Hello, puny mortals!
We’re all curious what it would be like to have a little more power of things, aren’t we? Do a little transcending and apotheosizing, clamber up out of the mortal coil? That’s why…
This week’s prompt is:
Ye Shall Be As Gods
MASSIVE RULES CHANGES BELOW!
We’ve made some really big changes to the rules! Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this post to see them before submitting!
This week sounds pretty religious, but it’s really just about promises of power.
Not every story needs to include deities, angels, demons, and mortals undergoing some kind of actual transformation into a divine entity. As long as “gods” is satisfied in relative terms, you’re good.
You could, for instance, write a story about an ant who learns to wield the power of a magnifying glass. You could write about a poltergeist who realizes it can con people into worship and supplication by performing minor miracles instead of pranks—lifting a crucifix at an opportune moment, popping a couple drops of red food coloring into the communion water, etc. You could write about an ancient oracle peering ahead to the anthropocene era and seeing the vast powers we have over the Earth.
The one caveat here is that the promise of power also promises a change in position as well. It doesn’t mean anything for a character to be promised that they’ll be really good at sword fighting. They need to be promised that, relative to where they are now, they’ll be all-powerful. Not just good at sword fighting, but unstoppable by their previous standard.
A fun twist could be to investigate how perspective impacts relativity. Someone could become “as a god” compared to where they were… only to discover that on a larger scale, they’re still a mote of dust on the wind.
Whatever you do, I expect the full measure of irresponsibility. Be as Prometheus, and put this divine gift into the wrong hands.
Now go forth and fulfill some prophecies.
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 at least six stories during each stream, three of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!
Text and Formatting
- English only.
- Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
- Your piece must be between 250-350 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). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
- No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
What to Submit
- 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.
- Write something brand new (no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
- No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
- Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
- One submission per participant.
- Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
- Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
- You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
- Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
- You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
- 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 attributions are guaranteed.
Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
The Author and the Muse
by Roulette wheels
“This is completely insane,” Gemma said to herself as she signed yet another autograph in another of her latest book.
According to the this week’s sales numbers it had already sold over a hundred thousand copies. She laughed inwardly as she thought about just how much things had changed over the last year. She had gone from being a broke college student struggling to pay the bills.
Now she was the world’s most popular and best selling author. Her Grandma never would have guessed how the tickets to Greece she had given her as a high school graduation present we’re paying off still to this very day. Gemma had trouble believing it herself sometimes, often she wondered if it was only dream. I mean stumbling into an enchanted library where she had found the essence of a muse trapped in the walls sounded ridiculous even to her! They made a deal,
in exchange for Gemma’s help to gain her freedom the muse a goddess of inspiration had agreed to relinquish all of the power she possessed over to her.
When she had asked why the muse would possibly consider giving up such immense power. The beautiful yet ethereal young woman smiled sadly and replied in the most otherworldly and astonishingly musical voice Gemma had ever heard that she had once fallen in love with a mortal man.
The other gods viewed as an act of betrayal including her own parents and as punishment they had imprisoned her here. The goddess went on to explain how although her lover had long ago passed away she still wanted to know what it was like to be human.
Gemma smiled to herself as she thought maybe this would be the next story she would share with the world. She never tired of seeing her many happy fans but, today she thought recognized a face in the crowd.
The beautiful young woman stood before her with an ethereal aura and when she asked for her autograph her voice was musical.
Knowing Good and Evil
by Anonymous Idiot
Hwyt kept his eyes closed as he waited for his vision. He sat in the smoking ring for who knows how long, with drums beating like his own heart. Still, no god answered.
Every child growing up was to see a god and show them the rest of their lives. ‘A god visits a child growing up.’ Hwyt repeated that to himself. It should’ve brought comfort, but he instead felt more uneasy.
Hwyt wondered if calling upon a Love god would earn them scorn for something so…shameful… But he had to know, if only so that he can understand the other children’s coaxing each other for a kiss or this strange ‘sex.’ They said nothing to Hwyt about the latter, but ‘adults do it all the time, and adults praised them for it.’ They all had to settle for daring one another to kiss until then. Hwyt remembered those dares, and his chest felt heavy. Ergi didn’t appear to mind, but others whooping and laughing at the display made him unsure what Ergi felt either.
A hand to his cheek cut off that tangent, and Hwyt opened his eyes. He saw violet eyes staring back with a warm familiar smile, a god’s. Nobody he recognized. Hwyt tried to picture more, but all he could process was that the god was naked. Hwyt reflexively scrunched his eyes shut, looking away.
“It’s okay.” A whisper. The hand on his cheek gently, so gently, nudged Hwyt’s face to meet the god’s gaze. He took a deep breath. He focused only on the god’s face. The violet eyes softened, and the hand drew away. He felt calmer.
“Why…” He had to get the question out. “Why do they want… sex?”
The smile’s warmth faded, though only slightly. “Look right.” Hwyt did and what he saw dug a pit in his stomach. Pained faces. Screams. Strangers wearing children’s faces. Hwyt turned to the god, mortified.
“No!” Hwyt could only say that, too sick to say anything else. The hand stroked his cheek and the sickness melted away.
“Remember these feelings when you wake.”
The Greatest of All Beings
Lex emerged from the crowd of ten thousand soldiers, brandishing a newly-acquired parchment case.
“You took your time,” sneered Astrida. “You have the scroll?”
Lex gave her a withering stare. “Nooo. This is just my handy portable snake bed. You know, for when they wanna take a nap. Of COURSE I have it. Here.”
He uncapped the cylinder, embossed in golden letters: ‘The Greatest of All Beings,’ and pulled out a fragile spell scroll. Astrida’s eyes lit up, reflecting Lex’s own excitement. Eagerly, they studied the document. Lex had skimmed it, but only now could he appreciate it in detail.
“‘Ye Shall Be As Gods,'” read the heading. “Perfect.”
“It should do fine,” Astrida agreed. “Let’s test it.”
Lex beckoned a lowly guard over. “You!” he barked. “Come here.”
The guard obeyed, standing at ease.
Astrida squinted at the calligraphic lettering and read an ancient spell aloud. Smoky essence wafted from the parchment to the soldier, who immediately shifted posture. He looked around, alert, and gazed at the heavens, jerking his head this way and that, quick breaths through the nose.
“Enhanced god senses,” breathed Lex as the soldier tilted his head and opened his mouth, letting his tongue loll.
“It worked!” cheered Astrida. “Excellent! Now to cast it on the rest. These soldiers, imbued with the power of legends — they’ll be the greatest force on the continent!”
Already, she was standing over the army, calling them to attention. Lex watched the already-turned one scratch his ear, then stop dead to stare at some tiny sound. He didn’t seem very godly…
“Greatest of all beings?” he murmured.
Just then, Astrida came stomping back. “Lex! Something’s wrong! They aren’t listening to me. It’s like — all their training — gone!”
Horrible realization dawned on Lex. He backed out of punching range. “Uh, Astrida? Check the title of that scroll again.”
“Check the — wha?” She glanced at the parchment, and her eyes lit on fire.
“You moron! Did you even read this!? It says ‘Ye Shall Be As DOGS!'”
Below them, Lex heard the howl of ten thousand men’s best friends.
This is a test.
Promise of Divinity
The murmur of many voices pierced the thick curtains which yet hid the stage from their view.
Of course, he did not like letting them wait, but then again, the thought of the most powerful people in the empire enduring this delay without complaint just to hear him talk…it felt damn good.
A feeling which was marred by the sheets of paper a sweaty courier had pushed into his hands just a few minutes ago. An exponential increase of ships lost with all hands on deck, multiple governors had gone totally silent, and apparently some of the scientists had detected a massive chain of seaquakes.
He dropped the stack of papers onto a nearby table with a sound of disdain. A few rebellious officials wouldn’t stop their growth. And they had made sure no whim of nature would devastate their cities.
Thus having relieved himself of any lingering worry, the man took a few deep breaths before emptying his glass of water and stepping out onto the stage. And, as the curtains rose, the audience finally fell silent.
“I have to thank you all for following my invitation so numerously! Many of you have followed the advancements of our great empire! And I am glad that I can finally announce a breakthrough that will enable us to take our rightful place as the gods of this world!”
Behind him a crystal floated up, projecting a map into the air.
It clearly marked out their island empire, and outgoing from its heart were the golden veins of magic that made it so powerful. Then, outside of the empire, other golden spots of magic appeared, quickly the empire’s area spread out to cover them as well.
“Soon! We will take hold of other Nexuses, and then nothing will deny us!”
The audience applauded and cheered, and the speaker basked in it.
None of them noticed the flicker of the projected map, or how the water of decorative fountains lost some of its pressure.
All they heard was a distant, threatening thunder. And it slowly advanced on the heart of their empire.
Led by his guide, the traveler marches through the frozen wastes. Much more than the icy gale blowing on his face, the sight of contorted bodies deep in the ice chills him to the bone. Nevertheless, they forge on.
“Cocytus, the crystalline lake,” the guide announces, “the kingdom of traitors.”
The traveler hesitates for a moment. His hands start shaking, not from the cold, but from fear and doubt, borne of his guide’s words. He tries to push these feelings away as he sees a large figure looming in the distance. The traveler could barely see, the wind blowing in his face, but he could still make out the monstrous shape.
With every step, the traveler feels the ground shake more and more in a rhythm. As he approaches, the terrifying visage becomes clearer. The beast sticks out of the ice from its chest up, its wings flap ceaselessly, causing the gale to blow ever strong. On its crown are three heads, each gnawing on a man, forever mangling their bodies.
Out of fear of aggravating the fiend, the guide stops a ways away from it, daring not to come any closer, but the traveler does not. His footsteps trudge on. The guide calls out, worrying for the safety of his charge.
“D-Dante! Don’t come any closer!”
His words fall on deaf ears. The traveler eventually stops, mere feet away from the beast. His cloak flails wildly in the wind, but he stands unflinching. His vengeful soul has cast off his fear as he comes face to face with the beast.
“I call upon thee, mighty beast.” The traveler stretches his arms, as if offering himself.
“Dante, what are you—” The guide’s voice is cut off as the beast lets out a primal roar.
“Help me annihilate the land of men, and I will help you take back your place in paradise.” A cruel smile takes over the traveler’s face. “We will exact vengeance on those who wronged us, those who cast us out!”
The beast’s heads turn to face the traveler, their gnawing stopped.
“Together, we shall be gods.”
Title: The Future King of Hell
Written By: T.S.G. Sager
“Breath, Cameo, Breath!”
As the Midwife said this, Abaddon stood up, eager to see his wife giving birth to their first son. He’d never witnessed an Akuma’s birth. Having created them, this seemed to be a far more painful way to create life. He was fascinated by this process, in this moment, his wife was just as much god as he.
The midwives refused to let their King, as well as God, down by failing to bring his first born into the world. After a few pushes and screams from Cameo, Abaddon heard the cries of something else, something new. After a few minutes, the lesser Akuma handed Abaddon his son, who held him with great pride as he sat down next to his exhausted wife.
“You did it, Cameo.” Abaddon exclaimed, examining the baby.
“WE did it, M’lord.” Cameo corrected.
“Yes, yes, you’re right. Now, what shall we name him? It has to be something powerful. Afterall, we are looking at the future Celestial Kami and ruler of Hell.” Abaddon asked, before passing Cameo her son.
They both considered all the options for the beautiful baby boy, who looked up at them with curious ruby eyes.
“How about Abraxos! That’s a powerful name!” Abaddon exclaimed. Cameo shook her head in response.
“How about Satan?” Abaddon tried once more.
“He doesn’t look like a Satan, though.” Cameo protested. “How about Mammon?”
“Nowhere near powerful enough.” Abaddon argued. Cameo thought once more, then finally her eyes lit up.
“Kurogane. I like Kurogane!” Cameo stated. Abaddon contemplated the suggestion for a moment, then nodded in approval.
“Yes, Kurogane is definitely an adequate name. Fit for the future God-King of Hell. That is, once I grow tired of living, and pass my immortality onto him.” Abaddon stated, before kissing his wife on the forehead. “You rest now, m’dear. You’ve been through so much today, we’ll let the midwives take care of Kurogane, please take some time for yourself to recover.”
“As you wish, M’lord.” And with that, Abaddon left his wife’s side, off to get the preparations ready for his son’s future.
The Puppet God
They picked me because of how good a carnivorous I made. I was no one, so why would I refuse? I mean, they wanted to make me their god. At first my worshipers were so few, but now I am worshiped by so many, they flock to me to bask in my beauty and listen to my guiding words.
Well, not my words.
I can’t speak without them anymore. My voice has been replaced with a box of gears. Much more beautiful sounds come out of me now. Why should I complain? Without them I would still have nothing, but they gave me the world. Of course, I really can’t be a part of the world anymore. They made sure I couldn’t, but it’s alright, it’s just because I am so important to them.
They took my legs, my arms too, but they take such good care of me. All the finest food, they always dress me up in the finest clothes, and decorat me just as grand. They do so much for me, even though it takes so much time to clean and care for me, since I can’t do it on my own now. But they love to do this for me, they treasure their work, because I am precious to them.
Besides, the arms and legs I have now are much more beautiful, more gears wrapped in unblemished porcelain. Each joint is beautifully made for precious elegant movement. When I sit at my aler, they string me up so my movements can match the beauty of my voice.
Well, not my voice.
But I still have something that is mine, something I can give to all my worshipers. I can give them my blessing, and unlike my words or beauty, I do this with something they did not give to me. Threw my blessing I bring them releaf, sure, they might be rough with me sometimes, well most of the time, but they don’t mean to. They just get so excited, because they love me, but I forgive them.
Because I am their god.
Of Gods and Plush
Doc Podidae opened his eyes hearing many voices, a group of his daily worshippers bringing offerings, basking in his glorious presence. He smiled thinking of how he came to be a God.
The light had appeared, and Doc had waited patiently high up on a cliff to see what would happen today. Who would go on brave new adventures or be mauled by one of the small monsters that came by each day?
Today one of the big calmer monsters chose him for a new life, walking past all the others sitting on all the cliffs or ground around him. She took him away in a whirlwind of activity to a giant building. Doc was uncertain whether to feel excited or afraid. He knew these monsters had seemed nice before, but what about now. He could do little but wait to find out though.
They went into the building. Doc was placed upon a pedestal in front of the big table with a chair where she sat down next. There were many smaller tables with chairs attached to them and shelves all around the room. The walls were full of odd pictures and writings.
Doc was taking all this in when he heard the door open, a group of monsters entered. They seemed not to notice Doc at first, but then rushed over sharp teeth shining brightly. Doc cringed as fear overtook him. They did not harm him however, reaching out to touch his small plush body particularly focusing on his eight appendages. He was puzzled by this action, but it seemed to be repeated whenever new monsters came into the room.
The last group stopped as they were leaving and took something from their bag. They laid it on his pedestal, “An offering for you Doctor Podidae,” they said with a wry grin and then quickly left. Doc was left alone during the dark hours to contemplate his position as the new god of this place
A Tense Situation
By minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
“HEEEEEEY! Terrorist dudes!”
Maximus stopped and turned to the window. He came up behind his lookout, who was already staring at the source of the noise. He could immediately recognize the shouter, thanks to her bright orange shirt and her position far in front of the crowd.
“Who are you? Are you the negotiator?”
“No? Well, kind of. My name’s Daisy! I’m here on behalf of Mrs.Oak! You’ve got her husband, Darryl, hostage, right? Along with his coworkers?”
He looked behind him to the pile of hostages. An older man on the top raised his hand quietly.
“Yes. We demand a-”
“Ok, good! I’m gonna need you to let him go. Hopefully, along with the rest of his friends. I don’t know what kind of beef you have with his boss, but I assure you he’s got nothing to do with it.”
He sputtered for a moment. Had she just…? And then… What? He brought himself to coherency “Not a chance. I am NOT just going to throw out my bargaining chips. Not when I’ve got-”
“Bargaining chips!? Oh my goodess, He’s a JANITOR!” She called back “A boss as sucky as this guy’s would never stick his neck out for the night cleaning staff. Speaking of that…” She looked around her “Why did you guys do this so late anyways? The guy’s probably asleep. He won’t be able to see your ‘demands’ until morning! You could have planned this out a little bit-”
“SILENCE!” He screamed out the window. The interrupting was one thing, but this was the last straw. “I am NOT releasing my hostages. Leave NOW or I’ll have my men OPEN FIRE!”
The crowd quivered a little. The girl put her hands on her hips and huffed “Well, fine then! If you’re going to be difficult about this…”
Suddenly, there was a bright flash and the girl was gone. Before he could even say anything, a pair of fingertips brushed the back of his head, arching with a bright orange light.
“Then I’ll do it myself.”
“What do you guys think? A battle of the bands for the Kiku Festival?” Jamie asked, grinning, “We’d have Damnation there, Flower Power-“
“Ugh. I still need to get you a better name for that group.” Shawna groaned, “I keep forgetting to. Flower Power… it sounds so vanilla.”
“It really does.” Trevor laughed in agreement.
“What happened to the lists for the Festival, anyway?” Shawna asked, looking at Jamie’s stack of binders and books.
“I don’t know. I haven’t found them yet.” Jamie started shuffling through the many papers.
Shawna nibbled her lip, “I know I gave them back…”
“So how’s Nabiki going to feel about Kurogane’s entrance at the beginning of the Festival?” Trevor asked, directing the question at Derek.
Derek laughed, “Oh, she’s going to be pissed. And Rikuto won’t be happy about it either.” He then shifted his voice, “Kurogane, there’s other ways to flaunt your money.”
Trevor responded in his deeper, more regal Kurogane voice, “Ah, but Rikuto, what kind of headmaster would I be if I didn’t give my students the very best?”
“That doesn’t require you to chaperone them in limos.” Derek-as-Rikuto sighed.
Shawna went back to drawing on her tablet, “Wonder how Nabiki is going to feel about the orchestra. No doubt she’s going to be hounded by… dammit, what was her name again?”
Derek cocked his head, “Who?”
“The uh… the girl she keeps avoiding that’s in orchestra.”
“Oh damn. Um…” Derek looked up in thought, crossing his arms, “What did I name her?”
“Wasn’t it, like, Yuki or something?” Shawna asked, glancing at Trevor, who shrugged.
“Oh! No! It was Chiyo!” Derek exclaimed.
“Riiiiight!” Shawna nodded, “I remember now. Yeah, that’s gonna be a mess.”
“Well if Derek hadn’t-” Trevor began.
Shawna shushed him, glaring, “Hey! No spoilers!”
Trevor bit his lip to keep quiet, getting an “oh shit” expression on his face.
“They can’t know that yet. It’s too soon. They’ll know when it’s time.” Shawna smirked, glancing up at you and giving a wink as she placed her finger to her lips in a hushing motion.
Wow, this story was very grim indeed. Such a miserable wasting of life, and even when the hope spot of hearing the spirits happens, the father proceeds to mess things up more by trapping some pf his family’s spirits into statues with no certainty of reversing the damage done. Not to mention possible suicide at the end too. Ooof.
This is bittersweet, Des! There’s an ambiguity to it. It seems to me, in a way, that the family shares the Godhood. The rancher erects the pillars (almost religiously because he does it every week) after he burns their bodies and keeps their ashes (which seems like a ritual of worship), and the family seems to have the power of resurrection despite it being quite painful. It’s also heartbreaking that this fever plagues the family right after the son GETS CRUSHED BY A HORSE! And the ending is super suspenseful because you don’t know if the rancher is going to end his life or continue on in this hellish existence. My only questions are:
1. What did this poor family do to deserve this fate?!
2. If the rancher kills himself, will he be stuck in this same existence, as well?
As I said before, excellent job, Des!
A Bar God
by Jesse Fisher
In a void of nothing and something, or was it all or null? Anyway in this…place? Setting?..area there was a place where gods go to mingle with other versions of themselves or gods from universes beyond their sphere of existence. Here was a god of bartending and innkeepers by the name of Korun watched over the meetings of his peers. Given the nature of the clientele the inners of the ‘bar’ shifted to fit the god’s native environment, this means that there can be a greek temple next to a digital landscape with data streaming all around as bits and bites flicker.
Korun turned to the ‘higher’ being at the bar counter, seemed to be a mechanical deity of some kind that expressed ‘normal’ emotions, mostly asking for water then turning it into some form of oil? Hydraulic fluid? A non-natural liquefied metal? Korun just stopped asking what his patrons did once they had their drinks. From what he overheard from the bot it was one of those just lost original home types of stories. Going on about how it’s parents had gone missing before it ended up here. The jacket that covered his back was marked with a strange design that the older god did not know.
The well dressed god moved over to the robotic one, the blue metal seemed to reflect the mustached face.
“How long were you worshiped?” Korun asked as he got another glass of water.
The dark visored face came to meet Korun’s mismatch eyes. “Maybe a day or so after building a town in that time.”
“A crafter god,” Korun commented as the bot did the same water to fluid trick. “How specific were you?”
“Just building,” came the reply as it nursed the glass. “Nothing major, there were better builders and why I got to be made into a god is beyond me.”
“Do ya know this was ascension?”
“Parents ascended and blessed me with the powers.” The bot set the glass down. “But I don’t want you to bore you.”
“Listening is a part of the job.” Korun chuckled.
“Success of Science”
By Geoffrey (aka Ashikkon)
The voice of a girl in her early twenties floated above the assorted bubbling, beeping and ruffling of the laboratory. At this voice, the three others present stopped and turned to look at her. On their faces were concern, surprise, excitement… but the expression of the one beside her was simply love. The object of attention and affection opened her amber eyes and scanned the room.
“Dr. Kalcik, are you certain this is wise?”
“There is no progress without risk, Ken. This is a triumphant moment for mankind.” Answered the figure standing over the newly awakened girl. “With this we wrest from the gods the control of life and death.”
Ken, still concerned, simply nodded assent before retreating behind a monitor.
“All start-up sequences completed.” Her voice, crystal clear, brought another wave of emotion from the onlookers. A couple seconds later “Core database online, now connecting to neural network Yggdrasil.”
“Yes, my darling girl, connect to the world and be born anew…” Dr. Kalcik smiled warmly, placing a hand on the top of her head.
“Sir… What did you connect to her neural network?” One of the other researchers ask, excitement souring to apprehension. “Her network… is mimicking the waves of an EEG.”
“Perry, you helped to set up the database. Are you telling me you truly didn’t read any of the information?” Dr. Kalcik stepped backward as the girl stepped forward, her amber eyes blinking.
“All processes engaged.” She examined herself. “Unorthodox… but effective.” Her voice softened a bit. “Andrew… you were supposed to let me die. I asked you to move on.”
“I was supposed to do many things, Evelyn.” Dr. Andrew Kalcik responded warmly. “I was supposed to save you… and this is as close as I could come.”
“And so now… what am I?”
“Whatever you want to be.”
She closed her eyes and crossed her arms. “I feel… cold. I am… Schrodinger’s cat. Why… Why didn’t you move on?”
“Ye shall not die. Thine eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.” He answered. “Your theorem and verse, my love.”
“Enter the Great Dream”
“Are you ready for this?” Julius asked his younger brother as they walked down the street.
“I have to be. My men have spent too long as it is.” replied Gaius. “In the time we’ve spent preparing, Nix could have fortified a citadel a hundred times more perilous than even blasphemous Nikopolis itself”
“I can’t honestly say I entirely understand, but I trust your judgement.” Julius offered his hand. “Good luck.”
Gaius took his brother’s hand. “Thank you, my king.”
The brother laughed. “Perhaps by the time you get back, I’ll be used to hearing that!”
“If you are, I might have to kill you.” The brothers embraced. “Farewell, Julius. Keep Claudia safe for me, will you?”
“Of course. Your family will be treated as my very own in the palace. Farewell, Gaius.” The two parted ways, and Gaius headed towards the Magi’s forum.
From the forum, he entered down into a vast chamber, where thousands of men milled about with cups of strange fluid. Some of the men wore strange cloaks, and were adorned in ornate jewelry. Other men dressed in plain linens, their bodies toned and battle-scarred. Most men, indeed the great majority, seemed to have little in common at all; they appeared poorer, or perhaps richer, than the rest, and some seemed to have witnessed too many seasons, or far too few, to be associated with the handful of soldiers and magi that stood among them. An entire Legion had been gathered together. One Cohort of Regulars and Battle-Magi were to lead seven Cohorts’ worth of men handpicked from volunteers of the Rhumnarian citizenry. In the Great Dream, physical fitness made little difference.
Gaius stood before them. “Men of the Empire! All our work has led to this moment. The skills we have honed must serve as a bulwark in Mankind’s most vulnerable frontier. Remember that in the Dream, we shall be as powerful as the Domvari, masters of this strange domain, yet servants of Rhuma. Long live the kings!” The legion of men repeated the cry, then drank from their cups and entered the Magnomnium.
“The Rite” (Godhood Series) Submitted by Connor/Dragoneye
“Aevi, c’mon. Your brother is leaving.”
The little boy within the grove’s canopy dropped down to Argenn, leaving his canvas in its branches to dry.
The pair entered into the faint light of the moon, hanging above the Lunar Copse and dressed with the sparkling stars around it. At the base of a massive tree stood a tall antlered figure and a youthful mimicry of him.
“Mom, why is Araethi leaving?”
Argenn sat Aevi down next to her in the grass, saying, “He’s now of age to go off and be his own god. Carve his own destiny. Someday, you’ll do that too.”
“But I like the Copse. I like painting this place. I don’t wanna leave and become a god.”
“Aevi, you know your time will come soon. And just because you leave doesn’t mean you need to stop doing what you love. In fact, being a god is just that: doing what you love.”
“But I don’t want to leave you and dad.”
“Come here,” spoke Argenn, placing Aevi in her lap. She then pointed up to the night sky, to the moon and stars that danced in the darkness. “You see those? Your father and I made those. This grass? Your father and I. These spirits?” she continued as a ghostly snake slithered around them.
Aevi finished his mother’s statement, “You and dad.”
“And yet, none of these things are our favorite. You and your siblings are the best things we’ve ever had. We know that everything you make, you cherish, but going off to make your own life will be more rewarding than any painting you make. Don’t forget your talent and passion, Aevi, but know that there will be much more for you beyond this Copse.”
“Are you sure, though?”
“I am. I’ve gone through this thousands of times, and it’s always been the same. Same for your father.”
An oath and a choice
by Larissa (Lari.B.Haven)
Albert took a look at the test papers again. Six organs to be replaced in the surgery table, this way above the requirements of the experiment and above what was considered humane for a test subject to endure.
“I didn’t know we are operating on a child! An orphan child, Leonard!”
The orphan girl that they would bring in a few minutes was their next test subject. He knew the implications of the choice. An orphan was someone no one would miss, an easy body to dispose of if the young one died.
“Think that way, we are experimenting on her now so in the future people will not die waiting for someone compatible for the organ donation!” Leonard tried to reason with Albert. But there was nothing to be reasoned with.
“This is not even ethical! We have an oath, Leonard!” The man screamed at his partner while walking from side to side of the room.
“An oath and no money Albert! The funding for the project we waited for our entire lives, will be in our hands!” Leonard took a deep breath and looked at the operating room under then and plead one final time: “Albert, she has extreme organ failure! If we can make those synthetic organs work on her…”
Albert gave a disgusted look at Leonard. He couldn’t believe what his best friend was proposing.
“It’s inhumane! She doesn’t deserve this pain!” Albert walked in the direction of the door. “We are not gods Leonard! We can’t do this!”
Leonard pinned his friend against the wall, holding him by the collar.
“So look!” He pointed at the nurses in the operation room, putting the heavily tubed girl in the operation table. “How long you will be debating with me the ‘ifs’ and the ‘whys’? Albert, you can leave the project later, for all I care! But today we are above our oaths and ethic! Today we are Gods!”
Albert looked at Leonard in disbelief.
“You may think we are gods in this situation, but after this operation, we both belong in hell!”
“A promotion” [Aleph null science fiction universe]
I invited the two managers in. If they signed up, all would work out well. I knew they could do what I needed, and I knew they would take the opportunity blindly. It was perfect.
“Now, I have an offer for you. I would like to offer you creative control over the simulacrum project.”
“You are my most trustworthy managers, I think you can handle being a virtual god”
“Ok, what do we need to do”
“Here, I’ll show you the current state of the project. All you have to do is keep the team together and help model the whole world. We started with earth as the base, and right now we are adding the magic system. Go take a look”
They put on their vr headset and got to work.
I knew they would be there for a long time.
For the next part of the plan, we needed a test subject.
Looked at the map, and saw that Rayna and Sasha had left for a destination in the kuiper belt. They would do nicely.
I pinged my hacker
> Hey. Can you figure out where ship id #23879AHL42 is going and direct it to the mouse?
> Can do. Do you want to do it now
I pinged the mouse
> Sending a ship your way. Be prepared. There is an android on board.
Everything was going according to plan.
I only had one lingering doubt. Why was the company putting so much of their funding into this?
By Hemming Sebastian Bane
The dark cathedral echoed with the parishioner’s chants. Candlelight casted long shadows among the hooded figures. A small procession marched through the middle of the throng. The front and back hooded figures held censers, which swayed and emitted smoke. The middle figure lowered their hood, revealing a bald, androgynous figure that shone like the sun. The two figures stood at the end of the pews before ascending onto the dais and taking their places: the two censer-bearers to the sides and the glowing one behind the pulpit. The chanting suddenly stopped and the crowd sat down.
“My brothers and sisters,” proclaimed the radiant figure. “I welcome you to the Midnight Congregation. Tonight, I shall impart upon you the way to make yourself into one like the Seven Gods.”
A roar of cheers echoed through the crowd.
“No more shackled to the throes of time and the woes of mortality!”
Another roar of cheers.
“No more shackled to the foes of life and the crows of death!”
Another chorus of cheers. The speaker put their hand up. The crowd hushed.
“Now, to become as gods, I must assuage your doubts. Now is your time to voice your concerns!”
One of the throng raised her hand. “My lord, would we be able to surpass the Three Primordials?”
The speaker scratched their chin. “Excellent question, sister. I am certain with the right amount of power one could surpass the Three Primordials.”
Another raised his hand. “My lord, what about the Dark Gods? Shall we be like them?”
The speaker shook their head. “The divinity I offer looks much different than those gods. Rest assured you shall still have your own mind. Any more questions?”
Another figure stood. “What about Asena?”
The room went silent. The speaker’s glow went from yellow to red.
“How dare you mention the she-wolf!”
The figure pushed back her hood, revealing long red hair. The speaker hissed as three feathered wings emerged from their back. Rot’s eyes turned yellow as she began to shift.
“Leave it to a demon to offer something they can’t give.”
A Pyrrhic Victory
by Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
A cold night fell on rocky Epirus. The sky began to flicker with the twinkling of thousands of bright stars. Below, Pyrrhus and his close friend, Cineas, sat close to a warm fire, a bag of marshmallows nearby.
“I’m glad we came out here, Pyrrhus, this has been very relaxing,” Cineas sighed, content with life.
“Me too, I desperately needed a break from work.” Cineas sat back and grabbed another marshmallow to roast on the nearby fire.
“You say that, but I can tell you’ve been thinking about work this whole time,” retorted Cineas playfully. “I can see that twinkle in your eye when you secretly plan your next business move.”
Pyrrhus laughed. “OK, you got me there. It’s just that I’m tired of being trapped in our small local chain,” Cineas noticed Pyrrhus’ eyes light up again. “I think we need to franchise to different countries!”
Cineas sighed and tossed a marshmallow at his worked up friend.
“Take this. It’ll help you relax,” he ordered. Pyrrhus caught the sugary treat and stuck it on the end of his poker.
“Thanks. I’m sorry for bringing work up again on a fun camping trip,” Pyrrhus said while popping a gooey marshmallow into his mouth.
They sat together and enjoyed the warmth of the fire and the splendor of the pristine night sky for a few minutes before Pyrrhus broke the silence.
“I just think we could move into Italy pretty effectively,” Cineas rolled his eyes. “Hell, we might even be able to take on Rome.”
Cineas rolled his eyes. “Alright, and what would we do once Italy is firmly in our grasp?” Cineas retorted.
“Well, then we could move into Sicily!” Pyrrhus responded with fire in his eyes. “Next, we could expand into Libya and the rest of North Africa.”
“Of course,” said Cineas. “And then we would have the resources to capture Macedon. But, what next?”
“Well, Cineas, we could live like Gods and eat marshmallows all day!”
“What, exactly, prevents us from doing that now?” Cineas responded.
Pyrrhus couldn’t respond. He was vexed.
I will become the One (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis
I smash open the double doors and stride into the bright, enormous room. I know this to be the Station’s cafeteria, filled with human meat. I am here because this is the time where the meat gathers to eat. I shall also partake of this feast.
I throw myself forward as they stare at me with the confusion and fear of helpless prey. I split my upper limbs into four, eight, sixteen spike-tipped tendrils, and in an instant I bury them into sixteen hearts, filling my senses with the wondrous taste of arterial blood. I devour them in seconds as I surge through every organ and vessel, consuming meat, bone, and memory alike. I convert meat into I, and I grow stronger. I raise my tendrils again, now thick as trees from the meal, and split sixteen into sixty four before I strike once more.
I Hear The Screams Fade Away. I Saw Some Of The Meat Flee This Room, But Most Of It I Ate. I Am So Much Stronger Now. I Feel My Body Touch The Ceiling as I Recollect My Mass, Before I Extend Again Into Corridors, Vents and Ducts. I Am Not Finished. I Will Surge Through Every Room And Passage, Consuming Meat, Plant and Sythmatter Alike. I Will Grow Stronger.
I HEAR THE STATION FALL SILENT. I FELT A FEW PUNY SHIPS FLEE WITH THEIR SCRAPS OF MEAT, BUT I DO NOT CARE. I HAVE STRENGTH BEYOND THEIR IMAGINATIONS, AND AN ENTIRE STATION’S WORTH OF EXTRACTED MEAT-MEMORY AND KNOWLEDGE TO USE AT MY WILL. I FEEL THE INNARDS OF THE STATION CRUMBLE AS THEY FILL WITH MY DIGESTIVE ACID. I AM NOT FINISHED. I SHALL REBUILD THIS STATION INTO MY NEW VEHICLE, AND I SHALL ADVANCE TO CONSUME MORE MEAT AND GAIN MORE STRENGTH. I WILL RETURN TO MY HOMEWORLD ONCE I AM STRONG ENOUGH. I SHALL DEVOUR THE OTHER, THE FALSE-ME, THAT WEARS MY PLANET’S CRUST AS ITS SKIN, AND I WILL WEAR IT INSTEAD. I SHALL BECOME THE SINGLE APEX LIFEFORM OF MY HOME, AS I ALWAYS DESIRED.
I WILL BECOME THE ONE.
The Great One
By Giovanna J. Fuller
Sau-elle sat before the gate, kneeling in prayer.
‘Oh Supreme and Illustrious One, come back and rid my people of this calamity. In thy holy, unspoken name I pray.’ He was so lost in his prayers that he did not notice Kai-ra-ee approaching until he felt the slim hand light on his shoulder.
‘Oh Beautiful One!’ He could hear her prayer as she thought it. ‘Oh come, oh come.’
‘Oh come, oh come,’ He echoed her.
‘May the gate open,’ They thought as one.
Sau-elle opened his eyes and turned to see his mentor. Her silver hair reached the ground and her eyes clouded from time. She was as ancient as rock and as wise as the trees.
“Tell me the tale of the Great One, Teacher?”
She smiled. “The Great One came in the form of a man. Clothes as pitch as night and a dark crown that pointed towards the sky. The gate opened and he stepped through. I was but a flowering woman then. He fought back the Awkrubi and we knew a peace that lasted for a hundred years.” Kai-ra-ee stared at the gate. “He said he would come again…should we need him. And-…” Her aged eyes widened.
Sau-elle turned from his teacher to the gate.
It was glowing.
It was opening.
The young initiate scrambled to his feet as a woman with red hair stepped out. She wore black robes and a black pointed crown. The door slammed loudly behind her.
“Hellooooooo?” She asked.
“Great one!” Kai-ra-ee fell to her ancient knees.
“Great one!” Sau-elle’s knees buckled and he fell prostrate.
The girl looked about before pointing to herself in surprise. “Me?” She mouthed to herself. Surreptitiously she reached for the handle on the door. Her eyes widened when she realized she couldn’t find it. Panicked, she turned around and inspected the door frantically. ‘Bellends and broomsticks!’
“Great one!” the two chanted in unison one more.
She turned back to stare at them. ‘Wrong door,’ she thought to herself. Stealing herself, she took a deep breath before saying. “Hiiiiiii….I’m Angela.”
“Oh, great Awn-gell-ah.”
Title: Beginning of a New Death
The man stood in the white void as the other old man turned to see him.
“F-father?” The other man asked. As he walked closer, he became more like his younger self. The man just smiled and opened his arms up for a hug.
The son ran up and embraced his father. The man held on tightly, wishing that this moment could last longer. But he soon relinquished his son, as a woman appeared in the void as well.
Tears fell down the son’s face as he saw the love of his life. He ran to her and he embraced her.
The man looked on and sighed, the tender moment disappearing as white space was condensed into a ball, and that ball was scooped by a ladle.
From its dog-like face, the Creator’s single red eye looked at the soul, “Such a strange fate, given form by a strange conception, such a creation will never happen again.”
“Good,” The man crossed his arms and looked out into the rest of space.
The ladle was moved from one of the many hands to another as the Creator talked, “I see not why you dislike my reincarnation process. I would think most people would find themselves joyous with the prospect of a new life.”
“Until they find out that their current life and memories will all be erased and they will remember nothing when they are born again.” The man replied sarcastically.
The ladle hovered over a pot and The Creator pour the soul of the man’s son into it, destroying what made that energy exciting and independent, “Now that all of your attachments to the Mortal Realm have been severed, you should go and establish yourself as the new God of Death, William Bracus.”
“Don’t call me that,” Bracus replied, producing a mask from his cloak, “I am the Grand Master of Necromancy, The Immortal Mortal, where I walk, waves of bones follow. I. Am. THANATOS! The God of Death and Arbiter of Life.”
The Creator chuckled, its never ending white form, shaking, “I wouldn’t have it any other way, Thanatos.”
God Status Attained
Jordan punched in the last of the code to activate the chamber. His finger hesitated above the Initiate button. He threw a final, longing look over his shoulder.
“Let’s. Go!” Lelayah demanded with impatience.
“If he wanted to be here, he wouldn’t have betrayed us, Jordan. I’M not going to waste our efforts,” Thomas stated.
Iyo nodded in stoic agreement.
Jordan growled as he hit the button with his fist, dashing into the chamber before the transparent door slid closed.
The machine whirred to life. Vertical lights rotated around them.
“This is it! I can’t WAIT to rule over these peasants!” Lelayah cackled as she bounced on her toes.
The opening metal doors admitted Deacon. He rushed to the broken server board, a fitful gasp escaping. He hurried to the chamber. He pounded it until his knuckles bled.
“Guys! You have to stop! We got it wrong!” Deacon pleaded.
“You backed out, and we understood. Now, YOU understand that THIS is what we want,” Thomas announced, glowering.
“MY first decree as goddess? Blood Eagle for Deacon.” Lelayah smirked.
Iyo grinned toothily.
“Jordan!” Deacon placed his palm against the door, his chest heaving. Their eyes met. Tears flowed. “PLEASE.”
Jordan looked at the chamber floor, ashamed.
“Jordan made his choice. HE didn’t go back on his word like a spineless coward. And now, he shall be rewarded with the rest of us,” Thomas remarked coldly.
Thomas’ and Deacon’s gazes clashed.
“We. Got. The. Ritual. Wrong!” Deacon pulled and yanked at the door, causing fingernails to tear away. Still, he tried to pry it open.
The whirring changed to whining.
“It’s happening!” Lelayah shrieked, giddy.
Thomas gave Deacon a one fingered salute then spread his arms wide, looking to the heavens.
Lelayah laced her fingers beneath her chin with a sneer.
Iyo parodied The Thinker.
Jordan’s head hung, his eyes closed.
A flash of light enveloped the surroundings as a boom shook the room.
“No!” Deacon shielded his eyes.
The door hissed open, revealing granite statues.
“We were never meant to be LIVING gods.”
Deacon sank to his knees in despair.
The New Kami
Myoni looked down at his hand, the rift to another universe embedded into the palm. Scorch marks had marred the skin along the edge, and the recent use of his power left his hand unresponsive.
“Are you sure you’re up to this?” Rikuto asked.
Myoni tried to flex his hand into a fist, but the best he could do was make the fingers tremble a little. Despite this, he looked up with a grin.
“Do you know what this means, Rikuto?” he asked.
Rikuto’s expression tightened. “I’m sure you’re going to tell me.”
“I’m a god, now.”
Rikuto blinked a few times in skeptical disbelief. He opened his mouth to respond, then shut it again. After a few seconds, he replied.
“No, you’re not a god.”
“I’m totally a god. I just punched out a Kami. Then, when he attacked me, I obliterated his arm.”
Rikuto nodded sagely. “Yes, those things happened.”
Myoni got to his feet. “If I have the power to do these things to a god, then a god am I.” He brushed his hair back with his good hand.
Rikuto sighed. “No you’re not.”
Myoni crossed his arms, wincing slightly as his hand brushed his arm. “Really? What makes you think that?”
Rikuto removed his glasses, and his eyes morphed slightly, brightening, as they adjusted to seeing without the visual aid.
“I’m a demi-god, and I could kill you in the blink of an eye, if I were so inclined,” Rikuto gravely stated.
“I could kill you too, if I wanted,” Myoni calmly retorted.
“I’m faster than you,” Rikuto challenged. “Not to mention, you’ve exhausted your power so much, you probably couldn’t kill a mouse right now. But even if you were at full power, I could still likely kill you without even breaking a sweat. Full Kami could destroy you before you saw it coming.”
Myoni thought about this. He didn’t even seem disappointed at Rikuto’s words. Finally, he nodded, a look of determination on his face.
“One thing you’re not taking into account, Rikuto,” he said. “My power is still growing.”
“Remembered” by Carrie (Glaceon373)
The campfire crackled in their camp. Nezara tapped dents out of Raxon’s mage armor, the rhythmic clinks filling the background of their third member’s thoughts.
“Hey Al,” Nezara looked up, “Your chestplate’s up next.”
“What? Oh. Yeah.” Alastair took off the heavy armor and sat down, staring at the ground.
So it all came down to this. A mile away, the Unbreachable Stronghold stood on a mountain, its silhouette still visible in the darkness. All the monsters they’d fought, all the terrible disasters that caused this month-long adventure in the first place, all from the Stronghold.
Was it really almost over?
“Al?” Nezara jabbed his side. “You’re first watch, unless you’re gonna fall asleep on the job.”
“I’m not tired, I’m just…” Alastair sighed. “Maybe just exhausted.”
Raxon, armor refitted, placed an uncalloused hand on Alastair’s shoulder. “Those are the same thing. You can tell us what’s going on. You listened to me last week, it’s only fair.”
Alastair sighed. There was no way around this. “I’m not ready to take on the Stronghold. I…I’m afraid.”
Dead quiet. Alastair looked away in shame.
Then, Nezara laughed.
“So what if we aren’t ready? We’re still going!”
Alastair looked up, confused. “But…what if we fail?”
“Nezara makes a good point,” Raxon stroked his chin. “A success or failure doesn’t change that we tried. We’ve already saved hundreds of people, just on the way here.”
“Exactly.” Nezara leaned back, arms behind her head. “Even if we don’t get rid of ALL the evil, we’ve purged enough to be remembered.”
Alastair blinked. “Remembered?”
“Just think about it! Our ghosts can look over the shoulders of storytellers who’ll speak our names like the great kings of old! We’ll be heroes, on par with the old myths! Gods, even!”
“Yeah…” Alastair slowly began to nod. “Just like the stories.”
The three companions smiled at each other. Then Raxon rattled off the list of tasks still left to do, and they got back to work. Nezara noticed the glimmer in Alastair’s eyes and smiled.
They would be remembered. He would, anyway.
Those who seek me always find.
Those who ask of me always receive.
Why is it you come, daughter?
What dream do you bring me tonight?
The Woman came to me, bearing gifts. I asked for none, but she brought them, and I accepted.
“A portion of your power, and your wisdom,” she said, voice quiet and even. “For my people. I ask you only for this boon, great spirit; even this small matter is life and death to ourselves. I know you may not understand, but – ”
I corrected her gently. “You came to seek, and you came to find. You came to ask, and you came to receive. This is more than enough.”
My wisdom and my power. My freedom.
“You are brave to seek this gift,” I whispered into the night. “Few of your kind desire it, and even fewer use it well.”
She had come to seek.
She had come to find.
The iron bars crashed shut behind us, locking her into the small stone chamber.
The Voice still spoke, never leaving her. Her wisdom. My gift.
‘Freedom. Become the master of your future. Become the arbiter of your fate…’
We could hear them speak, out in the pouring rain outside her prison. “She’s lost it, sir. Hasn’t stopped mumbling since we brought her in.”
He didn’t matter, though. He wasn’t the Voice.
‘Remake your life. Rebuild theirs! Be free! Unshackle yourself from the rules of gods and men!’
The older of the two – the captain, she remembered – moved closer to the cell and peered in. “We got her. Four years hunt, and we’ve finally caught her. And you’re telling me she’s unfit to stand trial?”
They didn’t matter.
They weren’t my Voice.
‘Beauty! Chaos! Live… fulfill your desires! Deny it! Embrace it! Master yourself fight bleed die kill and – ‘
She had come to ask…
She had come to receive.
Those who seek me always find.
Those who ask of me always receive.
Why is it you come, daughter?
What dream do you bring me tonight?