Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Prompt: Dynamic characters undergo transformations. Often the crux of this transformation can be dramatized as an epiphany, a moment of deep insight or understanding that changes the character. Write a story that takes place over several years where a soldier of fortune changes from "mercenary to crusader" or from "neutral to loyal" and does so because of an epiphany. Less than 400 words!
A Double-edged Knife, by Chuck E. Clark (362 words)
Gerrat had not killed as many men as winter, but he had come damn close. Years he had been at it, killing for a god who he knew was real, but spent scant attention to. The sky was real. Didn't mean he worshipped it. His god was real. He killed for him. It was just what he did. He was good at it.
There was a priest of some cult, some heresy that made a mockery of their god. Kartheh, that priest's name had been. Some kind of power play. He had not concerned himself with the details.
He should have, though.
A few guards, some cultists, no difficulties. Just a few dead bodies after he came through. Then he found the sanctum.
What was left of a young man was spread across the altar, parts that didn't seem to add up to what had once been a person. A thousand deaths on his hands, but this was different. What he did was clean, had a purpose. A purity. This was awful in a way that even he could feel the evil of. A person's pain drawn out like hot copper, stretched out into an unnatural wire of suffering. He had killed the priest, as efficient and clean as always, but carried the wrongness of what he had seen like a weight pressing out under his skin. That was the first and last time he had asked his god why he had killed someone.
The answer, filtered through priests and oracles, left him weightless with shock.
The heretical priest had tortured the young man on the altar, but that was not the problem. That was apparently normal. The problem was that the young man's still living insides had been spread about the altar in the wrong direction and order, directly against the teachings that Gerrat had never read or thought of.
Tortured wrong. That was the heresy. The reason for his upbringing and discipline and skills. His whole life.
That day, Gerrat made himself a new life, and a new goal. He was always good at killing. He would see how much discipline and skill it took to kill a god.
Labels: flash fiction monday