Granite, Bullet, Bib

A new story based on three randomly generated words. The words must be incorporated in some way into the story. 500 word limit. (Not a final edit – I noticed my irritating habit of changing tense at seemingly arbitrary moments)

As the prion disease spread, millions of artists across the globe were frantically painting their final portraits, writing their final novella and composing their final concertos. They were all infected.

The disease in question is particularly disturbing, and devastating to the creative field. The prion digs into the host’s mind. It forces an altered state in which basic motor function is inhibited, balance decimated and, perhaps worst of all, imagination reduced to mere nursery rhymes and schoolyard puns.

Artists, a population already affected by large bouts of depression and addiction, were immediately warned of this. Unfortunately, the global bullet famine meant it was going to be very difficult for most to end it all before their dignity rescinded; these days, everyone’s an artist.

There are two forms of treatment. The first is psychological. As various scientists published studies around the world, it became apparent that the area of the brain responsible for creative thought is the location the prion resides, and thus, the more one attempts to imagine, the more rapidly their health declines. Needless to say, results were very promising for those willing to immediately give up their artistic careers.

For those more valiant artists, there was the dietary option. When it was discovered that the alcohol famine was a result of a single cult of thieves who believed it was the only sinless beverage provided by God, it wasn’t long until their apparent immunity to the disease was discovered. Without hourly doses of liquor, the cult followers rapidly turned violent and cannibalistic, hence their sensationalized nickname – Cannibal Corp.

For most of the artists, this double edged sword was all that was needed to remedy the pandemic: Give up creative thought, give up alcohol. But there was always going to be the stubborn few. Globally, these few totaled a couple of million. This persistent bunch had accepted their fates and it was only a matter of time before they were all wearing strait jackets and bibs, drooling over a canvas or keyboard.

The solution came when a young scientist decided to spend her Nobel Prize money on an inhospitable and therefore bargain island in the South Pacific Ocean. Not one to miss out on a chance to save humanity, she created the first Island Hospital. With well over a million victims, it was only fair to give the island autonomy, economy and political reform.

The Grand Republic of Amicable but Neurologically Impaired Tenebrose Ergophiles, or Granite, became the new symbol for quick and easy solutions to mankind’s problems. It was also a great way to allow the more promising, less prominent artists of the world to bloom.

Nobody ever knew what became of the citizens of the island. Nobody ever checked. Occasionally, nearby sailors would find a blood-stained bottle floating towards them, page after page of inexplicable nonsense within. Looking up, they would see bizarre sculptures carved into the rocky cliffs, eerie but beautiful melodies echoing through the mist as they sailed away to more civilized lands.

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