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Consistency: 08/07/2022
In Discord Challenges
literallydead
Aug 08, 2022
WC: 594 Brett brushes her index finger over the golden rim of the large clock, admiring her brother’s old craftsmanship. When she lifts her hand back, dust lays on it. She brushes it off onto her long magenta skirt, looking around at the clock shop around her. Her whole life, she wasn’t interested in her brother’s workshop whatsoever. But now it seems to be even more dull. She’s been sitting at the front desk of this damned shop for hours now, only a few customers stopping by. Her brother is on his honeymoon, assigning Brett to look after the shop. She doesn’t have to make any repairs, thank God (and her brother), for those are to be left to him as soon as he returns. For now, she only has to help a few people. But seeing as there are digital clocks all over now, she hardly sees why the clock shop manages to stay in business. Yet it does, even if it feels abandoned. The shop is rustic and dusty, the stained wallpaper peeling off of the walls, the chair Brett sits upon creaking from every little movement as well as the desk she’s behind. There’s an old speaker releasing the sound of saxophone music into the air, her brother’s favorite instrument to listen to. Before he left, Brett had asked why he liked to play that sort of music instead of something more popular, but he just laughed, patted her shoulder, and boarded the plane. Needless to say, he’s an odd man, yet a lovable one at that— sort of old-fashioned and naive. He sits up straight at restaurants, grows his own roses to send to his loved ones, and has an interest in the waltz. Brett, on the other hand, is the opposite. Her posture is terrible, sends emails weeks late with bad grammar, and spends her time watching Grey’s Anatomy on her couch while eating barbecue chips. This isn’t because she’s lazy or whatever— she just doesn’t know what to do. Seeing as she’s a teacher now on summer break with the next year all figured out, there’s not much to do. And she really can’t read another book. She’s always wondered how her mom raised two kids so different from each other. Suddenly, a tall, tall man with grey eyebrows so bushy that they overshadow his brown eyes walks in, wearing a top hat and suit strides in. He looks as if he sprung out of a Charles Dickens novel. The man’s legs are long and skinny, just like the rest of him, his nose especially. Brett notes the pocket watch in his left hand. “Hello, are you the sister Mr. Charles told me about?” he says, his voice dull and booming as he leans over the counter. So this is a regular customer. Brett replies, “Yes, I am. My name’s Brett Trinity.” She gulps, cringing at how uptight and prissy her voice sounds. “The name’s Timothy Carter,” Mr. Carter responds. “I’d like to give this to Mr. Charles, if you would please save it for him.” He hands her an envelope sealed with red wax. She nods, takes the package, and he leaves without another word. Was he that silent and mysterious with Charles? Perhaps you have to know him to get along well. What a strange man. But when Brett listens to the saxophone music around her, rubs the golden clock’s rim once more, and looks at the store around her, she knows that Mr. Carter isn’t the only strange part of the rusty and old Charles’ Clocks Shoppe.
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Consistency: 08/06/2022
In Discord Challenges
literallydead
Aug 07, 2022
WC: 290 Notes: Wasn’t too motivated today. This is based on Ride the Cyclone, a musical that’s probably my favorite of the genre. Please listen to it! Penny emerged from behind a tree, still in her school uniform. She patted her blonde curls with her pale, slim hands, just to make sure she was really there, head and all. It was hard to believe what had just happened, Penny barely believed it herself. She and her friends in the school choir had rode a dreaded roller coaster not too long ago, the front axle breaking and the cart derailing. Then there was a strange thing with some carnival machine named Karnak— the point was, she’d come back to life. She was no longer forgotten, she should’ve been happy…yet she still missed her friends. What was she to do? There was no longer a choir for her to attend, there was the issue of explaining how she came back to life, how her head reattached to her body… What a prospect. She had to feel her neck just one more time to make sure. Her head, it was really there. Her soul, too— thank God. Sighing, she scraped muck off of her Mary Janes. Sniffing the air around her, it hit her how wonderful the world was, sort of like what one of the other kids had sung about back in purgatory. As she headed back to her home, she basked in the autumn light and the crunches of the leaves beneath her feet. It was tough to leave the past behind, now knowing that no one would notice if she vanished. Even her own mother and father didn’t appear at the incident when their child didn’t return home. Peculiar, was it not? Still, the chance of a new beginning made her smile softly. She was going to make sure not to waste the opportunity she was given.
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Consistency: 08/05/2022
In Discord Challenges
literallydead
Aug 06, 2022
WC: 457 Notes: Rushed as hell. Wasn't feeling the prompt today so I just threw this together. Another glass empty, I rest my head against the back of the stained, green couch. What day is it? What time is it? How long have I been sitting here? My body is aching too much for me to even pick my head up and look around at my living room. I feel like a soul possessing a body. Nothing feels real, and I still don’t know exactly who I am. I haven’t ever since my breakup with my Remi. Look at me! I’m a person lying around in my unkempt home because I’ve nothing better to do; no friends to see, no parents with interests in catching up, and tragically, no Remi to give me soft kisses and tell me I look lovely in my evening wear. I manage to sweep my brown, rugged hair out of my hazel eyes. My ears are ringing so loud I feel as if I’ll go mad. The room is spinning. None of this makes sense. And on my wall, I swear the clock is going backwards. There are people coming and going, and is that…me? A second me? Time slows. My clock returns to normal. What the hell is going on right now? My house looks clean now, just like in the times when Remi came over and we cleaned it togeth– No. I have to move on, I keep telling myself that, but… Why is it so hard? The other me lets a woman with a slim figure walk through the front door. Who’s that? Is this some sort of alternate timeline? But when I set my eyes on her, there’s no doubt. It’s her. It’s really her. My love, my dear… She smiles and smooths out her black dress, her black hair bouncing off of her shoulders as it always did. It’s all a hallucination, it’s not real. I repeat it over and over in my head, but this all feels so familiar. Like it’s all happened before. And when the two begin to have a wonderful evening together, that’s when it really makes my head spin. When she kisses me on the cheek like she once did each night, when the two begin to dance around the house together… I remember the evening clearly now. Yet now I’m watching this from a third person perspective, now realizing that… Someday, Remi will love another like she once loved her. Maybe I’ll be invited to her wedding and I’ll see what we could’ve been if I hadn’t said that dreaded phrase that night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for her, but… I still love her. I rest my head back again in pain, my headache killing me. When I open my eyes again, the two are gone.
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Consistency: 08/04/2022
In Discord Challenges
literallydead
Aug 04, 2022
WC: 662 Notes: I wanted to write a cute couple. Maybe I'll write about these two more in the future. Warm rays of light shine down on Lillian as she glides around the stage on her feet effervescently. Her gown floats behind her, white and airy like it has in previous performances. However, this show is different, extremely different. Lillian will no longer dance professionally, or at least not for this company, after this performance. Lillian has been with the Jour du Melon Dance Company for many years, rising through the ranks. She had landed the starring role for the first and final time in the prior year, since she was preparing to graduate. She's alone for this piece, with all focus on her as she does her brisé on stage right. Despite the fact that she feels like a celebrity on stage, she misses the familiarity of being in the ensemble. She craves the adrenaline of reaching the song's pinnacle and feeling the energy surrounding her swell. There is nobody she can rely on now, since she is on her own. She slowly raises her gaze to the lone spotlight that beams down on her in the hopes of seeing a familiar face, but also because it's a part of the routine. Looking beyond, she notices the light booth and can almost see Samantha's face smiling down at her. And just maybe, for a brief moment, everything is alright for Lillian—maybe she isn't alone. As long as Samantha, dear, lovely Samantha, was still in the light booth, what could be so bad? She smiles as she closes her eyes and returns her eyes to the horizon. Her final performance, not just for the week, month, or year, but for all time. She'll grow up and become a successful former student of the company. But Samantha? Samantha'll never leave– she'll stay with her forever, Lillian's sure. Samantha, Lillian's adored girlfriend, sits above in the light booth while she is performing her dance. Her dark eyes follow the pink-haired ballerina attentively. Attempts to focus are temporarily halted as the spotlight is kept in place for a short instant. Samantha sighs blissfully as she watches her lover spin down below onstage. What a pretty woman she is! See for yourself how she shines in the pitch black! Samantha has always been too uncoordinated to be a dainty dancer, at least according to her former ballet teacher, and she is fully aware of this. Her thoughts wander to the moment she told Lillian she was quitting dance class; the anguish in the other girl's eyes, the way her heart hammered, almost exploding out of her chest. But perhaps watching Lillian smile as she dances is just as satisfying as living her dream for herself. The show she gets to see on stage is as pleasant a prize as any. While Samantha supports her girlfriend in every way she can in her ballet career, she sometimes thinks to herself, "I wish that was me," as she watches Lillian dance elegantly around the stage. It prompts her to feel awful remorse, yet she can't stop thinking about it. She'll just have to deal with the reality of her future while loving a girl who is living out the one she once desired and occasionally still does. The music becomes more intense, breaking the technician out of her trance. She maintains control of the spotlight, knowing exactly where Lillian will go, what she'll do, and how quickly she'll do it. Little things she's learned from watching endless exhibitions of this dance. As a result, Lillian dances her heart out on stage, with the spotlight following her in perfect timing. Her brilliant smile droops as she deflects sparkling tears to avoid confusing the spectators or ruining her makeup. Finally, as she ends her dance, she chokes on the air around her as claps erupt from the crowd. She can feel love in the loud chaos of the claps. As she exited, all she could hope was that she gave those audience members as much enjoyment as she had herself.
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Consistency: 08/03/2022
In Discord Challenges
literallydead
Aug 04, 2022
WC: 2382 Notes: Didn't reread this at all. So, uh, it's kinda a hot mess with little relevance to the theme, but hey! I wrote for once! CW: Mentions of death :( Okay. I think I’m ready for the day. It’s sort of weird that I’m getting ready to go out in the evening, but it’s part of what makes the White Dove Festival one of my favorites; the fact that you can sleep in and still have a lot of time to spare until the festival begins has always made me have a large amount of respect for it. I’ve been going to the celebration every year of my life, but now that I’m an adult, it’s my first time going alone. Honestly, I’m kind of nervous. Adulting has been so confusing on its own, but actually going out to talk to people just makes me want to hide in a corner. It’s hard to explain. I like being independent, but now there’s no one for me to ask for help. There’s not going to be anyone I know there this year, and that scares the living crap out of me. But I can’t miss out, especially not this year. Imagining Mom and Dad cheering me on, I walk to the bathroom to do a final check. I look in the mirror one more time just to make sure. After tracing over all of my features, from my curly heap of red hair, now pulled into two low, nearly falling out pigtails, to my black eyes decorated with short, red eyelashes, the only thing I do is pull out a straggly few strands of hair to cover up a pimple on my forehead. Alright, even if I look like I’ve just emerged from hibernation (which I kinda did), I’m ready now. Now that Mom and Dad aren’t here to boss me around, I can really go out of the house looking however I like. Even Colette, my older sister, has been cooped up in her room for so long that she hasn’t sent me a text asking for a picture of how I look before she leaves for the festival like she normally would every year. No more, “Sadie, if you don’t send a picture I’m going to drive to your house right now,” or, “You look hideous, fix yourself up.” If only she understood how difficult it is to “fix up” a face like mine. Nothing looks anywhere near presentable on me, and I don’t feel like making the effort right now. Too tired to try to look cute, I just put on a pair of sweats, a white tee, and a checkered cardigan. I stuff a Hershey’s in my pocket in case I have an emergency. For some reason, I’m sweating more than often today. Maybe I’m just nervous to go outside, or maybe I’m nervous to be in a crowd at night. Maybe it’s the thought that they’ll be setting off firecrackers. Or maybe it’s because I’ll finally have to accept what happened to Mom and Dad. Ouch. I don’t know what it is, and I’m too tired to figure it out. So I suck it up, grab my cracked phone on the way out. My phone screen is so cracked from how many times I’ve dropped it that you can barely tell what it used to be or what it’s trying to show on its screen, but I’m too lazy to get a new one. Plus, an old friend got me this phone. I haven’t seen him in years, but it’s nice to have a memento of some sort, I guess. As soon as I step foot into the outside world, I flinch. Maybe I should just go back now. Maybe it isn’t worth it. But what about Mom and Dad? As soon as their smiling faces appear in my mind, I take a deep breath and begin to walk to my local park, where the White Dove Festival is held annually. With each step, I think of them. I miss them. The White Dove Festival is a celebration unique to my town that is of acceptance of all sorts of things– new relationships, relatives, locations, all of it– but especially the passing of loved ones. Every year, the attendees gather in the park. There, you can purchase a lantern to release into the night sky. Then you can buy a picnic blanket (if you didn’t bring one on your own) or find a bench to sit on with your group. Well, if you have a group. I don’t this year. Colette’s staying home, and I can’t blame her. Everything that happened this year took a toll on her, worse than on me. When I enter the park, suddenly everything feels more real. Everyone around me is really here and I am too, and that scares me more than it should. I gulp and head over to the stand where a girl with pale skin and white hair is selling sky lanterns. I rummage around in my pockets and pull out a few dollars. “One lantern, please,” I request. Only now do I recognize her face. I think she was one of Colette’s friends; it seems like she’s still stuck in this town like me. “Sure thing,” she nods, accepting the money and handing me a lantern. I nod in gratitude and scurry away like a mouse, off to find the bench my family would normally sit at. The Dimmings family bench is secluded and right between two tall trees. Practically everyone in town knows that it’s our bench, even if it’s never really said. There were four of us, so it was pretty hard to fit all of us into the bench. This year it’ll be even easier, seeing as I’ll be the only one on it. As soon as I arrive at the bench, I notice that something’s wrong. It’s not the bench itself, no– there’s a boy with black hair, hazel eyes, and rosy cheeks sitting right smack in the middle of it, right on my family’s bench! He looks my age, but also so frail, almost made of porcelain. He’s bundled up in a coat and scarf, even if it’s not cold at all out. He’s alone, his face giving away…nothing. His eyes are sorrowful, but that’s the only thing I can decipher, like a quiet and shy first grader who just swallowed a watermelon seed. Something about his expression makes me want to just give him hot cocoa and put him in front of a fireplace, even if it’s summer. The way he’s dressed and sitting makes him look refined, too refined for a town as dingy as this. Sure, the people themselves are nice, but the actual town? Not exactly beautiful. I rub my eyes just to make sure I’m not hallucinating. But no, there he is. Some random boy I’ve never met, and I know everyone in town, on my bench? My face heats up, surely turning me into a watermelon-looking monster, with a red face and two little black dots wide with surprise (and a bit of anger, to be honest). I huff, about to turn to leave, but a melodious voice pipes up, stopping me dead in my tracks. It says, “Um, may I help you?” Turning to where the voice originated, I notice that it was the boy I was just fuming over. A bit startled, I respond with a blunt “no.” He shrinks back and nods in a sort of apology, face flushed even paler than before. I turn back around to leave, but my conscience tells me to apologize. So I brush nonexistent dirt off of myself and run back up to him. “Sorry, that sounded rude. I was just wondering if I could sit on the bench,” I explain quickly, taking care not to spit on him as I spoke. “I sit here every year usually, so…um.” He tilts his head, not looking bothered but not overjoyed either. “Like…sit with me?” I’m about to say no, but sitting with someone would be better than sitting alone in all honesty, even if I’ve never met this guy. He doesn’t seem bad, not at all. I smile and reply, “Yeah.” The boy’s eyes light up and he smiles softly. “‘Kay.” He schooches over and pats a spot next to him, around a foot away. I sit down, placing my lantern next to me. When I do this, I realize he doesn’t have one, only a brown notebook that I’ve just noticed. I glance over to see what’s in it, and I see a drawing of a spotted dog, with what looks like a poem next to it. My mind itches with a million questions about it, but I push them to the back of my brain. Asking too many questions hasn’t done me any good in the past. So I say, “What’s your name?” instead. “Haruki. Haruki Okamoto. You?” “I’m Sadie Dimmings,” I introduce myself, reaching out a hand for him to shake. He hesitates, but takes the handshake. Phew. If he didn’t, we’d be in an awkward situation. He smiles at me, his eyes closing. “That’s a pretty name.” “Thanks.” A few moments pass. I fiddle with my thumbs, sneaking glances at Haruki. His eyes look slightly glossy. What’s he here for? “What am I here for?” he echoes, pointing to himself. Oh. I said that out loud. “Uh, I’ve been traveling around for a while now. Well, like three weeks. And I wanted to check this festival out, so I’ll be here for this and probably a few more days. Two or three.” His words tickle my ears. I perk up and smile at him. “Whoa, so you go places like Paris and stuff?” I cup my face with my hands dreamily, imagining romantic scenarios in my head of no one in particular, just someone. “I’ve always dreamed of going to Paris. Going to Paris, dancing in the rain with someone, and finally deciding what the heck I want to do with my life. That’s my bucket list right now.” “Wow, ambitious,” he teases, seeming to finally loosen up. His mouth curves into a smile and he looks up at the sky. The way his face looks in this moment makes me think I’ve died, gone to heaven (somehow), and met an angel. “I heard it’ll rain tonight. Not good weather for these lanterns, but maybe for you. If you can find someone.” “Maybe,” I smile. “I mean, what’s wrong with you, though?” His eyes look away and he forms his mouth into a line, pressing his lips against each other. I see his mouth part to speak, but he closes it again and just looks back at me with another smile, but it’s not as bright as before. They’re nothing alike, really. His eyes are pained in this one. It’s like comparing the sun on a bright day to a lightbulb on the verge of dying out. “I’m just so… you know.” “No, I don’t know.” His smile widens. “You’re funny.” Haruki lightly jabs me right between my collarbones. Even when he retracts himself, the feeling of his touch lingers. “Anyway…what are you here for, Sadie?” “Um,” I look away for a second. This must be what he was just feeling. A pain in my chest, words stuck in my throat, just waiting to come out, only needing an order and a voice. “You don’t have to say if you don’t want to.” “No, it’s okay. I’m here because…well, my mom and dad passed away this past year,” I explain, rubbing my neck. “It still hurts. Even if it’s been so long, I just can’t get over it.” My voice cracks. “Oh,” Haruki says. It’s short, but I can hear how his voice got raspy. I look over at him and…his face makes me flinch. His eyes aren’t shocked or anything like the normal reaction I get when I tell people about my parents. The inner bits of his eyebrows are curved up, his eyes are half-lidded and looking down, and his mouth is in a small frown. He’s not surprised at all– he knows this is a normal part of life, but it pains him. He grabs my hands without warning, brings them up to his chest level, which is around the level where my neck starts, and holds it between us. Finally, his eyes lock with mine as he whispers out, “I’m so sorry.” I flush pale white. I hang my head low in between my two hands, still held up and limp. My lower lip quivers a bit before I utter, “I miss them.” Water drips down my cheek. I hate being like this– annoying, attention-seeking, stupid– A cold hand is placed on my back, and pulls me into a loose hug. I let myself fall into his touch. Everything about this is wrong. The White Dove Festival is for acceptance, celebration, love, all of that. But I’m not accepting any of this. I’m still angry, I’m still hurt by all of this grief, now more than ever before, even when I found out in the first place. Just thinking of them makes me upset, and being here makes it worse. Each year, I’ve been excited to come to this bench, excited to be with my family, excited to watch my parents let our lantern into the sky. But this year, there’s no family for me to laugh and celebrate with, there’s just pangs of grief. I’ve known this the whole time I’ve been here, before too, but now being here with no one… “Hey, the lanterns are getting lifted,” Haruki whispers softly, still hugging me. “You wanna do yours?” I hesitate. “...Not really. The lantern stuff is supposed to represent letting their spirits into the sky along with grief surrounding their passing, but…it’d feel fake.” “Okay.” “I don’t think I ever wanna let them go.” “Okay.” “I wish they were here.” “Okay.” “And I wish I wasn’t alone.” No response. I finally lift my head to look into his eyes, but even that’s too much for me to handle. I let out another sob and tighten the hug. Every year, the White Dove Festival has been a symbol of excitement for me. Every year, I go with my family. This year, I sit on a bench that was once my family’s, sobbing into a stranger’s arms. I want to go home.
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literallydead

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