Tag Archives: revelations

Not-So-Random Writing Prompt 17: By Age, By Sickness, By War, By Justice, Pt. 5

John blinked back tears, his eyes stinging and wet. Then, someday it will be?

All things, living and unliving, seen and unseen, have an appointed time when I will call and they must answer. Rivers run dry. Rocks grind to dust. Stars blink out of the sky. The heavens spread themselves so thin that no piece of them will ever talk to or know another.

John’s tongue caught in his throat. Then, there is a higher plan?

Death did not stop its endless work, but it turned its bony head to face the man. There was something beautiful about it then, John thought. An exotic dancer telling a story with their hands, a soothsayer weaving an incantation. A plan. There is a plan, and that is the most beautiful thing of all.

All mankind is of one author, and is one volume. When one man dies, a chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language. Every chapter must be so translated. Some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice, but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all your scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.

Then, our suffering improves us? The things I have seen, they are good?

Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except that you get nearer and nearer your home by it.

Then, that is the plan?

Death looked at John a moment longer, then turned away from him and back to its work. It must be. It must. Else, what is the point?

The End! Come back Monday for something new!


Not-So-Random Writing Prompt 17: By Age, By Sickness, By War, By Justice, Pt. 4

Death saw everything. Everything. But it did not need to see to do its holy work. It simply knew what to do and when. There was only one thing to do. It and its brothers had each been appointed a single task each, and Death oversaw them all, ensured that their vices and their indulgences all had the appropriate outcome. They destroyed and they sickened and they starved as they saw fit. Sometimes they worked together, Pestilence developing some new disease for War to turn against its prey, Famine greedily following as War cut a bloody swath through lands that should have been fertile, Pestilence turning its attention towards crops that should have been productive and giving them over to Famine’s insatiable appetite.

But though they ignored Death, they served its machinations. All things serve Death, it knew, and Death served all things.

Even John, fallen to his knees, tears welling in his eyes, mouth agape at the horror before him, was served by Death, it knew. But this was not the human’s appointed time. And a good thing, too. There was too much to do to trouble itself with a single life seeking dissolution before its appointed time. Its brothers swept the world, driving men to kill each other, women and children starving in the wake of the fighting, disease festering in the corpses that lay strewn upon the ground. It moved its many hands, and like a conductor leading a grand orchestra, it pointed and it gestured and the people fell.

John wept.

Silence, please. You’re distracting me.

The words drew a gasp from John, echoing inside his head, turning his thoughts into a flock of shrieking birds flapping desperately away from their roost. If his half-choked sobs had distracted this demon, this spider of bone harvesting the world with its many terrible limbs would surely destroy him for daring to speak at all. He waited in silence for his annihilation, but Death paid him no mind. But why

It is not your time.

Not-So-Random Writing Prompt 17: By Age, By Sickness, By War, By Justice, Pt. 3

Famine grew bored with John the second it saw him. Another human, indistinguishable from all the others. The same identical look of misery, of boredom, of crushing despair on its face. Famine understood that look. It understood it all too well. It dealt in hunger and thirst, in need and longing, in greed and emptiness. Famines not just of the body, but the mind and the soul. Desensitization. Ennui.

Famine held its arms up, as thin and brittle as sticks. It stared down at them from behind the blank mask it wore and considered the IV that fed it a steady supply of drugs and saline and calories and then the human spoke, and its voice was so novel a sound that it cut through the music being being blasted through Famine’s ears by the machine it wore upon its head.

Famine let its arm drop back by its side, back down to its distended and empty belly. Famine hungered. Famine always hungered. The human said something again, but Famine couldn’t hear it, and as it realized this, it lost interest. Of course the human had said something again. Making noise was simply part of what they did, as pointless and banal as the way they bludgeoned each other with rocks, scrabbled in the dirt, soiled their beds as they gave birth, looked on their children lovingly, wept and trembled in agony as their families died.

Famine sighed. So pointless, it said. So pointless and empty. All of it. You, me, the entire universe. There was never a guarantee of satiation, of satisfaction, of distraction, but we crave it. We need it all, as surely as we need food and water and air. Ther e is so much we need, so much we can be denied, so much that the universe, in all its randomness, can conspire to withhold from us.

And that’s the joke, little human. There is no higher plan. There is, in truth, no conspiracy. There is simply random chance. You can be born wealthy and another poor. You could be born in a time of plenty or a time of scarcity. There is no control, no order, no nothing. Simply bellies to be filled and not enough food to go around. Minds that hunger for something new, and no meaning to accompany the knowledge they gain.

Happy are those who can wither away in soporific stupor. Happy are those too stupid to open their eyes and see the world for what it is. Happy are those with the resolve to take matters into their own hands and end their lives.

John opened his mouth to protest, but no words escaped him. He frowned, furrowed his brow in thought. There were quotes, he knew, about the goodness of the human spirit, about the love of God, about the natural and blessed order of things, but they would not come to him.

Famine sighed again, bored once more. It adjusted the flow on its IV, increased the volume on its music, tried to ignore the rumbling in its belly. You are obvious and wearying. Be gone.

Not-So-Random Writing Prompt 15: Escalation, Pt. 4

After the weapons, came the armor. After the armor came stronger weapons to overcome it. Stronger weapons required more vicious warriors. More vicious warriors gave rise to more desperate defenders. Perhaps the details had not been exactly correct, but none of that mattered.

From its throne, Death looked gigantically down. Its soldiers took up arms and armors and killed without pause to rest or eat or mourn their own fallen. Instead of sword and shield they carried electric rifles and used mechanically powered suits. They did not tear open the walls of cottages and pull the inhabitants screaming out; they formed lines at door frames, threw in a grenade that shone like the sun, and rushed in to slaughter their blinded foes.

The humans had resisted. Escalation had been necessary. All knew what was to come next, though none relished it. But for a moment, at least, Death allowed itself some small measure of satisfaction.

Annnnnd, that’s less than 800 words! Be sure to come back tomorrow for something wholly unexpected!

Not-So-Random Writing Prompt 15: Escalation, Pt. 3

Why should we try the methods of weak, inferior creatures?” came the cry.

“Because the scythe and the sword haven’t been working,” Death whispered. “Because wine press does not flow. Because the wheat and the grapes are ready and we cannot harvest.”

Death reached into its cloak and its bony fingers held up something ugly, metal and plastic and heat. Pure, simple heat, like the sun in the sky, the stars in the heavens. All of them present had seen such things before, had seen the fire they spit, hot enough to burn a soul.

“But brothers, do not doubt that the wheat and the grapes are ready. We simply lack the proper tools.”

* * *

Things went much better the second time. When their armies marched, the enemy fought back as they had before. Soldiers fell on both sides, but the enemy had not been expecting to be fired on with their own weapons. They had not expected to fall in such great numbers. They had not expected to be made to feel as weak and frail as they feared they were. As they knew they were.

The armies celebrated. They roared laughter and beat drums made from the flesh of the enemy fallen, rattled bones in time to the rhythm, and they laughed in their trumph. Death watched it all unfold, and Death alone whispered, “But we can do better still.”

Not-So-Random Writing Prompt 15: Escalation, Pt. 2

The riders and their armies had been helpless. The assaults from the sky, the upheaval from the earth, all of it had been for naught. Hosts both heavenly and hellish muttered and argued and fought amongst themselves. No one had any answers.

It was Death, patient and inexorable and inevitable who’d come up with a solution that had seemed insane and insulting and beneath everyone. “They fight us,” Death said in a voice like a whisper. “They fight us because they have fought each other. Because it is in their nature to fight. Because in the Garden, when they were told they could have paradise so long as they obeyed, they could not.

“Fighting is not in our nature. We do not adapt and improvise and overcome. We play our games on different scales. We are the river that grinds down the boulder in its path.”

“And we will grind them into dust!” came the cry.

Death shook its head. “They are the boulder that rolls itself until it finds the river’s source and dams it. We must try something new. We must try their methods.”

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 io9.com 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 http://daroz.deviantart.com/ and his personal website at http://www.darekzabrocki.com/.

Let’s begin! Continue reading

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