Manda (scars_proach) wrote in joss_las,

Round 10/Challenge 2 Voting

I am soooo sorry about the delay on the voting! I haven't been able to get to the library to get online until today. And if you emailed your entry but it's not posted on here, email me and let me know! My new phone doesn't have email enabled yet so I may have overlooked it in the 200+ emails I just deleted...

all_choseny has had to drop out of the competition this go-round, hope to see you back for Round 11 though!

Also, I didn't recieve entries from the following and so they have been dropped from the competition (unless it's a problem on my part in which case email me)...


And now, without any further ado, the voting!


Vote for your least favorite entry.
No voting for yourself.
No telling anyone which entry is yours!
Voting will end on Tuesday, June 23.
The prompt for this challenge was Light.


There's a park, just down Waynewright Road, between a moderately nice neighborhood and a small forest that spans seven acres before dissolving into a shopping center. When she thinks about it, she wants to cry at the reality that in about twenty years, it probably won't be there anymore.

But for now, it's her sanctuary. Her peace.

If she travels far enough into the thicket—between the swaying branches of oaks and evergreens, amid the fluttering fall of cherry blossoms—the grinding of tires and the laughter of children fades away, and all is still and quiet. For once, she feels as if she can breathe.

This is where she feels at home, where the canopied trees let in little beams of light, like speckled stars on a floor of green.

Somehow, this little place has a magic of its own, deeper and more resonant than anything she's ever touched, the kind of magic that she always smelled on her skin, amongst twisted limbs and sheets, panting and touching after they'd made love.

Here, she breathes deeply, lost in memory, the cool breeze the caress of her hand, the patches of sunlight, warm against her cheeks, the brilliance of her smile.

When Sunnydale collapsed, it took her school, her things, and her home.

And it took a gravestone with the most beautiful name engraved on the front.

She's bought new things, found a new school and lives in a home filled with her friends, and here…

…here she comes to remember Tara.

Keep the Lights On

She always keeps the lights on all night.

Sometimes she wonders. All the time she wonders. During the working day in the back of her head, all the sleepless nights she wonders, why she said what she said. The house is quiet. Most days the kids will come by in the early evening, ask for news, tell her the latest, together hoping for a glimmer of hope she couldn't give them, they couldn't give her.

She always keeps on all the lights. Keeps the house alive. If Buffy comes back at night.

She always keeps the lights on all night.

Acceptable Topics for Light Dinner Conversation

For Spike: A List of Acceptable Topics for Light Dinner Party Conversation

1) The weather.

2) The rise in interest rates.

3) How nice the food is; what a brilliant cook your girlfriend’s sister is.

4) How nice the table’s flower arrangement is; what exquisite taste your girlfriend’s sister has.

5) Boston sightseeing – or “what I did today” (the fake version).

Corollary: Unacceptable Topics that Definitely Do Not Count as Light Dinner Party Conversation

1) How to beat people up – or “what I did today” (the real version).

2) Your girlfriend’s sister’s ex-boyfriends.

3) Your girlfriend’s sister’s first kiss.

4) Beer is better than wine; why is there no beer?

5) Beer drinking through the ages.

6) Cigarette smoking through the ages.

7) Extensive use of nicknames.*

* “Niblet” is fine; “Small-fry”, “Mini-Me”, and “Tater-tot” are not.

8) Why Boston was much better before the Depression.

9) Why Jon Stewart is a ponce who deserves to be eaten.

10) Black nailpolish; why it’s better than all other colors.

11) College is pointless; too much education makes people dull and pompous (I met him at college, you moron).

12) College dorms and what goes on there.

13) How to break into sororities and give all the girls a good scare.

14) Scaring people, in general.

15) Horror movies; why horror movies suck.

16) Soap Operas.

17) Poetry.

18) Why British spelling is the best.

19) Queen Elizabeth; how lunchable Queen Elizabeth looked when she was in her twenties.

20) Your girlfriend’s sister’s apartment and how clean it is; your girlfriend’s sister’s apartment and how messy it usually is.

21) What your girlfriend’s sister’s apartment looked like covered in used tissues and tubs of melted icecream after she spent three days bawling and watching chick flicks.

22) What you will do to the guy you’re talking to if he breaks your girlfriend’s sister’s heart like the last guy did.

23) The exact meaning of “scaphism”, and how it works.

24) Weird words you’ve memorised.

25) How long your girlfriend’s sister has been studying Ancient Sumerian.

26) Why your girlfriend’s sister is studying Ancient Sumerian. (I’m trying to ease him into the whole fighting-the-forces-of-darkness thing.)

27) That you can still kick your girlfriend’s sister’s ass at Scrabble.

28) Scrabble, and why the rules are unfair.

29) Monopoly.

30) Charades.

31) Poker.

32) Any and all topics which involve betting and/or money.*

* Or betting and anything else.

33) And, for that matter, any and all topics which involve you winning at anything.

34) Yes, that includes being a better boyfriend than your girlfriend’s broody ex-boyfriend was.

35) Any and all topics which involve violence.

36) Or sex.

37) Or fashion tips.

38) Or sex tips.

39) Or anything else which seems to be making your girlfriend’s sister’s newest boyfriend blush.


Entry 4

They call it the Black, but all she sees is light.

She knows Simon’s scared, can feel his terror pushing at the edges of her mind. She pushes back and feels it recede.

Knows her mind is her own.

She revels in the feeling. It’s been so long since her thoughts were the only ones in her head, so long since she could follow an idea all the way through. So long since she was herself.

They wanted to create psychics. Wanted a weapon. Wanted control.

As Mal would say ‘two out of three ain’t bad.’

Their experiments made her a psychic. Their training made her a weapon. But no one had control. Couldn’t stop from reading. Couldn’t keep from killing.

Not until she clung to the metal skin of the ship and looked deep into the Black. It wasn’t empty, not like it had always been described. Wasn’t lonely or cold.

Hope twinkled down from every star. Freedom beckoned from every moon.

The future looked bright.

Spoilers for “Safe” Dancing

The villagers are angry.

The villagers are angry—it sounds like a song, and you want to sing. The torches would like that, they’re dancing, they dance, the dancing flames, they need music to dance. Dancing. Dancing like you were a day ago, happy and free again, dancing because you knew the steps.

Simon is yelling. Not singing. Not music. Simon doesn’t like to sing. Simon doesn’t like to dance. Simon likes the busy-movement of a sick-house, a better-house, not the free-movement of a dance. He likes being a doctor. Doctor, doctor, they wanted a doctor, now they’re throwing words like witch and threatening you with dancing flames.

Dancing, dancing like Mal did last time he touched planetside. Danced to give Serenity cargo, Serenity the sky-ship, Serenity the prayer on Earth-that-was, he danced with Kaylee to get them a job. Mal told them to leave, and Simon told her to stay with him, and they both got caught by the villagers with the dancing flames outside the town with the shop and the plates and the postholer for digging holes for posts.

Kaylee would have danced with you, if you’d asked. Kaylee would have danced with Simon, dance-danced, but she would just dance with you, dance because dancing is free, free like the leaping, dancing flames. Kaylee knows, Kaylee dances all the time, dances the dance of circuits and sparks that make Serenity run, Serenity the smuggling ship, Serenity the battle, Serenity the prayer. Kaylee would make a good big sister. Kaylee would have tried to come back. Kaylee is trying to come back.

Look up at the sky, star-light, not Firefly-light. Fireflies on Earth-that-was, class of insect, identified others of their species by their blinks. Fireflies in the skies, class of ship favored by smugglers for their many hidden compartments. Fireflies in the skies… sounded like a song. Song, singing, shouting, dancing flames… The flames are getting closer, the shouting is getting louder, no one is singing.

They’ll come for you. They will. Believe it, like you’ve believed it all along. Tell Simon… what? Coming for us. Serenity, prayer on Earth-that-was. Firefly, class of insect, class of ship. Kaylee, good big sister. Postholer, digging holes for posts. Something makes its way out of your mouth and into his ears.

Simon holds you tight and tells them something. The dancing flames come closer, dancing, dancing. You want to dance with them, but the ropes are too tight.

Look up at the sky one last time, and there’s the Firefly-light.

Entry 6

Mal turns around just in time to catch sight of River extending a hand toward one of the brightly lit buttons on the console just behind Wash’s right shoulder.

Wei!” At the sound of Mal’s admonishment, River pulls back, looking at him with surprise. “These are precision settings for a delicate complexity of equipment. You ought’n’t fiddle with ‘em. For example, that very button --” he pauses, then restarts, “-- that very button… Wash! Tell River what that button does.”

Wash spins his chair around to get a better look at the subject of the discussion.

“Well, obviously, that would be the indicator light for the function status of the internal operations of the….” Wash scratches his brow. “Yeah, I haven’t got a clue.”

“That button emitted light rays of a distinctly different hue until approximately twenty-two-point-four hours ago,” River says quietly, looking up at Mal with solemn eyes.

“But it’s red now,” Mal argues. “Red’s good, right?” he asks Wash while looking around the bridge. Most of the switches are giving off a steady red glow.

After a pause, Wash tentatively offers, “It’s entirely possible that red is bad.”

Mal leans out the doorway to yell down into the belly of the ship. “KAYLEE!”

When he turns back around, River and Wash are both staring blankly at him. Wash’s eyes flick toward the comm system.

“Oh. Right.” Mal picks up the handset and opens up the comm. “Kaylee. Need you on the bridge.”

Within moments, Kaylee comes bounding into the small room.

“What’s all the hullabaloo?”

“What does this button do?” Mal promptly demands.

“This button right here?”

“Yes, that button right there.”

“No idea, cap’n. Why don’t you push it and see what happens?”

“Oh, for--” Mal cuts himself off when he sees the perfectly serious look on her face. “Really? That’s a diagnostic… thing?”

Kaylee shrugs. “How else are you gonna figure it out?”

Mal absolutely does not sigh; he just lets out a puff of air in a resigned manner. “I suppose you’d better keep watch in the engine room.”

“Sure thing!” Kaylee exits, with River trailing along in her wake.

“Should we really be doing this?” Wash asks.

“Let you know when I figure it out.”

Kaylee’s voice rings out from the intercom. “I’m in position.”

Mal takes a breath and pushes the button. The light goes out.

He opens the comm line to the engine room. “Anything?”

“I didn’t detect any changes.”

Mal pushes the button again. It lights up, the red glow silently mocking him.

“How about now?”

“Still no change.”

He pushes it off-on in quick succession.



One last try: off-on-off-on-off. He waits to see if Kaylee notices.

“Nothin’s happening down here. Are we givin’ up?”

Mal punches the button back into the ‘on’ position. Gorram thing can stay red, for all he cares.

“Yup, we’re done.” Mal clips the handset of the comm back into place.

“So much for the thrill of discovery,” Wash says.

Mal is formulating a crushing reply when Jayne stomps into the room, toweling sweat from a face gone pink with exertion.

“Mal, somethin’s wrong with the lights in the cargo bay,” Jayne complains. “Ruttin’ things keep flickering on and off. Made me start so much I dropped one of my weights onto my big toe!”

Mal could swear he hears the muffled sound of giggling from somewhere deep within the ship.

Into the Light

A/N: The Latin at the end roughly translates to, "Cover her in darkness."

Her name is Rebs.

Short for Rebecca, but no one ever calls her that.

She's got this guy—he follows her around.
Not that way—he's old, like a father,
she guesses.
Anyway, he tries to get her to train,
helps her learn how to fight.

She doesn't know why, but
Rebs figures he's got a thing for thinking about
hot young girls beating up
scary old men.

he's good,
knows moves she never even dreamed of before
when she was just decking anyone she
could find.

So she starts to think he's on her side—like he
wants her to be good at this.

And then he dies. She swings by his
house one day to use his punching bag and
finds him stabbed through the back,
bleeding like a stuck pig all over the floor,
sharp-ass knife still sticking out of him.

Whatever. It's not like she cares.

She gets a call one day
some girl from California—she's never been to
California, that's the place for
rich people and movie stars.

It's about her guy
the girl tells her he's dead, which
is kind of a duh moment,
and then all this other stuff starts spewing out of her.

She only gets snippets—Watcher, Slayer, super powers,
one girl in all the world, demons, vampires.
It's take back the night kind of stuff, and
part of her thinks she digs it, but the other part thinks that she
never learned his first name.

Not that it matters.

British guy—a Watcher like Johnson, and with a title like that,
she figures she was right about him being a
pervert—tells her she has to leave,
go live with them.

It sounds sketchy, but as she breathes
heavy into the phone, listening to the sound echo back to her,
she thinks that she might as well.

Nothing's keeping her here—dad left, mom died, she lives
with her stepdad, who's a douche,
but not a pervert like everyone assumes
he must be
and like these freaks probably all are.

House full of young girls? It's either a porn
factory or a lesbian commune.
But both of those are more interesting than
going to the gym by herself.

Why not. She's never
been to California, and she can always
beat up anyone who tries to come onto her.

She walks in the door and it's like
a Jackson Pollock painting—she saw one of those
the one time she went to an art museum, back when
her mom was around to care about her character. She remembers
staring at it, trying to figure out how he decided
which colors went where.

Now that she's in this house—and it doesn't actually
seem to be a sex shop at all, which is kind of disappointing—she
knows how he did it.
He just put them wherever they could fit.

Girl after girl bounces over and says hi—they're all so
cheery, so excited.

Kind of makes her want to beat them all up.

Their names blur together into
Chaovimandennedy. But one of them sticks out.


Yeah, this is California.

“Hey, so I heard you had a Watcher. What was that like?”

Rebs tries to smile, but it comes out as more of a squint.

“Oh, well. I didn't actually know
he was my Watcher at the time.”

“Really? That's so weird. I mean, don't they, like, have to tell you?”

She grits her teeth.

“Guess not.”

“So he just worked out with you?”

Balls her fists...

“Yeah. Maybe he was gonna tell me later.”

“Huh. I wonder why he didn't tell you.
That's so weird.”

The other girls start
comparing scars or some shit, but it keeps bugging at her
like a mosquito bite in the middle of her back.

Why didn't he tell her? Did he think she couldn't
handle it? That—that she was some kind of delinquent?

That she'd never be called?

No, Johnson wouldn't do that. Pervert or not, he
believed in her.

Did he?

Maybe he never did. Maybe he didn't—

one girl in all the world
chosen chosen chosen
“You'll never be good for anything, you stupid whore!”
different special chosen
“Why can't you dress like all the other girls?”
blood on her hands Johnson's dead he's
“Rebecca, honey, you have to stop letting
this get to you.”
she's no good she's not chosen
no one chose her

“Oh my god, she's going nuts!”

“Do you know why you're here, Rebecca?”

She glares up at British guy trying to play fucking
Dumbledore, keeping her in this
crappy dank room until she cries and
tells him it was all her father's fault.

It's not working.

“It's Rebs..”

“Alright. Rebs. Do you know why you're here?”

“Cause I beat the shit out of one of the other girls.”

“Well, yes, mostly. But also because of what you were saying to her.”

That's none of his business.

“Look, I—it doesn't matter. It didn't mean anything.”

“Who was Johnson to you?”

How dare he ask that?

“Fuck you.”

“I need to know.”

Like hell.


He examines her, coldly.

“I gave you a chance, Rebs. It's a pity you
threw it away.”

He lifts his hand, and
through her rage, she suddenly notices the hocus-pocus potion
he's about to smash against the ground.

“You're a liability to the team.. We cannot have you
endangering the mission this close to the
final battle.”

He pauses, staring at her like he
wants to say something. She wishes
he would just get it over with.

“Occulto suus in obscurum!”

The vague thoughts she had jumbling through her
before finally become

She's gonna go into the light.

Poll #1418119 Round 10/Challenge 2 Voting

Which entry was your least favorite?

Keep the Lights On
Acceptable Topics...
Entry 4
Entry 6
Into the Light

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