Nanoprep 2019 Day 10: Stories

by Robin de Voh on October 17th, 2019

"Lesley," she said with certainty. That was her name and she knew it.
"Yuri," he responded likewise, with the same conviction that it was, indeed, his name. "We've met before," he added.
"We have?" she said, not fully comprehending.
"Well, sort of? I've seen you around, and I feel like we've introduced ourselves to one another at some point," he said with an eyebrow raised, also unsure about it now.
"Maybe? I don't really remember you," she said almost hesitantly.

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Nanoprep 2019 Day 9: Brogaine

by Robin de Voh on October 16th, 2019

He turned the bottle over in his hands and doubted at least some of his life choices. Brogaine, it was called, and it was a hair growth formula specifically for beard growth. He'd never been blessed with a full beard like his friends were. Whenever he tried to grow one, it would come out looking like a lop-sided goatee, sideburns with patches missing, and patches of actual hair where they looked out of place.

Essentially, a patchwork of beard elements, but without any cohesion to it.

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Nanoprep 2019 Day 8: Luck of the Dice

by Robin de Voh on October 15th, 2019

"I want to sneak around and hit them from the back, if I can," John said.
"Alright, that's a sneak roll, so go ahead," Remy said from behind her laptop screen.

John picked up a die and let out a deep sigh. His character was good at sneaking, but his rolls had been terrible all night. He couldn't fail this one. Of the party, 2 were already down, Eilyra the ranger and Arlos the priest, and Loris the fighter wasn't holding up much longer by himself. He himself was almost down as well, but he had some tricks left to turn the tide with. If he could sneak around and take out the evil wizard, they had an actual shot at coming back.

If not... Well, he'd better not mess up this roll.

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Nanoprep 2019 Day 7: Fluff the Bunny

by Robin de Voh on October 15th, 2019

Fluff was named ironically. He'd hated his name since he realized why he'd been named it. Of all the bunnies, he was the odd one out. They all had soft fur. They looked like regular bunnies. They were normal.

He was not. He had hardly any hair. His pink skin had patches of hairs, but they were curly and didn't cover the skin enough to be called fur at all. And he had never been allowed to forget it.

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Nanoprep 2019 Day 6: Cecilia

by Robin de Voh on October 11th, 2019

I sat on the couch, and Dr. Davenport sat on the chair opposite me.

'And when did you notice it for the first time?' Dr. Davenport said. 'A few weeks ago, from the corner of my eye, right over there,' I responded, trying not to look up. 'Is it here right now?'

I slowly looked up to where I thought I had seen something move a second before, and I saw her. She was there, as I by now completely expected. Dr. Davenport didn't see her, obviously. I normally would've gone to the therapist's office, but during previous sessions it had become obvious that some of the topics handled would be better dealt with in my apartment itself.

To be closer to the source of the issues, according to Dr. Davenport.

'Yes, she is, actually,' I said. 'And is she doing anything?' 'No, she's just standing there. She doesn't really do much, except stare at me.' 'She's never said anything to you? Asked anything?' 'No,' I said, looking the apparition straight in the dead-looking eyes.

She was a young woman, maybe in her mid-twenties, and she was wearing a tattered dress with black marks on it and a single tattered shoe. Her hair was dark brown, and her skin was a dark greyish pink with some red streaks here and there, like she was hurt. She didn't look healthy, but as I was pretty convinced she was a ghost, that actually made sense, in a way.

The first time I saw her, I wasn't sure how to respond. I first thought she was an actual person, who had somehow found her way into my apartment by mistake. She didn't look threatening, so I didn't assume a break-in or anything. She looked more like she needed help.

'Hey, whoa, who are you?' I had said, flustered.

She had not responded. No movement, no response whatsoever, just those dead eyes looking at me like I had done something wrong. Or had done nothing wrong at all. It was difficult to read her intentions. I had tried to ask her more questions, but nothing really happened in response. She also didn't seem to breathe, or move at all, except small, jerky movements of her head in response to where I was located.

I had just sat there, wondering what was going on, and she was obviously not going anywhere. She looked solid in form, not ghostly at all. Eventually I did conclude that she simply had to be, though. So I had gotten up and walked towards her. She didn't move, but kept looking me straight in the eyes. As I got close enough, her form wavered and she dissipated into the air with a slight hissing sound.

I had stood there, silently and unmoving. Not sure how to respond.

'Do you know who she is?' Dr. Davenport said, pulling me out of my thoughts. 'I do, I think, I asked around to see if anything bad had ever happened in the apartment I'm living in, and there was a... A fire. And it was bad. An entire family died, and the building was refurbished significantly as a result.' 'And she was one of those who died in the fire?' 'She was. The mother, actually. The others were her husband and their two children.' 'Any reason she's the only one you can see?'

He looked at her again. She was still there, but there was something different about her. Her face had a sad look now, the first time she'd shown any kind of emotion, and it seemed connected to what we were talking about, to me.

'No, I don't know why I can see her and not the others.' 'Okay, let's consider the possibilities here. If she's really a ghost, then perhaps she's here because she's got unfinished business?' 'Okay, you're more on board with this than I expected,' I said, looking at him. 'I wouldn't say I'm fully on board, but let's just consider the what if, what would it take to deal with this?' 'I honestly don't know,' I said, and I meant it. 'Ask her. Ask her what happened,' he said, nodding to where I'd indicated she had been before. 'She's never talked, I already said that, didn't I?' 'Then ask simple yes or no questions, see if she responds to those. Start with questions you know the answer to.'

I considered it and figured it couldn't hurt. Even if he didn't really believe me, what was the risk here?

'I'm going to ask you some simple questions,' I said calmly, looking at her directly. 'It would be really nice if you could answer yes or no.'

She didn't respond.

'Did you live here?'

She moved her head slightly down, in an unnaturally fast and jerky movement.

'Is that a yes?' I asked.

She moved her head up in a similar manner.

'Did you live here alone?'

Her head shifted left.

'Is that a no?'

Down.

'And?' Dr. Davenport asked. He'd shifted in his seat to face both me and where he thought she was. 'She's responding. It's difficult to see but I think she's nodding for yes and shaking her head for no.' 'Okay, start asking,' he said.

He seemed fully on board to me.

'Was there a fire here?' Yes. 'Did you and your family die in it?' Yes. 'Was it an accident?' No. 'It wasn't an accident?' No.

'Wait, she said it wasn't an accident?' Dr. Davenport said. 'She did,' I said.

'Who started it?' I asked, realizing when she didn't respond that it wasn't a yes or no question. 'Sorry, did someone start the fire on purpose?' Yes. 'Was it someone in your family?' Yes. 'Was it your husband?' No. 'One of your children?' No.

I paused.

'It was you.' Yes.

I paused again.

'What did she say?' 'She said yes. It was her,' I said, clearing my throat. I turned back to her. 'Did you want your family dead?'

She didn't respond.

'Yes,' she suddenly said in a hoarse, almost whisper-like voice.

Dr. Davenport turned to face her, and he turned white.

'I see her,' he gasped, and his hand started shaking. 'I see you, too,' she responded, and in an instant was on him, her hands around his neck, her face mere centimeters from his.

I jumped up and backed away.

Dr. Davenport was silent and didn't move, but if auras existed, she was absorbing his. She looked Davenport straight in the eyes, but as I took another step towards the door, one of her eyes darted to the corner of her eye socket and stared straight at me. Nothing else about her had moved, and I was pretty sure eyes weren't supposed to do that.

'Stay,' she said in a whisper louder than a whisper should be. 'Nope!' I shouted and I ran towards the front door.

I didn't manage to get there, however, as the door was on fire. I wasn't sure whether it was a real fire or if it was a trick being played on my mind, but trying to grab onto the door handle sent a searing pain throughout my hand and arm and it didn't matter to me anymore. Whatever it was, it was convincing enough. I yelped in pain and pulled my arm back.

I turned back towards the room, and found that she was right in front of me. I remember her grabbing me and feeling weaker and weaker.

Then everything simply turned to black.

Nanoprep 2019 Day 5: Us versus Them

by Robin de Voh on October 10th, 2019

It had unmistakably been a platform of hatred. That's what they had called it back in the day, once it had started to really gain momentum that was hard to ignore. They had started off slightly creepy, but it was almost understandable where they were coming from at first. As time went on, the frail veil of civility was lifted more and more and what came from behind it was nothing more than unbridled hatred and black or white rhetoric.

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Nanoprep 2019 Day 4: Throw Pillows

by Robin de Voh on October 9th, 2019

He straightened his jacket and coughed. He exhaled slowly and closed his eyes. Then he rang the bell. He heard shuffling inside, and then the turning of the lock. The door opened. There she was.

"Hey, Jen," he said with a smile he hoped wasn't too obviously forced.
"Hey, Kyle, come in," she said with a smile he thought was genuine.

He nodded and walked past her into the hallway.

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Nanoprep 2019 Day 3: The Sandstone Temple

by Robin de Voh on October 8th, 2019

He hated desert planets. He absolutely detested them. He'd always find sand crammed up places he didn't want it, but for some reason he always, always ended up on them.

Vickers took a step forward and stepped into a large, circular hall. Dust intermittently fell from the domed ceiling as the ground rumbled. He wiped some dust off of his helmet's visor. He estimated the hall was about 50 meters across, but he'd always been bad at estimating distances. He mostly felt comfortable with this estimation because Jay had told him the hall would be about 50 meters across. Jay, as his ship's Virtual Intelligence, was programmed to be good at estimations. So if he was wrong, it was too late to get it right anyway.

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Nanoprep 2019 Day 2: I got this.

by Robin de Voh on October 7th, 2019

"I got this," Samick said, his teeth clenched.
"You got this?" Merrin asked through the comm system.
"I wasn't talking to you," Samick responded, sounding annoyed. "I was just saying it in general."
"Maybe that's so, but I heard it, and the question stands. Do you 'got' this?"
"I do, now leave me to it," Samick said as he unbuckled the zero-g screwdriver.

Space walks were never fun, but being sent out here to fix damage caused by micro debris was definitely on Samick's list of least fun ways of spending time outside of the ship. Getting hit by micro debris while in subspace had been even less enjoyable, but at least the damage had seemed to be manageable.

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Nanoprep 2019 Day 1: Pasta

by Robin de Voh on October 4th, 2019

The walls of the alley they were in were pulsating and colors flowed out of the cracks between the bricks into a cloud, no, a miasma, he corrected himself. He wiped the sweat from his forehead.

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