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  1. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Short Story Contest (39): Theme - Armageddon

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Feb 12, 2009.

    Short Story Contest 39
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: Armageddon​






    Open to all, newbies and established members alike. Please post your entries as replies to this thread. At the deadline I will collate all entries and put them forward for voting in a seperate thread. Sadly there are no prizes but honour on offer. The winning entry will be stickied until the next competition winner.

    Theme: Armageddon (courtesy of member CommonGoods). Any interpretation valid.

    Suggested Wordlimit: 500 - 3000 words.
    Deadline for entries: February 25th 2009 16.00 (UK local)


    There is a 10% leniency with regards to the wordlimit. Please try to stick within the limit. Any piece outside of the suggested limit will still be entered into the contest but flagged as such, and eligibility determined by vote alone.

    The next contest will be themed 'Doppelgänger'. Please feel free to prepare an entry in advance, but do not submit the entry until instructed to do so.

    Try to make all your entries complete and have an ending rather than be an extract from a larger one and please try to stick to the topic. Any piece seeming outside of the topic will be dealt with in a piece by piece manner to decide its legitamacy for the contest.

    Submissions may not have been previously posted on this site, nor may they be posted for review until voting has closed. Only one entry per contest please.

    Please try to refrain from itallicising, bolding, colouring or indenting any text to help avoid disappointment. These stylistics do not reproduce when I copy-paste them into the voting thread.

    Please remember to give your piece a title and give its word count in brackets at the top of your story.

    If there are any questions, please leave me a visitor message or PM me. Please do not clog up this, or any other thread, with your questions.


    Thanks and good luck.
     
  2. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    The Second Coming

    The Second Coming [832]

    It wasn't supposed to be real. It was just a belief, a philosophy on how to live life; a religion.
    Twelve hours ago I would have laughed at any preacher who felt it his duty in life to proclaim to the world - whether they wanted in or not - what God and His Son have done.
    I called myself a 'Christian,' and I read the stories to my boy. . . my little boy.
    Standing outside of my house on a concrete driveway in front of concrete steps, I clenched my fists and curled forward as another burst of sorrow leaked from my eyes.
    Stories. . . that's all they were! Stories! They were just lessons on how to be a good person! Why-- how could this happen?

    In the distance, I heard the wailing of a siren, but the alarming sound was weak and unimpressive in comparison to the turmoil around me.
    The neighbors, aghast at the blasting of the trumpet, and then terrified as their loved ones were whisked away in the twinkling of an eye.
    The same had happened to me-- to my wife. The only remnants of her -- the cloths she had been wearing -- fluttered to the ground before my horrified eyes.

    It was the end of my world.

    Another despairing scream filled with tears that I knew were there came from the house to my left.
    I stood up, the instantaneous moment of sorrow having passed, but I knew I would feel it again.

    To others, it was Second Coming of Christ.

    It isn't about just being a good person. It was never about being a good person.
    Suddenly, the screeching of tires skidding on pavement sounded. I looked up with glossy, bloodshot eyes, cheeks red and swollen.
    A red Ferrari came slingshotting around the curve about two hundred yards away. I took several steps forward until I was a pace away from being on the street.
    Judging by the sound of the engine, the car was accelerating at an unreasonably high rate.
    I stood and watched it come forward, and then it jerked to one side, then the other; it fish-tailed about thirty feet then came swerving toward me. I didn't move. There was no point. No reason for anything, anymore. My wife, my child; they were gone. If it happened to hit me, well--
    It came within an arms length of me, tore over my lawn and then the front end of the vehicle was crushed inward as it plowed into a thick oak tree. The only tree in the area.

    It happened so quickly that it felt unreal. The screeching, the deafening loudness of the impact, and then there was just silence and an inert car.
    I had never known the man, personally, who owned that vehicle, but it was obvious from the moment I met him that he cared little for anything but money. Money, cars, women; and it got him nothing.

    "Dear God," I whispered, staring at the wreck, knowing not what to do or where to go, and not wanting to if I did.


    To the media, it was Armageddon.


    I turned solemnly around and trudged into my house, the one I had worked for, so that my family could live comfortably.
    I didn't bother to shut the door. Through the hallway I walked, never looking at the hearth or the pictures on the mantel. If my room had been up the stairs, I may never have gone at all, but fate - or destiny, or divine intervention - was working pointedly, today.
    Beside the bed a dark wooden dresser contained on the second to top shelf my Bible, dusty and new from disuse. Neglect. What had I been thinking all of these years?
    I pulled it from the shelf, opened it and rummaged through the pages. In my younger years, I had heard stories about people opening the Bible randomly and having their eyes fall upon the exact chapter and verse that they needed in order to survive a time of turmoil or heart ache or despair.
    Although I had tried it before, it never seemed to work.
    That was irrelevant; however, because in this case, I knew exactly which book to go to.

    Revelations; the name itself evoked images of carnage and flames and fear and gnashing of teeth.
    That day I discovered many things, and one of them was that Armageddon only occurred in singular individuals. People who would not see the light, even as it was thrust under their noses.

    The wailing of sirens was closer, now, and the muffled screams outside was encroaching upon my senses, but the relief I felt from the words I read overshadowed the knowledge that I would have to die.
    I would see them again, my loved ones, my beloved wife and precious child.
    Not immediately-- but soon.
    I clapped the book shut, closed my eyes, and said simply, "Help."

    And Armageddon shrank back from me, and I felt peace.
     
  3. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    In the Arms of Armageddon - [885 words]

    Hey, are you awake?

    I wanted to show you something.

    Of course you’re not awake, but I’m writing to you anyway, just because it’s the only thing that keeps me sane. So, yes, I wanted to show you something. It’s an emerald brooch, and it reminds me so much of the one I bought you that night, when we went to see the movie. It was so cold that night. I remember you clung to me so rigidly, and it made me feel like a man, because all I wanted to do was protect you. This brooch I found in a pile of old debris, and it reminded me of you again, and I had to come up here and tell you about it. Maybe some sad old lady dropped this as the world fell down around her. Maybe some other doe-eyed college kid bought it for his own girlfriend, and now they’ve forgotten it, long gone in the chaos of these harrowing times.

    I think I’m just writing this because remembering the good times is better than talking about right now, but I don’t want to do that, because maybe someday you’ll wake up and read all this.

    So I should talk a little about what’s going on right now.

    The world is in chaos now. The economy has gone to shambles, and I don’t mean the loss of jobs or the gas prices rising that you might remember from when you were awake. Everything’s gone to the wolves. It all started as a bunch of morons spending money they didn’t have, and now look at us all. We barely even remember what it was like to have money, and even when we do find some, it’s useless, anyway. Just yesterday, the President declared his vacancy. He can’t take it anymore, and who can blame him? Nobody knows what to do these days. People have called this Armageddon, but I don’t think there is anything religious about this.

    Even just when I was trying to get here, I had to fend off a couple of muggers. They wanted my wallet. Most people have already given into the muggers, just to keep their lives, but me, I don’t see a point in setting my sights so low. I’m trying to fight back, but God, it’s hard. Even the muggers have sad eyes.

    I haven’t eaten properly in almost a month. I’m honestly pretty surprised that they still have the IVs up and running. They even have electricity on most days. I wish you could see the way they’re soldiering through this; providing shelter the best they can for anyone who needs it, providing any food they can get. It’s like a stronghold. The doctors are so dedicated that it makes me ashamed; why didn’t I do more to prevent you from getting like this? I should have seen the signs from a mile away; your headache, and the way you needed so much more sleep. I’m sorry, baby.

    Remember the old theater? Cathedral Cinemas, it was called? We went to see our last movie there, and you laughed with me the whole night. You shared a kiss with me right outside its doors. Well, it’s gone now. The gangs overtook it last week. They rule the streets now; it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Nothing is safe anymore. They’re getting more reckless these days; not even waiting for people to come outside to attack them. I’m lucky I made it in here alive.

    I’m just glad they can’t get their hands on you. You look so beautiful, you know. Even now, as you’re just lying there in your coma. Your hair is straight, and your skin is so soft. If not for the IV stuck in your arm and the mask over your mouth and nose, I’d swear you were just taking a nap.

    And maybe someday that’s all it will be. Maybe you still have a chance of waking up. The doctors, bless their hearts, say you’re doing alright. If you ever do wake up, just remember that my home is always open to you. And if that doesn’t work out, try our little secret place out by the beach. Nobody has discovered that yet. Remember that you have to be aggressive and assertive, being nice won’t get you anywhere in this new world. Don’t ask for food; just take it, because if you don’t, someone else will get to it before you. Don’t look anyone in the eye until you’re sure they don’t carry any sort of malicious intent. Don’t ever assume anyone isn’t carrying malicious intent.

    God, I just hope I’m still here when you wake up. Or anyone, for that matter. I don’t want you to wake up to find the world gone. I don’t want you to wake up and find yourself the last person alive. But I’ll keep you alive as long as I can. For now, I’m going to walk back into the arms of Armageddon, because it is the only thing left. I’m going to stay strong, for me and for you, and I promise I’ll be back soon to write more.

    I’m going to leave the brooch right here beside your bed, on top of this letter. I hope you like it. Good night, and I love you.
     
  4. Phantasmal Reality
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    Phantasmal Reality Contributing Member

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    Jet Black Moon [2780]​

    Two silhouettes stand at the edge of a forested butte, overlooking a distant city, and watch the fireworks together beneath a crimson sky.

    The taller one holds the hand of the shorter one in silence. Ironically, it is his hand that is trembling and not hers.

    Turning his head to look down at the young girl dressed all in white, he wonders how she can be so staid right now….

    He can only imagine what she must be thinking. She just remains motionless and stares at the distant city as the fireworks rain down upon it from the heavens.

    ––––Fireworks that did not come from this world.

    Perhaps feeling his taut gaze, the young girl looks up at him.

    “Are you scared, Nii-san?” she asks calmly, as if there is nothing to worry about.

    THU–MP THUMP

    Her brother swallows the lump in his throat and prepares to say that he’s not scared……

    …..but she can feel his pulse through his hand.

    ––––In the end, he decides to be honest.

    “Yea–h, I’m scared,” he confesses.

    His voice still contains the resolve to stay by her side though, and that brings a smile to the girl’s face. Her Nii-san has always been brave. Far braver than her, given their difference….

    She squeezes his hand and tries to reassure him with a feeble smile. “Don’t be afraid, Nii-san…. Everything has its end…. In a way, we’re actually pretty lucky –––being able to watch this….”

    An explosion like a clap of thunder booms directly overhead. Fragments of rock clatter down around them – rolling off of an invisible umbrella.

    After removing his hands from his ears, the boy looks up at the sky. It is littered with burning embers that streak across it like shooting stars.

    While staring up at that fiery panorama, he feels so weak that his knees almost buckle under his own weight. Like staring into the vastness of space on a clear summer night, he realizes how utterly powerless and insignificant he is.

    ––––But the one next to him….

    “Are you sure you can’t stop it?” he says solemnly. It’s more like he’s thinking out loud than asking a question.

    “……………………….”

    The girl shakes her head and causes some of her white hair to scatter off her shoulders.

    “…I’m not allowed to, Nii-san….”

    “––Why?”

    He faces her and pleads with his eyes for a different answer this time.

    The girl looks away. “…This isn’t my house,” she says so quietly that he almost doesn’t hear her.

    That talk again….

    He wishes she wouldn’t be so cryptic with him.

    “––So!?” he implores her. “How can you just stand by and let this happen when you know you can… stop it…..”

    His voice trails off as guilt hammers into his heart. The way the small girl avoids his gaze with downcast eyes kills him from the inside.

    “…I’m sorry,” he whispers. “I just….”

    “––I want to, Nii-san.”

    Looking back up at him with glossy eyes….

    “I want to more than anything….”

    She grows quiet and glances at the burning city where countless people are undoubtedly dying. She wishes she could save them all, but more than that….

    “–––––You’re special, Nii-san….”

    Her heart fractures, and small pieces of it begin to break off like the shards of Armageddon falling through the sky.

    “–––I’m sure you had brothers before,” the boy says quietly as he scratches the back of his head like he always does when he gets embarrassed.

    The white witch peers up at the boy who is framed by the last orange clouds of the ages.

    “Maybe….”

    She sounds detached, as if searching through faded, old photographs in her mind….

    Then, like a small rabbit seeking warmth, she clings to him and presses her head against his chest.

    “––––––But I’ll miss you most of all, Nii-san!”

    For the first time since she was a baby, she allows tears to roll down her face.

    In that moment, the boy’s anxiety over death disappears.

    “––––––––––––”

    Even with the world collapsing all around him….

    “––––––––––––––––––”

    …he feels a strange calm settle into his heart.

    “–––––––––––––––––––––––––”

    Wrapping his arms around the girl’s trembling shoulders……

    “–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––”

    He suppresses his fear for someone he cherishes more than his own life.

    “––––––––––––––––Yeah,” he says after an eternity of silence. “I’ll miss you too….”

    Killing his emotions for the sake of hers….

    ….he says he’ll miss her as if they’re only parting for today.

    The little sister he longed to protect forever hugs him for the last time, and they pass what seems like an hour in that dreamy abeyance, even though their embrace couldn’t have lasted more than a minute.

    “Nii-san….” the girl whispers as if waking from a slumber.

    “…Yeah?”

    Another rock shatters overhead as she draws away from him.

    “–––It’s almost time.”

    She wipes the tears from her eyes.

    “……Okay.”

    No longer so afraid of the end, the boy decides to get comfortable while he waits for it. He wonders if it will hurt a lot, or if it’ll be over so quickly that he won’t feel a thing. He tries not to dwell on it because he knows he’ll get scared again if he does.

    Walking to the edge of the butte, he sits down so that his heels rest on the last inch of ground before the precipice. The white witch goes over and sits next to him.

    “Do you think mom and dad can see this?” he asks her as she leans her head against his shoulder.

    “…………………”

    She knows the answer. She knows, because somebody intimate to her spent a lifetime researching such questions. Somebody who figured out a way to bequeath that knowledge to her….

    –––But her Nii-san likes to believe that their parents watch over them from time to time….

    “Maybe….”

    She hugs her brother’s arm and tells a small lie to preserve his fragile dream.

    That brings a smile to his face, and he looks back at the raining fire as if he’s actually happy. Maybe it’s because he thinks that he’ll be able to see them again soon….

    “Ow… that hurts,” he says.

    The girl relaxes her grip on his arm and apologizes. It’s just that for a moment, she seriously contemplated stopping all this for him….

    She shyly tilts her head up and watches him in silence. He is looking out over the butte with peaceful eyes that no longer seem afraid of the approaching doom that is looming in the sky behind him.

    Armageddon….

    “–––––––Thank you for putting up with me,” he says spontaneously.

    He never could accept that she didn’t need his protection. For someone like her, harm and death are simply meaningless concepts now, but even so, he never left her alone. Walking her to the grocery store, not letting her stay out late at night, not letting her go anywhere by herself ‘because she’s a girl’, trying to look out for her at school….

    ……Even though all those things were unnecessary, he always did them with a smile.

    Staring up at her big brother, the small witch thinks that she probably never knew a person as selfless as him….

    A zephyr sweeps the butte and causes the tree branches to sway in its caress.

    “Nii–––san….”

    Her tiny heart twists in her chest.

    THUMP THUMP

    He turns and looks at her with a puzzled expression while waiting for her to finish.

    THUMP THUMP

    …She feels a strange, tingling sensation throughout her whole body.

    THUMP THUMP

    She knows it’s almost time for her to go….

    THUMP THUMP

    –––––But she is tempted to break her contract.

    THUMP THUMP

    –––––––––––––––––Tempted to forsake a thousand years of research and effort……….

    THUMP THUMP

    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––All for the sake of a young boy who is still not used to having two digits in his age.

    THUM––P THUMP

    …Why now?

    THU––MP TH––UMP

    ……..Why did she have to encounter someone like him now?

    TH––UMP THUMP

    …………………………It would’ve been so much easier–––––––––––––

    “Wh––mmmph––!!!”

    White hair fluttering in the breeze, she jumps up onto her beloved Nii-san and kisses him before he can even react.

    It is not a passionate kiss; the small girl doesn’t understand that kind. Her lips pressed gently against his, it is a pure, innocent kiss to express love. The tightness in her tiny chest made it feel like the most natural thing to do.

    Surrounded by the hailing fragments of the world’s end, beneath a fiery red sky, a boy and a girl end their last moments together with a sublime farewell that would make even the devil give pause.

    ––––It ends as spontaneously as it began.

    Drawing her lips back from his, the white witch hops off the boy she loves most and stands above him.

    “……………………”

    Unable to say a word, he stares up at her in a daze.

    He looks so cute like that, she thinks as she smiles down at him and holds her hands behind her.

    Taking a step back, she says, “I never felt like I had to put up with you, Nii-san.”

    The wind blows some of her silken strands in front of her face.

    She takes another step back. “–––I wanted you to be by my side forever.”

    A warm, affectionate smile masks her mournful heart.

    “…Because I was always happier when you were with me….”

    He watches her slowly walk away from him as if the air has turned to honey. …Is he dreaming? It’s almost like she’s fading away before his eyes….

    But for some reason… he feels really…… peaceful……

    “–––Remember when we used to play hide-and-seek together?” a familiar voice asks him.

    He sleepily nods his head. His eyes are loosing focus, and for a brief instant he clearly sees an image of when he used to play that game with a small girl whose hair was white as snow….

    “I was never any good at it, because I always wanted you to find me….”

    A smile crosses his face as his head bobs. She really was terrible at that game….

    “––Let’s play one more time, Nii-san. …Close your eyes and count to ten… ok?”

    He can do that….

    One....

    Two….

    Three….

    Four…..

    He feels safe and warm….

    F…iv…e…..

    …As if somebody is carefully tucking him into bed…..

    Si…..x……

    ……..Just like he used to do…. for someone……

    Se………..v………e……….n……….

    Sinking gently into a pillowy chasm in his mind………

    E…… i…….gh…………..t……………..

    ……..he remembers a small girl hiding behind a giant oak tree, on a summer evening they spent playing together in the woods behind their home….

    N………….i………………n…………………..e……………………………

    ––––He can still see her mirthful face peeking out from behind that tree… white hair glimmering in the vermillion glow of the sunset behind her……

    ….Even though….. they weren’t……… really…… siblings…………
    ………………………. ………. ………. ……… …………………………..
    …………………………………He loved….. her……. so……… much…………
    …….. ….. ….. ….. ……. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    The boy rests his head on the ground and falls into a deep sleep from which there is no return.

    A single tear rolls down the white witch’s face.

    Despite the immense power she possesses, she looks like nothing more than a lost, little girl.

    She wants to abandon everything for the sake of that boy, but she has to suppress her own feelings for the sake of many others.

    –––It is something she was prepared for, but she didn’t think it would hurt this much….

    “…………………………………………………………………………………..”

    “Are you ready?” asks a young man behind her.

    She lets the image of her sleeping Nii-san burn into her mind so that she will never forget it, and then turns to the one whom she is beholden to.

    “–––Yes,” she says vacantly, her thoughts still dwelling on the placid figure behind her.

    “Don’t you think it was a bad idea to get attached to someone?” the man asks her.

    “…………………………….”

    She doesn’t respond right away. The pain in her heart is almost unbearable, but….

    “…I think it’s the other way around,” she answers.

    The man chuckles. “I wouldn’t know.”

    He smiles and looks up at the falling embers as if fondly recalling some folly. He was rather stoic when she met him before, but he is acting strangely now.

    “I didn’t think you smiled,” she says.

    The man nostalgically watches the jet black moon, Armageddon, dominate the crimson colored sky.

    “––––I just think sunsets are beautiful,” he says matter-of-factly.

    He tried hard to hide it, but the girl could still detect the tinge of regret in his voice.

    “…What about sunrises?” she asks.

    The man chuckles again. “They’re nice, but there’s nothing like a good sunset….”

    She turns her head and looks back at her sleeping Nii–san. He does look perfectly at peace with the ethereal sun disappearing behind him….

    “You can’t take him with you,” says the man in an admonishing tone.

    “–––I know,” she replies quietly. Turning back to him, she asks, “Where will you go?”

    He folds his arms and closes his eyes with a sly smile, “I don’t know. Hopefully I’ll get to meet the one who started all this, though.”

    “––If such a being exists,” the girl reproves him.

    He opens his eyes and grins. “Oh, I’m sure of it. The rules of this game are too complex to have written themselves.”

    He may be right, but it doesn’t really matter either way. ––She’s not going to argue with him about philosophical preferences.

    “I’m ready,” she says.

    The finality in her voice tells the man that she means it this time.

    His lips bend into a smug smile. “Alright then.”

    Standing aside, he reveals a black portal behind him just large enough for a person to pass through.

    Taking a deep breath, the girl walks towards it. She has technically had a long time to prepare for this moment….

    –––––A moment an old magus knew might come when he began pursuing the Fourth Aspect a millennium ago….

    She pauses in front of the void, and looks back at the boy she loves one last time. As soon as she leaves, the barrier protecting this place will vanish… leaving him at the mercy of the raining rocks….

    “Don’t worry about it. I’ll keep an eye on him ‘till my time is up,” the man says as he gives her a cocky smile and a thumbs-up.

    “–––Thank you,” she says softly.

    “No problem, –––I enjoyed our little talk.”

    Giving her a lazy salute with two fingers to his brow, he walks off and sits next to the sleeping boy to watch the curtain close on his play.

    “………………………………….”

    He isn’t quite what she had always imagined, but she thinks he was a suitable person for the job.

    She’ll probably use his creation as a template for hers, in fact.

    –––––But she’ll do some things differently.

    Looking at the boy’s tranquil face, she resolves to create a reality that he would enjoy. He was always so fond of things that didn’t exist in this one.

    “…I’ll make them real for you, Nii-san.”

    Holding her fist to her chest, she makes him that promise with tearful eyes that reflect the falling fragments of heaven.

    Then, walking into the darkness in front of her, the white witch disappears.

    The man left behind smiles to himself when he feels her go. He knows what challenges await her, but he has a feeling she’ll do just fine.

    Looking down at the sleeping boy next to him, he says, “You were pretty lucky to know her, kid. ––There are going to be a lot of people who will spend their whole lives trying to.”

    ––––––And some who will actually think that they do.

    He chuckles to himself.

    “What odd rules the Creator of this game made….”

    Looking up at Armageddon as it burns through the atmosphere, he wonders if he’ll get to meet that person.

    If not, that’s ok. He’s ready to stop playing anyway….

    Not long after that, Armageddon reaches the ground. Like a bed sheet being pulled through a ring, space and time itself is sucked into the hole in its wake. The one who still exists watches it all happen in what feels like the blink of an eye. As even his consciousness begins to fade, he thinks that the end reminds him a lot of the beginning. If he still had a mouth to smile with, it would be turned up in a bitter grin.

    With his last thought, he wonders if there has been a sunset in the girl’s cosmos yet.







    He hopes……







    she keeps them……










    the same…………….
     
  5. Vergil
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    Vergil Member

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    Global warming was the least of their worries, David laughed inwardly as watched the bellowing smoke rise up into the air. He looked at the dark sky and the electromagnetic storm, Earth itself was outraged by this war and the eerie blue lightning and raging winds broke his heart as he longed for the warm sun and tranquil sky he once knew.

    Armageddon came and with it the prophesised war between angels and demons, but it was nothing like anyone had imagined it. It was carnage, and humans were merely bugs that were trampled on in the process of it. It wasn’t just the demons that were mercilessly killing anything that moved, the angels were just as bad, compounded by the non-discriminatory nature of their weapons. Fighter jets and tanks had no effect in the face of beams that could effortlessly pierce through any metal and burn through the flesh they were meant to protect. Humans ran from danger as if they were cockroaches, though saying that was a disservice to the cockroaches which littered the planet in their millions, the human race trimmed down to their mere thousands. The cities that had been built were nothing but fiery rubble and the great age of mankind was set to be another laughably short blip in Earths vast history.

    Through the terrible hopelessness, men were reduced to their absolute core. No law, no societal norms and it was incredible that caveman like behaviour was now predominant in the species. It was interesting for David, ex-psychology student now in his 40s and a seasoned veteran in surviving. He wished that he could say something Hollywood like he was the leader of the resistance but really all he was, was a man who people followed as he seemed like he knew what he was doing. There was no resistance, merely a group of people desperately trying to avoid the unavoidable. His merry band was a mixed bunch, naturally there was no such thing as racism anymore as it didn’t matter what colour they were, they were all the same shade of ash and dirt. They all shared a fear and loathing of those destroying the planet and whilst it wasn’t exactly the brightest of silver linings, it was there and right now they took what they could get. There were about 14 in the group and they followed David around, searching for food, clean water and shelter.

    Their current situation was worse than usual. They had not eaten in quite some time and two of their party were injured, one of which would not make it but the others had formed a strong emotional attachment with the woman and insisted on dragging her gangrene infested body along. David didn’t know her name and he had seen too many die to want to, but she was brave and insisted that they just leave her to die somewhere. That was the most logical thing to do but the brain is often so completely overwhelmed by stupid emotion that any sort of logic goes flying out at the mere sight of a pair of tits. That’s what David thought anyway, the overly large cynical part of mind going into overtime as they all surrounded her telling her not to give up. David kept looking for food.

    David shushed the group as up ahead was a pack of dogs. Dog was a rare treat and man’s best friend had now become man’s best meal and again it tickled him that he used to ridicule the Chinese for eating the animal. They were just ahead of their time. The dogs were savaging a dead human body so David really had no issue in pulling out his trusty hunting rifle. The others pulled out their weapons too and also took aim. There was a time where this would be totally frowned upon. “A pet is for life not just for dinner” and all that animals rights bull****, David pondered idly as the bullets found their mark. The gunfire was deafening in the horrible silence they were so accustomed to and the collective cheer amongst the group as they rushed in to claim their prize was also like listening to rapturous applause as if they had just won the World Cup in front of 100,000 people. David knew better to rush in and calmly assessed the area because the gunfire would almost certainly have attracted the attention of something or other. He stayed in cover with his weapon unmoved from its firing position. His suspicions were correct and soon one of the party suffered the same fate of his prey and a bullet flew into him with nary a backwards glance as it exited from the other side of his skull. There was a gasp from the group and David and Ms Gangrene looked on as more gunfire rained down upon the group.

    David was asked, quite forcefully by the teary, emotional woman, if he was going to do anything but stand there. Of course he wasn’t, he hadn’t survived this long by screaming like a loon into the path of a bullet, sobbing out some heart wrenching ineptitude about how we should all work together. The Hell with that. Now was the time to look after yourself and if folk are stupid enough to leap before looking then the human race is better off without them. A slap to his face followed. David turned away not really bothered by it and aimed his gun at the general direction of where the bullets were being fired from. 3 shooters and they weren’t picking their shots carefully but showering the area with automatic weapon fire. If they couldn’t do it in one shot, then they just shouldn't do it.

    David looked to the sky. They would have heard the racket and so David left the meat and cursed his rotten luck. He would give it another few minutes before an angel would swoop from the sky to rescue them from the demons that would pop up from the ground, in the process killing those he was meant to protect because the angels only eradicate evil and all men are evil somewhere. David walked off, alone again and continued his search for food.
     
  6. abculatter_2
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    Caruos [657 words]

    "Now, you go get whatever you want, but be back right here by midday!"

    His children gladly accepted the handful of coins, running off to join the merry crowd milling about the Caruos marketplace. Stalls lay strewn haphazardly about the huge strip of cobblestone, bordered by shops of wood and stone. Susie and Derek raced each other to the Sweet Pig, the most famous candy shop in all the land. George, Lucas, and Marianne chattered happily to a circus which had recently begun admitting visitors. Little Paul, the smallest and quietest of the group, slowly wondered the stalls, eying everything with curiosity and interest. His eye wondered, first to a battered stall, then a gargoyle, then he noticed a black figure standing on the foothills of the Nocab Sivam mountain range. He squinted, trying to make out who, or what, it was.

    He thought he saw movement, though anything he saw was instantly annihilated as a strange blackness overtook him. Meanwhile, on the Nocab Sivam foothills, Tebryn Arbandi watched the merry villagers of Caruos with disgust. He sensed the soul of the child he had just killed float past him, and grabbed it without adverting his eyes. He felt it struggle in his cold grasp and, in most circumstances, he would have tortured it before using it. But not today. With one hand he reached for the sack on his belt and began pouring its blood-red contents onto the lush grass, which withered and died as the metal dust made contact. When he finished, a red pentacle surrounded by a circle was clearly defined on the now decaying patch. He threw the soul into the center, the dust glowing red as it entered. Tebryn then strode around the circle so that it lay between him and Caruos, muttering ancient and forbidden words as he went. He raised his hand, which had been runed for the spell, and shouted,

    "Yeknasin yorezen verrusa blakeeka!"

    The red glow expanded to fill the circle, the child's soul writhing as it was engulfed.

    "Shukel mekarnae du Darkblag!"

    It then boiled and blemished, screaming audible even to those in the mortal plane.

    "Kelshuka."

    The glow burst in fire and blood, revealing a bottomless hole underneath. Tebryn struggled to stay out of its grasp as it rapidly expanded, the earth cracking, withering then falling downward into the red abyss. The hole was soon large enough to engulf a small city when it abruptly stopped, its depths glowing bright. Then a horrible presence began crawling upward, singeing everything miles around with unseen flames. Closer and closer it crept, gathering speed as it went. Unholy flames sprouted from the very souls of mortals, transforming all but the gods' most faithful into horrid, grotesque shapes. Those who were not transformed were assailed with an onslaught of their former friends, now their most terrible nightmares made manifest. The being from below was now surging forth at incredible speed, and the earth shook and split spewing rivers of lava and blood. The skies blackened into the purest of nights, the only illumination coming from the burning blood of the earth. When at last the being broke the surface, every soul of every plane convulsed in agony. Hell erupted from the gaping maw, engulfing everything in its path with searing pain and vicious bloodlust.

    It was then that the greater gods knew that the time to let creation run its course had ended. The mighty sword of Goron split the boundaries of heaven and earth, releasing light imperishable upon the land. The infinite armies of Ageron surged from the breech, slaughtering the vile hordes of demons. The hand of Makeron, father of the realm, reached out to repair the damage that had been done. But they were too late. The influence of Hell had engulfed the realm as it had countless others, only the bountiful fields of heaven remaining defiant. Makeron, seeing everything he had created and loved destroyed, wept.
     
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