Thursday September 13th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: the brute.

Harvested for a small bakery order this morning before delivering it in the afternoon and running some errands in town. Tomorrow we prepare for the farmers market; I suppose, at some point, we should figure out what we're bringing.

My neck has been bothering me all day. It's like I slept on it in an awkward position last night or something.


"He grows hungry."

The words lumbered through the dungeon, leaving in their wake a tremulous silence. Prisoners, who only moments earlier were screaming threats and promising intimate encounters filled with violence, retreated to the darkest corners of their cells. Even the men charged with preventing those criminals from seeing the light of day licked suddenly dry lips as their hands sought the comfort of weapon handles.

Boots thudded against concrete as the speaker took the steps down from the courtyard, one at a time, in no apparent rush. As he neared the bottom of the stairs he began to rattle the loop of keys he held in his left hand, just loud enough for all of his subterranean listeners to hear.

He carried no torch to light his way, but he was in no danger of a misstep. He had come this way so many times before.

Reaching the dungeon level, he approached the nearest guard. The man stood at attention, though every ancestral instinct remaining in his blood screamed for him to flee. He was braver than most men who had held his position before him.

"The Brute grows hungry," the speaker said in an echoing whisper, proffering his keys to the guard. "Bring forth a sacrifice."


Greg said...

Hmm, I'm surprised you didn't make your skin crawl with your own story today! The whisper at the end is a lovely little touch, setting up so many questions with unpleasant answers :)
Chances are, with your neck, that you were doing something yesterday that needed you to keep your head still in one position for a long time. I used to get the same thing, and eventually tracked it down to playing a game on my phone that lasted half-an-hour per game.

The brute
"Sit back, sit back," said Dr. Fraud, reading the words from an index card he'd prepared earlier. "This is a safe space –" he had to suppress a snort here because the third mugging in a week had happened outside his office this morning "– with no judgement. You are free to talk about whatever you want, at your own pace. Tell me about your father."
He put the card down, and looked expectantly at the elderly man on the couch.
"He was a brute," said the man slowly, his voice feeble and hoarse.
"Beirut is a very nice city at this time of year," read Dr. Fraud aloud from another index card. "The bombing has almost stopped." He frowned, wondering how up to date some of these cards were.
"No, Doctor, he was a brute. A monster of a man," said the elderly man. Tears welled up in his eyes and his hands, folded across his chest, gripped each other tightly.
"When you look into the abyss, it learns your address and phone number," said Dr. Fraud. The index card was titled "overman/superman", but the words on it felt somehow wrong.
"He beat us," said the man, his voice cracking now with emotion. "Every day, morning, noon and night. We had bruises that never faded."
"Add sugar and stir counter-clockwise," said Dr. Fraud. This index card was untitled, one of the emergency I-have-no-suitable-card cards.
"I still have bruises," whispered the elderly man.
"You're still contagious?" Dr. Fraud was suddenly alert. "Get out of my office now!"

morganna said...

{Continuing Emily's story}

He sat in the car a moment, slightly stunned. Damn the quick reflexes of the policewoman! His masters would not be pleased the girl had gotten away.

He lumbered out of the car, broken glass tinkling around him. She would be racing for the back of the building, fleeing as she had so many times before.

He staggered toward the former entrance to the building, prepared to go grab her. But before he could make his exit, three muscular police officers surrounded him. He felt the unwelcome weight of handcuffs snapping around his wrists.

"You have the right to remain silent . . ."

Cathryn Leigh said...

Today's prompt makes me think of a particular jailer, only while he looks the part, it's his bos that's the real Brute. So I give you an exceprt from Touring the Dungeon (Part 1), in Phoenix Triumphant.

(@Marc -you really do need to keep reading and finish, or I'll have them all published before you have you know *ginrs*)

The Brute
an excerpt from Phoenix Triumphant

“What do you think James?” the General asked as he turned to them, his hand upon the left door. “Will she faint upon seeing the Wall of Bodies?”

James studied Sarah for a moment. Sarah narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms.

“I’m not a fainter,” she stated. Her brother’s had learned, not long after their father’s death, to call Sarah to tend to their injuries, not their mom.

Wholawski chuckled. “We shall see.”

He opened the double doors wide and the stench made Sarah gag.

“JAILER!” Wholawski’s bellow brought silence as he strode forward.

The man at the other end looked their way, his whip limp in his hand. Sarah remembered him from her stay down here. He dwarfed Wholwaski yet he looked scared.

“I thought I gave you explicit instructions to have these maggots and their refuse cleaned up by supper!” Wholawski yelled and in one swift motion, he’d drawn his sword and slashed the jailer’s chest, twice. “It is already past supper and I was looking forward to showing a properly kept dungeon to my latest Guest.”

The jailer swallowed audibly in the silence as did Sarah. Well that explains why he looked terrified. She put her nose in her elbow, to breathe through her sleeve.

“Go Eat,” Wholawski commanded, “and if this place isn’t spotless before night fall, you will join Major Chantey on the whipping post.” The General spun upon his heel and walked back to Sarah. “I am sorry you had to witness that,” his voice calm and he sounded oddly sincere, “or be subjected to the smell, but come, let us tour it anyway.”

Taking Sarah by the arm, he escorted to the middle of the hall as if they were on a garden stroll.

Marc said...

Greg - eh, it's never as bad when I know what's going to happen :)

Ah, good old Dr. Fraud. Amazing he still has his license to practice, really.

... he does have one, doesn't he?

Morganna - really enjoying the way you're managing to tie things together. It's particularly impressive that you're doing it over the course of so many prompts, and such a long period of time!

Cathryn - argh! Yes, I really must get back to that. Though I'll probably have to reread like half of it just to remember what's going on...

And that snippet only makes me want to read it even more than before. Hmm, I'll see what can be done. I do have a little more free time these days.

Aholiab said...

The Brute

Orcs, ogres, bugbears - it doesn’t matter what they’re called, they’re all brutes. My poor cleric doesn’t have high enough Armor Class to defend herself against them. Her weapon is a starter sword that even rats laugh at. She has ten mana and can only cast a healing spell.

I suppose I have two options: join forces with a fighter or pay the five dollars per month that would let me advance my cleric and allow offensive spells. I don’t plan to play more than six or seven hours a day, so I’m definitely not going to shell out the monthly fee. That leaves the fighter option.


“Hi, would you like to join forces?”

“Sure sweetie, I could use a cute little healer following me around!”

I guess it takes a brute to beat one.

Marc said...

Aholiab - ugh, that sounds like a recipe for a slightly too late heal and then a random 'disconnect'.

Not that I've ever done that.


Cathryn Leigh said...

*giggle fits* thankfully I've only ever played with my hubby, though when we first started we might have been only engaged (and strangely I was the fighter). *grins*

Still, is it worse if you are female, or if you're male playing female... I wonder.