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Flashfiction #38: Heroism

Discussion in 'Reader's Corner' started by afgpride, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. afgpride Retired Staff

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    Theme submitted by: shit

    Rules:


    1. Your work must be within constraints of the theme.
    2. Of course, all themes can be interpreted in any number of ways.
    3. 500 words maximum per entry, or else the entry will be disqualified.
    4. Only post one entry per theme. The highest rated entry will choose the next theme.
    5. You may not rate/review your own work.
    6. Add a rating out of ten at the end of your "review".
    7. Be constructive/honest when criticizing a piece. No mindless flaming.
    8. You do not have to enter a flashfic to rate.
    9. If you enter and do not rate & review the other entries, your flashfic is disqualified from points.


    Dates:
    Starts Jul 26, Thursday, ends Aug 5, Sunday. Reviews from Aug 6 to Aug 8, Wednesday.
     
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  2. Stringer ∟ v a l i a n t

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    The story of Clevio, the peacock spider.

    The full moon hovered a buzzing nightlife. Its white veil often betrayed Clevio’s presence, revealing every molt of dusts dancing above ground. For the first time ever, he witnessed a concert of fireflies, their faint glows permeated a subtle mystic to Aussie’s scrubby flatwoods that night. ''Beautiful… I must use this view to court Venezia!'' — shouted the young spider, unable to contain his excitement. But this was his most dangerous endeavor yet. There were rumors that Venezia devoured countless partners who failed to please her with their mating dance. However, to ensure the survival of his species and finally discover the joys of sexual intercourse, this was a gamble the little spider had to take.

    And so, began the chase. Tree leaves increasingly grew agitated as he tracked her scent. At times winds were so strong they threatened to carry him miles away from his target — was not easy to keep a tight grip, as he was only as big as a grain of rice. But Clevio was determined to press forward.

    The trail stopped at the foot of a mid-sized tree. The dry grass beneath was littered with scattered remains of unsuccessful suitors and the slurped-up carcass of yesterday’s prey, now that is romantic. Stern reminder that failure wasn’t an option, for he could be her next meal. He took one step closer when she suddenly fell from that tree, landing right behind him… there she was, under the splendid moonlight, her curves so majestic, a succubus, his femme fatale. However, heavy clouds started covering the sky, so there was no time to waste. He unfurled his abdomen to show off his amazing colors, the mating dance began.

    Impressed by the long and gutsy performance, Clevio was accepted by Venezia. It was a moment of catharsis for the young spider, but he couldn't rest on his laurels. At last he could inseminate her

    Clevio was so taken by lust and her bewitching scent that he couldn't notice Venezia's movements slowly betraying her copious appetite. She soon faced him and used every fast-twitch muscle fiber at her disposal to catch him in a deadly clinch. Torrential rains began to pour soon as she prepared to inject him with digestive fluids. Forcing the voracious female to retreat and reluctantly look for cover up her tree, leaving her meal behind — Trees are the world’s chief gossipers, they had recently shared echoes of human broads emptying their mates of their belongings after separation. But that was child's play compared to Clevio’s species, their kind took a much more literal approach. Still dazed by the experience, Clevio took refuge from the weather under a nearby Slash Pine. His thoughts still scattered by the numbing sound of the rain, pondering what he must go through to ensure his species' survival.

    His name was Clevio, a bloody hero.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
  3. shit shit is the ne plus ultra

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    Sebastian’s parents were fighting once again, their voices whispered yet cutting through the air with passion and anger. He sat in silence on the couch in the living room, listening to them from the bedroom. His sister Andrea pretended to play beside him, but he could tell she was mostly occupied with fighting back sobs, hunched over her toys and quivering. He used his anger to squash that same desperate sadness of seeing his home slowly breaking apart.

    A slap rang out like a shot through the silent house, both grown voices cut dead. Sebastian sat straight up, every muscle locked up tight as burning rage ran through him like electricity. His father walked into the room, and as their eyes met the boy could tell that rage was clearly communicated. Father looked at son for a moment like he would a dangerous stranger, and then they both looked down at Andrea. She was hunched all the way over, her arms holding her stomach as violent sobs convulsed through her.

    Their father walked past them and then out of the house without a word. Sebastian walked over to Andrea and pulled her over so she could cry into his lap. After some minutes, their mother came out, red mark large on her cheek and tears shining in her eyes, and she took Andrea from him to console her.

    Full of anger and defiance, Sebastian rushed outside to confront his father.

    He was surprised to see him not far down the street in a confrontation with some other men he had never seen before.

    Suddenly one of those men threw a punch right into his father’s face, knocking him down to one knee. Another man hit him in the back of the head and then backed up when he didn’t fall.

    “This is revolution,” one of them said. “The workers will rise up, and lapdog supervisors like yourself will be overthrown.”

    “Pathetic thugs,” Sebastian’s father said in defiance. As if cued they all took turns swinging punches at him, most of them hitting hard while he took them passively.

    “Stop!” Sebastian called out. His anger had fled, replaced now with fearful helplessness. “Don’t hit my dad!”

    “Get out of here!” his father yelled at him, furious. He was laying down and looking through blood pouring from his forehead, but his eyes burned hot.

    “No I don’t think so,” one of the men said, walking forward, and Sebastian suddenly realized his life was in danger too.

    His father lunged forward and grabbed the man’s leg, and with a twist a terrible scream erupted from the man. Sebastian used that moment to run.

    An hour later, Sebastian and his mother came back to the scene with police, and there they found his father alone in the street, beaten to death. The next day the family fled Spain.

    Sebastian’s resentment was replaced with bitter grief, but it felt healthier. Though it was terribly sad, he felt like he was the son of a hero.
     
  4. afgpride Retired Staff

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    Drew pulled out his Glock 19 and pointed it at the kid with robotic precision. The gun didn’t flinch as Drew popped a cigarette in his mouth and lit it with his free hand. He blew the smoke at the kid’s face, fogging up his kid glasses.

    “Talk to me”, Drew demanded, holding his cigarette as if it was a joint. But the seventeen year old stared at the floor silent, letting the dull noises of the house party bleed through the doors. Drew was losing his patience.

    “You willin’ to die for him? Shit, I didn’t know you was seeing eachother. I’d say congratulations but you still a minor.”

    The kid looked up, his eyes exposed behind his glasses.

    Drew stuck him with the glock. He held back on the blow, but it was enough to break his glasses and cut his forehead open. The kid was too soft for this. His tears mixed with blood as he wept quietly.

    “Forty-fifth street. Back entrance to the liquor store next to Shenay’s.” He sobbed.

    “I recorded that.” Drew responded, not hiding his laugh. “Unless you’re fine with the whole block knowin’ you snitched, you work for me now. Don’t try anythin’ cute either.”

    He gave the kid a towel and a new pair of glasses, the same as his last.

    “By the way,” Drew continued, adjusting his jacket. “He killed your pops.”

    The words cut like a guillotine. He was already had. Drew had no reason to lie.

    He didn’t believe it, but he complied.

    Drew went to the liquor store alone. He wore a janitor’s outfit and brought a mop with him. When he opened the back entrance, a Glock 18 greeted him. He told them Tony sent him, and they patted him down. He was clean, so they let him go down the stairs.

    The room was damp and smelled of cigarette smoke and prostitutes. From the goons at the poker table to the hoes courting clients, nobody really paid him much mind. He made his way past the kids playing Madden and spotted Tony entering what seemed to be a bathroom.

    “Ay man, what you doin’?” A cold palm pressed against the back of his neck, rough fingers caressing him gently. Suddenly several eyes were on him.

    He played it smooth and convinced them he was a janitor sent by Tony. It still felt like he was being watched. He mopped some floor and eventually reached Tony’s room, where his laptop was. The door was open. He disconnected the laptop from its charger and slid it in an opening on his mop bucket.

    He heard yelling from below when he opened the door outside, and left the driveway with two bullet holes on the back of his car.

    “Remind me why your dumb ass ain’t takin’ this to the police”, Drew’s wife protested, always nervous after a new case had begun.

    “They take years to do what I do.” He bragged. “Bustin’ child traffickers is my shit”.

     
  5. afgpride Retired Staff

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    Rating phase starts now.

    -Reviews must be at least 50 words per entry and accompany a rating to qualify for reward points.
    -Entrants who do not give full reviews will be disqualified from reward points.
    -Non-entrants/lurkers who participate in the rating process will be awarded 1 point for their feedback (updated in the Prize Nook).

    Everyone, participants and non-participants, are free to rate. Those who aren't participating and give 50+ word critiques and a rating for each entry will receive 1 contest point.

    Deadline is Thursday.


    @shit @Stringer
     
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  6. Stringer ∟ v a l i a n t

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    @shit I liked the thought of Sebastian's father getting a redemptive act at the end. Personally speaking though, as sad as his death must have felt to his fam, it didn't quite counter-balance the abuse and mental strain his household had to endure because of him. I think his heroic act might have suffered less if there were clues left beforehand to make him more sympathetic despite his faults, y'know? E.g. him being stressed about losing his job, working long hours to feed his family or maybe having some type of insecurity etc. It would have been easier to relate to him in his last moments I think. That said, me not sympathizing with him also has to do with you doing a good job describing what Sebastian & Co were going through — R: 4.5/10

    @afgpride I wasn't sure where you were taking us but the dialogue and character interactions kept me interested, then dat reveal at the end came. Stuff like these are hard to pull off unless you're able to keep your reader interested, kudos to you. Felt just a bit rushed towards the end but I'm guessing that has to do more with word count restrictions — R: 6.5/10
     
  7. shit shit is the ne plus ultra

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    @Stringer I like the idea of the story, and the details and perspective are very charming. You don't shy away from personifying even the trees, and it gives it the feel of a fairy tale, though with a gritty realism. What was too much for me were the liberties you took with grammar, and while I can forgive that if it's warranted, I didn't think this piece called for such a stream of thought style to the writing. Comma splices and fragments abounded, and they really chopped up the pace of your story. The plot was well put together, and the imagery was nice, but you should've taken time to make it a more refined product, especially since you had so much time from posting it until the deadline.

    @afgpride You really nailed the ending, great job on that. I was obviously wondering where the hell the heroism was in this story, but it tied together great. There was some grammar ticks, like "stuck him" with the gun instead of struck, among other small things. I like the details and it made things feel real, but it would've hit a lot harder if you put in a subtle detail that tied to the ending. Thinking back on the rest of the story, sure there's nothing to disprove the ending but nothing really goes along with it either. There's kids playing Madden, but teenage boys aren't usually trafficked; girls are. Also I thought "kid" in the beginning was a bit overused, and I'm going to have to deduct something for lack of polish, but this really is a nicely executed story.

    stringer 5
    afg 7.5
     
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  8. afgpride Retired Staff

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    @Stringer
    This was ambitious, but the prose didn't quite hit its marks. A fair bit of word choices were either off base or overly verbose, and there were a fair bit of grammatical and syntactic errors. The concept itself was unique and fun, and the mood and register were very good. This is one of those pieces that would've been a home run if executed to its potential, so the fact that you wrote it to completion and are getting those XP points is going to bode so well for you down the line.

    5/10

    @shit
    You built some good tension in the house, the prose did feel awkward but you had a good sense of drama and creating a scene. It set a good tone. However, the workers revolution thing was unconvincing and caricature esque, especially when it was implied they were going to go after the kid. I also understand how people view the deceased as the best versions of themselves, but going from an (implicitly) abusive dad to a "hero" because he did his job as a father seemed a bit confusing as a completion of the theme. The components all seemed very off and undeveloped, and the narrative sort of fell apart as a result. Would've liked to see a better connection between the opening scene to the scene proceeding (such as the slap having a reason behind it that's later revealed), as well as a more suitable event to kill the dad, and a more convincing reason for the kid to view the dad as a hero. I think that would've brought the narrative to life a lot more.

    4/10
     
  9. afgpride Retired Staff

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    afg - 6.75
    1. Stringer - 5
    2. shit - 4.25


    -

    Since I'm exempting myself from points, Stringer is bumped to 1st and shit is bumped to 2nd, earning them 6 and 4 points a piece. Congrats to both. I'll choose the next theme. :catflower
     
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