Hello, Phylacteries, Horcruxes and Soul Gems!
Wait! We have to go back for something. Yes it’s important! No, it can’t wait till tomorrow! Well, um…it’s because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
I Dropped My Soul
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!
This prompt has a wacky chaotic energy that makes it very fun. The idea of dropping something seemingly impossible to drop leaves lots of room for creativity.
Let’s begin with the more symbolic and potentially serious takes on the prompt. In most worlds souls cannot be physically dropped, though they may be spiritually lost. You could write about someone who symbolically “dropped” their soul by going down a dark path in life. Perhaps they were once good, and then became some sort of villain or dark lord, and as their loved one sees who they become, they feel as though they’ve dropped their soul. This could be more fantastical, or it could be realistic. For instance, someone in the real world becoming a corrupt businessman could be someone who dropped their soul.
Perhaps it’s more like Dementors in Harry Potter. In your world, maybe when someone’s soul is taken away their body becomes an empty shell. Perhaps you tell the tale of someone trying to help a lost soul find their body.
This prompt could also be taken much more literally, and this is where I think hilarity could ensue. Liches (or any adjacent type of character) are certainly a good candidate for this situation. Maybe a demon or reaper has collected a soul, and drops it on their way back to the afterlife. Or maybe you could write about a world in which souls are always a physical thing. What if someone could simply trip and drop their soul? Could a soul be something like keys, or a phone, that you could accidentally leave it home, or drop on the way to work?
Where was it dropped? Dropping your soul on the sidewalk is a different story from dropping it in a burning building, or at your ex’s house, or down The Bottomless Pit of Metirchalah.
What happens when it falls? Are souls something that could break? You could write about a soul breaking into pieces upon falling. Maybe there are soul repairers in your world to which your character must go. Maybe instead of breaking, souls in your world ooze, and your character is desperately trying to catch it before it oozes down the sewage grate. What happens when a soul is damaged? Would the person change once they put it back in their chest?
Who might find it? Whether a stray dog thinks it’s a chew toy, a homeless person holds it for ransom, a dashing prince nobly searches for its owner, or an arch nemesis uses it against the protagonist, who finds it would change the course of the story drastically. And if you hold someone’s soul, does it affect the person it belongs to? Can you control their actions? Their personality?
My challenge for you this week is to make me genuinely laugh out loud with your story. I am not the easiest person to make genuinely laugh out loud, and this prompt I think could potentially be one of our funniest if you really lean into it.
Well what do we have here? Hello little soul. I know you’re in there. I know you can hear me. You’ll make a lovely addition to my shelf.
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 Saturday at 3:00pm 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! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.
Rules and Guidelines
We read at least five stories during each stream, two 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).
- Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
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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).
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- Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
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Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.
Rite of Passage
Halcyon exhaled slowly, focusing on the grazing buck. He steadied his heart and his hand, then released the bowstring.
A cheer rang from the bushes beside Halcyon as his brother, Solarus, leapt to his feet. Halcyon was relieved his elder brother had volunteered to join him. The First Hunt was an important rite of passage for a Spirit Elf.
“Come, brother! Let us collect our kill before it sours!” Solarus lovingly clapped his brother on the back, “I wish you to do the honors.”
Halcyon smiled, once again grateful for his brother’s encouragement. The two streaked down the hill towards the body of the slain deer. As the two moved, trails of soft, blue light danced behind them, the mark of a Spirit Elf’s power.
The two reached the carcass of the deer, and Halcyon quickly pulled his waterskin from his side. He unstopped the bottle and quietly began to chant a few words. As he spoke, glowing blue particles began to collect in the air above the body of the deer. They hovered noiselessly towards one another before springing together like magnets.
Finally the motes of light converged into a single glowing ball. Halcyon muttered the final few words of the incantation, and the sphere floated towards his waterskin before quickly disappearing into the leather pouch.
Solarus’ face shown with a massive grin. “My brother! I am so proud!” He tussled Halcyon’s hair, then the two set to work cleaning and skinning the hide.
Once back at camp with their prizes, Halcyon eagerly called out his approach. In response, an unseen voice, deep and booming, came from just beyond the gate. “I am sorry, son. I cannot allow you to pass. No shoes, no service.”
Halcyon could not hide his confusion. “What do you mean?? I am properly clothed!”
The voice boomed again, this time with more mirth, “Well, you have the leather and the tongue, but it seems you’re missing the SOUL!”
As the voice bellowed a hardy laugh, Halcyon looked down at his side and groaned. Somewhere along the way, he’d dropped the soul!
The Playful Spirits
“Elyn, Elyn, wake up!” “The old ones are gathering; you must…,” the voice whispered, and as always, the dream ends a bit too soon.
It was always like this—the same message over and over again, warning me of some ill fate that I may suffer in the near future.
“Elyn, you must…” the voice began again. I hated that sound, the dream; my hands were trembling as I took a glance at my sycthe. The sycthe was a special one, an heirloom that contained the fallen ones and familiar souls to help guide you on your journey.
Getting up, I decided what I needed was a brisk walk—something to take my mind off the past events. Lucky for me, the stars were out tonight and the moon glowed beautifully. Grabbing the precious gift, I headed to the forest and began my stroll.
Various creatures were all communicating in their own unique languages. I looked at my scythe and smiled; perhaps the spirits would enjoy the pleasing sounds of nature.
“Meerus,” I said, placing my scythe in the ground. A crowd of small orbs of light came out. The orbs were quite playful tonight, zipping around jovially and full of glee.
“Look,” I said, pointing forward to the two opening lanterns placed on each side.
The souls began to quiet down, knowing that our walk was coming to an end. I smiled as the gathering hovered around my hands, and holding them in my left, I gently stroked them with my free hand.
“Oops, sorry, little guy.” I said as the tiny orb fell to the ground. Without a second thought, the orb flew back up and joined the group once again. I sighed in relief. I knew the spirits couldn’t get hurt, but I was attached to them—they were my family after all.
Finally out of the forest, I placed my sycthe into the ground. “Meerus .” I said once again the orbs being beckoned and absorbed.
By : Iskritt
“Proof of soul?” Said the bored hotel clerk
“Of course!” I responded, reaching into my bag for my soul, only to not find it.
“I am sorry but I cannot let you check in without your soul.” The clerk said, interrupting my search.
“Do I really look like someone who has lost his soul?” I asked, Ripping several items from my bag.
The clerk looked me up and down and bluntly responded “Yes.”
I looked at my hand to see that the clerk was correct. My hand was wrinkling up, showing age that I simply did not have.
“Ah, dangit.” I said, rushing out of the hotel. Luckily there was a soul factory not to far away, so I was not in any danger of surpassing twenty-four hours without a soul, causing me to wither away and disappear into an emotionless husk of flesh.
The soul factory was a massive building in the center of town, operated by a single robot. The government had decided recently that free souls were a “human right” so the soul factories had to take every cost cutting measure possible to stretch their government allowance as thin as they could. That included firing human workers in favor of robot ones, who did not need to be paid
I approached the front desk and the robot, which was powered off.
“I need a soul please.” I said, causing the robot to awaken and look at me.
“Proof of no soul?” It asked. I presented my hand, which had already began to flake away. “Good enough.” It said. “Wrists please.”
I extended my wrist and the robot cut it clean open, gushing blood into a small container. Once enough of my blood was collected, the robot disappeared into the back of the building and returned with a soul. My soul.
“Thank you!” I said, moving to place it in my bag, but fumbling and dropping it, causing it to disappear in a puff of smoke on the ground.
I looked at the robot, who let out a very human-like sigh.
“Wrist please.” It said.
Calling You From My Soul
“I have done it again!”
Miguel looked up from his magazine to see his master flamboyantly enter the study. Ibrahim was a gaunt, pale man, and overcompensated with his colorful wardrobe.
“Si, si. What have you done?”
“I have relocated my phylactery to…” Ibrahim paused for dramatic effect, shooting a glance at his minion. “My telephone.”
Miguel stared at Ibrahim in disbelief.
“I know, you are speechless,” Ibraham continued. “I, Ibrahim Gonzalo Esparraguera am, myself, in awe of my genius.”
“Si, master. I myself am also without words, as I question the low standards of whatever institution agreed to teach you magic. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the point of the phylactery to be kept somewhere safe? Safe and away from you?”
Ibrahim waved a hand dismissively. “And run the risk that my enemies might happen upon it. Nonsense, Miguel. It is much safer kept upon my person.”
“Si, Master. Of course, you also run the risk of not only having your enemy damaging your phone, whether by chance or design, but also accidentally damaging it yourself.”
Ibrahim theatrically opened his bright orange jacket, and placed the phone, inside, patting it reassuringly. “Such a thing will not happen, Miguel. I can assure you.”
“I don’t know, Master. I feel like you’re going to accidentally drop it in the toilet or something.”
Ibrahim loudly scoffed. “That is only a problem for mortals such as you. As an immortal lich, I have no need for such trivialities as using the toilet.” He twirled dramatically. “If you have need of me, I shall be looking for potential replacement underlings on my new soul receptacle.”
Miguel rolled his eyes, then returned to the magazine he was reading.
He heard a bang from the next room, followed by a thump on the floor.
“Curse you, bony fingers!” Ibrahim howled.
“Did you drop your phone?” Miguel nonchalantly asked.
“Miguel, do you, perchance, have your phone on you?”
“I do, master.”
“Then can you please call our provider to get me a new phone before my soul leaks out of my cracked screen?”
The Origin of Nyx
Young Agatha was playing in her room as she had done on many a day, too young for school but too old for a playpen, so she busied herself with stories of make believe, knowing that as she got older she would have the power to make them real.
The oldest member of her physical aids of make believe was a patchwork cat, sewn in squares of varying shades of black and purple. The name she had given it, Nyx, was hard to pronounce at the time but she had grown into it being a second nature name, because of course whenever Agatha got into trouble, it was clearly Nyx’s idea.
As she played in her room, an intruder worked its way under the door. Each of its hundred legs wriggled the next segment to its goal of anywhere it could reach, antennae and pincers ready to strike anything that would get in its way.
Young Agatha noticed it as it scuttled its way into her room. She knew the word for the creature, but her two-year old mouth still had difficulty shaping the word. For now, she called it a “cement-apede,” wondering at why such a tiny thing needed so many legs.
The centipede also noticed Agatha, and wanted to rid itself of this large intruder in its newfound home, and so prepared its venom. But it quickly found that it could not move. The ground beneath it had suddenly become sticky, as if it had been coated in glue.
It had, in fact, been covered in glue. Agatha’s blossoming magic had gotten into a habit of gluing objects to the floor when she wanted to examine them. But she had no way of knowing that the place where she had placed the glue would also cover the airways of this insect.
Within moments of its struggle, the centipede perished, and a white light emitted from its form, which Agatha happily caught. As she walked to put it in her toybox, though, she tripped, and the light flung itself, landing in her stuffed cat.
And the tail flickered.
The lost Soul
The weight of a Soul. Something the human mind can’t comprehend until it is gone. Something I only came to understand after I died in a battle. The defenders were ruthless and our exit was cut by the monsters that roamed the land.
With no way out we could only push forward to the center of this land and end the person responsible. Each day we suffered loss after loss, until only I remained.
When I broke their leader’s door I was greeted by myself, my false self let out a loud unearthly laugh. Unphased I raised my pistol and shot my false self in the chest causing them to slowly fade away like the monsters of the land. Before I left it made a promise to me that I will see the world in a new light after this.
When I got home, I was told my services were no longer needed. I, a loyal human Soldier of the crown, was replaced with people who were blessed by the gods. And for all my brothers and sisters who fell in battle, their names were forgotten. No recognition of the sacrifices they made. It drove me into a spiraling descent.
I, a loyal human Soldier of the crown, after thirty years of service was tossed away for something new. Something that only did what they were told after being bribed with the promises of gold, fame, and power. It was only when their angels became devils that they recognised me and. Allowed me, a loyal Soldier of the crown, the tools necessary to do what needed to be done.
I did my job efficiently and quietly, without recognition, without honor, without mercy. Until I met her, a white cloaked priest with brown hair and vibrant silver eyes. I, a Soldier of the crown. Hesitated, in that moment I fell, within that moment I thought they would end me. But the priest looked at me with worry and began tending my wounds, I looked into her eyes and saw myself. A naive youth who wanted to protect the world from evil.
I regretted my choice that day. A single drop was all it took for me to become worse than the monsters. I stayed with her until she passed, she told me she regrets not being able to see her daughters grow up, how she won’t be able to be there for their first word. She wasn’t even able to finish before going cold, and her once lively eyes faded away.
I, a soldier. Returned to my false self’s Isle, and for the rest of my time on this mortal coil read every book, mastered every spell, created numerous alchemical enhancements, until finally. I was ready to destroy the ones who caused me to take an innocent soul.
“A Contract Unfulfilled”
The tall demonic figure loomed over Firani. Its body rippling with muscles beneath its ruddy skin. It’s claws slowly clenching and unclenching. It’s eyes glowing with the burning light of dying embers, which flickered in the dark the demon wore like a shroud.
“So let me see if I understand all of this correctly,” the demon’s voice was deep and rumbled like thunder in the tall summoning chamber.
Firani nodded rapidly and silently.
“We had an agreement, mortal, that in exchange for your soul I would deliver your enemy into fiery torment. I have done as you asked, not merely to the letter, but also to the spirit of the request. You say you were coming to complete our contract, but you . . . dropped your soul. Is this correct, mortal?”
Firani nodded again.
“How did you even do that? I didn’t think mortals even COULD do that. Well, aside from liches’ losing their phylactery containing their soul, but given your bumbling summoning technique it’s clear you don’t have anywhere near the level of skill with magic needed to safely disjoin your soul from your body!” The demon grumbled with frustration.
“Wait,” the demon added as an idea dawned upon him, followed by a look of even greater wrath, “Someone has been poaching my territory!” The demon stomped causing the chamber to tremble. “It was that Izaltar or that murderous Ublub! One of them stole your soul before I could collect! Not that a dolt like you would even notice. Why must I keep being summoned by idiots!”
Firani looked down solemnly. The demon vanished in huff, a rush of fire and dark smoke. Then Firani’s eyes bulged from their sockets, and he began to laugh with manic wildness.
“It worked! It really worked! I tricked a demon by hiding my soul with an illusion and it fell for the ruse!” thought Firani amidst his crazed laughter. Somewhere on the Otherside though, the demon was watching and smiling because the game had just begun.
Sheets Of Soul
By Taja DaLeen
The sound of scribbling.
(This doesn’t work.)
Even more scribbling. Erasing some of it.
(This doesn’t work either.)
A sigh. Desperately grabbing some hair. Frustration.
(Why can’t I make this work?)
Getting up from the chair, packing up stuff. No gentleness for the paper. None left for now.
(I really need to make this work. I need to.)
Shuffling along, eyes on the ground. A thump.
(Oh my god! Did I just run into someone? How much worse can this day get? Oh Lord, I dropped my writing. Damn. Oh my god.)
“Oh, I’m so sorry about that! Guess my head’s in the clouds too much lately.”
Frantic reaching for the sheets. Even less gentleness now.
(Please don’t help me. Please, just go away. Leave me alone. Don’t pick them up. Don’t pick them up. Don’t…)
“Here, let me help you.”
Grabbing at the sheets in that stranger’s hands. More frustration. More panic.
“Are those… stories? And poems? You write?”
Unintelligible mumbling. More grabbing at sheets. Desparation, and keeping them out of reach.
(Please, don’t… I… I can’t… I’m not ready…)
“Hey, that poem’s really nice! I like it. Can I read more?”
Clutching to everything in hands. Standing straight. The need to run. To be anywhere but here.
(… worst day ever.)
Tears streaming down blushed cheeks. Frantic shaking of a head.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! Really! … I screwed up, no?”
Head hanging low. No more room for thoughts, only fear. Fear of judgement.
“Let me make it up to you, please?”
Handing over of the last few sheets. Holding onto all of it for dear life. More tears.
“Name’s Shawn. Here, let me give you my number. I promise, I won’t tell anyone about your writing, ok?”
(Does he… really mean it?)
Hesitant looking up. Still a few tears, but also an encouraging smile. A careful nod.
“And if you ever feel confident about sharing some of that, feel free to send me a text. I’d be really happy to get to know your thoughts. Bye now!”
Running off without looking back. Alone again.
(What just… happened?)
Souls are overrated
By : LanaMae
Soul? Ha ,who needs one? I haven’t had one for centuries. Life is much simpler without one honestly. I walk past homeless people without feeling guilty for not helping them. I can slaughter someone and it doesn’t bother me. I even killed my wife ,with no regrets.
Ever since my agreement with a Jin. What agreement? Well, let me tell you about it. I was working yet another 16 hour shift in the mines, when I came across a little silver bottle. Thinking it might be valuable I stuck it in my pocket.
After work ,in the wee hours of the morning, I slipped silently into the house and went to shower before sleeping. I removed the bottle from my pocket and accidentally rubbed it, out popped the craziest looking woman I have ever seen, 4 ft tall, wild black hair, glowing violet eyes, and blue tinted skin.
She glared at me asking “What do you want? You get one wish”, carelessly I said “I want to live forever.” She grinned maliciously as she ripped my soul from my body, and handed it to me in a tiny glass vial “don’t drop this, if you do you shall wander dispassionately forevermore” then she dematerialized.
So of course, I dropped it, I was at the bar and got in a fight with a guy who was harassing some women. He tried to hit me, I dodged and dropped the damn vial, so of course it shattered, and my soul evaporated, in a puff of black mist.
I killed him that night when he left the bar, no regrets whatsoever. For many centuries now if I see someone doing something I don’t like, I do something about it, usually leading to their death and my taking whatever they have that interests me. I live in luxury without a care for anyone else.
What’s next? Maybe I will take a wife again as a plaything. It’s been awhile since I had some proper fun. If she pleases me I might even let her live. It’s a risk for her though.
That’s the Spirit
by Lee Strangely
The carriage moved with awesome speed while smoke seemed to trail off the horse.
Thunderbolts rained down in a furious symphony that shook the landscape. Twas a deafening fanfare, following their carriage no matter how fast they rode.
Mort put on the brakes when he saw a shelter: a thin, crooked shed just off the road. Upon stopping, his magnificent steed finally flopped onto the ground… then promptly combusted.
Mort called back into the carriage, “You think we pushed the horse a little too hard?”
Clay kicked open the carriage door, carrying a bag that seemed nigh empty, yet took both his hands to drag across the dirt. Once inside Clay gave a sigh of relief. Another stressed grunt followed as he reached into the bag and lifted out a fiery glass orb.
“At last!” Clay cheered, “We’re whole again!”
The longer he held it, the more he felt his hands burn beneath it. He gave a loud yelp as his hands instinctively let it fall.
Panicking, Mort grabbed it, making his own strange noises as he quickly and gently put it back with the other one in the bag, while it stung his hands as well.
“Careful, careful!” Mort scolded him, “those are our souls you’re handling.”
“Hey, at least we got em back…”
“Yeah, but we still need to figure out how to put em back!” Mort shouted while pointing to his chest.
“What do you mean why? They’re in a burlap sack. They’re not where they’re supposed to be.”
“Well, I just thought…”
“I thought they’d just…”
“Just what?” Mort mocked him, “just fly right back in?”
Clay looked away, blushing.
“Clay, our souls got ripped out like bones out of a fish. They ain’t gonna just snap back like a rubber band.”
“And how would you know?” Clay argued.
“Because if they could, they wouldn’t be in that SACK!”
“Then what the heck are we supposed do with em then? Swallow em?!”
Yuneil was a simulacra, a being born for a simulation that developed a soul, brought into the real world, by powerful esoteric tech, and magical means.
As such his soul was put inside a crystal that was embedded inside an artificial body that could be used as a way for him to interact with the world around him, after all, souls always needed a physical medium to interact with the world.
That being said that didn’t stop accidents from happening.
“Oh, dammit!” he said as he almost tripped, but his soul’s gem from his robotic frame popped from his chest, he tried to grab it but slipped from his fingers right into the dirt of the forest, it wouldn’t have been a problem to collect it if it wasn’t picked up by a wild animal, a Jutrako a strange feline creature with features of a slug that also loved shiny things too much.
The animal picked the soul gem up and ran with it, making Yuneil quickly pursued the feline menace that waved through the forest he was capable to move due that his connection with his soul being like a wi-fi signal, that wouldn’t help if the little animal did something to the gem.
During the persecution, the feline weaved through trees and stones making Yuneil jump or smash against the rock, yet he never gave up, his existence was on the line here.
Then a strange shadow-like entity graved the feline allowing Yuneil to catch it and take the stone from its mouth, unfortunately, the gem was full of saliva due to being in the animal’s mouth which made Yuneil sight in exasperation.
The shadow creature was a Liprasian natural denizen of the planet outside the simulation.
“Looks like the little guy took a liking to you,” she said.
“I would find it more pleasant if he didn’t steal my soul,” Yuneil said annoyed at the little bastard, which looked at him with innocent eyes like he didn’t take his soul last time.
What a dangerous way to start the day right?
Typing, Trade, Trust
The thoughts all came in a torrent. First, I felt my arm touching it. Then, the sound of an audible clink as it touched the floor. Then silence, when I expected fainter new clinks to follow.
And, lastly, the voice.
My writing would have to wait. As far as I was concerned, I should have been alone in my room. I swiveled my chair and looked at the creature behind me. A biomechanical monstrosity of steel, flesh and flame, impossibly dressed in a sharp suit, with a small glass orb between its claws.
The small glass orb that belongs to me.
“You know, a soul is a terrible thing to misplace. You shouldn’t keep it materialized unless you are intending to part with it.”
It was a demon. I knew it. And I knew I shouldn’t trust it. And, right now, he had my soul in his hands.
Yet, I didn’t feel like he was threatening me.
“I… was never intending to part with it. I didn’t agree to anything.”
That strange maw contorted into a smile with way too many teeth – and yet again, it didn’t feel like he was trying to threaten me.
“Relax, I wasn’t about to claim it as mine.” His mask-face contorted into a serious expression. “Though, I could if I wanted.” The smile returned, and he handed me the soul.
“Why… how did you get here?”
“Easily enough. You left the door open.” I was about to retort my door was closed, but then I felt sure he was not referring to the physical door to the house. “As to why… I’m worried about you. I thought maybe you needed to hear some words.”
That unnatural smile, on that unnatural creature, had impossibly become almost caring.
“I thought your kind only dealt with us to conduct trades.”
“And that’s just one more thing that you got wrong. That, and the whole insecurity about your stories not being good enough. Frankly, wondering about selling a soul for better ideas and skill? That’s a terrible notion. As a story concept, though…”
Definitely Not Canon (Chronicles of The Dragon)
Content Warning: Blood & self-harm
Keres fell to her knees, hands clutching the knife stabbed into her heart. Blood ran down her body and pooled on the floor. Her limbs trembled as the blood slowly stopped flowing, leaving only it’s stain on her skin, and the arcane symbol carved into her chest.
“Welcome to Lichedom,” her Master, Thanatos, said, while placing a hand on her shoulder.
Weak, and bloody, but alive, her lips pulled back into a feral grin. She’d done it. Only the second of her Master’s students to ever accomplish it. She pulled the knife from her chest and tossed it to the ground.
She was still unsteady as she got back to her feet. Though no injury could kill her now, her body wasn’t able to shrug off the trauma it had received while mortal so easily. Her feet squished through the blood as she staggered towards the sculpted egg that now contained her soul.
Hands shaking and slick, she gripped the egg. She picked it up and carried it back to him. She held it out triumphantly. He looked at it for a moment, then started to raise his hand. Before he could take it, her grip weakened.
The egg fell from her hand, and shattered on the floor. Keres gasped as her soul was released, and slowly seeped back into her. Her wounds started bleeding, and the pain came rushing back. Her breath became rapid gasps as she collapsed to the floor.
Thanatos sighed. With a wave of his hand, her flesh knit itself back together. “Do it again.”
Impatient Glass (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)
Mia wasn’t a glass-blower. She knew this. And yet, it had taken a burning bicycle and a dangerously hot boiler room for her to realize this. Sitting at her desk, she was now looking through a magical lens, trying to find impurities in the glass figurine she was now holding.
“Snakes aren’t really my favourite…” Cynthia began, floating behind her.
“Do you want a body or not?” Mia snapped.
Cynthia shut up pretty quickly. Konrad, Mia’s crow familiar, cawed from the bed.
“Don’t drop her. Don’t drop her.”
“You’ve been saying that for the past fifteen minutes,” Mia huffed. “How am I supposed to focus, if you keep screeching at me.”
“I’m not screeching, I’m cawing.”
“Still,” Cynthia said. “Glass is fragile. Until I figure out how to manoeuvre in it, please don’t drop me. I may be a ghost, but I can still feel a host breaking.”
Mia rolled her eyes, wishing her headphones would work. Every since Cynthia had phased through them in an attempt to get her attention, they had stopped working properly. She tapped her foot in rhythm with one of her favourite songs, trying to drown out the ghost and the crow.
“How much longer?” Cynthia broke into her thoughts.
“It’s done, when it’s done,” Mia grumbled. “I just need something… Konrad, can you fetch the red vial from my shoe?”
“Your shoe?” Cynthia gave Mia a look through the glass figurine she was inhabiting.
“Yes, my shoe. I keep important things in old shoes for safe-keeping. It’s soft, it’s practical, it’s… it’s…”
Mia glared at the figurine. She could have sworn that the eye of the snake just winked at her.
“No arms. I’ll need to get used to this,” the ghost said.
“I couldn’t find humanoids.”
Annoyed and exhausted, Mia picked up her attempts and threw them in a wide arch, aiming for the bin. At the same time, Konrad returned, holding an old, leather shoe. In surprise, he fluttered aside and the sole dropped, hitting the glass figurine. Before anyone could react, it shattered on the hard floor.
“Ow,” Cynthia moaned.
Ein letztes Lächeln / Ein Lächeln am Ende. (One final smile/ A smile at the end).
By: Brother Jacob of Washington church.
An overlooking view.
From an abandoned building’s rooftop, I watch.
A view that swallows me, a world I cannot be part of, a world that cannot be part of me.
A rooftop that made the world look so insignificant…Nevertheless, that rooftop, under the rust-colored sky, the vermillion sky…
Under the endless, forever expanding Red sky, seemed…so small…it was but an echo.
My dreams were blown into soap bubbles.
I had nothing in this world that I could hold on to.
I stood up. Took in the overlooking view one last time…
It did not overwhelm me, it embraced me.
The beautiful scene was about to end.
An ending to my empty story…
Un Ciel écarlate.
As I fall down, I am enveloped in happiness.
Une couleur reflétant l’amour du monde.
…I know despair no longer.
Un amour qui me préserve dans une bulle de savon.
Guilt and regret spilling away, fading into a river of red as I come to my end.
Laughing, I bite into the rust-colored blood.
I look down;
My inside was but scattered, scarlet marble.
I look up;
A carcass that should not be able to speak makes sounds, as it sees its soul finally set free.
An empty.Worthless.Tainted.SiNfUL.Disgusting.UNpUrE cadaver is left behind…
As the body flew towards earth…bound by inescapable force, one which puts us in misery so often, it dropped to the ground.
The soul flew…It was falling towards the endless sky…one of a golden vermillion.
I regret that this end is just so mundane, but it is still one of my own making, a liberation of a life of simply being.
A choice for myself, melancholy ended by my own hands.
In my life overwhelmed by that view…could I have perhaps found the drive to make me happy?
But who is to say that life is worth more than these last moments, which truly are mine and mine alone?
The body’s fall was a flight.
The soul’s flight was a fall.
I…Simply… dropped my soul towards the sky…
And so…It fell towards the ever-expanding Sky, the End Sky.
I finally…Got to fly…
The Immortal Secret (The Will)
“Is this the end, then?” Ericka’s voice pierced the night’s rain.
When she had seen the shadow of a man slink away past the city walls towards the darkness of the forest, the deep-seeded fear that wordlessly haunted her dreams bloomed fully. It had always been a possibility that Eymir would give in—everyone knew that—but nobody believed it would happen. Nobody but her, that is.
And now as the man stopped and looked over his shoulder, Ericka wondered if this would be the last time they would be allies.
“Yes.” The answer was cold and to the point.
The wulack commander felt the warmth of her frustration well in her chest. “That girl loves you, you know?” Ericka called out over the roaring around them. “You would betray that—the love that you say you value above all other things—at its strongest? Her dreams are coming true right before her eyes. You should be celebrating.”
“A dream can quickly become a nightmare. She’ll learn that soon enough.” Eymir waited again for the inevitable.
“I wanted to believe that you weren’t what they said you were,” she admonished, “but clearly you don’t have a heart.”
The man shook his head, but controlled his anger. “We must all be what fate ordained us to be.” Ericka perked up at Zaila’s quote coming from the man’s mouth. Eymir turned fully, his disgust for fate apparent in his eyes. “If she wants to play hero so badly, then so be it, but she will quickly come to realize that heroes cannot exist without their counterparts. And what better villain is there—” he raised his arms dramatically to emphasize himself “—than a demon.”
Ericka had no words for the man’s stupidity, shaking her head and giving up on him completely. “I left everything to her,” he continued. “My training, my skills, my sword… my love—she has what little good is left of my soul.”
With that, the shadows fell to their place in the world. Ericka watched with hidden regret as the man slowly disappeared into his role.
Zaila could never know. It would destroy her.
I Haven’t Yet Lost It
By Strong Berry
Sometimes it feels like I lost my soul as soon as I signed the contract to work at this job.
Everything in this place is soulless. In this grey building with grey walls, in my grey office, where the only colors in the room are from my notebooks that I leave here. In that office I waste my precious life on meaningless, boring tasks that serve a boss I hate, who works for a company that I hate. But I cannot quit. I am trapped inside this vicious cycle of making just enough to pay the bills, but never enough to leave without a constant fear of debt. Sometimes when I work, I check for my soul, but I do not always find it.
My coworkers are soulless too, you can see it in their eyes. They do not enjoy this job, nor their fellow man’s company. We don’t speak to each other a lot, and when we do, our speech is mechanical and minimalist. We treat conversations like our tasks, we want to finish them as quickly as possible. Sometimes I try to have a deeper talk with one of them, but they are always really busy and have to get back to work. When I try to joke with them, they often give me this weird look, like I just did something very stupid and inappropriate. I hate it.
The only escape I find from this miserable life is through writing whenever possible, usually during breaks. My notebooks in my office and text editor on my phone are the doors to my imagination, where I get to be alive for a little while and not just survive. When I’m writing, everything is possible. Even for me to feel human again.
For when I come up with a very clever line…
…Or think about the plot so hard I find myself mumbling…
…Or when the hero of a story has finally finished their journey…
Moments like these remind me I haven’t yet lost my soul.
A Near Death Experience (Trigger Warning: Dry British Humour)
James Keogh wore a heavy coat and winter clothes. His tools were haphazardly scattered around his living room. He had just finished fixing the plug to his electric heater and plugged it into the wall, sending jolt throughout his body.
“It appears you forgot which wire was live.” Said a deep voice from behind him.
“You know about wiring?” Replied James.
“I dabble.” Said the voice, and following a moment of contemplation, James realized that he was supposed to be at home alone. He spun around to see a figure standing there who was instantly recognizable, despite never having met him before.
He saw a skeleton clad in a black robe holding a scythe. “Well blow me down! How did you get in here?” He asked in disbelief.
“I let myself in.” Death replied before reaching forward and poking James with a boney finger.
“Ouch!” James yelped. Death cocked his head, his expressionless face somehow portraying confusion.
“Something is awry here.” Said Death. “They normally fall down and their soul comes out when I do that.”
“What? Souls are real?” Replied James.
“Of course souls are real, what do you think normally happens when people die?”
“Well… I thought we just, ceased to be.” Said James. Death pondered that for a moment before responding.
“Well that’s depressing… anyway, you’re cold to the touch and I’m literally a skeleton so from my perspective that’s quite exceptional.”
James glanced down, then back at Death. “Huh.”
Death looked James up and down. “Where is your soul?” He asked.
“I dunno, I probably misplaced it or sommit.”
“You lost your soul?”
“I guess, dropped it maybe? My mates always said I have something loose.”
“They’re normally quite firmly attached, hence the scythe.” Said Death, gesturing to his harvesting tool before they both stood for a moment of awkward silence. “Anyway, I haven’t the time to go looking for it, if you stumble across it, look after it and I’ll check in once I’m finished with everyone else.” Death said before vanishing.
“Everyone else?” Muttered James, as a concerning realization washed over him.
By: The Missing Link
Richard trailed his hand across the pictures all over his parents’ fridge. A smiling child stared back in each one, each a memory a lifetime away, each a memory that felt like it belonged to someone else.
“You used to be so cute, what happened?” his mom would joke whenever he was over.
The doorbell announced Richard’s relatives and their holiday smiles. He welcomed them in with a smile he didn’t feel, going through the motions, mechanical, rote. He’d tell the same jokes, they’d complain about the same politicians. They’d all laugh and eat the night away. The house itself would get drunk, and in the morning, it’d all go back to yesterday.
For today, he’d pretend, pretend that everything was alright, pretend the child in those pictures was real.
The morning came with its usual holiday hangover. Two cups of coffee and Richard was off to work, headache still blazing. Another day in the office with the cricket in the ceiling, another day hunched over a computer, another day with no one to talk to.
Richard went back to his parents’ house after work. He’d forgotten his toothbrush on the way out.
“Stay for dinner,” his mom insisted despite his protests.
Richard walked past the fridge on his way to the dishwasher, walked past those same pictures of a life once lived, walked past a world that could no longer be. He hated those pictures, hated them every time he saw them. His mom saw him in them, but he knew.
That child was dead, he had killed him.
To Pick Up a Soul
By Asher Fable
Vetle Berge is a kind man, the type who deserves the world but never asks for it. Which is why it’s heartbreaking to see him sitting in the metal arm chair, face in his hands and sobs escaping his throat.
The Powered individuals, usually ‘heroes’ or ‘villains’, are a part of daily life in this world. Every person inherently knows the Powers and price that are asleep within them, awakening one’s Powers was as simple as accepting the price. Mr. Berge is a Norwegian immigrant ‘hero’ known as Istapp, a frozen King Midas with heart and skin quite literally made of ice…the special gloves on his hands, incapable of being frozen, keeps accidents from happening.
“Mister Berge…” While Mr. Berge spends most of the year in far northern Canada, to avoid melting, New York city became his home a few years ago. New York city where now 9 year old Halla Berge, Mr. Berge’s daughter, has been kept to cure her coma and seizures since that awful incident with a ‘villain’ in Norway.
“…” The global Powered commission called TRUST, the Transcendental Registration Unification Safety and Testing, hasn’t been able to convince the federal and municipal government that non-Powered Halla falls under TRUST jurisdiction. The government has decided that paying Halla’s medical bill for a hero barely around isn’t worth the money, so she’s being sent to Canada.
Even Doctor Mathieu ‘Rembobiner’ Toussaint, the French-Canadian immigrant TRUST doctor with the Powers to ‘rewind’ a patient’s physical state up to 15 minutes at the price of each minute back takes a minute from his own life, couldn’t convince the government to keep Halla. Halla is her father’s heart and soul…she’s likely going to die before making it to the new hospital. Russel fears Mr. Berge may lose himself for revenge.
“If I could help…” Being an accountant for NYC TRUST ‘heroes’ doesn’t pay nearly enough to cover Halla’s medical bills, even the salary of a ‘hero’ or two isn’t enough. Wait…HE may not have the money, but he has a list of clients who just might together.
Lost and Found…and lost again
„Nonono, this can’t be happening!” the black-haired girl exclaimed as she literally dug her way through a mountain of old rubbish which lied around in the attic unused for god-knows-how-long.
“What exactly are we looking for again?” sounded a boys voice from another corner of the attic.
“A small wooden box with a dove engraved on it” answered the girl.
“That box…is it really that important?” the boy asked as he appeared from behind a pile of old furniture while stroking through his messy hair.
Within less than a second the girl was in front of him, staring at him intensely with her red glowing eyes.
“It is the most important thing ever to me! I cannot tell you the details but it would be seriously bad if I lost that!”
“W-well, in that case we’ll just have to keep looking” he stuttered, and she disappeared again.
Just then he spotted something beneath a layer of old dresses. It was a small wooden box, just like his friend had described it to him. He picked it up, and sure enough, there was a dove engraved onto it.
“Oy, fangs! I think I found it!”
“Really?” A loud noise followed the question, as if something was toppled over because the girl could not wait to get to him.
“Yes this is it! Thank you so much John!” she said happily and gave him a quick peck on the cheeks, which led to said ones getting blushed. After a few seconds Fiona realized what she had done, and her face turned red as a tomato.
“I-I…um…” she stuttered and walked backwards a bit, not realizing the old toy cars lying around there, and in the next second she slipped and fell over.
“Are you okay?” John asked worried, having regained his composure.
“I’m fine, I’m fine”, she tried to calm him down, but then she froze, as she felt that something was horribly wrong.
“John” the girl said and looked at him sheepishly.
“What?” The question was cautious, because the boy already feared the answer.
“I dropped the box again.”
J. J. Peterson
“Come one, come all! Enter the tent of wonders and horrors! Revel in unseen anomalies and spellbounding deviations!”
Boris wandered past the giant red tent as he circulated the circus. A tall, smartly dressed man with a tall top hat and dark eyebrows hollered from the entrance, waving a baton back and forth.
“You! Yes you, sir! Come in and have the time of your life. You won’t regret this!” The man called, pointing his baton at Boris.
“Uh, what’s the price? I don’t have much money left, you see, I can’t resist the caramel apples.”
“It won’t cost you a cent, sir. All you have to do is step through the flap,” he flourished it open, revealing bright lights, loud music, laughing and dancing people, and feasts laid out everywhere, “I tell you, sir, you won’t ever get a chance to have an experience like this again!”
“And it doesn’t cost me anything?” Boris asked uncertainty.
“Not a penny! Come one in!”
“Well then, I guess I will.” With that, Boris strode into the tent, both hands in his pockets.
The man pulled back the top of his suit to check his inside pocket, then laughed, “Why look, you’ve dropped your soul on the way in, sir.” Boris, though, was long gone, and didn’t hear. In fact, it was likely he’d never leave the tent again. No one ever did. The price of eternal entertainment is often greater than anyone foresees, and the cost is more astronomical than any amount of money.
Smiling, the man started calling again, “Come on in and have the time of your life. See marvels wonder, regard terrific horrors! You! Ma’am! Come in and have the time of your life!”
Wells and Wishes
After a few days of wandering around, searching, Enri found himself in the field full of wild cornflowers blooming luxuriantly, stretching in all directions, taking over the skies’ shimmering azure. He followed a path, turning and twisting, narrowing endlessly, leading him further into green and blue. The path soon circled a round pile of stones covered by a wooden lid, upon which another stone was laid, as if a warning – not to touch, not to look inside. A well in the middle of nowhere, it looked hideous, inappropriate, out of place. Wrong. Sinister.
Enri heard of it before. A while ago he met a stranger later to become a friend, whom he entrusted with his woe. In turn, he was told a story. A story, which his friend vowed to be true. About a Wishing Well, and a deal. And a price.
The sun was setting, day – declining. Enri opened his bag in a daze from a morning’s heat, or maybe from the foretaste of the fruits his journey bore. The ritual was ready, and Enri was too. He wasn’t sure what he was doing. He just hoped that the instructions he got were right.
“With this, they… she… will be cured”
He stared at the marble ball he held in his hand shining a feeble light. A shard of Enri’s soul was locked up inside it. Imprisoned. Confined.
Came closer to the well, lid now open, giant boulder set aside with huge effort. He aimed into darkness. A throw. And agonizing suspense.
He gave up a part of him he could never bring back.
Few moments passed, stretched into infinity. But… nothing changed. Enri felt that, no, he knew it. Suddenly, a piece of parchment fell from the sky. Enri caught it. Glanced inside. And his gaze grew dim…
At the threshold of the scarlet dawn, a midsummer wind fluttered someone’s abandoned sack. A lonely straw hat leaning on the side of the well. And a small piece of paper with two words written on it.
“Thanks! – Well”
Fruits, Chairs and Roots
by Oliver Enslad
My hands were too smooth, so I fell again. With my back matching the floor midair, the branches looked like towers that Time permitted. I imagined knots that rose Yggdrasil’s parts were the shops that Greed storied. I painlessly hit branch after branch until the fourth, where I felt slightly uncomfortable.
“You‘ll feel more than discomfort, like wet, hot or even slimy!” Joy mentioned of birth. So many gods, so few to tell me of Yggdrasil itself even after my thousandth or so plunge.
On the fifth branch, I felt a great tightness then a feeling of relief. I looked around, positioning to hopefully land foot first, and like a reflection it appeared. Cloaked in emerald green, matching my silhouette. It was beautiful, and to have it pulled away was caustic. I dropped my soul.
I hit dirt and immediately set to my feet. I had to find my precious self. I explored the base of Yggdrasil, and found a fabled Rooter guarding a doorway leading underneath Yggdrasil.
“I just want my soul.”
“You’re too late, for my son already fashioned it into a chair.”
“I’ll form it back.”
“You can’t!” At his objection, an army of the Rooters sprouted from beneath Yggdrasil. They pushed me too far from their tunnel for me to ever find the entrance again. With loss, I knew nothing but how to climb.
Once I retried elevating, I fell again. It wasn’t unexpected but what was is I fell, for the first in a hundred times, hitting no branches and I broke through just a few roots at the base. I fell next to a entrancing, alluring chair of emerald. Undoing the folds of a Rooter, it leapt on to me and I laughed at the solution to my odium.
I climbed once more, and finally succeeded to getting to where the fruits were. I crawled inside one, feeling comfortable for the first time. My soul shaped to the fruit, growing. It fell and I was finally born. Life was worse, I could only fall once.
Can Souls Be Redeemed? (A Song for: Zayn)
Zayn looked up to the winking stars. No moon beckoned him. He had never fathomed, never dreamed, that the night could be so breathtaking.
His derisive, barking laugh choked from his parched throat. As if he had breath anymore. As if he needed to breathe ever again.
Zayn roamed among people, a privilege Nikita had assured him she hadn’t received until four years into her second life. Numerous heartbeats only served to remind him that he hadn’t fed tonight. He covered his nose, promising to hunt deer later.
Her words chased themselves through his head. ‘Be free to explore as you like. However, return before dawn, or I’ll have to come look for you. That wouldn’t be pleasant for either of us.’
Her sanguine smile hadn’t hidden her venomous tone.
Zayn had no doubt she meant every word and knew she’d deliver on her unspoken promise of punishment.
“‘After all, it’s my duty as the one who made you to keep you in line,'” Zayn mimicked her frequent rhetoric.
He traversed a bridge over a flowing stream. Nothing painful happened.
The wind pulled him towards the muted, warm lights of a nearby church. He stopped several feet away, the tall grass barely tickling his skin.
He watched the parishioners file inside, their cheerful chatter hushed.
A man welcomed the mass, his smile engaging. From his robes and how familiar most seemed with him, Zayn pegged him as a priest.
Zayn stepped backwards, but he was spotted. A lone silver ring glittering on his hand, the man encouraged Zayn forward.
Zayn inched over, his eyes downcast.
“I haven’t seen you before. Won’t you join us?”
Zayn spied the crosses and altar from the doorway. “I…don’t think I’d be welcome.”
“All are welcomed here, my son.” The priest touched Zayn’s hand.
The silver sizzled against Zayn’s flesh, and he yanked away, barely hiding his fangs. A scar was left behind.
At the man’s concerned look, Zayn shook his head. “I’m… ok. Maybe…maybe attending once won’t hurt.”
The priest nodded, guiding Zayn over the threshold. He didn’t burn or blaze.
Relieved, Zayn sighed.
Can’t Touch This
Matt paused, looking down at his lap and then looking up at Laila.
“Yours is a sword.” He grumbled.
Laila nodded, nervously biting her lower lip.
“Mara’s is a sword.”
Laila nodded again.
“It’s always a sword…”
“Well…” Laila found herself wincing. “Clearly not… always…?”
Matt’s eyes narrowed as he stood, letting the weapon fall to the ground as he stormed out.
“What happened?!” exclaimed Mara, bursting into the room. “Why is Matt so angry and…?”
Mara looked up thoughtfully as she tried to pin down the emotion that she was feeling from him. “…dejected? And why is there a big scythe on the floor?”
Laila shook her head and sighed at the direction Matt had left from. “He was curious about my sword being forged from my soul. When I said I taught you how to do it, he wanted to do it too.”
Mara nodded. “Aaaah… I see. You know… his life would be so much easier if he just accepted that he’s Death’s horseman.”
“Agreed. But what can we do? We’re his familiars. We support him regardless.”
As Mara agreed with Laila’s words, a mischievous smirk formed on her lips when she looked down at the scythe. “I’m gonna touch it.”
“Don’t you dare!” Laila growled, immediately making herself into a barrier between Mara and the weapon. “Matt’s soul is so powerful… If touching that wouldn’t kill us, it would at the very least knock us unconscious…”
Mara’s grin widened. “Is it twisted that I want to touch it even more now?”
Laila shook her head with a glare. “What is WRONG with you?”
“I was born in Hell from human sin.” Mara giggled. “What’s your excuse? You’re an angel. All pure and holy and all that… You want to touch it too.”
“I do NOT!”
“You do remember that I can feel your emotions, right?”
“S… shut up! Ignore that! Come on! We need to cheer him up!” Laila insisted, pushing Mara out of the room and leaving the discarded scythe where it laid.
How we lost each other.
By Sam C.
“So, this is it?” the transparent man asked.
“Yes,” said the other, identical, except for opacity. “I’m sorry I have to leave you, but I will come back if it’s the last thing I do. I promise.”
“What if you don’t?” he said, like the thought had just occurred to him.
“If I don’t, you have my permission to find me,” he chuckled.
“Why do you have to go? Why can’t I stay with you?”
“Well, while I’m with you, I can’t do some things, things that I need to do. It’s wonderful to be with you, but I can’t, not while I’m on this case.”
“Okay,” he pouted, “But please, come back quickly! I’m not sure I can stand being alone.”
“I’ll miss you,” he said, before hugging the other, and kissing him on the forehead. He let go, and disappeared from the white void around them.
He’d lied. Her probably didn’t mean to, but he lied. After many years, his patience finally ran up, so he went to find him.
He’d moved on, and apparently, was not a good person now. Alcohol, fame, and partying had made him a ruin of what he was the last time they’d been together. He was an angry, mean, grumpy old man.
He’d tried to help his other part, heaven knows he did, but it was too late. He whispered in his ear; tried to get his attention. That didn’t work, he was always so busy during the day, his whispers got drowned out.
He’d tried to talk to him while he slept, but he cried when he got close, and the last thing he wanted to do was hurt him.
They danced a terrible waltz, each trying to reunite with the other, but neither could. Trying, for years trying. Eventually, though perhaps inevitably, they ran out of time, and out of hope.
Neither would ever be with the other again. Both would wish he had never left.
They sat in the void, long turned black, and waited. They waited for peace, they waited for relief…
Together, they waited for death.
C. M. Weller
Success is all that matters in the world. Those who have the right things, know the right people, and especially have the right money get all the breaks. Those who cheat to win are very vehement against anyone else cheating as badly as they did.
Small wonder that, fighting against devils, a deal with a demon becomes necessary.
Three gifts, three wishes, three blessings. They are always wrapped in threes.
Three kind acts to people in need, no matter the cost. Three obstacles to overcome. Three challenges to defeat.
Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered… I had found the one place that could give me what the world could not. I lost count of the threes that I adhered to. Lost track of which ones I had done.
It had already cost me everything I had, but I had FOUND it.
The door to the devil’s home. I knocked. Three times, of course.
“You know why I’m here,” I said. “You know what I want.”
“If that be true,” said the devil, “then you know the price.”
Health, wealth, and happiness be damned. I wanted success, youth, and fame. Everything that everyone else who ‘won’ had had.
I reached into my chest under the devil’s guidance, and pulled out a shining light from within.
I dropped my soul into the little wooden box that the devil held out towards me.
Such a small thing, in the end. Barely any weight at all. I felt no lighter for its absence. Success, youth, and fame were mine for something I didn’t even realise was gone.
I had a fortune to start with. I could convince anyone that my ideas were the best ones.
They poured money at me. Even the “smallest pittance” was life-changing to the me I used to be.
They encouraged me to treat people like cogs in the great machine of making more money.
I wondered how many of them had also traded their souls for what they had.
I hope you’re doing well. As well as you can, wherever you are.”
The ornate feather he held in his hand glittered in the light of the candle. His eyes were caught by it for a moment before he glanced around and realized how many sheets of paper he had gone through. Ares couldn’t even remember how long he’d been at this; It’s not like the clocks would give an answer, they were decorations more than anything. He ran a hand through messy gold waves before continuing.
“I’m okay, in a sense. In the way that matters, right?”
A frustrated sigh escaped him. What did that even mean? He crumpled yet another and discarded it among the growing sea.
Ares’ ears flicked against curled horns as he laid out a new sheet. He didn’t immediately address the letter this time though. In his haste to write something out, he’d forgotten who he was writing to.
If he had ever tried to speak so formally to his sister, she would have wondered what was wrong with him. Even to their superiors, Morgan acted as if they were no different from everyone else. Night Above, just remembering her attitude made him laugh fondly under his breath.
Morgan. That name had become foreign to him, though he could never bring himself to lose it. Her pale eyes and azure hair waltzed across the peripherals of his memory; as much as he wished to forget, he couldn’t bear to do that to her.
Though it should have brought him joy, her presence left him feeling neither alive nor lively. When the moon vanished, she took a part of him.
Ares put the feather into the ink well and bowed his head, holding it in his hands. That familiar feeling rose from the emptiness. His chest felt like it was constricting, his thoughts overflowing, he couldn’t breathe. And yet, though he fought and eventually succeeded to hold it in, it never filled the void in him, in his being.
Seeing that a few teardrops had landed on the paper, Ares discarded it.
Odin stood outside Loki’s workshop, the only light coming from the neon signs up outside the stairwell. He was worried for his brother. It had been some weeks since he had stepped outside, which by itself wasn’t all too uncommon. What was cause for his concern however was the occasional scream that slipped through the labs soundproofing.
Reaching his hand to the door, he saw the camera above the frame twitch to face him.
“Ah Brother! I didn’t expect you so soon, but I have some wonderful news! If you could just wait outside for a moment, I have to clean up.” Loki’s voice crackled through the old mic installed on the camera, and when he finished speaking Odin could hear him walking away from the mic through the static. He did not wait to be invited in.
The door swung silently open to a well lit and pristine lab, the place where Loki’s genius gave birth to invention. Odin could see the original draft for Fenrir, a machine to level land, and along with the formula for Jormungand, a bio weapon that Loki proudly called the most potent poison. But even though all looked pristine, the place reeked of iron and decay.
“Loki, where are you? I’ve been worried sick.”
“Odin I asked you to stay outside for just a liiiittle bit longer, though i can’t blame you for being excited yet again.” His voice still sounded like It was coming from a speaker.
“Loki I’m not-”
“Well you should be! Because I figured out how to be Immortal!”
Those words stunned Odin. This is what he’d been asking for, but his worry didn’t melt away.
“There are still a few kinks to work out though, like I can’t say W0*rSht3cCc1ser Sauce anymore.” Loki’s voice turned to mostly electric fuzz at the word, and Odin’s blood ran cold when he saw a robot holding a bleeding heart, with a face sculpted like his brothers.
“I do apologize if my test subjects screams bothered you, but I’d like to think my new body was worth it.”
The Spirits of right now
By Tamela Redfin
Sapphira and Zirconia looked at their cousin, Cecilia. “What do you have against Cameron? He seems nice.” Sapphira asked.
Cecilia shook her head. “A boy who’s that rich puts money first. It’s a little distasteful. I don’t know about his siblings Keely and Kennedy, though.”
“He’s new. Give him a chance, Cece.” Zirconia begged.
“Maybe, but I don’t have high hopes. Now c’mon let’s get you two home.” She said, Then she thought to herself Maybe I should try to be nice to him, to set a better example for them. Heaven knows at home they don’t have a good one.
And there at home was Cecilia’s Aunt Reagan, smelling like an entire bar. “Where were they?!”
“I thought I told you.” Cecilia tried to remain calm. “I took them outside so we could play. My mom knew.”
“You have ‘Ooh, a squirrel’ disorder. Bet you didn’t tell me.” Reagan sipped an amber colored liquid. “I think you also passed it to baby Jasper.”
Cecilia felt her blood boil. “It’s called ADHD, AUNTIE! But that doesn’t matter. Your daughters are safe and nobody hurt them. I know the divorce was hard, et cetera, but even you have no excuse to act like this!”
“Sapphira, Zirconia, go to your room. I don’t even want to look at you.” Reagan screamed.
Cecilia followed her crying cousins. “Shh, Cece’s here. I’m not gonna pretend your mom is okay, but Auntie Tiffani loves you.”
“Mommy doesn’t love us.” Zirconia sobbed.
Cecilia didn’t know how to answer. While Reagan favored her son Jasper, she still had to love her twin daughters, right?
“Her soul is hurt, but she’s masking the pain,” Cecilia answered at last.
“Like Cameron?” Sapphira asked.
“…Maybe.” Cecilia shrugged.