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Writing Prompt #8: Someone left a letter


CrystalDragon
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Someone seems to have left a letter in your mailbox, without a return address, or a means to return contact.

Do you open it? What do you think it would read?

 

Knowing my own main, Crys would likely end up opening it and receiving something left by one of her mates as a reminder, or a prank to poke fun at her some more over her admitted crush. Her mates love her dearly but they love to tease her all the more about her professed interest in someone, just for the sake of making her laugh, even if she was embarrassed by it.

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In her shitty, rusted mail collection box with the broken lock (the one her landlord refuses to fix) nestled amongst the usual bills (the ones she can't really pay) Cassie Knowles finds an unmarked envelope.

 

This isn't usual for her. I mean, the big heroes probably get tons of these, right? Fan mail or death threats or anthrax bombs. But LGBT Plus Ultra isn't exactly a big name. Maybe there's a few Skulls out there with a grudge, but nobody connected enough to work out where she lives.

 

She brings it inside with the rest of the crap, dumping it on the creaking table that serves as her combined desk, dining area, and kitchen worksurface. By the time she's done sorting through the official stuff, she has to go - the youth group is on, and there are kids who need her help.

 

The envelope is still there when she returns in the evening, feet aching from the long commute. She doesn't think about it for a bit. She's too worried about one of the teens from the youth group. A young man called Jamal. His mother had disappeared in the Galaxy City disaster, and now his father was threatening to kick him out on the street because he was gay.

 

Jamal hadn't turned up today. That happened sometimes - it couldn't be a good fit for everyone, after all - but Jamal had been really opening up over his last few visits.

 

Cassie is pacing, biting her nails (long since ground down to nubs) when her gaze passes over the envelope. She stares at it for a long moment, fatigue gumming up her thoughts, then grabs it and rips it open.

 

It's from Jamal. His father had finally thrown him out of the house. With nowhere to turn to, he had gone to meet one of his friends. A friend who was in the Skulls. He wasn't totally sure, but they promised food, shelter, a community. A place to belong. 

 

Cassie's blood began pumping again. Hurriedly drawing her curtains (cheap, shitty linen - they barely blocked the street lights, let alone what was about to happen), she closed her eyes and concentrated.

 

Anyone outside the apartment would have seen a rainbow of scintillating colours shining out through the curtains. For a moment, that garbage apartment in the worst part of King's Row was beautiful. Then the window slammed open, and a shining blur of light rocketed out over the rooftops. 

 

King's Row might not treat Cassie right. But like hell was she going to let it eat up another kid. She'd seen that happen too many times already.

 

In the apartment, the paper envelope swirls gently through the air, before coming to rest on splintering floorboards.

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LGBT Plus Ultra on Everlasting.

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How Ivory would react would depend entirely on how the letter was addressed... If it showed up in the brownstone's mailbox addressed to Lasya Stanton, she'd shrug and toss it into the pile on the hallway table assuming it was from the neighborhood association or the University fundraising committee or something boring and ignorable like that. If it ever got opened, it would happen at least six months after it arrived, when Azure was going through one of his periodic decluttering sprees. 

 

If it was addressed to Graceful Ivory Mask at that address, she'd pay a little more attention. It's annoying when people try to make you bring "work topics" home.

 

 

 

Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Quickfrost would open it immediately, she doesn't trust it not to be something that would disrupt what she's building with the other former Outcasts. And if she needed to act on it.

 

Chrono-Bot would be curious if it was really for her and open it to do research. She tends to shut down wherever she figures she'd be safe while she recharges so waking up with a letter near her would be pretty novel! 

 

Lykossia and Kaloses would subject it to various magical treatments to make its true message from the Circle reveal itself before discovering it was from a neighbour telling them that there was going to be an apartment block potluck and would they like to bring a dessert?  (Lykossia would immediately get onto youtube 'top ten potluck dishes' to learn how to cook while Kaloses just goes out to buy a pie for when that all goes wrong)

 

Agent Ozis would collect the money from inside and quietly divert another inspection away from Dr. Harcus' lab.

Edited by Chrono-Bot
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I am @Chrono-Bot! SGs: Girls Gone Rogue Isles, The Helping Hands, The Orange Bagels, Paragon's Perfectly Normal Heroes. Server: Everlasting! See my characters, now with photos, below!

 

https://forums.homecomingservers.com/topic/33049-chrono-bots-characters/

 

I'm not NOT here to make friends.

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Letters to Tiltowait are typically delivered to a P.O. Box that Ward or others have to remind him to collect.  Ward has insisted on teaching Tiltowait basic divination magic and wards for his own safety... which he remembers to use about one time in four unless reminded.  Yes, he's careless with his own safety, but a little flippancy with concepts like 'due caution' and 'wariness' are to be expected when you're a magical nuke in human form.

 

Things tend to work out though.  Tiltowait doesn't exactly get a lot of mail, and the last time someone sent him a letter laced with magic he summarily exploded the demon that erupted from the page.  Cleanup was horrible though.  It takes a hell of a cleaner to get fiend ichor out of a rug, and there was one bit that flew behind a bookcase that Tiltowait couldn't find for hours, and he only located it because it wouldn't stop screaming.

 

Tiltowait had Ward trace the message back to Oranbega.  He sent a thoughtfully-worded thank-you to the conjurer responsible, for providing him something new and entertaining to forcibly remove from existence, and he didn't even have to feel guilty about it!  In return, he laced the letter with explosive runes.  After all, this conjurer was nice enough to send him a demon, he ought to be nice and send his own specialty back, right?

 

Edited by Nerva
Gah, typos and grammar!
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I think most of mine would just open it. The exceptions I could think of...

 

Cat - Would be cautious about it. Jot down date received, etc. somewhere findable, just in case. The PI side of her business means she gets both junk mail *and* threats from peoples now-ex spouses and the like. Though, for some reason, I can't picture this as anything other than a letter from her aunt, who *insists* on using that sheet of free address labels she got... what, 15, 20, 30 years ago. Cat's told her the adhesive is dead on those things, and probably toxic, but her aunt uses them anyway and they *inevitably* fall off... Being near Christmas, she's tempted to send her a new set.

 

Pri - Doesn't get mail. She and the group she's with are hunted, after all. Plus she doesn't have an address. Granted, she's staying at a hotel right now, but it's in someone else's name, so getting any sort of mail, much less something without a return address, would be a surprise and she'd likely find her friends to move her elsewhere while *they* take a look at the envelope. With luck it'd be a letter from Grace (also no return address, after all) - probably with some cash in it or something. Anything the least bit threatening or offering to talk about her car's warranty or get her a payday loan at stupid rates for the holidays ... well, she knows someone who can reduce that to a nice little pile of ash, so...

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

 

I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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I blame the following on CrystalDragon for coming up with these writing prompts and Itsyagirl for raising the bar with a better (and far more concise) story teaser that should absolutely be expanded upon.

 

 

--------------------------------------
A thoroughly bedraggled Tabby limped into her apartment, tossing a handful of mail on the kitchenette island just before losing her footing on the wet tile.  Her backpack landed with a “splort” beside it.

 

Even though nobody was present, she grumbled in a mock-authoritative voice as she fished around the cabinet for a plastic bag full of rice for her still-dripping phone.  , “Sorry folks, looks like our supergroup recruiting dinner’s over  Lusca’s threatening independence port again! Let’s make this into a trial by fire!”

 

Dropping back to her normal voice, “I shoulda said *no thanks.  I look too much like a live-action anime character to get anywhere near tentacles. Bye.*

 

“I was only there for the food, anyway.”  

 

Done wringing her hair out over the kitchen sink, she plucked out a strand of seaweed- no, not a strand-, this was too big for that.  Maybe a ROPE of seaweed- she could feel it sliding through her hair, up her neck from past the small of her back and up her tail as she tugged.  It had to be a good 4 feet of cold, wet slime sliding up her back.  Experiencing such a sensation so close to the topic of tentacles made her shudder.

 

“Speaking of food…”

 

Her tone lifted- far more upbeat as she turned her attention to the backpack’s contents.  She’d snagged some grub from the buffet while everyone was heading out to Lusca, so with any luck she’d eat well tonight.  

 

Luck wasn't with her.  She pulled out a gallon plastic bag with 6 pieces of fried chicken floating in about a half gallon of seawater.

 

Her whiskers, ears and tail telegraphed her sagging enthusiasm even as her stomach growled in protest.  The drumstick didn't look TOO bad, she thought as she flicked off something that looked like a barnacle. and dropped it in the microwave  The soggy breading, already peeling off, sloughed off with an unappetizing squelch.  

 

Despite all audiovisual cues- not to mention the odor of wet cat with hints of petroleum residue- her stomach growled louder.  She chose 4 minutes.

 

"That oughta kill off anything else crawling in it... maybe.  still gonna be salty. "   

She checked the clock.  
 

“Shit.  It’s nearly raid time.  Can’t be late.   This is the final test for guild membership.”

 

Tabby had been playing the free version of EverWar Online for over a month now.  It was a relaxing way to wind down in the evenings (when her neighbor’s wifi bandwidth allowed it) and it was especially nice to be treated as just another human online.   Yes, they knew she was a GIRL online, and yes that had its own pitfalls, but for at least ONCE the jerks and pervs hitting on her weren’t FREAKS chasing after catgirl tail.  They thought it was HUMAN tail.  She couldn’t say she welcomed the attention, but she welcomed that distinction.  


And now her new friends suggested she apply to their guild.  

 

YES! she'd found a community that accepted her.  They didn't know she was a catgirl.  They didn't know she was a cape.   They didn't have ulterior motives.   They. Just. Liked. Her.

 

She’d passed the interviews- narrowly- lost some points for only doing voice, not video.  She passed the stat check and had already nailed the social.  The only thing left was the Crucible of Bezelbahumessel raid trial.  Pass this and she’s in.  

 

She’d been stressing more over this than any of the supergroup recruiting luncheons she’d been attending. This was a chance to make REAL FRIENDS that embraced her for who she really was and not people caught up on getting the token hot-tempered crittergirl with daddy issues that every supergroup seemed to need.  

 

The laptop was on the island, right beside the pile of mail.  Aside from a stool, the island  was really the only thing that qualified as furniture in the room. Her bed was a pile of blankets in one corner and her old “desk”- a cardboard appliance box she pulled from storage- had started to sag and cause issues with the mouse.  She couldn’t risk that with the raid.

 

20 minutes before raid time.

 

 Downloading…

 

"A goddamn patch!" She bit her lip. "Great. Just…  ok, it’s moving fast enough.  I’ll make it*


She nervously fiddled around with the laptop, opening a browser, then closing it to conserve bandwidth, then checked her batteries.  Then… now what… 

 

“Oh, the mail”

 

Spam
Spam
Spam
A new phone offer.  Keep that one, just in case.
Spam

 

“What’s this?”

 

A brown envelope addressed to “Tabby” No return address. No postage.

 

"Weird"

 

She plucked off one of the rubber caps she kept over her claws and sliced it open carefully.

 

Out fell a picture and a folded piece of paper.  Some asian dude.  Vaguely familiar..  Probably mid 20’s.  Obviously in distress. Duct tape over mouth.   Why does he seem so fam… 

 

“OhmyGod, is that MegOtakuPrime? What the…”

 

Download be damned, she opened a browser to NaughtyNeko- the stalkery misogynistic community site obsessed with all things catgirl, most things crittergirl, and a whole new branch called Tights with Ti....  point is, they don't discriminate in their discrimination.  Tabby had run afoul of them more than once and now maintained several accounts there as a form of "opposition research."

 

MegOtakuPrime had become one of the more prolific contributors to the Tabby fanfic section in just the past month.  His “My Time with Tabby” series purported to be “autobiographical, based on real events” and backed the claim up with pics- sometimes graphic- that always sparked debates.  They were obviously  photoshop or deepfake or deepshop or whatevertheycallit and creeped her the heck out.

 

She’d put his posts on “ignore” weeks ago.   Now she pulled up his profile and scanned through his latest posts.  One was a shirtless “selfie” of him with what was certainly meant to look like the top-back of her head strategically positioned at his beltline.

 

She looked back at the photo.  Same guy.  Scrawnier. No chance he had a 6-pack IRL, but clearly the same guy.

 

This can’t be real….

 

She unfolded the paper already anticipating what she’d find:  magazine print cut out and paste into a message.

 

Br1ng 20k T0n1T3  2 yur S3kr3t [email protected] 0R W3 CH0P Y0ur B0yfr13nd UP …

 

She was laughing too hard to continue reading.  

 

Her boyfriend.  

 

MegOtakuPrime 

 

*Someone thinks MegOtakuPrime is my boyfriend.  Someone actually believes his shit.*

 

She examined the note again.

*Freakshow, too- only they would go through the trouble of leet-speaking in cut-out-magazine type.  They’ve probably forgotten the real spelling.*

 

“What frickin poetic justice" the laugh filled with exhileration- as if a tremendous weight had been lifted.  

15 minutes to raid.  70% downloaded.

 

Another laugh.  This one mid-bite on the now-overmicrowaved chicken.  *Way too salty, but this is just too good.   Justice.  Justice is served.  I hope they…*

 

*What?*

 

*They what?*

 

*What will they do to him?*

 

She froze.

 

10 minutes.  90% downloaded.

 

9 minutes. 95% downloaded.

 

*They…*

 

The chicken bone was hanging from her mouth.

 

“They could really hurt him,” she muttered aloud, slightly slurring due to the bone.

 

*Maybe kill him.*

 

She finally removed the chicken bone and shook her head, "No, get that out of your head Tabby.  Raid time.  Get ready for this.  Focus on the game.  Head in the game.  Focus on the important"

 

She stared at the screen.

 

8 minutes.  98% downloaded.

 

*He’s just some misogynistic loser asshole that deserves what he gets…*

 

*Does he?*

 

*Does anybody?*

 

*… I don’t owe him anything. *

 

*Where am I gonna pull twenty thousand dollars from anyway?*

 

"It’s obviously a trap."

 

5 minutes.  Updating…

 

MegOtakuPrime’s ransom pic caught her eye again. She locked on his eyes.  The terror was so real.  He’s just a scared kid. 


2 minutes.  She’d just make it.   *Maybe if we’re quick I can cut out and  have time afterward....*. 


A quick Google told her the average time to beat the Crucible of Bezelbahumessel.   4 hours.

 

Time stopped.  She held her breath.  

 

She could see the game loading in the background.  One minute to spare.

 

The guild leader was already messaging her.  

 

...

 

*I could tell them. *


*I know they take this shit seriously- I've heard the stories about other applicants that weren't dedicated enough, but if they knew what's at stake, I... I'm sure they'd be fine with rescheduling.   I'm sure of it*

 

*I just have to tell them the truth*

 

...

 

Team invite prompt popped up.

 

..

 

 

She clicked the X and closed out.  The screen switched to the browser, open to the fanfic site.  She stared at the profile pic again.


"Goddammit, MegOtakuPrime.

"I hate you. 

"I really effing hate you.

"And after you see what I do to those freaks that kidnapped you, you’re gonna be too damn scared to write anything about me. Ever.    It’s bad enough that they ruined my chances with the guild. but they’re forcing me to read through all your frickin shitty fanfic to figure out where our “secret place* is supposed to be.   

"They're gonna pay for that.”

Edited by chase
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Most of my characters either open it or toss it into the junk pile and never think of it again.

 

Mere knows it's a letter from her future self, probably saying something she couldn't the first time they met. It's probably something she needs to know.

 

Similarly, Kim opens it in the hope that it's a message from her mentor from wherever he's disappeared to.

 

Erin hopes that it's one of her family who's recently learned she too survived the Rikti War.

 

Chris wonders if it could possibly be from her Nictus' previous host. He's dead, but anything's possible, right?

 

Tara thinks it might be connecteed to The Book (the one that mysteriously appeared in her backpack one day and taught her how to tap her powers).

 

Stacy and Val assume it's a threat from someone they knew in Arachnos. Ivy, someone from her pre-amnesty days.

 

Heather hopes it's from her world, or at least someone who knows about it.

 

Vanessa triples the security on her home/lab and devotes everything she can to finding who left the letter for her and how they knew where to leave it. She also begins looking for a new place to move her lab. The letter and its contents are irrelevant.

 

Rachel, being homeless (largely by choice – before settling in Paragon she'd been a wanderer for hundreds of years – and she's mostly couch surfing nowadays), doesn't get much mail, so she's confused but a little delighted by the novelty.

 

Faith knows it's from her father, so she soaks it in holy water and banishes it back to him in Hell.

 

Edit – I can't believe I left this one off: It would be far from the first piece of creepy fanmail Jeni's gotten. Maybe, despite the trappings, it's not so bad. Even if it is, she knows how to deal with it.

 

Edited by Placta
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Playing on Excelsior. Champion forever.

50s: Placta • elec/elec blaster // Rye Lily IV • mind/psi dominator // PLACT-A • bots/ff mastermind // Danielle Connelly • elec/elec dominator // Acme Coin Rink • ice/cold controller // Yin Blazer • psi/wp scrapper // Chalky Webs • db/sr stalker // Ultra Lance • kin/en scrapper // Eye Shell Coda • elec/elec tanker // Mind Wanna Fly • psy/emp corruptor

Others: Virtual Lines • peacebringer • 43 // Favours Green • plant/nat controller • 39 // Clear Corn Ion • elec/storm controller • 34 // Hum a Crypt • claws/regen scrapper • 29 // By Her Ant • psy/ment blaster • 24 // Clean a Hall Arch • shield/sword tanker • 19 // Paler Vow • ninjas/ta mastermind • 10 // more...

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((A short Lady Cobra “letter” story))

Whispering, morning keep the streets empty, for me

The melancholic tones of Fever Ray formed a perfect backdrop as I drove through the night.

As called for in the lyrics, nobody else had been foolish enough to venture into the blizzard infested claustrophobia and bottomless darkness of this endless December night. The streets were indeed kept empty for me as I carefully approached my final destination on winter tires struggling for grip on the icy roads.

The letter had been brief. A time, an amount, and a place. And just after the coordinates, the inevitable warning. Come alone if you want to see your daughter alive, it had said.

I was trying hard not to get my hopes up. There had been other letters like this of course. I had just about lost count of how many. Some were typed, some handwritten, some compiled from newspaper and magazine clippings. But the time, amount, place, and warning formula was pretty much always the same. And always, always it would turn out to be either a hoax, an extortion/robbery scam, a trap, or some combination of the three. So no, I shouldn’t dare to hope, but still I couldn’t quite shake off the feeling that this might be the one.

After parking the SUV in hiding half a mile away, I made my way on foot back towards the designated rendezvous spot, dressed in black from head to toe. I was lucky to find the perfect observation vantage point and became one with the shadows, grateful that my hiding spot also offered at least some protection against the heavy snowfall and raging winds. Now, all I could do was wait.

They came just over an hour later. I heard the engine first, and then headlights illuminated the pier. The car stopped next to a warehouse building and five black-clad figures emerged. I checked my watch. It was still 45 minutes before the scheduled meeting time, and by the sound of their confident laughter, they seemed convinced they were in good time. They continued joking for five more minutes and then four of them slipped into the shadows while the apparent leader remained leaning against the car. The four in hiding had brandished a variety of nasty looking clubs, and – I think – a baseball bat. So, it was a trap after all. I couldn’t know if they wanted to give me a beating or just to rob me of the ransom money, but it was probably best to assume the worst.

I could have just driven home, I guess. But I was angry. Angry and hurt. I had to stop them from doing this to anyone else, and, reluctant as I was to admit it, part of me also wanted to hurt them like they had hurt – and planned to hurt – me. And finally, I couldn’t be absolutely certain that they didn’t know anything about Jessica. I couldn’t risk missing out on any clue to her whereabouts however faint or farfetched it might be.

So I grabbed the baton from my belt and slipped from the shadows. It was better to strike while they still thought I was half an hour away.

-0-

A million tears, I want to cry, but I shield my face, and dry my eyes, swallowing my hurt, breaking inside.

Trees of eternity and the hauntingly beautiful voice of Aleah Stanbridge accompanied me as I drove home through the night.

I did want to cry. Not because of the bruises from the few lucky punches and strikes they had managed to land on me or the agony from a possibly bent rib. But from being stupid enough to have allowed myself to hope despite knowing how foolish and futile it was. Of course they knew nothing about Jessica and of course there would be more letters like this. More letters, more hopeless hope. Chances were I would never learn.

When I was home and safe in bed the tears finally came. I wasn’t sure a million would suffice.

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  • 7 months later

An awful sight greeted Mara at Precinct 4: piles of paper on her cluttered, dusty desk. "This mess won't do." Mara sighed, "Where are the clockworks?" She called one to clean her desk. Nothing happened. Two quick taps on a nearby console produced an error: "Under repair." "All of them?!" she muttered in disbelief. "I've gone for a week, and they are all dead! Did someone hack them again?"


While she was cleaning her desk, something caught her eyes. A white envelope among paperwork. She picked it up and asked, "Liz, did this letter come recently?" The officer sitting next to her replied, "No. It's been sitting there for days." She added, "It came while you were recovering. Oh, by the way, how's your hand?"

 

"A little stiff," Mara replied.

 

Mara eyed the letter for more details, but she found nothing. No name, no return address, nothing. Nonplused, she tossed it aside. "First thing first. I need to catch up with my work," she muttered to herself.

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