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Look, I Just Want My Sandwich · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Beelzebub's Koala
I hunger.

It is so very cold now. It has been so long—so much time between then and now—that my memories of food and warmth are little more than a dream. I dream of a time and a place where food was thick in the hot ocean of rock where I laugh in the magma of my world.

Food. I quiver slightly as I banish the thought. I am so very, very hungry.

I am not hungry; merely cold. So I wait.

My nose betrays me. I smell food—food, high above me… near the surface. I remember chasing floes of it to the surface once, long ago. The surface frightens me, but before fear sets in I am swimming, driven by my terrible hunger.

The magma cools further still and hardens to solid crust. I shiver against the bitter cold and unfold my claws. I can smell it—scent so strong I almost dismiss it as a hallucination. Almost.

I breach the surface and I gasp. At first from the horrible, frigid void—there is nearly nothing pressing against me and I can feel my skin contort, constricting me. My joints become stiff. My claws seize against rock, desperate to keep from falling away into the abyss.

All this is forgotten as I notice the smell—the smell! Beneath, it was simply a tantalizing impression—a ghost of a prize. Here the scent of food overwhelms me and I drift—no, stand—in awe. The scent is so rich, so overpowering, that I cannot imagine how I could not have smelled it sooner.

My legs are moving before I am aware that I wished to move. I hunger, and there is food.

There is a stabbing pain in my side. Did I hit something? I feel nothing to hit— Again, a pain! I back away and press against the rock and listen…. I hear them—dozens of them! What are they? So light and soft that I scarcely can make them out, but they swarm around me and—ouch!—they bite at me! Why do they abide the surface so?

I swipe at them and they turn to mush in my claws—hard on the outside but cold and soft inside. Curious. This seems only to anger them, as their biting intensifies. They are small and weak and my food is near–they will not stop me.

A wall stands in my way—rock that is not rock, holding a void within. Hollow… a word without meaning before now. It crumbles beneath my claws. The food is so very close now—so close that I am nearly dizzy at its scent.

More of the soft biters are inside! These are softer still—were it not for my claws I would not be aware of them at all.

It is before me. My food is here, encased in a shell of pure crystalline rock. I bite and claw at it, the warmth of food washing against me, teasing me. Here, there are seams—tiny creases in the casing!—and I pull at them feverishly. I am so hungry and so cold, and the soft things continue to bite at me, but all this fades away as I tear at this metallic shell.


Food is in my mouth and it is hot and delicious and I must be dreaming. Never has anything tasted so sweet. I take another bite and I chew and I know it is not simply from the hunger that it tastes so—nothing before even remotely compares to this. I am ecstatic—drunk—as I take a third bite. My skin swells against the horrible void of the surface and the biting pricks of the soft things. I laugh.

Though the food fits within my claw, I cannot eat even half of it before I cannot eat any more—I am full and hot in a way I have not known since the world was young. I fold it tight against me and I dig.

I dig through the crust; I swim through the mantle, ever downwards, the food at my side. Down and down, laughing, dancing, and singing, I swim; down so deep that I can barely stand the pressure where the magma is almost warm, and I rest. I sing and I swoon and I sleep.

Cradled by rock and my food in and against me, I rest, and glow, content.
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#1 ·
· · >>Ceffyl_Dwr >>KwirkyJ

This is a fairly dense and inscrutable one.

My interpretation is that some sort of monster attacked and stole the core of a nuclear power plant. I have no idea if that's right or not, or if that even fits the way 'food' is presented here (surely the ore deposits we mine uranium from would have attracted this thing?) but it's interesting.

This story is kinda like a puzzle. I think I pieced together enough to enjoy it, but there's a good chance I missed something or made a very wrong guess.

On the whole, though, I think it's pretty good. And I appreciate things that are interesting and experimental to some extent.
#2 ·
· · >>Ceffyl_Dwr >>KwirkyJ
What's with the Lovecraftian imagery? Seems like a recurring theme in a lot of entries.

I want to believe this was actually a koala that's foraging for food, and it's described as it was because the koala has that image of itself.

I wish I had that koala's self-esteem.
#3 ·
· · >>KwirkyJ
Shouldn't have read the other comments before commenting myself. Thanks to >>ZaidValRoa, I now just have an image of a small koala with a big imagination. "What? These aren't eucalyptus leaves, they're humans, and I'm a huge, terrifying monster. Rawr!"

This was an interesting read, but not one that I personally found rewarding come the conclusion. I think my take on it was similar to that of >>Not_A_Hat (I wonder if that's how Godzilla keeps his atomic breath at full strength), but there were a few instances (like its depiction of itself as 'drunk', and swooning) that kind of threw me from completely embracing that viewpoint.

Intriguing though, definitely intriguing. I'd be interested in hearing your reveal on this, Author, should you later choose to provide one. Thanks very much for sharing.
#4 ·
· · >>KwirkyJ
Vaguely remembers me of the famous classical SciFi short story called The Leech, but an (obviously) much more condensed version.

This one suffers from the fact we never really know what the creature looks like, and, most of all, it's a “Mary Sue”. It never really faces any challenge: it just springs up from the deep, gets its food destroying what we assume is an atomic power plant, and goes back whence he came (Horizon I want a point for using ‘whence’ :P).

Consequently, there's hardly any conflict here. It's like you standing up, opening a cabinet to fetch a biscuit, sweeping some ants by the way, and getting back to your chair nibbling it… Not really exciting.
#5 · 4
· · >>Monokeras

Beelzebub's Koala
Wherein an alien radiolithovore attacks the first Mars colony.

Not_A_Hat got it mostly right, only missing the very subtle clues that the planet may not have been Earth, specifically: environment suits for the creatures outside, the colder mantle (lack of geologic activity), and the sudden arrival of a singular source of such purity… Probe RTGs don't count because plutonium instead of uranium (or something). Zaid's perspective does not fit with the facts, but upon reading the 'actual koala with attitude' idea, I had a good smile. Ceffyl, I realize in hindsight that 'drunk' is a poor word choice given the creature's reality, but its being a bit loopy makes sense from (1) eating a huge meal after starving for millennia or eons and (2) that meal being of the richest and purest concentration of radioisotopes it has ever encountered. For Monokeras, I posit that its physical appearance is irrelevant beyond what its features (claws, presumably a mouth) facilitate to the story; given liberty of another few thousands words, I might be convinced to include some more descriptors… however, you are correct that the story is hollow, if not exactly lacking.

This was a 'try to approach the prompt from an abstract perspective to re-interpret its meaning' and falling short in a number of ways. To begin with, my final prompt was several hundred words over and was even feeling incomplete in that state (as Mono observed)--I tightened things down, but the core issue was not able to be remedied in the time- and word-constrained situation.

There was never the idea of Lovecraft while writing, but I was cognizant of some of the themes of Ray Bradbury's "The One Who Waits". A friend over skype commented that the creature bore similarities to Lovecraft's Bokrug and Suthoggua (typos not mine).

I am not surprised this one fell up flat, but I didn't feel like I had a strong idea to work with in the first place. Had I another few thousand words, I'd probably get into the creature's head and make the confrontation with the human colonists a more reflective--I had originally intended to have more of it being thoroughly bemused by the things as it carried on to carve open a fission reactor.

Finally, thank you all for reading, and especially those who made the time to leave their comments on this experiment.

Yet further evidence that subtlety and/or experimentation is a dangerous gamble in WriteOffs….
#6 · 2
Yet further evidence that subtlety and/or experimentation is a dangerous gamble in WriteOffs….

I'd say on the contrary that the WriteOff is the ideal place to experiment because of the first grade feedback you get. Of course, that does not mean that every experiment will be successful; however, if it turns out badly, you'll get to know why and even benefit from advice on how to make it work.

Now it's clear that if your goal is to raise in the scoreboard, you better play safe and stay in the main path rather than explore the byways.

You know, you can't have your sandwich and eat it :P