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The Writing Thread

posted by DAISHI on - last edited - Viewed by 2.9K users

Herein lies the Writing Thread! Usually I just post something brief and then allow the participants to engage one another, unshackled by rules like a meeting of Tea Partiers in a debate with Muslims.

However! I propose the following rules to the writing thread, and what this thread should be about.

1.) This thread should obviously be about your own writing.

Your post should be about one of the following things.
2.) A pitch. A story you're thinking about writing, ideas you're tossing around to solicit for feedback.

3.) Brief poetry can be posted in full. Just don't make your poetry a full length story.

4.) A short story you've written that you would like to post, in part. Since a short story can run 2000 to 5000 words, do not post in full. You may post sensible length excerpts, preceded by synopsis of that portion of the story for context.

5.) A long story or novel you've written that you'd like to post, in part. Since a novel can run from 80000 words to 120000 words or more, do not post in full. You may post a sensible length excerpt, preceded by synopsis of that portion of the story for context.

Things to avoid.
Don't get in a hissy fit about criticism. It's the only way to grow as a writer.

Don't just criticize to criticize. In other words, don't be a Debby Downer. List what you think a writer did well, in addition to criticism. Tone means a lot. Don't be overly negative in the tone of your criticism.

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  • It was a stormy summer night when she came to my store. I had already closed it down, but stayed a bit to tidy up the place before going home, when I noticed a young woman outside. She stood there, banging on the windows, wanting to get in, as if she had no other place to go. I let her in, not even questioning her or asking her what she did out there.

    “What a night,” I said. “Things were never this bad.” She remained silent. She didn’t have anything to protect her from the rain, not even a raincoat. All she had was a cloak and a basket, and I assumed the cloak didn’t really help that much. Apparently she didn’t seem to mind, but I did get a towel for her.

    “You know, you’re lucky,” I said, “I was about to go home.” She remained silent. My place was just upstairs, so I wouldn’t have to go through the rain, and I didn’t really feel like sending her back out. I hesitated a bit. “I have a guest room,” I said. “It isn’t much, but at least you’d have a place to stay, at least until the storm passes.” Still nothing. I walked towards the front door. “Well, I’m about to lock this place up, so if you still want to leave, you should do it now, otherwise you’d have to wait until tomorrow.” She didn’t make any move towards the door. I decided to just let her stay, and locked the store. I then moved to the back, towards the stairs, where she followed me. I then showed her to the guest room. “If you want to take a shower, you can just take a clean towel from one of the cabinets. I’m gonna go and make some dinner, you can join me if you want, but it’s just some leftovers.”

    It didn’t get any better the next day, and it seemed that the weather got a little worse. I wasn’t sure if opening my store would do any good, but I had nothing to lose anyway. The store, and by extension, my home was located at a high part of the city. If there would have been any flood here, it wouldn’t have affected me anyway. Still, the roads were quiet and almost no other shop nearby opened save for some stores, so I doubted anybody would come by. I would have been the only store still open.

    After I opened the store I decided to go upstairs for a bit, to have some breakfast. I almost didn’t smell the freshly made pancakes, it was only after I saw her eating at the table, wearing nothing but a towel, that I noticed the sweet scent, the kind you would expect when visiting your grandma, cinnamon filling the air, almost tasting the vanilla flavor, not just of the powdered sugar, but of the pancakes as well. A plate was sitting there on the table, with servings just for me. She briefly glanced at me, as if she wanted to tell me to sit down and eat this breakfast. I could finally take a good look at her. She had long dark hair and blue eyes, and despite her relatively short size, I could see she was a young adult, at least no younger than eighteen.

    “Did you make these pancakes?” I asked. She nodded. Even now she remained silent. At this point I wasn’t even sure if she could ever talk. “Well,” I said, “if you want, you can stay, at least until the storm passes.”

    “It won’t,” she said. I honestly didn’t know what to say to that. On one hand, I was surprised that she finally decided to talk. On the other hand, I was curious about what she meant, and I guess that curiosity pushed me to ask what she meant with that.

    “If you don’t mind, I’d rather get dressed first,” she said.

    I nodded, and said: “I understand.”

    First few pages of the chapter The Calm, from my upcoming novel(la) Eldritch Fairytales

  • Hilltop: A Serialized Psychological Horror Story

    From the San Francisco Chronicle, 1931

    GROTESQUE SLAUGHTER AT SUNSET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 4 CHILDREN SLAIN BY INSANE TEACHER, TEACHER FOUND DEAD FROM SUICIDE by Kathryn Perry

    On the morning of April 2nd, a missing persons report was filed to the SFPD concerning the disappearance of 4 young students at the local Hilltop Elementary School in the Sunset District. After a thorough investigation of the school, the police made a disturbing discovery in the school’s boiler room. It was there that they discovered the dead bodies of Susan Richards, 9, Adrienne Black, 9, Rachael White, 8, and Mary Willis, 8. Susan Richards had her throat slit left to right with a barber’s razor blade. Adrienne Black had been repeatedly stabbed in the eye with a pair of scissors to the point where the left eye had the consistency of soup. Rachael White was strangled to death. Mary Willis had been disemboweled and (I apologize for the true horror the reader is experiencing right now) partially cannibalized. The murderer, believed to be a teacher named Bob Merrick, 42, was found in the boiler room, along with the bodies, his wrists slit by the razor he supposedly used to kill Susan Richards. Found within his mouth were pieces of a human liver, which led to the conclusion that he had indeed ripped open Mary Willis’ abdomen and cannibalized her. The parents of the deceased children refused to give comment, although their reactions were pure horror. According to the principal of Hilltop Elementary, Nathan Broderick, 43, Merrick had worked at Hilltop Elementary for six years and had never before that shown any signs of mental instability.
    “What happened here is something that nobody will ever forget or get over,” stated Broderick. “I doubt the school itself will be able to survive the reputation it will no doubt receive for this awful and heinous crime. My prayers go to the families of those poor children, who are suffering in a way I could never imagine.”
    As the investigation into the source of Merrick’s sudden and unexplained insanity continues, award-winning psychologist Alexander Becker from New York City gave an interview to the Chronicle concerning his thoughts on the atrocities:
    “Mr. Merrick’s insanity was most likely caused by the fact that, and yes, I did look in to this, his father used to beat him as a child. As we all know, traumatizing childhood incidents always leave some sort of stain on the psyche of the victim. Clearly, the main reason for these murders was that he had indeed suffered from an intense psychotic breakdown. Those children possibly reminded him of how his childhood was, and the result was he, mentally, became his ‘father.’”
    The rosary for the victims will be held at the St. Peter and Paul’s Church in North Beach.

    To Be Continued...

  • I'm going to convert my book to ebook and sell it online for a short period. I'll link it soon.

  • Everyone leaned over their sides of the small vessel, watching as the gray sands loomed ever larger. Sure enough, as the mists parted, the gray shores becoming ever clearer, they were able to make out bodies strewn out along the sands. There were not two or three there, not even ten or twenty, but hundreds, laid out one on top of the other. Pale flesh and elongated, ghastly claws were tossed like dolls atop each other, like garbage laid out on the street. Their inhuman features, gaping jaws angled upward to the skies, lifeless, were the marks of the Abominations. Streams of them ran up the shore and into the distance, over the visible ridge of the beachhead, which sharply angled upward from the shoreline.

    Christopher shook his head, confused. “What happened here?”

    Eldagard smirked, speaking confidently from his place at the back of the boat. “What do you think, captain? The girl has already won the battle for us. The force of her weapon has devastated the sorcerer’s forces, leaving us with no glory to be won, no battle to carve our legends from.” He seemed curiously disappointed. “We have only to march upon the castle itself.”

    Little else was said as the boats shoved up onto the beach, their lengthy bows digging into the discomfortingly gray sands, knights quickly hauling themselves out of the wooden frames and into the shallow waters. All along the coast this action was repeated, with cannons and horses deploying as well. Eldagard’s eyes went down the shores, looking at the expanse of their forces. “It’s going to be a pain having to clear away these bodies. We’ll need to organize our cannons, our horses, the Pyromancers, and what not.” He looked to Christopher. “I assume I can trust you to round up the men? Use your officers to organize our forces.”

    The Ivory Knight bowed his head slightly. “Of course. Are you intending to establish your command here on the beach?”

    “Seems the safest place. We’ll keep messengers moving between our lines. I want you to set up defense points intermittently along the route you take to the palace, sturdy enough to defend in case anything happens that requires us to fall back. Though…” His eyes drifted up the shores, a frown crossing his face. “Judging by what’s before us, I doubt we’ll have much trouble in regard to that. That Pyrolith Cannon your girl used has to be the single most devastating weapon witnessed in the history of this world.”

    “I might be inclined to agree.”

    “Make sure you assign at least a few Pyromancers among our numbers to reinforce the knights, and keep a reserve force of cavalry at your rear.”

    “I’d already planned to do so. The princess and her friend will be with me, and the main force of our cannons will be dispersed at the rear of our lines as well, so that we may establish a proper high ground for them to fire from.”

    Eldagard nodded, shaking his head absently. “Yes, yes. You’ve always been a fine warrior and commander, Christopher. I apologize if my fiery blood got the better of me before.”

    “You had reason for your concerns,” the Ivory Knight returned with a smile, spinning about as he left to make his preparations. He quickly found his horse, brought ashore from one of the LaGuna vessels, and sped off to rally his commanders, the task of organizing their great numbers before him. Boats were already being sent back to the ships to pick up even greater numbers of troops, and before the day’s end, they’d have tens of thousands of men gathering on the great, gray beach.

    The weather there was unusually brisk, the winds coming off the waters a frigid temperature that shook them in their clothing. Max found himself brushing at his nose a few times as the wind whipped it raw, his lips chapping in the breeze. His mood was not helped by the ashy sands that sifted beneath his boots, the cliffs that rose far in the distance a menacing, black bookend on the dark coastline. The hazy mists that seemed to linger on Deja’s Rock tainted everything with a grey touch, and though there was no scent in the air, Max began to wonder what the beach would reek of as the countless bodies of the Abominations were left out to decay.

  • A little extract from a story I wrote for an English assignment over 15 years ago

    The three of them stopped at the edge of a great cliff which lead into an enormous valley. The strange building was half-way along the bottom of the valley. Bart sat down on a handy rock and started to think. "Rope. All we need is some rope. It's not fair. In all those adventure films where they are in strange worlds they always find what they need. It just happens to be there." He looked up at his two other companions. Chrissie was gabbing away to Dave although he probably wasn't listening. "What a pathetic pair." he thought to himself, "I mean, did Indiana Jones get stuck with these two? No he got some beautiful woman to go around with. These two would be hopeless if it came down to a challenge of wits, brain and cunning." He looked away from the group and at the floor where something caught his attention. It was a coil of sturdy rope. He turned back to the others. "Where on earth did this rope come from." They both shrugged.
    "I told you before, we are not on Earth." said Dave
    "Well," said Chrissie "at least we can get down the cliff and get to the building."
    "Yeah," said Bart "so lets do it!"

    The trio of them tied the rope to a jutting out piece of rock and let it hang down the cliff. After they tested it, they went down it. Bart had put knots in the rope so they could get down easier. Bart went first who was followed by Chrissie and last of all was Dave. When they where past half-way down, Dave sent a message down to Bart to tell him that he had heard and seen the rope fray. Dave looked up and saw it was fraying very quickly, then looked down to see how far they were from the ground. It was a long way down. He shouted a message to the rest of them to get down as fast as they could because the rope won't hold for very long and at that moment it was no longer true. The rope snapped! The three of them were bracing for the impact of the fall but it did not happen. When the rope snapped, a porthole appeared in the ground. It was a blue, purple, green and grey mixture of rings getting smaller, nearer to the center. A bright white band was coming down the rings followed by, five rings behind, a deep black band. When a band reached the center it appeared on the first ring. There were twenty-five rings all together and the two bands were getting faster and faster as the three got nearer and nearer. When they entered the porthole, all was black.

  • @Noname215 said: Hilltop: A Serialized Psychological Horror Story

    From the San Francisco Chronicle, 1931

    GROTESQUE SLAUGHTER AT SUNSET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 4 CHILDREN SLAIN BY INSANE TEACHER, TEACHER FOUND DEAD FROM SUICIDE by Kathryn Perry

    On the morning of April 2nd, a missing persons report was filed to the SFPD concerning the disappearance of 4 young students at the local Hilltop Elementary School in the Sunset District. After a thorough investigation of the school, the police made a disturbing discovery in the school’s boiler room. It was there that they discovered the dead bodies of Susan Richards, 9, Adrienne Black, 9, Rachael White, 8, and Mary Willis, 8. Susan Richards had her throat slit left to right with a barber’s razor blade. Adrienne Black had been repeatedly stabbed in the eye with a pair of scissors to the point where he left eye had the consistency of soup. Rachael White was strangled to death. Mary Willis had been disemboweled and (I apologize for the true horror the reader is experiencing right now) partially cannibalized. The murderer, believed to be a teacher named Bob Merrick, 42, was found in the boiler room, along with the bodies, his wrists slit by the razor he supposedly used to kill Susan Richards. Found within his mouth were pieces of a human liver, which led to the conclusion that he had indeed ripped open Mary Willis’ abdomen and cannibalized her. The parents of the deceased children refused to give comment, although their reactions were pure horror. According to the principal of Hilltop Elementary, Nathan Broderick, 43, Merrick had worked at Hilltop Elementary for six years and had never before that shown any signs of mental instability.
    “What happened here is something that nobody will ever forget or get over,” stated Broderick. “I doubt the school itself will be able to survive the reputation it will no doubt receive for this awful and heinous crime. My prayers go to the families of those poor children, who are suffering in a way I could never imagine.”
    As the investigation into the source of Merrick’s sudden and unexplained insanity continues, award-winning psychologist Alexander Becker from New York City gave an interview to the Chronicle concerning his thoughts on the atrocities:
    “Mr. Merrick’s insanity was most likely caused by the fact that, and yes, I did look in to this, his father used to beat him as a child. As we all know, traumatizing childhood incidents always leave some sort of stain on the psyche of the victim. Clearly, the main reason for these murders was that he had indeed suffered from an intense psychotic breakdown. Those children possibly reminded him of how his childhood was, and the result was he, mentally, became his ‘father.’”
    The rosary for the victims will be held at the St. Peter and Paul’s Church in North Beach.

    To Be Continued...

    Interesting. It's hard to pull off this format of story but I like the general tone of it.

  • @GaryCXJk said: It was a stormy summer night when she came to my store. I had already closed it down, but stayed a bit to tidy up the place before going home, when I noticed a young woman outside. She stood there, banging on the windows, wanting to get in, as if she had no other place to go. I let her in, not even questioning her or asking her what she did out there.

    “What a night,” I said. “Things were never this bad.” She remained silent. She didn’t have anything to protect her from the rain, not even a raincoat. All she had was a cloak and a basket, and I assumed the cloak didn’t really help that much. Apparently she didn’t seem to mind, but I did get a towel for her.

    “You know, you’re lucky,” I said, “I was about to go home.” She remained silent. My place was just upstairs, so I wouldn’t have to go through the rain, and I didn’t really feel like sending her back out. I hesitated a bit. “I have a guest room,” I said. “It isn’t much, but at least you’d have a place to stay, at least until the storm passes.” Still nothing. I walked towards the front door. “Well, I’m about to lock this place up, so if you still want to leave, you should do it now, otherwise you’d have to wait until tomorrow.” She didn’t make any move towards the door. I decided to just let her stay, and locked the store. I then moved to the back, towards the stairs, where she followed me. I then showed her to the guest room. “If you want to take a shower, you can just take a clean towel from one of the cabinets. I’m gonna go and make some dinner, you can join me if you want, but it’s just some leftovers.”

    It didn’t get any better the next day, and it seemed that the weather got a little worse. I wasn’t sure if opening my store would do any good, but I had nothing to lose anyway. The store, and by extension, my home was located at a high part of the city. If there would have been any flood here, it wouldn’t have affected me anyway. Still, the roads were quiet and almost no other shop nearby opened save for some stores, so I doubted anybody would come by. I would have been the only store still open.

    After I opened the store I decided to go upstairs for a bit, to have some breakfast. I almost didn’t smell the freshly made pancakes, it was only after I saw her eating at the table, wearing nothing but a towel, that I noticed the sweet scent, the kind you would expect when visiting your grandma, cinnamon filling the air, almost tasting the vanilla flavor, not just of the powdered sugar, but of the pancakes as well. A plate was sitting there on the table, with servings just for me. She briefly glanced at me, as if she wanted to tell me to sit down and eat this breakfast. I could finally take a good look at her. She had long dark hair and blue eyes, and despite her relatively short size, I could see she was a young adult, at least no younger than eighteen.

    “Did you make these pancakes?” I asked. She nodded. Even now she remained silent. At this point I wasn’t even sure if she could ever talk. “Well,” I said, “if you want, you can stay, at least until the storm passes.”

    “It won’t,” she said. I honestly didn’t know what to say to that. On one hand, I was surprised that she finally decided to talk. On the other hand, I was curious about what she meant, and I guess that curiosity pushed me to ask what she meant with that.

    “If you don’t mind, I’d rather get dressed first,” she said.

    I nodded, and said: “I understand.”

    First few pages of the chapter The Calm, from my upcoming novel(la) Eldritch Fairytales

    Don't know if you need the colon in that sentence :) Nice appeal to the sense of scent, authors normally forget that.

  • @corruptbiggins said: A little extract from a story I wrote for an English assignment over 15 years ago

    The three of them stopped at the edge of a great cliff which lead into an enormous valley. The strange building was half-way along the bottom of the valley. Bart sat down on a handy rock and started to think. "Rope. All we need is some rope. It's not fair. In all those adventure films where they are in strange worlds they always find what they need. It just happens to be there." He looked up at his two other companions. Chrissie was gabbing away to Dave although he probably wasn't listening. "What a pathetic pair." he thought to himself, "I mean, did Indiana Jones get stuck with these two? No he got some beautiful woman to go around with. These two would be hopeless if it came down to a challenge of wits, brain and cunning." He looked away from the group and at the floor where something caught his attention. It was a coil of sturdy rope. He turned back to the others. "Where on earth did this rope come from." They both shrugged.
    "I told you before, we are not on Earth." said Dave
    "Well," said Chrissie "at least we can get down the cliff and get to the building."
    "Yeah," said Bart "so lets do it!"

    The trio of them tied the rope to a jutting out piece of rock and let it hang down the cliff. After they tested it, they went down it. Bart had put knots in the rope so they could get down easier. Bart went first who was followed by Chrissie and last of all was Dave. When they where past half-way down, Dave sent a message down to Bart to tell him that he had heard and seen the rope fray. Dave looked up and saw it was fraying very quickly, then looked down to see how far they were from the ground. It was a long way down. He shouted a message to the rest of them to get down as fast as they could because the rope won't hold for very long and at that moment it was no longer true. The rope snapped! The three of them were bracing for the impact of the fall but it did not happen. When the rope snapped, a porthole appeared in the ground. It was a blue, purple, green and grey mixture of rings getting smaller, nearer to the center. A bright white band was coming down the rings followed by, five rings behind, a deep black band. When a band reached the center it appeared on the first ring. There were twenty-five rings all together and the two bands were getting faster and faster as the three got nearer and nearer. When they entered the porthole, all was black.

    So you wrote Portal ;) Not bad for an assignment written so long ago. A bit verbose but interesting.

  • @DAISHI said: So you wrote Portal ;) Not bad for an assignment written so long ago. A bit verbose but interesting.

    Heh! I just found it again tonight, weird looking back at something I wrote when I was around 14/15. In my opinion the whole thing isn't very good, and the style goes from dialogue heavy in the beginning, with short character introductions then quickly setting the scene and getting into the story. Later on it progresses to lengthy descriptive paragraphs while also trying to invoke fast paced action. That mixture doesn't work!

    I'm gonna stick the whole thing up somewhere, probably on my blog (might as well make some use of it!).

  • I was glancing through some of the older stuff I've written and found this little gem. I just can't seem to stop myself from making hard-boiled detective type characters.

    *********

    Viridian sat at his desk, staring woodenly ahead. He should’ve raged, should’ve written furious letters, should’ve...done something! But his opponents in the Council were too persuasive. Even the fact that he’d done the impossible and found a way to track Alpheratz hadn’t improved his case.

    His case. Not anymore.

    Also, his glass seemed to be getting rather empty.

    Almost subconsciously, he opened the bottom drawer of his desk and pulled out the bottle that had almost magically appeared there. Maybe it had been left by the previous chief. Made sense, really.

    He poured a little of the liquid into his glass. Not too much... it wasn’t even noon yet and the last thing he needed was for that damn Council wizard to come in at the wrong time and get him fired for incompetence of some stupid bullshit.

    Ha! Incompetence! Let the Council look for Alpheratz for a few weeks and they’d realize the meaning of the word. They may have their fancy contacts and special high-level spells and enchantments, but they didn’t know Prock like he did.

    Prock would dance rings around them.

    Of course he would. He had to.

    Maybe it was the whiskey thinking, but Viridian realized with a start that he was actually on Alpheratz’s side in this matter. Just this matter, though. Guy still needed to be locked up somewhere safe...just...

    The Council had overstepped its bounds. Gone above the Law. Viridian rather hoped Alpheratz would make them pay dearly for their transgressions.

    On the other hand, if it hadn’t been for Prock in the first place, none of this would have happened. Yes, yes. When it came right down to it, it was all Prock’s fault.

    Viridian glared straight ahead. One day... one day he’d wipe the smirk off that bastard’s-

    “So, who's this, then?”

    Viridian sat up far too fast, reeling with the sudden change in altitude. Maybe he’d poured himself a tad bit too much in retrospect. And here... here was his second least favorite person in the world and he was holding-

    Oh Lord.

    Somehow the insufferable son of a bitch had noticed and picked up that picture. The one he usually kept face down on his desk. He did that for a reason. Couldn’t the biserable mastard... er... miserable bastard just keep his goddamn hands to himself?!

    Very carefully, so as not to betray the fact that the room seemed to be gently rocking, he stood up and snatched the picture back.

    “It’s none of your buish-business!” he snapped.

    “So it is true! I figured you were always protecting that two-bit thief-”

    Viridian slammed the picture frame down on the desk. Even when Prock wasn’t around he still managed to make life difficult!

    “Shut up!”

    All right. Not very eloquent, but Viridian was beginning to feel that perhaps he had had slightly too much whiskey.

    The other man seemed to notice this as well.

    Damn his eyes.

    “A little early, isn’t it?” he remarked with a raised eyebrow, “Better hope the Council doesn’t find out...”

    “It’s lemonade,” interrupted Viridian, immediately feeling stupid. If he’d been slightly more sober, he’d have probably thought of something better to say. Or at least more believable.

    The other eyebrow joined the first, “I didn’t know they made lemonade eighty proof...”

    Oh. Right. He’d left the bottle on his desk.

    Quickly, he replaced it into it’s proper drawer, vaguely noticing how very empty it had become. he was fairly sure there had been quite a bit more in it this morning...

    But for now, the damn Council wizard.

    “So, did you come here just to gloat or do you actually have some business with me, Magister?” he spat.

    “Actually,” the magister began, “do you mind if I sit down?”

    Viridian nodded at one of the chairs across from the desk.

    “Thank you,” said the wizard, taking a seat, “As I have just begun my investigation,” Viridian winced, “And as you were the previous investigator,” another wince, “I was wondering if I might have your file on Alpheratz Procyon. It would speed things up immeasurably.”

    No. Absolutely not. Did the man not know how fucking long it had taken to compile that thing? How many hours he’d spent collecting stories and hearsay? What it took to get any information at all on the most elusive man in the world? Did he?

    And to expect him to just hand over that wealth of information just like that! It was a humiliation worse than being pulled off the case in the first place! Viridian knew he was being unreasonable, but damn it! He deserved to be allowed the odd moment of... of... unreasonableness! If that was even a word!

    But, then again, the magister had very pointedly not mentioned that one word from him could send Viridian into a very early retirement.

    Best step cautiously. It would probably help matters if the other wizard thought him too drunk to be tricky.

    “Of course,” he said, finally, “but there’s some... uh... formalities that need to be followed before I can give you that information. It’s the only source of data, after all.”

    “So what? I need to sign some things?” asked the magister.

    Heavens be praised, a newcomer to bureaucracy.

    “You might say that,” he started carefully, “There are also some forms that need to be filled out. And since we’ve never had an information transfer this large before...” a lie... well, sort of a lie, “there is no specific protocol for this sort of thing. But I’m sure we can work something out.”

    Oh, yes they would. Already, a plan was forming at the back of his mind. This... this must be something similar to what Alpheratz felt all those times he’d used his twisted genius to squirm out of impossibly tight situations. Maybe he should drink more often.

    But now, his mouth was moving faster than his reason.

    “Well, now. We’ve got our standard II1B, that’s just for you to fill out,” with a flick of his hand, he summoned the appropriate form from one of his filing cabinets. It was a good start, a twelve page beast that featured a full background check and a number of awkward questions. Viridian couldn’t even remember what it was for, only that it took nearly a half an hour to complete.

    “This is just so that we know precisely who is making the withdrawal. Contact information, background, reasons for request... you get the idea.”

    The wizard was flipping through the form, “Is it really necessary to list my beginning school instructors? And what size pants I wear?”

    Viridian tried not to grin, “Essential.”

    “So after I fill this thing out,” the magister did not look like he was anticipating the action, “do I get to view the file?”

    “Does this look like a public library?” asked Viridian in a shocked tone, “This is just for us to verify that you are who you say you are. After you fill this out, then I’ll send it out for processing. That will take about a week... “ as if just noticing the wizard’s expression, Viridian leaned forward and added conspiratorially, “Of course, I know you are who you say you are, but the paperwork has to get done. Nothing I can do about that. But, I can speed up the process a bit...”

    “How?” asked the wizard hopefully.

    “Well, normally, we’d have to wait for the results from this form to come back before going to the item retrieval forms. But since we already know what the results will be, I can get you started on those right now and you can get them filled ahead of time!”

    Viridian watched with satisfaction as the wizard’s shoulders slumped a little in dismay.

    “So what do I have to sign?” he asked wearily.

    Viridian was on a roll. As quickly as he could, he began to summon form after form to his desk, careful to choose the longest and most complicated that he could remember, the ones with the most writing, the intimidating ones. He’d see if the snarky bastard was quite as snarky when he left.

    And of course he was as sickeningly helpful as possible all the way through it. He even highlighted the portions of the forms that needed to be filled out.

    “So, we’ve got the 516B, that’s for basic item retrieval, and the 516B28C, which is the extension for rare or restricted items. Don’t worry, most of that is just explaining the differences between different types of items. You can just skim it to fill out section 6B here,” out came the highlighter, “Then, there’s the NIK23, NAK42, and the PADIWAK3B12. Those are Naval regulations and restrictions-”

    “Wait. Why do I need to fill out Naval regulations and restrictions forms?” cut in the bemused wizard.

    Viridian let out a long-suffering sigh, “This is a large file, magister. Some of the information of Alpheratz’s incursions encroaches on the confidential activities of various government branches. It is necessary to accept the terms for each of these just to be safe.”

    Viridian knew he was spewing bullshit now, but the wizard seemed to buy it.

    “Oh,” the magister said in a small voice.

    Viridian started up again, “We also have the ETC36a, which is for traffic regulations in cities with populations of one hundred thousand and above...”

    Viridian grinned inwardly. If that wizard could walk out of his office by the end of the day without the assistance of a wheelbarrow, he wouldn’t have done his job properly.

    He wasn’t going to give up that file without a fight.

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