Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Frizan
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Frizan The One True Keeper

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New Beginnings

A welcome to one and all, to readers and writers, to the revival of the Guild Contests! It's been a while, and it's high time we get started again! With a new team, new prompts and a new year, what better and more fitting thing to write about than new beginnings?

Unrestrained by the baggage of the past, starting anew gives so many options. Sins are washed away, mistakes are forigven, and the green fields of the future are open to you. How will you change? What will you do? Do your actions affect the world at large, and if so, how?

It's time to make a change...

Contest Rules

1. A small taste should be given of what the focus character(s) was like before their second chance. They could stomp puppies for all I care(please don't describe them stomping puppies), there just needs to be a chance for the reader to see a contrast down the road.

2.The focus character(s) must change in some way as a person. It doesn't need to be a full 180 personality swap, but how they change should be at least semi-obvious through their thoughts and actions.

3. Entries should be around 500 to 1000 words, though further than a thousand won't get you disqualified; just have some common sense in how much you fluff things.

Grounds for disqualification

1. Plagiarism.

2. Your entry having no clear connection to the prompt.

3. 18+ scenes. No sexy times or descriptions of gratuitous violence/gore. Have some class.

Please submit your entry here in the Prompt and Entries thread by Monday, January 22nd. Direct all questions to my PM box, and I will be more than happy to answer them.

Please hold off all votes and critiques until the proper thread has been erected for this prompt.

Special thanks to...

@ArenaSnow for his help formatting a system for future, weekly mini-contests and @Odin for the suggestion for this month's Main Contest prompt and his ideas for incorporating different mediums into Contests in the future. Also thanks to both Odin and @Poohead189 for formatting feedback for this prompt.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Mattchstick
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Mattchstick This little light of mine...

Member Seen 6 hrs ago

A small taste should be given of what the focus character(s) was like before their second chance. They could stomp puppies for all I care(please don't describe them stomping puppies),...

So don't actually describe it? Okay, good enough.

So, here’s the thing; I’m not used to telling stories, especially my story. It’s not much. Just a story of redemption and change. A story of new beginnings. Of how I went from a very bad man to a hero.

Nah, not really.

My name is Axel Blacksoul, and, as of two days ago, I was the edgiest edgelord on the wrong side of town. My heart was a black hole of self-loathing and hate. My mind was a pit of despair and rage. I lived in a rat’s nest by myself, with nothing but a mattress to sleep on. I didn’t need to eat. My body was fueled entirely by self-loathing and misery. I didn’t communicate with anyone except the evil voice in my head, who told me to do things. Awful things. Puppy-stomping things.

That’s right. I used to stomp puppies.

It wasn’t a great job, but it had to be done. As long as there are two puppies in this world, one of them is going to need to be stomped on, and I was the meanest, toughest puppy-stomper of them all. No puppy was too cute to not be stomped. If someone needed a puppy stomped, I was the one they called. But it was worse than that. At first, I did it for the money (there’s good money in puppy stomping), but soon it became an obsession. It sustained me. Kept me alive.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Axel is some kind of monster, right? No one could ever stomp a puppy on purpose. But that’s where you’re wrong. You just have to let go of the horrible lie that any good exists in the world and accept that the only things worth doing are evil. It’s a whole new level of edginess that only the blackest of souls can reach, but it’s there. If you were as twisted up as I was, you’d understand. At the time, it just…made sense. I wore black leather boots, and I wasn’t having a good day unless a puppy was under one of them.

But something happened yesterday. I was sitting in my room, in the dark, engulfed in wretchedness, when the evil voice said “Hey, you know how you stomp puppies?”

“Yeah. It’s what I do,” I said, lighting a cigarette.

Well,” the voice said, “What if you didn’t stomp puppies?”

“I have to stomp puppies,” I snarled, suddenly enraged. I threw the cigarette on the floor and crushed it with my leather boot.

No, you really don’t,” said the voice.

“But it’s what I do. It’s what you TOLD me to do. YOU wanted me to stomp the puppies,” I growled in frustration, lighting another cigarette.

Yeah, and I’m having second thoughts. I was expecting it to be a one-time thing, but it’s gotten a little out of hand.”

“What else is there to do besides stomp puppies?” I cried into the darkness, the bitterness in my soul clawing against my mind. I threw the second cigarette down and crushed it even harder that the first one.

Literally anything else. Just stop stomping puppies. It’s actually starting to creep me out, and I’m an evil voice.”

Well, I never could win an argument with the evil voice, so that’s when everything changed. And by “everything,” I just mean the puppy stomping thing. I’m still the edgiest edgelord on the wrong side of town, I still don’t communicate with real people, and I still spend every night in torments and anguish. I’m still pretty twisted up and can’t see anything good in this world, but hey, you can’t just let the name “Axel Blacksoul” go to waste, and there’s something special about being on a whole new level of edginess. The important thing is, I’m not stomping puppies anymore. There’s been a real change in my life, and now I have something else to sustain me.

Kicking orphans.

There’s good money in that too.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Kalleth
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Kalleth Let me tell you / a story friend...

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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Shienvien
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Shienvien Creator and Destroyer

Member Seen 8 hrs ago

Two days ago, he had crashed his car into a lamp post. Second one to the left on the old bridge, coming from the center of the city. It had been an accident, he had said in his statement. It was raining heavily, it had been dark, visibility had been low, he had thought he had seen a figure in a gray raincoat amid the downpour, made a sharp turn to swerve around the supposed person, his car had gone hydroplaning... The next thing he had known, a crash and a short metallic grinding, then stunned, numb silence. It had taken a few moments for him to realize that the rain drummed on, pattering against the roof and smashed windshield of the fresh wreckage.
He had ended up repeating the statement three times. Twice to police and once to his insurance company. Poor conditions, figure in the rain, swerve, hydroplane, crash. Nothing more than a few bruises on him. Blessed be crumple zones and high safety ratings. For a car as old as his had been, anyway - the electronics in a new car would have stopped the impact from ever occurring in the first place. His car itself? Totaled, of course.
The wreck was gone now; the local tow company had unceremoniously dragged the remains of his old companion off after he himself had been taken to hospital for a checkup. The man felt kind of sorry for his car... It had been aging and ailing, the transmission would soon have given out entirely, and replacing that would have cost more than one of the car's cousins, but had been his first car of seven years, and people tended to grow kind of attached to their first and long-time rides alike. He had been no different.
Incidentally, the crash had also taken out the only camera overlooking this side of the bridge. The city was yet to replace it; it usually took at least two weeks of bureaucracy before they managed to send out a guy with a new one to hook up.

Two weeks ago, he had been let go from his job. It had been a dead-end one - being an office accountant, to be more precise -, but it had brought the cash in. Enough for his mother's (and, as an extension, his own) rent, to buy them food, to cover their utilities. It had been not much, but it had been enough to maintain the status quo and just have a little bit to put aside. He had intended to eventually buy a new car with that. And perhaps a washing machine for his mother (and, as an extension, himself).
If it had not been embarrassing enough that a guy his age - thirty! - was still living with his mother, he hadn't even lost his job to another person. He had lost it to a computer program - one of those newfangled things which went over the company account and POS systems, compared everything, ordered new stock, paid bills, handled salaries, and spat out the overview of everything for the boss to peruse - all for the measly running price of the extra thirty kilowatt-hours of electricity to keep the computer going. He and a few of his colleagues cost much more, so his company, being a company oriented on profits like any other, had made them all redundant. It had been happening more and more lately, automated systems replacing office workers. The chances of getting a similar, no-diploma, non-physical job with comparable pay were quickly approaching nil. Even this job had been too good, for suspiciously long.
He had went and ordered new documents for about a quarter of all of his money the very same evening, before he even went back to his mother and his little apartment with his head down, and conveyed her the sorry news.
It was his mother because of whom he felt the most sorry for... That it had come to this, that he felt it was the best thing he could do, given everything. His father, he had never known, and he did not have any siblings. Nor a girlfriend. His mother, though, had always been kind. She had tried his best. Attempted to see him through university. Doctor, she had insisted. And he had failed... Burned out and dropped out fourth year.
He had left two thirds of his remaining money for her to find.

Today, he was standing on the same bridge that had witnessed the demise of his car, staring over the railing into the white rushing waters below. Staring and contemplating. The simple electronic watch on his wrist stated 3:12 AM. No reasonable soul was out at three in the morning. The last car had passed him over twenty minutes ago.
The man's eyes moved up his arm, to where he knew a microchip was buried. Traceable via satellite. They had become standard practice not long before his birth. The theory had been "for the good of people", as always with such things - no more missing children, no more men frozen dead, no more speeding on the roads! In reality, it meant that kidnapping victims - if they were found - were usually found with hastily gouged and poorly bandaged holes in their arms, or their entire arms missing, men froze to death before people drove over to where they were, and speeders signal-proofed their cars, even when it was illegal. That is, until car-makers starting making cars that pedantically drove themselves, and only somewhat allowed people to play drivers. As an end result, the chips were discontinued eight years ago, but he still had one.
And now, it was time for the owner of the chip - the almost-unhirable nobody with no car, job, wife, children, friends or own apartment - to die.

The man flicked open a knife in his left, and carefully placed the razor-sharp tip near the nook of his elbow. He'd seen his X-ray images - he knew where it was. He swallowed; it'd hurt. Breaths were drawn in through gritted teeth as the blade sunk in and hit something hard that wasn't bone, blood rivuleted down his arm, knife was pulled out and cast into the river beneath. It had been a gift - too identifying. Some mucking about with pliers, and he had the damn thing ... little green-copper rectangle with a black serial number on it. It followed the knife. So did the simple electronic watch.
From the satellite recordings, it'd look just as if he had jumped off the bridge and gotten pulverized between the rocks in the rushing waters. The missing camera would neither confirm or deny it.
Hissing, the man wrapped his jacket around his bleeding arm as he attempted to fish out a small tube from another of his pockets. He knew enough from his unfinished medical training to miss significant blood vessels and nerves, but damn... He felt slightly faint. He unscrewed the tube with his right, unwrapped some of his makeshift temporary gauze, and holding the wound closed as much as he could with his pinky and ring finger, pressed on the tube with his thumb and index finger ... just about doable. The tube emitted a clear liquid that solidified, sealing the injury. Medical glue ... possibly a bit past best before, but that probably wouldn't kill him. (The super glues of old had started out as medical glues, too, some part of his mind reiterated a bit of trivia.)
The bloodied jacket followed the knife and chip. So did his T-shirt, jeans, shoes and socks. And his high school ring. Now he was feeling cold, too, rather than just faint... And in hurry. There were spares in the bag next to him, along with some electronics he was supposed to be returning to the rental tomorrow ... lent for "finding a new job", which, if someone managed to fish out the devices, he had been doing. And little else. Just reading mail and watching some videos. Boring search history, all undeleted (except for that one link which was, on purpose, porn - he had thought it might seem too odd if he were entirely a saint for two weeks and didn't give the recovery team anything to find).
He pulled on a new pair of jeans, followed by first one set of sock and sneaker, then another. A small plastic bottle full of water was used to wash off his arm and hand, leaving just the pucked-up red-orange streaked patch of hardened medical glue. Half-full bottle was returned to bag. T-shirt, jacket and wig were picked out and donned. A quick pat to ensure that his documents and last quarter of money were still safely in the pocket of his jacket. Bag went the way of his previous attire.
If they found any of the things, the better for the him, and the theory that he had jumped off the bridge. No actual body? In these waters, entire people, if any bits all, were rarely found to begin with. For all legal purposes, he was dead now, just five minutes after flicking open the knife. His old, real documents had drowned with the jacket. The ones in his replacement jacket were fabricated. The diploma, ID, work record, everything. Better yet, there were government and company records of his entire existence. The gal had known her job - and all the law knew was that she had a little bar with the rights to sell booze, and host two slot machines and billiard. Cameras specifically did not cover one table right by the front in her establishment, even though it was within an arm's reach of the front. Brilliant.

A man who had not existed two weeks ago wandered off the cameraless side of the bridge, crossed the street to avoid another camera, inched under the view of the next one, then turned into a narrow street that was uncovered, strolled behind a conveniently (for him) parked bus, climbed over a fence, moved behind a hedge for a few hundred meters, and helped himself into the small unlocked shed of a rich person. Perhaps he should not have thrown the water bottle away so hastily ... the blood-loss or shock from the injury made him thirsty. Too late now; he'll have to buy a new one tomorrow.
Come morning, he will come out of the shed, try to sell those people a few nonexistent vacuum cleaners, be rejected, find a bus, let himself be taken over to the next city, find a new job (his old hobby, and new diploma and CV should help with that bit ... with all the other jobs taken by machines, the man whose job was understanding and giving meaning to the machines still had his), stay in a motel until he can get an apartment, maybe get a girlfriend...
Would it be too suspicious to arrange it so that his mother just happened to win one of those magazine competitions for various appliances? She filled those out, sometimes. And he had intended to get her a washing machine...
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by SleepingSilence
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SleepingSilence OC, Plz No Stealz.

Member Seen 19 hrs ago

Story Wordcount: 966 words. Haha, I'm one of the first people to actually properly follow the prompt. My victory is assured.

I kid. Didn't do it to compete. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to kill some time and get my writing brain flowing. Hopefully whoever reads, enjoys it. PM me if you happened to have anything particular to say about it, whether positive or critique. Unlike most, I won't bite your head off.

Etching Ellis's Stone

Life was like flowers laid beside a gravestone. The surface level smile you put on daily, embellishing bleakness that eventually withers without support and dies. Amidst a sunrise shining like a heavenly glow, through the yew trees where a young man kneeled in dirt for the hundredth time, but never to pray. Picking up another assortment of no longer pink carnations, meticulously dusting off the stone slab with a whisk broom, revealing the etchings, “Rachel Wright. Precious Daughter, 1962-1966” in-between both her parent’s graves ending the following year.

“I suppose Wright’s were always accustomed to the wrong side of fortune...” The young man lamented. Standing up, rubbing the dirt off on his shabby slacks. Stepping in a slow careful circular motion, scanning the surrounding amassed gravestones, eyes glued to the recently trimmed grass and his dyed green work boots. His exhaled breath, like smoke from yesterday’s final cigarette. Pulling some nicotine gum from his upper-left shirt pocket and popping it into his mouth. A sour cinnamon flavor assaulted his tongue, face twisting into a grimace and letting out a quick gagging sound, restraining himself from spitting it out.

“I’m just getting a peppermint flavor next time...” He muttered aloud, fully zipping up his windbreaker, walking off to reexamine hours of his continuous work.

Noticing one of the Sunday regular’s, a widow that’s lived decades longer, wearing a Renaissance widow dress, approaching a weeping angel statue, collapsing to the ground and letting out anguished cries, beneath a rainbow off in the distance towards the city. He smiled seeing their similarities, her tears like a ceaseless rain, reminiscing their moments together. Until leaving beautiful colors behind, showing those who believe watch over them, that they mattered. Continuing his casual walk, until reaching a tall catholic cross gravestone all by its lonesome. Completely dateless and nameless, with only etchings carved by himself. “Someone Remembered.”

“Her husband was a lucky man, but so am I. I might have ignored my parents until it was too late, but Father, you truly raised me out of my delinquency...I may never have the same strong belief in god, but you helped me reclaim faith in people. Ones we lost-shouldn’t be forgotten. I suppose-in that sense, there is a life after death...” He choked on his last words, clenching his fists tight, letting his own drops of memories fall from his eyes. “Despite forgetting your name before we met, having no family or friends, you still have someone to remember you. And I’ll keep my promise to respect and maintain, the place where all the lonely rest. Because nobody wants to be completely forgotten.” His last few sentences quoting the surrogate father buried beneath. Feeling a swift breeze coming from the southeast, reaching down and picking up a stray golden leaf tumbling by his feet, turning it around by its stem. Hearing distinct buzzing, glancing in the direction of a bumblebee landing on the leaf he held, leaving as quickly as the following breeze carried the leaf away once he released it from his grasp...
* * *

Underneath the pale moonlight partially shrouded by clouds, the stink coming from his muffler was nearly suffocating, pulling into the driveway and checked the displaying time on the radio, softly playing some classic rock. Turning off and exiting his car with a quick clunk, he returned to his job fifteen minutes early, before his midnight shift. He patted the car’s hood, pulling out a large flashlight.

“You belong here just as much as I do.” He sarcastically thought, switching on the light to illuminate the ground below. Smelling the scent of wet grass, only hearing the sounds of his footsteps hitting gravel approaching the graveyard. He stopped and pulled out an unopened pack of cigarettes, hanging his head low, staring at them within his trembling fingers.

“I wonder what will be etched in my stone? Ellis Wright-was he important enough for anyone to remember?” Sighing at his rhetorical question.

Suddenly, hearing the sounds of a shovel clanging against a gravestone. Ellis’ heartbeat skipped, unconsciously dropping the pack and running off in that direction. Coming across someone wearing a dark grey hoodie, hurling a shovel full of dirt over their shoulder. Ellis rushed up from behind, firmly grabbing their wrist, making them drop the shovel. Turning them around, to see an adolescent's terrified face, frozen stiff, realizing how it nearly reflected how he was caught desecrating the very same graveyard.

“I was t-told this man was buried with a bunch of gold...I m-mean-I-I’m r-really sorry sir! I won’t do it again! I swear!” The teen managed to loudly stammer out, not even pulling his arm away, snot started to drip down from his nose. Ellis gave him a stern look.

“I expect you to spend as long as it takes, repairing any of the damage you done until it’s fixed. Maybe then we can discuss not calling the police. Understand?” The boy seemed awestruck, like it was the kindest thing he had ever been told. Nodding his head fast enough to give someone whiplash, he was released and spent the next several hours fixing the damage he had done, sweating pouring from his forehead and breathing heavily. Waiting in silence, looking up at Ellis, eventually smiling at the boy.

“If you really want some money, how would you like a job under the table? Helping me take care of this graveyard starting tomorrow at 8 a.m sharp.” Ellis said seeing the boy’s agape mouth, raised eyebrows and widened pupils, returning a smile brighter than the stars.

“Yes sir!” The boy exclaimed.

Ellis watched the boy scurry off, heading back to his car, uncertain what would transpire. Perhaps, this was his chance to do something worthy enough to remember, for someone to etch in Ellis’ gravestone...
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Vocab
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Vocab Probably Insane

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Almost didn’t enter this, but since it’s really just an opportunity to write outside of roleplay, I don’t have a reason not to. Hoping it’s at least semi-decent.

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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Blitz
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Blitz Blazing Boy

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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Gwynbleidd
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Gwynbleidd Summon The Bitches

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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Exit
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Member Seen 22 hrs ago

Word Count: 866

"It's been pretty much the same routine everyday. I sit at my desk and type away at my keyboard. Watch little black letters jump onto my screen and find their place in line. Around nine..ish I get my first phone call. Usually just some irate person complaining about the powers that be making decisions a couple pay grades above me, and I always give them a pass. It's too early to fight and honestly, I'm a little upset too... I'm tired, I'm incoherent, I'm unbalanced, I'm not ready for the day. Right now sounds are just... too loud and all I want to do is drown it all out, but then I hear you... and so my day begins, the same way every time:

'Would you like some coffee?'

I can't see your eyes. Or your mouth, or your... face. I can see the cups of steaming brew quite well actually but nothing else. You're always blocking yourself from my view. But I accept anyways, grab a cup off the tray and get back to my work... At least that's what I usually do. Lately however, I've been watching you.

You walk away on those skinny legs of yours with your back turned to me, your face always hidden. I watch as you carefully carve a path through each cubicle. Watch as you pass some joe to Amy with the fat lips. Watch as you pass some joe to David with the silly hair. Watch as you approach Carl and his fucked up arm.

It's been two months. He's mindfully typing away with one hand and wholly aware of your presence but also aware of the date. His review is just around the corner and it's painfully obvious that productivity has slowed since his accident. He's well on his way out the door and he's knows it but then you... you surprise me. It's even more surprising when I realize that you've been doing this almost every day. There you are, reaching out to lend a hand... and he takes it. And you move on.

By now Lily's at the front door and because of a bum leg, she can't get in. She's late... or she's going to be and it's clear by the panic in her porcelain eyes that her next write up will be her last. She can't help it of course but then again, neither can the job. It's not their fault that she's been reduced a limb and sadly, that's just the way of the world. The others? their too busy with their heads buried in the five by five foot square that is their world. Me? I'm too busy watching... And you? Well look who it is showing up to her rescue. She's missing a leg and so, you lend her yours. She makes it to her shitty job on time where she can do her shitty work. You leave her, one time punch closer to keeping her job, and then move on.

Mike. What the fuck would he do without you. A promotion too soon or may be one taken too late. He sits and stares are spreadsheets on his table all damn day. Illustrates graphs on a computer screen and gawks at them through blank eyes unable to absorb any of the information he's putting down. There is a meeting in forty minutes and it's calling for ideas and direction and what is Mike doing? He's looking for your eyes and ears. As soon as you're within earshot it's on. He runs his mouth like a motorboat, pointing at everything on the table and then nothing at all. He doesn't even let you speak and yet there you are, a wall for him to bounce his ideas off of until they start to make sense. And when forty minutes are up, he's gone, satisfactory presentation in hand... and you? You move on.

Your cubicle is across from mine and for a while now I've been trying to catch a glimpse of your face. But I can't. I can't find you because for whatever reason there is always something in the way. I could never quite see you and even when I try to be very quiet, I can't... hear you... and that's when I realized.

You've never asked me if I wanted coffee. Every time you came up to me in the morning, I threw those words into the air between us because that's what I wanted. Carl? He needed a hand. Lily needed a leg. Mike needed your eyes and ears and I just wanted someone to come up to me and ask me if I wanted some coffee because I was feeling miserable about being at work. I needed you and I took from you just like everyone else and that's why I can't see you. There's nothing left.

So... today, it's about nine thirty-ish and you've already made your rounds... and... I've just started making mine. I know it's a little strange because I don't normally do this but I thought you could be my first stop and I wanted to give you th-"

She took off her smile... and stuck it on his face.
Edit: Grammatical.
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by PlatinumSkink
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So, we just post them here? Alright. I wrote a little super-hero flick because I'm in super-hero roleplays right now, so here. Also, I cannot write stories under 1000 words. Here's the one I'm officially submitting, 2049 words.

... And because I felt like challenging myself, here's the same story but I tried to cut down on the word-count. If the above is too long, here's one 500 words shorter. I'd have to strain myself if I wanted to make it shorter, but *checks clock* I think I'm out of time. Heh.

Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Balance
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The Trade: The tale of a boy who experiences a moment of salvation and uses it to trade one type of insanity for another.

Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Frizan
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Frizan The One True Keeper

Contest Mod Seen 9 hrs ago

And thus, the deadline has arrived, and this thread shall now be locked. Thank you all for your entries! Keep an eye out for the voting and critique thread coming soon!
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