#ThrowdownThursday: The Prophet’s Prayer

From /r/WritingPrompts on Reddit, I present this week’s #ThrowdownThursday! While it’s not pulled straight from the top of the list, it was one that caught my eye this week. I hope you enjoy.

[WP] You start a religion as a scam, and your fake prophecies start coming true.

I stood before the podium with shaking hands. Exactly one million pairs of eyes stared up at me from the auditorium floor. There was no seating space, and so they all stood tightly packed against the stage trying to get as close to me as they could.

On the stage with me stood my beautiful blonde wife holding our triples, one of my first nonsense prophecies. The golden goddess will conceive with another woman, and bear the three saviors of our time. Now that they were here, and I loved them, I regretted the wording. Saviors were notorious for poor in endings, and I hadn’t written my religion with one any better than that of others.

I had shredded my holy book the night it had all become real.

A new copy stood on the podium before me.

I took a sip of water and cleared my voice to speak. I had rarely used it in the past few months for fear of its power. Now, I prayed to the Green Goddess, our holy mother whom I had never truly believed in during the church’s founding, that her curse would grant me a final blessing. It was the last hope I had.

“Brothers and sisters of Gaia,” I began, “I welcome you today, on the Day of Revelation, to celebrate the anniversary of our founding. It was two years ago today that I communed with our Great Green Mother and she warned me of the terrible days to come should we not change our ways. Climate change was upon us, and the world was in dire straits!

“Lo and behold, you have seen her miracles pass: the rise of Matriarch to power in the United States, the incarceration of those that harm our Dear Mother so, and the birth of her great saviors to name a few!” My heart clentched as I named the last one, but I made no outward move of pain. Instead, I took on a dramatic tone and continued.

“But still even more dire times were proclaimed to me! The three saviors shall face the dark ugliness in humanity as it continues to swell and engulf the world in chaos! At that time, our Mother Gaia shall welcome her children back into her arms and give share with us her Utopic Garden so that we may survive while the rest of our kind tears themselves apart!

“These things you know, because she revealed them to me on that dark night, and I recorded these revelations in our holy book, the Words of the Earth.” I forced myself to touch it’s cursed spine and hold it up to them. They all cheered, and I felt my stomach clench as tightly as my heart.

“What you do not know, my brothers and sisters,” I announced to break up their excitement, “is that these dark times were not the only path humanity might take.” As the words left my mouth, I could feel the agitation in the room. It was nothing, however, to the sudden drain I felt when whatever power I held to control fate began to course through me. A sort of divine echo began to vibrate through my words, and every word seemed to linger in the air like light.

“All mankind can be saved, if but one million true believers of the words of our Mother can be converted before the third Day of Revelation.” The power strained at my deadline, blurring my vision for my carefulness. “These one million believe will flow like water into the world, healing the darkness of humanity with their kindness and love of our Mother. The Saviors shall lead them, revered men and women that will teach the world to love and be happy, as they are loved and are happy.”

I could feel the extra cost of that last part as my heart began to stutter. It wasn’t just drain anymore. My consciousness was fizzling, and my insides clenched as if something had been ripped from them. I didn’t have much time before the prophecy took it’s complete payment, so I pressed on quickly.

“I s-stand before exactly one m-million believers today, as had been rev-vealed to me I would just last w-week, a small encouragement from our M-Mother that we w-will prevail. We will h-heal the h-hate in the w-wor-rld. We n-need not ah-aban-bandon-don i–” My tongue felt heavy and hard to move. My breath was labored and short.

“Do-do not ah-aband-don this w-worrrlllllld!” I screamed in desperation. “E-ev-ven-en as…..I go….to our-er Mother….do not….do not…” I couldn’t think any more. The rest of the speech I had prepared slipped from my mind as I fell to my knees. My wife rushed to my side, and one final thought washed over me as I stared up into her tear-streaked eyes. With my last breath I exhaled, “Bless me.” Her lips on my forehead was the last sensation I ever felt on that earthly plane. The power given to me in such a mysterious way dragged me from my body and away, and I could only hope that my gamble had worked.

For the sake of my children, I prayed it worked.

#PhotoPromptFriday: Henry Thomson’s “The mother finding her infant playing with the talons of the dragon slain by the Red Cross Knight”

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This piece is Henry Thomson’s “The mother finding her infant playing with the talons of the dragon slain by the Red Cross Knight”. It’s a very long title, which tells you exactly what’s going on. However, I see more than that in this painting, and below is what I was inspired to write by this #PhotoPromptFriday.

Before I post that, however, I would like to announce the winner of this #PhotoPromptFriday, and that is….nobody. I don’t have too many people following my blog, which is to be expected since it’s new, and so no one entered the contest. Hopefully, the next #PhotoPromptFriday will be more inspirational!

Now, without further ado:

Youthful Ignorance
by Kenimich Row,
Inspired by Henry Thomson’s
“The mother finding her infant playing with
the talons of the dragon slain by the Red Cross Knight”

It must have been the moonlight that first gave the dragon away at the edge of the forest. He hadn’t moved for hours, and the wind blew towards him carrying his stench far from the hamlet. Still, the child noticed him, and even managed to sneak up on him, as the first he was aware of her she was licking his scales where they shimmered ever so slightly.

It was an odd sensation, being licked by a such a soft tongue. Being licked by any tongue, really. Dragons, being one of the largest creatures around, typically scared all the lesser creatures, and they definitely didn’t lick each other. But this tiny human cared neither of his size, nor the social niceties that insisted one dragon not link another. She also wasn’t a dragon, so perhaps those niceties didn’t exist between humans and dragons.

As the dragon contemplated what social niceties did exist between their species, the child looked up at his tongue which had curled outward in thought and giggled. With no restraint it reached up and grabbed the tongue. It then proceeded to groom itself with the dragon’s tongue, wiping it along the side of it’s face and hair. All the while it giggled.

The dragon was unsure how to react, but the giggling was infectious, so it decided to join in. The deep rumble that echoed through it’s throat startled the child into silence. It looked up into his eyes, and they stared at each other for a while.

Then the child giggled again.

The dragon rumbled back.

Thus their friendship was born. Giggling and rumbling, they played. The dragon would show the child some strange piece of itself, and then watch as the child reacted in ridiculous funny ways. The child’s favorite feature, it eventually became known to the dragon, was his talons. Though they were razor sharp on the ends, most of them were smooth and round. The child liked to run it’s hands over the hard surface and watch the stars reflect in their golden sheen.

Eventually, the dragon became aware of the sun rising, and insisted the child go home. The child was not yet of an age to communicate too well, but after many a push towards the Hamlet, she eventually got the idea. Waving furtively towards the dragon’s hiding spot near the woods, it hurried away.

It was about this time that a group of knights were entering the hamlet, and they noticed the child’s actions. Curious, they asked the child what it was waving at. The child just bent down, curled her hands in the shape of talons, and then growled. Then she giggled and fell over trying to stand back up.

The knights looked at each other worriedly, thinking they knew all too well what the child mimicked. As one they turned their horses and headed in the direction the child had been waving. The child tried to follow them, racing after their mounts in excitement, but one of the knights’ squire notice. He pulled back his reins and cut her off, giving her a stern look, and pointing in the direction of the town.

The child looked back the way the squire was pointing and then back towards the dragon. Her little finger pointed insistently after the night, and she whimpered in protest as the squire continued to stand in her way.

Eventually, the child grew angry and started to scream. An answering roar and burst of fire filled the air from the edge of the woods. The child’s giggling response turned into another scream as the squire dismounted and scooped her up, physically caring her in the opposite direction. More screams joined the child’s as the knights and dragon began to fight, and the dragon bellowed louder.

The squire ducked into the stone mill nearby and tried to stifle the child’s screams, but she only increased them, and the dragon’s roar increased with them. The dragon itself, however, remained unseen.

Eventually, the dragon’s roar stopped as the child grew tired of struggling. The day grew deathly quiet, and the squire waited. After the silence had stretch long enough, the squire grew impatient and exited the mill, leaving the tired child behind. He was greeted with the site of his knight maters returning wounded buy triumphant from battle.

“That dragon will never terrorize another town.” The knight wearing a red cross announced, and then indicated that the squire remount so that they could be on their way. They had wasted enough of their time in the hamlet already.

Once the knights were gone, the town began to come alive again. The townspeople who had been too scared to live their houses while the dragon bellowed came outside to assess the damage that had been done, and one young woman was looking for something deeply precious to her.

She found it near the forest, behind a tree which had been spared when the area had been cleared for use by the founders of the town. The child stood over the savaged corpse of a dragon, quietly playing with it’s claws.

#ThrowdownThursday: Beneath the Moonlight

Once again #ThrowdownThursday comes from /r/WritingPrompts. The writing prompt today was pulled from the top of the reddit feed.

[WP] You discover that you suddenly gain the ability to control anyone you’d like. However, their consciousness talks to you as you do so.

She was standing out on the balcony when I came in. I could feel the cold air as it swept through the apartment and follow it to her. She stood in her favorite red dress staring up at the night sky. The moon caused her skin to glow pale white, and the dress made her hair burn. Her lips, as she turned to me, were the color of fresh cherries, and her eyes shimmered beneath her long painted eyelashes. A single tear escaped as she spoke. 

“What am I going to do?” She hugged a piece of paper to her chest as more tears followed. Her breathing caught in a self-deprecating laugh as she attempted to smile. “You’re early.”

“I was too worried to wait,” I replied, and she let out a short hysterical burst of laughter. 

“I guess I should have known.” She sighed and held the paper out where she could see it. For a long moment she just stared at it, and I stared at her as my apprehension began to rise. 

“What does the paper say?” I finally asked.

She answered by offering it to me. I took a cautious step towards her, and then berated myself. As if anything I did now could make it worse. I closed the gap more confidently and retrieved the paper from her outstretched hand. 

At first my brain refused to comprehend the words, as if a sudden lack of understanding could make them untrue. Then everything began to make sense. 

My head snapped up to find her face, but instead met with her vibrant hair. She had returned to the balcony and climbed over the rail. Her form stood hanging over the ten-story drop calmly. 

She turned to look at me one last time, and  brought one hand to her lips to blow me a kiss. “Good-bye, my love. I didn’t want you here for this.” Her other hand loosened, and I felt the world stop. 

In that instant I could see my whole life shattering around me, and my mind violently rejected it. As my body ran to try and stop the inevitable, my mind mirrored it, reaching out to hers. 

“No! Don’t let go.” I screamed, and her hand tightened. I reached the balcony and pulled her back over. She didn’t fight. Instead, she spoke.

I have to go. Her voice reverberated through my mind. 

“We can work through this.” I pleaded.

It’s terminal. Her tone was soft and sympathetic, but I could feel the steel underneath. She had made her decision. 

“I’m not ready for you to go.” I could feel the river of tears running down my face. I rubbed my eyes to clear them. I needed to see her face. 

This isn’t about you. I’m in pain. Let me go.

“Then why did you hold on? You have to want to keep living. Otherwise you wouldn’t have listened to me. You never listen to me.” I placed my hand over hers in emphasis where she still held the railing. 

Because you made me, Roger.

It was only then that I noticed her lips didn’t move, and she hung limp in my arms. Her hand beneath mine was in a death grip on the railing. Even her eyes seemed hollow. 

But I could feel her in my mind, and that’s where her voice was coming from. 

Don’t take this away from me too. She begged. My chest tightened, and so did my arm around her. I buried my face in her neck, and a few more tears rolled down my checks. 

“That’s not fair. God, that’s a dirty trick.” Because that was the one thing I had promised I’d never do to her. That I’d never control her. 

But even as I told myself that I should let her go, plead with her while she was free to choose, another part of me gripped mentally tighter. I could keep her here, force her to stay until she changed her mind, until the doctors figured out how to fix it. 

Please. I want to go out while I’m still beautiful.

It was those quiet words, echoing in my mind, that finally made me release her. I closed my eyes, and tried to withdraw whatever mysterious hold my brain seemed to have on her. I felt the rigidity come back into her body, and then her arms wrapped around my neck. 

“I’m sorry.” She whispered, and then kissed my check. I could still feel the warmth of her lips as she slid out of my reach. I didn’t look up again. Not until I heard the screams from the sidewalk beneath the balcony. Then I looked towards the moon that mimicked the pale color of her skin. The moon that had been the only other witness to our farewell. 

I would never look at the moon the same again.