Archive | January 18, 2013

Laziness as an art form

For @cluudle’s prompt

The halls were dark. Something was howling in the distance. Something else was screaming.

Roanna was doing a decent job of holding it together. She’d grabbed the hand of the nearest classmate she could find, and they were moving calmly and meticulously through the darkness. Roanna had a flashlight in her free hand; Tamberlain had a long wooden stick in his off hand.

“Look, the stairs should be right around…” Suddenly, she couldn’t move. Panic, totally inexplicable terror, gripped her and wouldn’t let go.

“Ro? Ro? Shit, Ro, run!” Tamberlain, still gripping her hand, starting following his own advice, and, in the process, dragging her along.

Her frozen legs finally responded, and Roanna started running, too, as fast as she could. Something was wrong. Something was really, really wrong.

They saw the other two kids – Zuleyma and Merton, people they knew from class – running their way, but not in time to stop. They skidded, instead, heels dragging into the carpet.

Something hit their faces, first, and their outstretched free hands, something sticky and grabby. By the time they came to a full stop, their whole bodies were ensnared.

The panic released them as, behind them, someone started chuckling. “Panic trap. I love it.” A hand settled on Roanna’s shoulder. She couldn’t move her face to look, but she could see, in front of her, Zuleyma’s freaked-out expression. Her heart was still pounding, too, like it was trying to claw its way out of her chest.

“What?” The sticky stuff grabbed even at her lips, making speaking tricky.

“Panic trap. It makes you, well, panic.” There was another hand on her ass, very gently resting there. “And then, of course, my web. I hardly have to do any work at all.”


“You’ll see. Now, all of you, just say the magic words, and I’ll let you go. The web is acidic; it’s already trying to digest you, so I’d talk fast.

“Please?” Zuleyma tried.

“Not those words. ‘I belong to you, Segenam.’ Those words.” The voice was still chuckling. And Roanna’s face was starting to sting.

Laziness X4.

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Shows Promise, a story of Science! for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] imaginaryfiend‘s prompt.

Science! has a landing page here


“If he says ‘Eureka,’ I’m going to kill him and save the boss the trouble.” Cara’s low mutter only carried as far as her partner’s ears, and he was prone to agree with her. Some people just gave mad science a bad name.

“…guys have got to see this.” Archibald Antipone had promise, at least from Cara and Alex’s point of view. He did good work, reasonably, and didn’t tend to cackle to himself or throw things. He had yet to invent a sentient anything and he could, unlike most of their new hires, actually socialize to save his life.

It might save his life, around her. Usually the guards shot indiscriminately because they were pretty certain none of the scientists were actually human.

“Got to see what?” Cara carefully closed down her workstation and locked her case, leaving her intern Martin to finish his half of the project.

“We’ve got to call the boss, first.”

“No, no.” Alex shook his head. “Let us check things first. Trust me, you don’t want to get the boss involved before his first cup of coffee.”

“Well… all right. Look at this.”

“It looks like…” Cara frowned. “Hrrm. Your degree is in retromechanics, isn’t it?”

“My first doctorate.” He nodded distractedly; he was still tinkering with some long length of copper tubing. “My second is in sociology; it’s how I got this position. And now!” He came up, pointing another long tube at the two of them. The end of it flared into some sort of funnel.

Cara reached for the disintegrator she always carried at her hip; Alex’s fingers danced a warning pattern on his invisible keyboard. “Put the weapon down, Archie. We don’t want to hurt you.”

“Weapon?” He laughed. Not a cackle, thank the formulae. Just a laugh. “No, no. This is no weapon. It’s a sin detector.”

“A… sin…”

“Detector! Yes. See, looking at you, Cara, I can see that you have engaged in…”

Cara and Alex added murder to their sins before he finished the sentence, and swept up the dust before Liam had finished his coffee. “Sin detector.” Alex tch’d. “And I thought he had such potential.”

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