant, studded with many gemstones. Among a race infamous for their skill at bargaining, this dwarf was reputed to be especially terrifying. The dwarf leaned over, placing his massive black hands on the table and bored into the human with the gaze of his massive eyes. The human slowly shrank under the ocular assault. After several moments, the dwarf leaned back and smiled. When he removed his hands from the table, he left two large, sooty handprints on the wood. It was downhill from there.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

100 Words a Day 523

The Gender and Sexuality of Humans class was one of the most popular, among final-year students for being interesting and among first year students for being titillating. The Grom had neither sex nor gender.

“Human cultures generally have a single-gender space that is used for gender-specific purposes. These purposes range from hygienic to instructive. For example, the men’s locker room was a place men would bath after engaging in physical activity, celebrate certain experiences that were uniquely masculine, and transmit information specific to their gender-culture.”

The students scribbled furiously as the teacher continued.

“There chief concern was complicated mating rituals.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

100 Words a Day 522

The manic cat landed in the room with a roar, its fevered eyes taking us all in, its white fangs stained with blood, tail thrashing. After a frenzied moment, its eyes settled on Jode going from crazed to cunning. The beasts tail slowed before falling still. Its back legs coiled. When it leapt, it gave Jode’s eyes only enough time to widen before they were closed forever. Before what was left of them was closed forever after the monster finished gnawing on his face.

There was nowhere to flee. We stood stunned as it turned its attention back to us.

Monday, January 20, 2014

100 Words a Day 521

He widened the entrance to the small snow cave and crawled out, finding himself in a silent, snow-covered, sun-lit, landscape devoid of any signs of humanity. The only fauna visible for miles were a few sentinel pine trees, standing a lonely vigil. Far away he could see the beginnings of a forest. It would take him many hours to reach it in the current conditions. The snowfall the previous night had been heavy, leaving a white quagmire between him and the shelter of the trees. As he prepared to set out, he heard the harrowing howl of an unknown beast.

100 Words a Day 520

“The conquest of the nation-state known at the United States of America, or simply America, was made possible by a variety of factors. “ Zorkan said, projecting his thoughts into the minds of his students. “One of the peculiarities of the citizens of the nation was their penchant to believe that being the first at something was a sign of the presence of worthwhile innovation. This led to a string of Firsts that eventually weakened their society, economy, military, all the structures that held them together as a people. Eventually this resulted in another first: the first to be conquered.”

100 Words a Day 519

The city was still, the only movement the falling flakes. She watched the snow descend from the window of her small apartment. A cold breeze found its way through the cracks in the poorly-insulated frame, breaking the spell the snowflakes had cast over her. She retreated from the winter cold, finding refuge among the heavy blankets on her bed. The cup of hot chocolate she had prepared was still warm, the marshmallows slightly melted. She grabbed a book of the nightstand and burrowed into the thick covers. She took one last look out the window before snuggling in even deeper.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

100 Words a Day 518

The cold wind cut through his coat and chilled him to the core. It was his first winter in Chicago and not even the dire predictions of the other San Franciscans had prepared him for what he was experiencing. The coat he'd brought was pretty, but did little to protect him from the wind. All around him people trudged, leaning into the gusts, only their eyes visible. His hands and feet ached. Bitter cold were the words he used to conceptualize it, but the truth was these did not encompass the feelings of pain and total misery he was experiencing.

100 Words a Day 517

“America’s descent into a police state was fairly typical: tyranny in tolerable bits and so forth. What made it unique however, was the culture’s obsession with eliminating Chance from their everyday life and a desire for individual freedom without individual responsibility.”

The professor paused, sipping from a glass of water.

“This caused the development of a litigious society that used social and restitutional pressures to moderate behavior; hit someone with your car and they’d sue. This eventually went further, resulting in the prohibition of any risky behavior that had the chance of resulting in litigation; no climbing on the statue.”

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

100 Words a Day 516

As he worked the lockpick, he tried to pinpoint the moment where things had changed. He had always been one to keep his eye on the prize, focus on the objective, not the process etc. He had originally wanted recognition for his accomplishments. Recognition was stolen by his treacherous lab partner. He did not give up all of a sudden. His goal slowly shifted as he exhausted each reasonable course of action. He balked initially, at the extreme methods he cooked up in the night to get his rightful recognition. Then he became angry. After that, it became about revenge.

Monday, January 13, 2014

100 Words a Day 515

It just did not make sense. There was no sign of forced entry, nothing on the security cameras, and a body cut to shreds. There was no way he could have done that to himself.

Basil took a sip of his coffee, black and bitter, and pondered the photos spread out on the floor of his apartment.

Among the items that did not fit, one thing stood out the most, the bizarre writing. Underneath the body he’d found a yellowed piece of paper covered in a strange, spidery script. Even looking at the photo of the page hurt his eyes.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

100 Words a Day 514

“Greed is the key,” Donald said, turning and looking out the window. His grey hair gleamed in the sunlight. “Greed is what gives people the drive to succeed. Want for more, that’s what gets things moving.” He clasped his hands behind his back and looked out the window.

The young man on the other side of the desk was new to the firm. He had arrived with wide-eyed enthusiasm and an eagerness to work available only to the young.

“David,” Donald said, turning to address the young man, “you may not understand now, but you’ll come to see it’s true.”

100 Words a Day 513

“The thing about political, economic, geographic, ethnic, and so forth systems is,” the man began, “any given system works, as long as everyone plays along. It’s when people don’t march in step that things break down.”

With a click, the slideshow advanced. The new slide presented several short descriptions of a variety of political and economic systems.

“The greatest undoing of all of these systems, from Communism to Libertarianism, is Greed. Avarice, Covetousness, and malicious Desire cause people to turn any system to their own ends, whether because they are taking advantage of government programs or fleecing their customer base.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

100 Words a Day 512

The restaurant was decorated in a typical fashion, not cliché, not classic, just typical. The whole room was a riot of bright colors, vibrant yellows and greens. On one wall was a painting of a village square with a fountain, its deep blue water contrasting with the brown adobe bricks of the squat buildings. The yellow sun was high in the sky. Across from that was a portrait of Frida Kahlo. Both were painted in that distinctive style that both such paintings were always painted in. The center of each table was a grinning face, surrounded by some sort calendar.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

100 Words a Day 511

He sat on the couch, exhausted after a long day’s work. Like any good Millennial, he was on Facebook updating his status:

Hey there single Ladies. I may not have any of the outward markers of masculinity. I don’t have a fast or big car; I don’t have a big gun; I’m not rich; I don’t have big muscles. I did, however, shovel snow for eight and a half hours, no problem. In light of that I can confidently say: Still got it, and, Manliness confirmed.

It was with the most smug of satisfactions that he pushed the Post button.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

100 Words a Day 510

The trampoline produced a regular squeak as he jumped up and down. With a thought he propelled himself high into the air, pushing his legs out in front of him so he landed in a seated position before bouncing back to standing. As a young man’s mind often does, his drifted to young women. He let himself land prone, bouncing up and down in that position several times. He felt he was getting the hang of bouncing on his back until he bounced off the trampoline and landed hard on his face. He supposed he wasn’t ready for the trampoline.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

100 Words a Day 509

I stood on the platform, shivering along with everyone else. We looked down the rail, watching the light of the approaching train grow larger and larger. As it neared, we realized it was on the outside track, and would pass us by like a loud, several-ton wind. It sent a billowing cloud of snow our way, like a curtain in the breeze. We turned away as one and allowed the crystalline wave to pass over us, showering the platform with shimmering, frozen, dust. I shook myself off and resumed my sentinel watch, still as though I were carved from ice.

Monday, January 6, 2014

100 Words a Day 508

The only word she could find to describe the stench that assaulted her when she opened the door was miasma. The multitude of fragrances created a cacophony in her nose that brought tears to her eyes. The door finished creaking open, exposing the interior of the apartment. Every available surface was covered with flowers. They were all orange and red; a fiery display that made her shut her eyes in disgust. She forced her way through the sights and smells, eventually finding a card on her dining room table. She opened it, rolling her eyes at the words:

Hey Sexy

Sunday, January 5, 2014

100 Words a Day 507

It was the longest month I could remember, but it was finally over. I was going home. The plane ride seemed to last forever, and it was taking an eternity to get home from the airport. I wanted to get back into her soft arms. I closed my eyes and remembered how her black hair set off her cream-colored skin and how her emerald gaze pierced me. I smiled to myself, thinking about the dress she promised to wear for me. We had plans to eat in. And after that, I had plans for what she had under that dress.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

100 Words a Day 506

I awoke with shaking hands. I could hardly pick up my clock it was so bad. My vision was blurry, but eventually I managed to discern the time, helluve early o’clock. Sighing, I put the clock down and rubbed my eyes. My eyes remained gummy. My mouth was dry. I tried to summon up enough saliva to swallow, but failed. I stood on unsteady feet and stumbled towards my kitchen. I squinted against the light when it came on. I filled a glass and took a sip. It left me reeling with nausea. I needed to find my iphone soon.

100 Words a Day 505

“He stood me up. But he called and said he had a dozen roses and a five pound box of chocolates as an apology if I’d go out with him still.”

“I hope he had a good excuse.”

“He said he didn’t get paid when he thought he would, and didn’t want to show up without any money.”

Her friend gave her a look.

“How was the date?”

“He only had a half a dozen roses, and it was a three pound box of chocolates.”

“So you won’t be seeing him again then.”

“Oh. Well, I had a great time.”

Thursday, January 2, 2014

100 Words a Day 504

The architecture of the city was not unusual. There were arches, spires; everything was made of mundane materials. What was unusual about it was the size. The pygmies of Latrec built to accommodate themselves, not outsiders. Geop had heard that, so he was not caught completely by surprise, but it was still hard to wrap his head around things when the diminutive city was finally in front of him. As he took in the city, he noticed there was one quarter that stood taller than the others, the foreign quarter. It was their grudging concession to their need for trade.

100 Words a Day 503

Shit. He thought to himself as the kick connected, knocking him from the ledge. He felt the air rush by and absently wondered if the wind would smash him against the craggy rocks that blurred past.

Above, his opponent briefly watched him fall with flailing limbs before turning back towards the crowd. He raised his sword in triumph, the plummeting man already forgotten as he came fully into the realization that everything was his.

He stalked towards the people watching and they parted before him, some out of respect, but all out of fear. He passed them without a thought.

100 Words a Day 502

I entered the teahouse, pausing at the door to scan the room. There was one man matching the description I had been given, gambling in the corner.

That can’t be him. I thought to myself. What kung fu master would be wasting his day gambling and getting drunk?

I walked over to the table to try and determine if he was in fact the Master Kang I sought.

He wore the sash of a master, but he swayed at the table like a common man deep in his cup.

He picked up the dice, gave them a shake, and threw.

100 Words a Day 501

“How was your date?” Preston asked, not bothering to look away from his video game.

“It was pretty weird actually,” Cassie said. She picked up the second controller and joined the game.

“Oh?” Preston said.

“Yeah…Well, so, we start talking on the way to the restaurant, and she tells me how she’s going to adopt an alley cat.”

“Okay,” Preston said, leaning as he played.

“And thinking it was an appropriate question, I asked if she’d had cats before.”

“Seems reasonable.”

“Yeah, but it sets her off. She starts telling me to stop asking her personal questions and so on.”

100 Words a Day 500

The wizened elf shed his massive gauntlets. The eldritch armor slid slowly from above his forearm, revealing pale skin that matched that of his face. As more was revealed, it began to appear mottled and grey, darkening rapidly to black the closer the flesh was to his hands.

Erik’s eyes widened when he saw the ebon hue.

“It’s the curse of my people,” the elf said, “to be consumed by darkness.”

Erik did not understand.

“Did you ever wonder why we who live so long live so rashly?”

Erik shook his head.

“We are doomed to fall to the shadows.”