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.
To hell with this
By Carlos Quijada
Two silhouettes covered in cloaks sat quietly in front of a door. The gate, closed, awaited in dormant silence. The breeze held its breath, the ground quieted all grumbles and even the rain muted with respect. One broke the silence.
“To hell with this.”
“What?” The other responded puzzled.
The first gathered his thoughts for a brief moment.
“I said. To hell with this. I ain’t waiting at this God-damned door for so long.” The figure got up with a jump.
The smaller shape answered from the floor.
“But what are we going to do then?”
“I don’t know, I guess I’m going to try to find some other place. Nobody’s gonna come get us in there”
“But.” A long silence followed. “But they told us to wait.” A defeated whisper from the man on the ground.
“And that has worked wonders, right? They are just pen-pushers, nothing else.”
“Well, I’m sure that they will work it out in the end, this must be a temporary shut down…” It was hard to make a point for it.
“You don’t sound very convinced.” He crouched beside the sitting man and put his hand on his shoulder. “Come on.”
“Do you think that we should go?”
“I think that we should find someplace better.” He glanced at the gate, then stood up and tended his hand toward the sitting man. He grabbed his hand and got up.
“Then to hell with this.”
As they walked away, the wind started weaving paths between scarfs and coats, the drizzle started gently soaking the shrouded figures, and the ground regained its ability to echo their footsteps. The door, meanwhile, remained silent.
“Were we wrong?”
Four bloodshot eyes trained over the muddy landscape below, littered with freshly mangled corpses, their rotten and more insidious counterparts, and blood. There was so much blood. Had this been a full company of Angels and the execution faster, none of this would have happened.
Humans found such joy in servitude, but Hollow had no such sentiment. Every Steel Angel was an angry manifestation of the judgement of God, a transcendent existence believed to have been wrought from the mythical Sacred Iron found deep within the Catacomb of Saints somewhere beneath the very first Church. A being so magnificent and so certain, yet today Hollow found his faith tested.
Magna. A lawless land on the fringe, whose life glowed in the dark faithlessness but was far too dim in the light of Grace. Lives here valued at little more than livestock in the Inquisition’s eyes but this day was different. Orders shot through the gate of Hollow’s personal monastery a fortnight ago, demanding his presence in a forsaken town. Intelligence directly from the Scout Order insisted on a confirmed threat. A wild dungeon appeared over night 10 miles North West of the town’s square and the stench of unholiness was ripe.
“[…] Despite its nature, Magna can become a solid foothold under the hoofs of evil. Time is of the essence.”
The Three-eyed Hag tavern.
Hollow had expected to rendezvous with another Steel Angel, Common. Though they did not see eye to eye, Both Angels were skeptical of the severity described by the Inquisition. But there they were.
“Perhaps bandits or wild beasts.”
Nothing significant had ever happened within the last decade. As such, interference no more than observation was needed. Common stood solemnly in front of the old shack, his visage devoid of emotions.
“Blessings, brother. The road is waiting.”
The ride to Magna was of complete silence. The two men knew the mission. The nightmare soon to come, they did not see.
In less than two hours, the town was overrun by undead, the destruction of which was unlike anything any of them had ever seen.
A New Friend
She wandered aimlessly through the wasteland, her golden eyes surveying the area. She stopped in her tracks, staring in confusion at the dusty windows of a greenhouse just off the cracked road. A soft light emitted from inside, contrasting against the barren world around it. Curiosity took over. She rushed over, her tiny bare feet avoiding scattered debris. She brushed away some of the dust to peer inside.
Lush green leaves filled a few pots here and there, but most of it was still dead plants.
“.. in his arms. “Lualuirigh, Muiruala,” said one of the two, voice like a breeze.”
Who was that? Weren’t all the humans gone? Were the Angels wrong?
She crept inside, listening to the soft voice coming from within the greenhouse, her small white wings folding in close to avoid hitting anything. Sitting amongst the plants was no human at all, but a mechanical being of some sort. It appeared to be made of a dark, rusted metal, it’s eyes glowing dim white.
“E-excuse me?” the small Angel called to it. She jumped as it looked at her. It had no mouth, but still seemed to be smiling.
“Hello, child.” It said.
“Hello. Who are you talking to?” She asked, moving closer to it curiously.
“The plants. I’m telling them stories.” It answered, looking down at a small yellow flower in a pot.
“You don’t look like a human.” She observed.
“I’m not. The Humans called me Talebot.” It looked back at her, “Would you like to hear a story? I can start over.”
She smiled, nodding. She patted her white dress, sitting down cross legged in front of the bot, elbows on her knees and her chin propped in her hands.
She listened to the stories for hours, enjoying every minute with her new friend.
A soft ringing called to her. She sighed, standing up, “I have to go. Mommy is calling me.” she said sadly.
Talebot patted her head, “It’s alright, little one.”
“Can I come back tomorrow?”
Talebot nodded, “Of course.”
She smiled, hugging the bot, giving it a feather before scurrying off.
I read the whole thing in a Scottish accent, and it fit really well. The moment he puts the child on the fire was shocking, and I would’ve liked to see that drawn out a bit more, if the word count was higher. Good job!
People called them Angels because they fought against fairies. In truth, they are not as merciful as people think.
One day, I went hunting and thought I finally spotted a deer. Instead, I found that I stumbled upon an occupied fairy circle. Intelligent creatures. Beautiful too.
“Do you have a request?” Artists would be haunted his voice. But I’m not an artist.
“No.” A simple response. The shock on the fairy’s face made me confused. Granted, I never met a fairy before, so I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.
“You summoned me, did you not?”
I was about to answer when someone attacked the fairy.
It was an Angel.
“You are safe now.” I was livid at the man.
“I was never in danger.”
I tested a hand on the fairy’s neck to see if it was still alive. A pulse. Good. I used my cloak to keep the fairy from bleeding out and pulled out my own knife.
“You are interfering,” The Angel said this as he trained his sword on me. I guess he didn’t think I’d fight dirty against an Angel. He didn’t die, but he does have a nasty scar on that former perfect face of his.
After that, I made sure the fairy—Kalam—would survive. In the time Kalam recovered, his presence made me think.
Were the Angels wrong?
To this day, every time I see an Angel, I see how people pledge unwavering faith in these fairy killers. I see how the Angels themselves take advantage of the people for selfish means and how they try to kill fairies in cruel and unusual ways.
Fairies are still tricky, even with my reputation among them as a saint among demons, but I would rather be known as the Angel Slayer than to be in the Angels’ good graces.
The Hatchlings, by Ken Kwame
Cracks formed on both eggs just a few seconds apart. The team sensed it immediately and rushed from their homes to the hatchery, despite the late hour. They chattered as they watched the cracks widen and the babies struggle to get their first tastes of freedom.
Together, they made speculations about the soon-to-be hatchlings. Archaeologists had found the eggs sealed away in a crypt. The last of their kind, surviving for hundreds, maybe thousands of years with the remains of an ancient mage whose name was long forgotten to time. Just like the identity of the species that hid within these blood-red shells.
A piece of shell fell off the smaller egg. A beak poked out. It made small chirping noises. Its sibling was not far behind. They were gaining strength. The mage-fire kept them warm within the incubator as they fought to be hatched.
Then, they both burst free like adorable little explosions.
The team oohed and aahed. As big as housecats, the hatchlings had beaks, feathers, and tiny little wings, but long tails and the beginnings of horns. And… were those teeth?
The team of preservationist-mages exchanged laughs and handshakes, quickly making plans to find food for their charges. Their work wasn’t over. They still had to make sure these babies grew to maturity.
They didn’t expect the next, larger crack. The hatchlings grew exponentially before their eyes, shattering the incubator and sending glass flying. The team tripped over each other as the hatchlings bared their teeth and spread their clawed wings. Now as big as bears, they shook their feathers and glared at the team.
It seemed the hatchlings knew the answer to the dilemma of their first meal.
Seed Lovers’ Squarrel
Tulip was going to die.
“Hey Sunny?” she chittered. “I’m pretty sure we aren’t in the Lowe’s garden section anymore.”
Sunny broke off her terrified squeal to give her mate a scorching glare. “I’d gathered that, thanks.” They hit a bump, and the squirrels yelped, clinging tighter to their respective branches.
She’d just wanted an easy meal. Grab some birdseed off the bottom shelf. Maybe a bag of peanuts if they were feeling bold.
And now they were thundering down the highway faster than a falcon dive in a tree on a truck that seemed ready to fall apart if someone so much as looked at it wrong.
“You just HAD to do what those angels told you. Just HAD to climb it.”
“They said we’d find what we were looking for if we did!” Sunny protested. “What else was I supposed to do?”
“Uh, maybe DON’T listen to the home decor section?” Tulip scoffed. “Like they’d actually know anything. Maybe chicken wire yard deer don’t know what they’re talking about. MAYBE the scatting Christmas tree angels were wrong!”
“Okay, fine!” shouted Sunny, bristling. “I goofed. I’m SORRY! But I’ll fix it. We’ll jump out when we’re stopped, and I’ll get us home,” she promised. The truck was already slowing, and they crawled to peer out between the pine needles.
Tulip softened. “You couldn’t have known,” she sympathized. “We’ll find our way back. But no asking throw pillows for directions.”
She gave Sunny her brightest love-tease eyes, but Sunny was staring at something else. Tulip followed her gaze.
They’d stopped in front of a house. There, a mere scamper away, was the most beautiful thing Tulip had ever seen: a bird feeder hanging from a tree on the front lawn. The feeder was huge and colorful and VERY climbable.
It was utter perfection.
“Race ya!” Tulip squeaked. They beelined for paradise, their quarrel forgotten. Seeds spilled from the holes in the feeder, and the squirrels feasted on nutty goodness.
Tulip stretched luxuriously, her belly round with satisfaction.
“Maybe those tree toppers were on to something after all.”
“Well, it’s time to do this sauce Boss.” I say out loud to Him. Him being my boss of course.
Everything was in place, as it had been for a millennium. All the tools I’d need to start the apocalypse, poisons, plagues, weapons of war, they were all there. All I had to do was wait for the signal, but what was the signal?
I remember talking about a lot of different things, was it a siren? It had been so long that all I could truly remember was that there would be a signal.
I turn around in my chair and look at Him and ask what the signal is. His response? “I don’t know man it’s been forever since that was brought up, ask Greg he’ll probably know.”
Sighing I call up Greg, Greg sends me to Ben, Ben sends me to Michael, Michael sends me to IT. Needless to say, I’m quite upset at this point and nobody is helping.
“I hate managing boss, why couldn’t you put me on the ground, or at least in finance?” I grumble, head in my hands.
I get no response, which isn’t unusual, Boss likes to disappear when things get hard, especially when they get hard on me.
“Talk about running your department!” I call out to Him, wherever he is.
Sighing in frustration I look over my checklist one more time, the apocalypse is a big deal after all and everything needs to be in order for it to go smoothly.
Nuclear weapons? Check.
Fear of other countries? Check.
The obsessive urge to be degenerate in public? about 80 percent done.
“ALRIGHT IM PUSHING THE BUTTON!” I shout to the office, knowing that they’d all switch over to their display screens, as I push the button with a flourish.
It was that moment that He returned. “Hey so, we uh… we did it to the wrong world.”
I turn to my screen with wide eyes. “Well… fuck.”
Written by Al
We had always lived behind a wall, sheltered and protected by the Angels. Our homes were bleak, with light being a rare commodity only the rich could afford. The police protected us from each other. Fights over limited resources were a common occurrence and no one was a stranger to death and disease. But we knew that this life was far better than any we could hope for from the outside.
The Angels kept us safe. Heroes in a bleak and hopeless world. They were the ones brave enough to venture into the outside to bring back meat and water and medicine. They fought off the savage, mutated creatures that terrorized the green world. They kept us safe. They protected us. They kept us safe.
Until the wall fell. Crumbled in a deafening and blinding instant. And then there was light. It was blinding and coming straight from the sky, the blue sky. The blue sky filled with soft, white masses. It was beautiful. Bright and beautiful and so incredibly huge. Bigger than anything we ever could have dreamed existed.
Then there were… people? People almost like us. With smaller eyes and blunter teeth and soft, plump bodies. Foolish people bringing us into their homes. Foolish people who were too eager to share and give. Weak people with fatty thighs and meaty arms. Fools.
The Angels were wrong. We never needed protection. They did.
Sow and Reap
By Philip C.
“Where they wrong?” The words passed from person to person, spreading like a plague. Soon, all the city was asking this question, but it seemed none dare answer.
The Man sat against the wall of a small house, the shadow of it keeping him cool in the heat of the day. He listened to the crowds, listened to the question they continued to ask.
Another man spoke up in the crowd, silencing those around him, “Is this what we were promised? They said that we would be saved from our enemies, but now they lie at our doorstep!”
Many more faces turned toward him now, some anxious, others interested, all seeking an answer to their question. The man continued, voice rising in volume, “They said that we would prosper, our enemies destroyed, our families healthy and safe! And now look at us. Starving, diseased, and with enemies wherever we look! How could they say such things then abandon us to ruin? If they are so powerful, where are they to help us in our plight?” The man was shouting now, and the crowd was enthralled with his question.
The Man arose, “There is a reason their words seem false in time of strife.” he began, stepping out to face the man. “Suffering has its place in the test of life. Endure, and all shall be given.” The crowd turned to him, listening. “But for one who becomes a weed to choke your hope and faith,” he placed a hand on the man’s shoulder, “a punishment is laid on him for his treachery.”
The man tried to escape his grasp, but to no avail. Beneath him, a yawning maw opened wide in the earth, and from it a blistering cold drove up and encompassed the man. He screamed, and, amidst his turmoil, his form began to change, as did that of the Man who still held him. The one changed into a formless creature, ugly and insane, the other into a being fearful yet beautiful, robed in blinding light.
In a moment, they were gone. The crowd remained; the answer given.
The Better Angels of Our Nature, By Matthew
I was at university when I discovered that accursed book. Hidden amongst ancient works of medieval scholars lied a blasphemous tome holding the secrets behind life and death. Given the obvious taboo nature of the book, it must have been discreetly smuggled in past the noble paladins that run the university. Just to be safe, I stowed away the tome, and quickly left the library. I felt a little guilty for stealing the book, but they had no use for it, anyway.
Three weeks ago, my life irreparably changed. My fiancé was killed by a drunk driver. Someone who only thought of themselves put the lives of others at risk for their own immediate happiness. She was gone instantly, but her loss weighed on me still.
Hoping to find a way to scry into the spirit dimension, I read the blasphemous tome in full. It contained nearly incomprehensible truths about the nature of dark magic and the veil between our world and the next. One ritual intrigued me beyond others. “Resurrect the dead by exchanging one life for another.”
The choice was simple. My fiancé had her life taken away prematurely. The happiness that we would gain from being reunited would be much greater than that lost by the sacrifice of a single life. We could actually live out our plans of getting married, becoming master wizards at the arcane university, and growing old together! Given the price of a single life, I had no choice.
I prepared an area of our apartment for the ritual. Her body was mutilated in the crash, so I would have to use a better-preserved body. I lured a victim into the house and quietly disposed of her. I wouldn’t want any of the neighbors to be alerted. I moved the body into position, and with black book in hand, I began the ritual.
She began to twitch. A dark glow began to emanate from the body as I completed the final incantations. She sat up and stared at me with loveless, empty, dark green eyes.
“Evelyn? Is that you?”
Seeds of Doubt
By Alexander (Broken Earth)
A great, golden figure stood above the crowd. He wore a crown of silver, and robes of the same.
He proclaimed himself to be an angel, sent to deliver a message. The people praised him, giving him whatever he desired, and then eagerly awaited the message.
“I cannot give the message until the time is right,” The angel said, laying on the most elegant bed in the most extravagant room in all the land. This news drove people to wish for him to be in comfort until he was ready to give his message, with the hope that perhaps he could make it a better message if he was treated well.
The message did not come that month, nor that year, and it was not given for many years, and taking care of the angel became a tradition among the humans. Generation after generation spent their entire lives trying to please him.
“Will the message come today?” The servants would ask each day. To this, the angel looked on in boredom and replied saying it would not be that day. The servants would cater to his wishes for the rest of the day, and would repeat the next day. For years.
Then, after hundreds of years, a new servant full of eagerness and hope stepped in to begin the work with the others.
“Will the message come today?” he asked. The angel looked at him, as he did to every servant every day, replied that it would not be that day.
“Then, if you don’t mind me asking,” began the servant boy. The angel was surprised that this servant boy continued speaking. Normally, they would just start working after the first question. “When will the message come?”
The angel’s golden appearance flickered. For a moment, he didn’t appear holy at all, but as though he was made of stone, with a rusted iron crown.
The servant was never seen again, but the rest of the servants had had the seeds of doubt planted in their minds. It would only be a matter of time before they started to grow.