O Sinner

You find yourself sitting in a chair, around you the interior of a cozy shepherd’s house. A gentle fire sits snaps and pops in the stove, bouncing small sounds around the small space. A kettle sits atop the black metal case. High-hung shelves hold an array of mugs, jars, and a pair of shears. In front of you is a chess board mid-game, a thinning web of black and white pieces, captured pieces lining the perimeter of the board in eerie lock-step. You note that while black has far fewer pieces remaining, there remains no path for white to take the crown. A perfect draw. 

You hear a quiet rustling, followed by a masked figure walking into the room and sitting down across from you. They sit down, seeming to examine you briefly, before speaking.

“O Sinner, branded exile. Your presence here marks the end of your short, pitiful existence. If you have words to part with before the embrace of oblivion, let them come now.” Their voice is wry grief, tired and mocking. 

You find it impossible to open your mouth. As though something in your throat were holding it shut from the inside. You feel the figure grin behind their mask. 

“Or perhaps you wish for some petty struggle against your fate? As have many before you.” A wicked laughter emits from behind their mask, echoing around a seemingly-expanding room. 

Except the laughter is yours, coming from your throat. Your eyes widen, tears welling, running down your face. Your body trembles under the weight of your voice, all the while the choking laughter ringing around your hollow chest. 

“Yes, yes. I understand. You were meant for so much more. Very well, then.” The figure gets up, sticking an iron poker into the stove fire burning a brilliant blue.

The fire coats the end of the poker, and you watch, helpless, as it’s thrust deep into your chest. The hot iron pierces your broken body, sending flames flashing throughout your body like lightning. You look down at your hands, holding your blood from falling out. Blood that never ceases its flow. Everything outside your body blood. It’s warm. A fire burns in your eyes like memories of fading moonlight. 

Your eyes burn as you open them, forcing stuck eyelids apart. All around you, corpses, dimly lit by a flickering lantern. Your body refuses to move, at first, heavy bones and sticky blood pinning you to the ground. You see others like you as sensation returns to your body, slowly but surely. A towering creature of stringed together flesh given unholy movement lumbers at the edge of your blurring vision, rending bodies to graft onto its own.

Agonizingly, you unstick yourself from the ground, feeling your body lag behind your soul a full second. Your hand reaches for the nearest weapon as you hear the menacing growl of the approaching darkness. 

This piece is dedicated to Bluejay, who was gracious enough to support me on Patreon!

Shattering Moon

When the Sun vanished, we ceased to die. 

When the Moon shattered, we lost our names. 

Perhaps you remember

O sinner, branded exile,

when we lost the war

when the darkness gripped our very hearts

and threatened to snuff our our flames

over and over and over and over and over again

each time succeeding, each time repeating.

For the first time in centuries

the rattling chains of death’s door

ringing in our ears

and our hearts.

O child, misguided soul

how could you know our fear

how could you lose when you never had

the sweet ichor

of self-importance. 

You did not choose to be born into this world

You did not choose the circumstances of your birth

Yet here you stand, marked for death

a thousand deaths

for a thousand lives.

O sinner, link your hands

and embrace your fate. 

Lead us to the promised land.

 

This piece is dedicated to Bluejay, who was gracious enough to support me on Patreon!

Falling Sun

You were too young to remember when the Sun lorded over the highest point of the sky. They say we were born from it, they called us the Children of the High Star. Separated by cruel fate and stranded in the cold dirt, we longed to return to the skies, to the star we called our Mother. We built our shelters and honed our blades, stoking the Eternal Flame, the only proof of our connection to the High Star. We struggled with the darkness every night, holding off the terrors that would douse our flame and leave us defenseless while our Mother slept. 

We played music, sang songs, and danced to keep the flow of life from stagnating. We followed the ebb and flow and let the Eternal Flame link us in reverie. Our Kingdom grew, and we prepared ourselves for the day we would reunite with the High Star. We built and built and built. Tirelessly we built, brick by brick, a tower to reach heaven. And just as we began to climb, the sun vanished. 

You were too young to remember when the sun disappeared from the sky, leaving us alone with the lucid silver of a rising Moon. We did not fear the darkness, for the Eternal Flames kept destruction and decay at the final edges of our vision. While others withered away, our cities prospered, warm and magnificent under the brilliant moonlight. They say without the Sun, the Moon climbed ever higher, clinging to newly granted self-importance. 

In those days, we sang more, danced more, celebrated more; we did anything to keep the darkness at bay. It seemed, even without our Mother, we flourished and bloomed in those cold days. You were still too young to remember when we realized we had stopped dying, stopped aging. A hundred Moons rose and fell before we could grasp it. It shocked us into frantic purpose. All the time we had was not enough.

We took up the blades we had since forgotten, sharpened them to razor’s edge, poised against that which would take our birthright from us. We could feel it, in those days, the creeping sense of dread that preceded it. In those times, we spun barrels and put our trust in hot steel, waiting for the day we would have to fight. 

When the Adversary came, we were prepared. 

And when the Moon shattered, we fell. 

Chasing Whales

They used to appear everywhere, breaching through the busy streets. In those days, we expected the chaos at the start of every summer. It was never before the sun touched the edge of the horizon, but as soon as dusk approached, we waited for the whales. The small mounds in the earth would grow larger and larger until they sprouted supermassive, torpedo-shaped mammals leaving chunks of pavement falling everywhere. They would take off into the sky, streaming trails of clouds behind them. But most of all I remembered the ships, vast wooden vessels propped up by propellers, sails, and improbable precision. They raced off, chasing the whales into the fading light of the horizon, knowing they would only return months later, after the creatures burrowed back into the earth. 

Continue reading “Chasing Whales”

Written in the Stars

Ever the dutiful daughter.

Ever the dutiful daughter.

Ever the dutiful daughter.

Eun felt the rough patchwork of the cloth wrapped around her face, digging ruts into the corners of her eyes, but no tears ran through that tilled land. Her ears caught the distant rumbling of thunder in the breaks between hard drops of rain, and the violent sway of the wood underneath did little to convince her the vessel wouldn’t flip at any moment. And yet she sat completely still, letting the rain pool into the raw flesh of her ankles. 

Continue reading “Written in the Stars”