Hello, Troublemakers and Goody-Two-Shoeses!
You know those little voices in your head? Some refer to them as a conscience, but others talk about a devil on your left shoulder and an angel on your right? Do you think those are real? Could you tell me about some experiences you’ve had with them, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
The Sinner and The Saint
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
We’ve seen it everywhere. Different genres, different stories, different times and worlds. All of which have one thing in common.
The duality of good and evil. Yin and Yang. For every light, there is a shadow. So on and so on.
But now is our chance to explore this duality ourselves, really see what the differences and similarities are between these driving forces. You could write about the classic, of course, a devil and an angel’s conflicting views on a situation. Perhaps the angel is trying to guide a soul to do the right thing, while the devil whispers in the other ear to follow temptation. But you could further break this down. Yes, the angel is guiding them to do right by expectations and what path is set for them, but maybe the devil is telling them to follow their own heart, what they themselves want to do with their life, to live in a way that they would be truly happy with. Break from the path set before them by tradition and live for themselves. Perhaps the Saint and Sinner here are a pair of twins who both love to play mischievous pranks on their family and friends, but one always blames the other and manages to get a lesser punishment for it. One is painted as good, while the other is painted as trouble, yet the roles are actually reversed.
But maybe they aren’t conflicting at all. Maybe another way to look at this is how the two sides can work together. What if the sin is simply “I’m gonna have an extra piece of pie for dessert” and then they compensate by working out a little more the next day? Or perhaps one person is viewed by many as bad and untrustworthy, but one person decides to step up and actually talk to them? The two could, against all odds set by the world around them, become best friends. They could learn one isn’t so bad, and the other isn’t as perfect as others make them seem. They feed into each other and balance each other perfectly.
They say good will triumph over evil, but without any evil to compare to, there is no real good, is there? One must exist for the other, and vice versa. Good and bad, light and dark.
Yin and Yang.
So listen to the voices whispering in your ears. Which will you listen to… or do you know of a way to make them work together?
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.
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Rules and Guidelines
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What to Submit
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Where Saints and the Sinners lived
By Jesse Fisher
A dented blue robot with a cracked visor and a blinking yellow light shambled to a ruined city. It has survived being hunted from an endless night, only to end up here. It was in need of repair and had to find it quick.
From the look of the main street was far more telling then the buildings, granted the unsubtle thing of one side being a different color from the other did not go unnoticed. Saints and Sinners were written on the street. Ignoring everything It moved to what looked like a hardware store, waiting through a pile of built up dust from the world around it.
The bot passed preserved newspaper clipping held in the less exposed interior. While the bot ignored it, the story of a town divided, one side saying the events are their god calling them to the promised land and the others were not worthy. Thus began a pointless fight as the world began to fall around them, slowly it got quiet while it got worse.
The rest of the story was lost beyond what remains, once more the bot ignored this as it had to fix itself. The sound of welding and machining filled the air as the robot made a new base of the hardware store. It would learn of this while making its own home. No longer traveling, seeing the world as it felt too many emotions and began to build a new life there.In another life the bot might have found other stuff in the world but after the life they had it would rather just live out it’s existence here.
Tilling the Heart’s Soil (Detective Ryan Norton)
Bitterness clashed with the whiskey churning inside of Detective Norton’s gut.
Casey Nelson. A vivacious, invigorating young woman. Beaten and mutilated like an animal. All because some perverted psycho slinking through the shadows wanted to play God.
Detective Norton was sure that for as long as he lived, he’d never forget the wretched wailing of Casey’s father.
With the morgue in his rearview, he turned his collar up against the bracing wind. New evidence revealed that Allan Greer, a previous suspect, had been exonerated in the case. More to the point, their Jane Doe still hadn’t been identified. Even more frustrating was the fact that DNA found on both the Jane Doe and Lacey Fairchild, a surviving victim, hadn’t provided any matches either.
Back to square one.
Norton scowled as his hand gripped the empty cigarette carton in his pocket. The pressure increased so viciously around the offending package that he was sure he heard his knuckles crack.
Gnashing his teeth, Norton stopped and forced a harsh, calming breath through his nose, holding it for several heartbeats.
He studied the people ambling about, blissfully oblivious of the danger on the streets. What type of panic would ensue should the disgusting underbelly of the city be exposed? The very thought turned his stomach. He released his breath in one guttural exhalation.
In his left peripheral, a church stood tall and proud. Its pristine, stained glass windows beckoned with light and warmth. Its facade offered a comfort and refuge he hadn’t sought in decades.
The heavy bell doled out nine solemn clangs. Norton was transfixed. His heartbeat doubled its speed.
Norton swallowed thickly.
Head bowed, he shambled inside. The empty oak pews shone within the flickering candlelight.
The eerie quiet was far too loud.
Norton glanced briefly at the huge cross then ran one hand through his salt and pepper hair. The Hail Mary hung precariously on the edge of his tongue, but he couldn’t bring himself to speak it.
Instead, he rolled his shoulders back and cast his gaze heavenward. He glared at the arched ceiling until his eyes misted over.
Hell in Heaven
“That’s not right.”
He tossed the painting aside, adding to the mountain of failures. It loomed over the blank expanse of a neglected heaven. A vague recollection of his matter pulled another canvas from the ether. His paints blinked in and out of existence as they were needed. He left God’s promise of paradise ungratefully ignored in favor of trying to fill the void deep within his form.
The endless forever was interrupted by the remains of a cherub erupted from a hole through his empty prison. Discarded works shredded into a shower of painted cloth. Fragments evaporated into ash as they settled on the flaming spear impaled in the cherub’s lion head. A figure, gripping the scorching shaft, steamed in the relative cool.
It was her.
She tossed the wheels upon wheels of an archon to the floor.
“D. Destination re. Re. Reached.”
She dismounted onto the shattered mess of metal and eyes that scattered the matterless floor. The remains of her form clothed in ash and blood, deep scars and missing flesh creating the illusion of modesty. Dressed in hell’s best, she didn’t resemble the paintings at all, but she was more right than any of his failed attempts.
The twisted soul clawed her way to his side. Her ignited eyes reforged his forgotten form back to the shape she remembered. Steam streamed from the edges of her eyes as her tears vaporized on her burning flesh. Her teeth sunk into his lips, as a wolf would kiss a lamb. He bled sympathetically as she caged him in her arms.
“You’re mine,” she hissed, sinking her claws deep into his back. “They stole you from me, but I won’t let anything get in my way. You can never escape me.”
Finding comfort in her threat, his arms desperately clung to her. The choir of angels swarming threw heaven blurred by his tears of relief.
The angels would come. They will try to take her from him, but at this moment, they were whole.
“One and the Same”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane
Heavy clunks echoed through the wood stave temple. The clergy within turned around to look before returning their gaze to the front. They wouldn’t want the hunched figure in rags to notice them. The wretch’s unsteady gait was likely due to a malady inflicted on him due to some wrongdoing its parents had done. The figure walked up to the middle-aged man in the back.
“Pascal… is it?” a deep voice came.
The middle-aged man was taken aback. Did…did this stranger somehow know him?
“Um… yes… sir?” Pascal couldn’t help but tremble.
The figure struck the floor three times and looked at Pascal.
“Yes… how are your other wives?” the figure asked.
Whispers filled the chamber. Pascal went pale. “I-I have no idea what you’re on a-about!”
“Of course you do. Frauke and Kunigunde weren’t good enough. Here’s hoping you’ll keep Ortrun’s bed warm and won’t go sneaking off.”
The whispers became murmurs. Pascal tugged at his collar before turning to the crowd.
“I would never do that! I am a good person! A saint of the Church of the Seven Gods!”
“And yet, you’ve done just as I said,” the figure replied. “But don’t feel like you’re alone, what little comfort that might be.”
The murmurs stopped. The figure continued until he reached the front of the room.
“Listen well, you so-called saints. You hide in this building and tell yourselves you are safe. Unfortunately, it seems as though you believe wood can save you from actual monsters.”
One of the parishioners, an elderly lady, snapped. “Leave then, foul creature! You know nothing about what sin is!”
The figure turned to the woman. “Oh, but I do. Sin is seeing a person begging for food on the streets and doing nothing. Sin is casting a child out and calling him the spawn of evil because he looks like this!”
The figure flung his cloak off. The left eye sagged lower than the jawline. The right arm was just a wrist. The mouth was a mess of teeth and fingers.
“THIS is sin! I smell it on you all!”
Grinding The Gears (Nyx/Alice’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
I was trying out a new tavern for the first time. It was a little inelegant and crowded, but the secluded booth I found was quiet enough for reading. Overall, it was a pleasant experience. Until SHE walked in.
I walked into my old haunt, stinking of sweat and booze like it always was. I was a little tipsy and that felt good, but the patrons were the same as ever. I expected it to be another dull evening. Until I saw Her.
She slipped into my booth, casually sitting opposite me like she owned the place.
When I sat at her table, she looked up at me with a strangely plain expression. Almost innocent-looking.
Her breath stank of alcohol.
Her clothes smelt like oil.
Her eyes were dark and hungry.
Her eyes were bright and calculating.
“You’re new.” She stated the obvious with a thin, fanged smile, not seeming to care what that revealed.
“I travel.” She said, her face unchanging. Her head tilted slightly. “Do you talk to everyone like this?”
I glanced around the room, seeing how the drinkers at nearby tables had discreetly moved elsewhere. Great. She was THAT kind of tavern-dweller.
My eyes pored over her face and body, looking for weaknesses in the armour of her expression. Because I KNOW she saw my teeth, and people always react.
“Most people are boring. But you look interesting.” Her smile turned into a self-assured smirk. “Pretty, too.”
Aaaah. There it was. That twitch of the jaw, the slight frown on her face, the tightening of her fingers. Actual emotions!
Ughhh. Of course she’s trying to seduce me. And probably feed on me too, that’s what her kind does, right? I should go.
She abruptly stood up. “Good-day to you Miss. I must be going.” Awww, so soon? Typical.
“Oh, it’s Nyx.” As if I would ever want to know her name. “Hope to see you again!” She said with that same horrid hungry smile.
She almost ran out that door. A darn shame. Maybe I should…nah. Too early in the eve for that. Another time, perhaps.
The Human and the Angel (Students of the DiamondBridge Academy universe)
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
“Not to be an empath or anything, but the anxiety coming off of you smells distinctly like saltwater.”
“What?” Roselyn forced a laugh. “Saltwater? Why? I’m not anxious! Why’d I be anxious? That’s weird, ha ha…”
“… I’m anxious.”
Ahna sighed, leaning back in the library chair. “It’s a good thing I expected this. Of all the people to ask me for magic theory help before school, it wouldn’t be THE Roselyn Halcyia. So what do you really need?”
“Well, uh…” her brain tried to scramble together something coherent, but also something that didn’t make her sound weak. “I wanted to ask you a thing.”
“What’s the thing?” Ahna patiently adjusted her leather jacket, if such a thing could be done in a way to reek of patience.
“I… don’t know, really. Sorry to waste your time, I should go—”
Ahna grabbed the other girl’s wrist. “May I take a wild guess?”
“You feel like you’ve failed. You’re worried other people will find out. You’re wondering how long it will take. You want to fix it. You think telling me that will make you sound weak. How close was I?”
“… Eerily spot-on, what spell was that?”
Ahna let go of Roselyn’s wrist. “Not a spell, just an angel thing. But that’s all I’ve got, so you’re gonna have to tell me the rest if you want my help. Deal?”
“Deal? This is a deal?”
“Not a court diplomacy kind of deal, Ms. Halcyia.”
“Right! Right.” Roselyn took a deep, shaky breath.
“So what’s the question?”
“It’s—it’s stuff you already know,” she stammered, “about mistakes and fixing—”
“And forgiveness and being better and—”
Roselyn paused. She looked up at Ahna. The girl with golden freckles and shining eyes and an open leather jacket and silver jewelry.
And ridges in her shirt where the bandages still wrapped around the spot where the doctors had removed her stunted wings.
“… How do you do it? How do you come to school every day all put together and just… be okay?”
Ahna laughed lightheartedly. “Simple. I don’t.”
Darkness within Light (Illusions of Heroes)
by Gerrit (Rattus)
“Y’know, Areziah, there’s more to life than what’s contained in those pages.” Thena snatched the book out of his hands before he could protest. It fell out of her hands onto the tabletop, where she sat with an amused grin on her face.
The corner of his mouth curled into a smile, despite his best efforts to feign annoyance. “And I suppose you have something in mind?”
She leaned forward until her face was mere inches from his. “When do I not?” Her hands planted firmly on the table, she vaulted herself over the bench and onto the floor. “Malzeer managed to smuggle in some ale.”
Areziah stepped out awkwardly from the bench, his second foot barely on the floor before Thena grabbed him by the wrist. His heart leaped in the brief moment before he was almost pulled off his feet.
As she led him out of the musty library, he felt the smile in full force across his face. A slight laugh escaped his lungs, echoing the persistent giggling of his shepherd.
His feet came to a sudden stop. Planted firm, as if cemented to the floor in an instant. He felt the familiar tugging, saw the darkness creeping into the edges of his vision.
“Some other time then, I suppose.” Thena’s voice, though it was muted and distant. His last experience of the world before his arm raised the mask to his face.
Spears cracked and shields splintered all around him. He was a blistering storm among the faltering trees of the army, a force of God set upon those unfortunate to have chosen the wrong side.
Areziah’s magic surged within him, arcane darts blasting out in every direction. He laughed, a vile laugh as the soldiers tried unsuccessfully to retreat from him.
Oh how quickly their courage fades to cowardice.
When he was done, there was silence. He stood alone, among a field of the dead and dying, and watched for anyone who dared cling too hard to life.
For he was a hand of God, and he had delivered judgement.
Sinner recognizes sinner
by Larissa (Lari B. Haven)
Jack pushed the napkin with his list of items across the table. He wanted the sleazy magician he was negotiating with out of his cabaret as soon as possible.
“What kinda spell is a fellow like you trying to make?” Mr. Bull said in a puff of smoke. “All those ingredients are quite rare.”
“I never asked you many questions, Mr. Bull… If you could use discretion this time, I would highly appreciate it.”
Mr. Bull carelessly beat his cigar on Jack’s leather sofa. Jack narrowed his eyes and tried to overlook his minor act of disdain.
“Considered done, chief.” The man let a sly smirk spread across his face.
Jack looked over the balcony to see the people dancing in the ballroom. Haven was there, chatting with the band, while everyone else moved, oblivious to her presence.
“So many in this cabaret, living off crumbs of cheap illusions.” Mr. Bull let the smoke escape his mouth while he glanced over the list again. “So I need to ask… Who is it then? The one you’re risking your life over .”
Jack’s eyes widened for a second. He knew Mr. Bull would try to extend his conversation and try to make him lose his composure.
“C’mon, I’ve been there and done that, chief.” Mr. Bull said in a patronizing tone. “You don’t want her to be tainted like we are. So you’re gonna send your little saint away and die for them.”
“I had enough of this conversation.” Jack pointed his finger and set Mr. Bull’s cigar ablaze in his hand. The man stood up in pain, while the flame died between his fingers. “We’re done here Mr. Bull.”
“I guess it’s time to go my merry way.” Mr. Bull laughed and took another cigar out of his pocket. “Losing your life for a cutie it’s not worth it, chief. If they love you, they’re sinners.”
Jack glanced off the balcony again. She was having fun. So carefree that it hurt his crooked heart. No matter what would happen later, she would hate him for that.
An old Librarian walked her halls. Rows of endless books, stretching back as far as the eye could see. Tomes that dated back to the dawn of time, scribing every aeon, event, and infinitesimal moment. The works, accounts, thoughts, and accords of all history, gathered and shelved under her watchful eye. And that eye had fallen on many a lost soul, in need of aid and guidance. A man seeking to know every blossoming flower in the universe. A woman, who hunted for clues of all the hidden riches yet uncovered. An aged father, looking for his late son’s favorite bedtime story. Each of their stories, added to the tapestry.
Her wistful perusal was interrupted by the sound of gentle sobbing. A familiar echo, and one she’d come to quell many times. Now she was bid to do it again; especially in this particular section. For within a solitary room, lit only by a quiet, yet luminous fire, stood a weeping man, above a tome so large its covers reached from his chin to his heels. Upon the bare walls were countless words, each in a different language, but all reflections of the one shining brightly upon the book’s plinth, “SIN.”
“How…?” the man wept, “How can this be…? Such wickedness… heartlessness… evil.” He fell to his knees, subsumed beneath the pages’ horrors. The Librarian moved beside him, glancing at the page. An account of a mother who’d killed her three children for disobedience; her mind riddled with sickness. She rested her hand upon his shoulder.
“I know your pain,” she began, softly, “I once stood where you now kneel.” Her sweet tone, and calm comfort reminded him of his own mother, lessening his tears. “But do not be afraid. For while this book may be vast, it’s pages nigh uncountable, it is yet only half the story.”
“But what possible good could there be to counter such malice?” he pleaded, “If there is another book somewhere among these shelves that proves these words wrong, I beg of you, please show it to me!”
The Librarian smiled, “Dear child, what do you think the rest of the library is for?”
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)
Sostine did not improve appearance in the three years Klajonas was gone. The empty city fell into wholesale decay. Nature reclaimed the materials stolen by Man and gods through tiny roots beneath illtrodden paths and fungus in forgotten hovels. Dogs pissed in their old masters’ beds and hunted vermin in the winding alleys. Guineas lived among rooftops that collapsed more frequently now.
Klajonas took it all in with a faltering heart. She had been so certain of returning, but now, walking through the ruins of memory, she felt anxious. Old pathways were gone, swallowed by underbrush and seaside reeds.
She found her way up to the temples. She saw what looked like people fishing down on the port. She surmised that Padas would be there, so she went to the temple. She wasn’t sure why, but she couldn’t face him yet. Not first.
She entered the temple through her hidden way and snuck to the kitchen. The floors were swept clean and she knew Vienas still lived. There were the quiet sounds that empty places house and the sounds her calloused feet made on the smooth stone floor. The buzz of insectoid mate-call echoed dimly behind her.
Her first surprise when she entered the kitchen was that the Everflame still burned.
Then a voice spoke from the shadows. “Klajonas, have you returned?”
She held her breath as she turned toward the voice. Padas stood there, hand on Karas’ Sword.
He rushed to her and held her as she cried in silent sobs and shudders. She was desperate to apologize, but her voice was hoarse and her tongue as clumsy as her hands.
Before she could speak, he said, “There’s nothing to forgive. Welcome home, my little Wanderer.”
She laughed. “I’ve still got both legs.”
His eyes, wetly glinting in the firelight, were dimmed as he said, “Did you at least find what you were looking for?”