If you enjoyed the reality-warping nature of last week’s submissiosn, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. We’ve got something for you this week that’ll make you rethink not only our reality, but the stuff just beyond it as well.
So get your religious texts and low-key perspectives about the divine ready, because…
This week’s prompt is:
Were the Angels Wrong?
RULES AND GUIDELINES AT THE BOTTOM OF POST
Read them to participate! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
Despite the comment about religious texts up there, I want to stress the fact that this doesn’t need to be a religious prompt, and it certainly doesn’t need to be judeo-christian. Think of “angels” more as the gatekeepers of the divine or the large-scale supernatural—the messengers between us and whatever exists in the cosmos (or perhaps within our minds) that represents “God”.
So yes, while this could be an exploration of what would happen if some con-artist cosmic entity duped a bunch of serifs into doing its bidding for several thousand years, it could also be the A.I. guardians of an important server making a grave error, or a pair of guardian spirits failing to realize that their efforts to help a mortal actually translate as something very close to a classic haunting for their poor, terrified ward.
Wings or no, I’m excited to see how all of your demi-divine beings failed. This should be a fun one.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!
Rules and Guidelines
We read six stories during each stream, three of which come from this public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected from among the top ten most-liked of each post, so be sure to share your submissions on social media and with your friends!
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- One submission per participant.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
- Submissions close at 4:00pm CST each Friday.
- No more than 350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
- Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name).
- Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
- Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
- Please format your submission as “Submission Title” by Author Name and be sure to separate paragraphs. (Example Submission)
- You must leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long (if you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post).
- Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or credits will be provided.
Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
Title: A Memory of War
Written By: T.S.G. Sager
(Word Count: 349)
The scalding jagged stones that formed the harsh terrain of Hell pierced at the bottoms of Kurogane’s feet. His warm crimson blood leaked out, flowing onto the burning coals with each step. This mattered not to him. Hell was already stained with the blood of thousands of innocents, what was a little more?
Bodies of deceased akuma and tenshi were littered across the battlefield. Kurogane carefully examined the war zone; akuma he once called his friends, and even family, were all scattered carelessly about. This wasn’t a war, it had been a genocide; one the akuma didn’t see coming. The first prince of Hell couldn’t help but tear up at such a horrific sight. He’d always been preparing for a war, even glorified the thought. But to see it in action…
He never asked for this.
As he forced himself atop a hill, making sure to avoid disturbing the dead the best he could, he spotted someone in the distance who filled him with rage. It was the bastard who started this all. Lord Daedalus. King of the Angels. Kami of the Celestial Realm. Kurogane watched as Hell’s greatest enemy rushed towards an akuma, one Kurogane couldn’t quite make out. As he moved closer, his heart froze. Daedalus was lunging towards Lady Pandora. Rightful queen of Hell. His step mother, and the akuma whom was pregnant with his sister.
There was no way his father would allow her onto the battlefield… Did she sneak out? Kurogane rushed with all his might to take her place. It was a vicious battle. But in an instant, the angel king delivered the final blow. Kurogane watched in horror as Daedalus’ blade pierced her-
His head jerked back. Suddenly Kurogane was in his office. Was that all a dream? God, he hadn’t thought of the war in quite some time. Generations have long passed since he saw that front line. He shook his head, her cries still ringing in his ears.
Were the tenshi wrong? Yes, very much so. Did they have much of a choice? That was a question for another day.
“Walk With Me Awhile”
By William Maitland
After what seemed like five consecutive minutes of falling, Henry face-planted into the seat of a leather swivel chair. From the bend of his spine, the splay of his hands, and the coil of his legs, his posture appeared to be that of the most crudely-assembled scorpion ever to walk… if indeed he could even walk after that impact.
“Ah, there’s the arse-face himself!” A voice from above him, sardonic and mocking.
“Face is down here, sir!” He pointed at himself, still maintaining that most uncomfortable posture.
“Did I stutter? Come on, set yourself right.”
He did so, giving his neck a good rippling crackle back into place before he opened his eyes. A few blinks calibrated his vision again, but he still couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
Before him was a neurotically-clean mahogany desk. Behind the mahogany desk was a neurotically-clean man in a neurotically-clean white suit.
“Who… are you?” Henry asked. “And where the hell are we?”
“Exactly! Welcome to Hell, kid!” He extended a gloved hand. “I’m Lucifer, I’ll be your guide.”
Henry timidly reciprocated the handshake. “This is Hell? I expected a lot more… fire. And you, I expected you to look a lot more…”
“Sinister, right?” Lucifer raised an eyebrow.
“… yeah! Horns and all!”
The handshake broke, and he pinched his brow into a furrow under two fingers. “They’re still spoon-feeding you that *angel propaganda* up there?! Gah, you think the truth would’ve gotten out by now…”
“Oh, right, of course you don’t follow.” He sighed. “Look, everything you’ve been told about me is *wrong.* Same with my kingdom here.” He pulled the shutters of the window behind him open, revealing a quite pleasant neighborhood, a Rockwell painting that stretches on and on to the horizon.
“You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me…” The sheer lack of human suffering was *astounding.*
“What, you thought I’d punish the few who *take my side?* Devil’s Advocate is a losing game, but I’m not gonna leave them *empty handed!*”
“I don’t think I understand,” Henry said, scratching his head.
“Walk with me awhile,” Lucifer said. “I’ll explain everything.”
(Formatting Footnote: Double asterisks = italicized text)
“A Broken Party” by Samantha Realynn
An explosion, the stench of charred flesh, and James’ agonized screams.
Zinrora’s head pounded and her ears were ringing as she lifted herself off the ground. Around her the others were managing the same, recovering from the strange explosion. The ritual circle was a mess, completely ruined. Components were ashes, only Anahka’s book remained mostly untouched, shielded by said Tiefling’s own body. Fire immunity came in handy.
Slowly they took in the damage around them. A backfired spell. No results. No Talei.
James lunged forward and clawed at the blackened symbols. “Where is she!? WHERE IS SHE!?”
Jaxx caught and pulled him back. James thrashed and kicked at the bugbear, armor clanging. “Let me go! Let GO!”
“James stop!” Zinrora rasped as she stood, her eyes fixed on the ruined circle. “She…she should be here…” She looked at Anahka. The Tiefling was frantically examining the pages. “Ana…how…where…”
“I don’t know…it should have worked! She should be here! The Celestial was clear! This spell would bring Talei back from whatever level of Hell Johnny dragged her to! I don’t understand! It should have worked!”
“BUT IT DIDN’T!” James screamed; his eyes red from tears. The paladin had slumped in Jaxx’s arms. “She’s not here! That cursed angel was wrong! Only one chance it said! How are we supposed to save Talei!? We just damned her!”
Anahka shook her head, her hands trembling. “No. It told me this…this spell would…it would bring her back. It should have worked.”
James lurched and tore free from Jaxx, falling forward onto the circle. His sobs tore at them all. Zinrora stared, numb. The Celestial had given them the spell, promised them results. To find their friend, to bring her back, to save her. Celestial’s couldn’t be wrong, couldn’t lie…could they?
A scrape of metal and James was kneeling in the broken circle, cradling the warped ring that had been their focus. “It was wrong…and it will pay. I gave it my worship and it damned her to Hell.” He looked up and Zinrora went cold. “It was wrong. I will have vengeance. By whatever means.”
“The Gamble” Submitted by Connor/Dragoneye
Bren peered around the street corner into the swarm of people, his eyes darting into District 4-B’s rain-soaked alleyways. Looking high and low, he kept the signature in mind: a gold chain. He had been running for a couple days then, and the gang seemed to always find him. Not a surprise, since nearly everything was connected by Wi-Fi.
Ridley Scott knew the future when he was directing Blade Runner, as almost every square inch of Arcadia was illuminated by neon rainbows of burning noble gases. People of all kinds lived in the most troublesome district seen since the Golden Age of Vigilantism, both human and extraterrestrial. It was like you were dropped into the underdark of Coruscant, left to explore it on your own.
In one of the alleyways was a signature gold chain, giving him an intense gaze. “Damn it,” thought Bren as he melded himself into the crowd only to turn back into the steaming corridor he hid in. Whipping his head behind only revealed two more gangsters trailing him. Bren knew he was cornered, but still made an effort to hide behind a dumpster.
They were closing in on him, and the faint echo of a gun cock made Bren sweat profusely. He held his breath and grit his teeth, almost grinding them down. However, a set of grunts and screams made him peek out from his hiding spot.
Standing over the unconscious bodies of two thugs was an older female in casual attire, arms crossed as the third ruffian fled back into the street. Bren crawled out from behind the dumpster and approached her slowly.
He stood in shock as he was face to face with Vanessa Storm herself, the Acer. Bren looked down to her signature gauntlets. His hero asked “You good, kid?”
“Oh my god, you’re the Acer! You’re so awesome and amaz-”
Vanessa knelt down and hushed him mid-sentence. “Kid, don’t believe what you read, especially from those comics. They still make us look like paragons.”
“But you are a hero, right?” he asked.
“I’m simply doing my duty.”
“A Moments Hesitance” Sumbitted by: Exce (FOR THE FOURTH TIME)
As he wandered the long corridors of red brick the man was deep in thought. Their monotony may not provide much distraction, but it encouraged the employees to get lost in their thoughts.
He had been working here for some time, sworn to secrecy on his own life and that of his family. Usually unseen, this was a project the Angels involved themselves in closely.
In fact, some of the researchers said that they were straight up obsessed with it.
Because this facility contained a monster of indescribable horror that rivaled their own strength.
He turned a corner, walking towards a door of solid, multi-layered steel. The guard didn’t even look up as he unlocked it.
The door swung open and he stepped inside. It was a stark contrast to the corridors, as sheets of metal covered the walls and it was illuminated into every corner.
And in the very center was a metal table. On this table was the monster which put fear into their divine Lords.
The child’s blue eyes focussed on him, and despite the ever present exhaustion they were filled with an indescribable hatred. Its red hair was cut short and pale scars from countless examinations marked its body.
This was supposed to be a routine experiment. He would remove one of the especially thick shackles, then quickly place a smaller one that would keep it from accessing its alleged infernal abilities.
He let his hands do the work, inserting the key into the lock. Feeling the pulse of energy as the restriction was removed. As his attention wasn’t on his hands, he looked at the child’s face, and saw how the hatred was swept away by an expression of relief.
What if the Angels were wrong?
It was enough.
The boy’s partially-unshackled body exploded with red energy, causing the remaining bonds to spark violently before giving up their service.
His entire awareness was filled with searing pain and the roar of a beast as unnatural heat enveloped him.
Then,as his body turned to less than ash, the Angels were proven right.
“Cracks in the Facade” by Magan (Legends of Dracora series: Ancient Dracora, Age of Worship) (350 words)
Beastfolk watched the gravedigger tree, wind magic keeping it’s lure-scent from the crowd as the prisoner was dragged forward. The stag’s muzzle was forced into a flower that snapped shut, filling with nectar. He writhed against the binding roots, final moments silently defiant.
The body was left for the tree, to form new mineral fruits. The antlers went to the offended demi-god lord, a chimera. The dragon god-king received the heart, then retired to his temple to judge other trials as the crowd dispersed.
It was considered a merciful execution for a thief-mage.
The new widow led her sickly fawn away, neighbors avoiding her, shamefaced. Her mate had been a respected apothecary, and magic was a wild thing to beastfolk. They had no birthright to it, as did the demi-gods and elemental spirits. Spirits were not pets. That he was desperate enough to use them to steal from a lord was yet another troubling sign of the times.
The doe sold herself to the chimera next day, her ill fawn joining the creche of children under that lord’s care. No-one was surprised when it was eaten. It was demi-gods’ right to cull their subjects since before Awakening when beastfolk were witless animals, or so the teachings said.
But rumor flew faster than wind. Many immortals were kind, just, but not all. In Ironfang, they said, god-king Glacialstorm the Cruel, survived a coup by his beast-mothered son. Half-bloods were uncommon, but to try killing a lord was unheard of in living memory. No-beast knew if they *could* die, except by old age.
The city was shocked when the doe went to the gravedigger tree. She had attacked the chimera in grief-madness. The chimera was magically enlarged to show their might, but it revealed their wounds all too clearly: deep bruises, gashes, and one jaw broken.
The doe went peacefully to death, her body given to the lord as their due. Her heart went to the god-king, her soul to rebirth. Life went on.
If demi-gods could be wounded, and god-kings feared for their lives, were they truly divine rulers?