Friday, December 7, 2012

Flash Fiction: The End (i.e. Desert Without Dinner).

A Terrible Minds flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig, which can be found here.

EDIT: I'm finishing this at 4:00am and am a little woozy, so if anything doesn't make as much sense as it should, let me know.

"So what now?" Sard asked, idly kicking a lonely helmet across the field. The helmet rolled up against a corpse, and Sard hopped back a few steps, shaking his foot. "I mean, there are a lot of things that need fixing now, with Tarkus dead," he said, trying to hide the pained look on his face. Aller shook his head and considered the irony of coming out of a battle with nary a scratch and then breaking your toe on a piece of the wreckage.

"I hadn't really thought about it too hard," Aller said. "Though I suppose the Standing Forest might be a good place to start."

"Oh, an excellent place to start," came Kechei's voice, right next to his ear. Her breath was hot, and he turned his head away. "But you may find less to do there than you expect."

"What do you mean?"

"Waiting so long, it seems like some of the 'people' have found they rather quite like being trees." Kechei padded around into sight, her bare, ashen skin glistening with blood in the dwindling light. Aller didn't bother asking her if she was alright; he knew by now that the blood would belong exclusively to other people.

"People never cease to worry me," said Sard.

"There are still plenty that wail night and day, of course, begging to be restored," Kechei said. "Or so my little birds tell me." She smiled. "But they can wait. There are so many more interesting things you could be doing, Aller, with the might of a dead god coursing through you. Can you even imagine?" She began running her fingers down his right arm, toward the gauntlet that covered a hand the color of pitch at midnight. "Such delicious, vibrant power . . . ." She trailed off, her eyes getting glassy as her fingers neared the gauntlet.

Aller jerked his hand away from her. She frowned. "I just want a little taste," she said. "A little vicarious thrill. A tiny bit of destruction. Maybe burn down a village with that thing? And let me watch? Or better yet, let me help?" She looked at him, waiting for an answer, almost bouncing with excitement.

Aller considered for a moment. "I'll do you one better," he said finally. He reached up and gently poked her forehead with his gauntleted hand. She was knocked back a step, despite the light touch. She blinked. "What did--," she began, before collapsing to the ground, writhing. Aller turned and started walking back toward camp before Kechei started moaning. He heard Sard's awkward footsteps follow him after a moment.

"Did you . . . did you just--," Sard said after managing to catch up to Aller.


"But won't she just go and burn down that village herself now, with what I hope was a taste of that 'dead god might' in the most minimal sense?"

"She has a fraction of my power now," Aller said. "What does that make her, Sard?"

Sard thought for a minute. "That makes her your servant. Right?"


"So she can't do anything you don't want her to, including murdering an entire village."


"Which is good, considering she's an inhuman murder machine."

"Yeah. Did you see her beat that guy to death with his own arm during the battle?"

"No, but I saw her beat someone to death with their own shoe. It was, uh . . . ." Sard smiled. "Impressive."

They walked in silence for a few minutes. "She's got a point, though," Sard said. "About what you can do with all that mojo flowing through you. I mean, you barely touched Tarkus, and he goddamn exploded."

"It was rather cathartic, actually," Aller said.

"I can imagine."

"It's a little terrifying, though, thinking about what else I might be able to do. There's also Ana to think about. I mean, we've barely even seen what she can do with her dead god hand-- fragment-- piece-- whatever you'd call these things," Aller said, shaking his right hand.

"I wonder what would happen if the two of you had a kid. Do you think it would inherit both sets of power?"

Aller stopped dead in his tracks. "Love of the late Lady of Esophine," he said. "I hadn't even thought of that."

Twilight was beginning to give way to full-blow night by the time the two of them had reached camp. They found Ana being tended to by Akis. Aller rushed over as soon as she was in sight.

"What happened?" he said. The sea green color from her left hand had spread up her entire arm and was peeking out from beneath the collar of her shirt. Aller could just make out the remains of blood that had been wiped away.

"I dropped my guard for half a second," Ana said, blushing, "and got a nasty gash in my shoulder in return." She held up her arm. "I think the hand took over a little more real estate to keep me from bleeding out." She flexed it and wiggled her fingers. "Feels fine, though."

"And looks fine, as well," Akis said. "It's like you were never cut. Not that I'm surprised. Now, if no one else needs to be sheparded away from death's door, I'm about to fall over the threshold of sleep's--."

"I think I broke my toe," Sard said, smiling sheepishly. Akis buried his face in his hands.

"Alright," he said, sighing, "let me take a look." Ana and Aller started toward their own tent.

"How about you?" Ana asked. "Ready to get some sleep?"

"Oddly, no," he said. "I know I should be, after killing and nearly being killed all day. But I'm not."

"Neither am I." She wrapped an arm around his waist. "You know, I've been thinking about how people will remember this battle, hundreds of years from now."


"With all the crazy shit I did with the power from this," she wiggled her arm, "I wouldn't be surprised if I started the chronicles of a new god today."

"Oh? And what about me?"

"Oh, you might show up somewhere as the demi-god lover of the new sea goddess. I don't know. But don't count on it or anything."

"Really. Nothing in there about Tarkus exploding from my touch."

"I just assumed that he exploded from trying to comprehend how awesome I am and-- ah!" Aller began tickling her and she squirmed away, giggling.

"All kidding aside, I really wouldn't be surprised if we did show up in the tales a hundred years from now as gods," Ana said when they had reached the tent. "Striking down a guy that also might show up as a god in those tales."

"Probably," Aller said. He opened the tent flap. "But as for tonight," he said, pulling her closer. "What say you and I make some new gods of our own?"

She kissed him. "I think that sounds just divine."