Not-So-Random Writing Prompt 15: Escalation, Pt. 1

Man, remember when I used to follow the io9 rules for length and whatnot when writing these? Remember when they were 800 words max and not six and a half pages long? Let’s try doing that again.

The website posts a piece of concept art every Saturday challenging its viewers to write a piece of flash fiction based on that art. In the past, I would choose a piece at random, but this time I just picked one that appealed to me. Exciting, no?

This piece is entitled “Escalation,” inspired by the digital painting “Black Skull Recon Squad” by Darek Zabrocki. I don’t own this image, I claim no rights to this image, and should Darek stumble across this post and demand that the image be removed, I will gladly do so. Also, you should go check out his work at and his personal website at

Let’s begin!

 Black Skull Recon Squad Darek Zabrocki


Things had not gone according to plan.

It was supposed to be a quick and easy battle. It was to be a slaughter. It was to be a harvest. They were supposed to be like flies in the hands of wanton boys. They weren’t even supposed to understand what was happening.

Instead, they had been prepared. Instead, they had fought back.

When famine and plague came, their sciences found solutions and cures. When the atmosphere thickened with haze and the sun dimmed until it seemed black in the sky, they powered their cities with energy they harvested from the planet’s molten heart. The moon turned red and they paid it no mine. The stars fell from the heavens and they hid in the bunkers they had built to protect themselves from each other.

They didn’t beg for mercy. They showed no humility. As a third of their number died, their hearts hardened. When the woman cried out in birth pains, they asked, “What is her suffering compared to our own?” When the dragon and the two beasts appeared, they were ignored. Spat upon. Cursed.

It was supposed to be simple. It was supposed to be by the Book.


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