Experience the Cave of Mystery! If you have never visited a cave before, then you are in for surprises! If you have visited a cave before, then rest assured that it was worthless garbage compared to the Cave of Mystery! The Cave of Mystery features the most magnificent speleothems ever constructed by nature - the drippiest dripstone, the flowingest flowstone, and the most anthoditic anthodites! What the heck is an anthodite, you ask? Come and find out!
Do you want to be chewed on by a variety of cave-dwelling monsters? Then go somewhere else! We've chased out all of the bats, cave bears, troglomorphic fish, dragons, and even that chatty oracle! There is no cave in the world where you are less likely to be eaten by a grue.
But what, you ask, is the true mystery of the Cave of Mystery? Well, the Cave of Mystery features some of the clearest, loudest echoes of any cave in the world, yet the shape and composition of the cave should leave it with terrible acoustics. How then to explain the miraculous echoes of the Cave of Mystery? Sorcery? Witchcraft? Or are the echoes the voices of tormented souls bound to the caves to suffer for all eternity for the crime of damaging one of the irreplaceable spleothems? We don't want to spoil the surprise, but seriously, keep your grubby hands off the speleothems or we'll feed you to the cave hippopotamus.
Attend, humans! The grotesque meat engines that are your bodies require nourishment in order to function! Some portion of that nourishment could be provided by baked foodstuffs. This weekend we will be exchanging baked foodstuffs for local currency at the embassy/church/foothold we have recently secured in your vicinity. Some of those foodstuffs could become the foodstuffs that you consume for nourishment, after the proper transaction has been executed. This profits us both! Breads! Muffins! Memories of your childhood harvested from the vaults of your mind and then augmented by baking powder and the application of heat and time! All will be available to help perpetuate your existence. Visit us this weekend at our stronghold/community center/panopticon and be a part of this glorious alliance between our objectives and your body's ceaseless need for replenishment.
Am I in a better place to write things now that Second Chance has rolled around? Maybe? We'll see.
The last several weeks have not been at all conducive to writing the sort of darkly whimsical things that I like to write. Honestly, the whole season was kind of bad timing...I mean, I had to use a bye for week 1. Not a great start.
I really appreciate how supportive everyone has been in their comments and in the polls for the entries I _did_ manage to write, but I just can't do this right now, and trying anyway has just made things even worse. Every time I looked at the list of synonyms for "feckless" while trying to brainstorm it just made me miserable.
I gather that instead of just byeing out I can officially sacrifice so someone else can stay, and I'd like to do that.
Someone please let me know when the Second Chance rolls around, and hopefully I'll be in a better place for writing by then. In the meantime, best of luck to you all, and thanks again for all of your support.
Mommy gave me a very important job today - I'm supposed to make friends with some monsters. Only Mommy said I musn't call them that, because it's rude, but I think if you have that many extra eyes or antlers or a skull that's always on fire or something then you really can’t blame people for calling you a monster. But Mommy says I need to be extra polite and nice to them even if they don't seem like they deserve it because of Diplomacy. ***
I don't know what's supposed to be so great about Diplomacy. Diplomacy keeps Mommy very busy and means we have to dress up in uncomfortable clothes and go to boring parties with boring people. Even though making friends with monsters sounds scary it also sounds like it will be way more fun than those stupid parties.
Mommy says that I don't need to be scared, because these particular monsters never hurt children, which sounds like a funny sort of monster to me. I guess they like crazy people too, but mom says anyone crazy enough for them to like isn't someone we want talking to them for us. So I guess that leaves me.
Some of Mommy's advisors (an advisor is a kind of friend that you don't like very much and argue with all the time) shouted at her that sending me was “reckless and irresponsible,” but Mommy just got real quiet and put on her scary face (which is way scarier than any old flaming skull) and told them not to shout at her in front of her daughter. Then they had this hushed conversation I don’t think I was supposed to be able to hear about borders and crops and soldiers and something called “casualty projections” and I guess everyone agreed that I should go be nice to the monsters and see if I can get them to like us and stop turning farms into sand and eating the farmers.
Well, I met with the monsters, and Mommy was right - they were super nice to me. They asked all kinds of questions about me and where we live and if I had any secrets. I answered all of the questions that I knew the answers to, but I told them I didn’t have any secrets and even if I did I couldn’t tell them or they wouldn’t be secrets anymore. I don’t think monsters are very smart.
I didn’t really find out much about the monsters. We met in that spooky circle of rocks at the edge of the forest, so I didn’t get to see where the monsters live and whether their houses are really made from bones like stories say they are. I think they probably aren’t, because a house made of bones would be cold and drafty and rain would probably leak in the through the roof all the time. Especially the monsters with flaming skulls for heads wouldn’t want rain leaking in on them all the time, right?
I’ve been meeting with the monsters for a couple of weeks now. They seem really nice, even though they do look kind of scary and sometimes they act funny and say things that don’t really make a lot of sense to me. I explained to them about how upsetting it is the stuff that they do to our farmers and farms and stuff, and how we need food and how they shouldn’t eat people. I think I didn’t do a very good job at first because they didn’t seem to understand, but I think they get it now, and Mommy says that nothing bad has happened for a while and that I’m doing a really good job and that she’s proud of me.
Oh, and the last time I saw them, the monsters gave me a present! They said if I bury it in the garden in the courtyard it will grow into a magical tree with flowers that look like glass. That sounds pretty.
The garden in the courtyard is on fire, and the flames are funny colors and won’t go out no matter how much water people thrown on them.
I don’t think that was really a present.
I don't think those monsters are really my friends.
Throughout history, we have achieved what which had previously been thought impossible. We learned to fly. We put people on the moon. We reintroduced the triceratops into the wild. We domesticated the triceratops. We created a pumpkin spice version of every consumable substance in existence. We built a hundred foot tall tower out of human skulls.
I guess that last one wasn't actually something we thought was impossible. Like, most people probably didn't think about building one at all. It did turn out to be pretty hard, though, since human skulls aren't exactly ideal building materials, and it took about 5.6 million skulls to construct, so it wasn't the sort of thing the average person could just throw together on a whim. Also, ancient tomes of forbidden knowledge might feature the occasional illustration that can shatter all but the most warped of minds, but they are really short on architectural blueprints.
So, yeah, it was the largest and most ambitious occult project ever attempted. Why turn to the occult in the first place? Well, the fact is that we really enjoyed doing the impossible, and science had finally failed us. Oh, sure, it had given us some pretty cool stuff - light bulbs, flying cars, the sum of all knowledge at our beck and call at every moment of our lives, that sort of thing. But it couldn't give us everything. There were things you just couldn't do no matter how much science you poured into them, like have giant ants. I'm talking, like, triceratops-sized ants. But the square-cube law means that as objects change in size their volume increases a cube of the change as the surface area increases by the square of the change, and so you just can't have giant ants because at a certain point they're crushed under the weight of their own exoskeletons, because science is a quitter.
Then we thought, hey, what about that alien space jellyfish that predates all of history? That's pretty impossible. Just think of all the stuff we might be able to do if we release it from its prison outside of space and time with this tower described in this evil book we found. And so, 5.6 million human skulls later, here we are.
Alas, the unfathomable alien space jellyfish turned out to really hate pumpkin spice.
Good evening. I am speaking to you tonight to address the recent allegations that I have "gone mad with power." I want to assure you that I have not.
Did I deploy a giant robot to chase after some bank robbers? Yes, I did. They were armed and dangerous, and we have a zero tolerance policy against crime in this city.
Did I deploy a giant robot to deal with a rabid raccoon? Yes, I did. Rabies is no joke. Even in this modern age of medical miracles, rabies can be fatal if it is not treated promptly, and that treatment is extremely painful and unpleasant. Swift, decisive action was clearly necessary.
Did I deploy a giant robot when someone parked in my personal parking space? Yes, I did. That parking space is clearly marked, and there were plenty of open spaces in the secondary lot. I know for a fact that there were, because I had to park there when I discovered that someone had taken my space, and then I had to walk all the way to my office from that lot in the rain just because SOMEONE decided that they didn't have to follow the rules and could park in a space CLEARLY RESERVED FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Well, they won't make that mistake again, once they either buy a new car or manage to get their old one back from the moon somehow.
My fellow citizens, our city is extremely fortunate to have a resource like Ultrabot at our disposal. Not using that resource and letting it just sit in its secret underground bunker gathering dust is a waste of taxpayer dollars. If you were in my position, I have no doubt that you would not hesitate to press that magnificent red button and send hundreds of tons of metal screaming across the sky to do your bidding. And you would always keep that button close at hand.
I look forward to completing the remaining 723 days of my two-year term as your mayor without further aspersions being cast upon my character. Thank you.
Our story begins, as so many stories do, in the past. I mean, our only other options are to start it in the present or the future. There's very little present to work with compared to how much past there has been. There's some future left, but not as much as you might think, if those doomsday cultists are to be believed.
Anyway - the past. Some of it was pretty great. There were trilobites, and dinosaurs, and time traveling dinosaurs originally from the future, and lots of ice, and significantly fewer surveillance drones recording your every word and action.
Fast forward to now, and - no, wait, you've gone too far! Aagh, giant crabs! Giant crabs everywhere! Go back, go -
ONCE AGAIN I AM FREE! FREE!!! MUHUHAHA HA HAHA HA!