The Nonsense God
Posted 27 March 2012 - 04:52 PM Edited by Typhus, 27 March 2012 - 07:03 PM.
On a wide green plain sat a perfectly blue lake. Healthy reeds poked from the surface of the water and below the surface golden fish lived their happy, clueless fish-lives.
A figure sat on the bank, his scrawny legs dangling where the fish could swim around them and a worrisome crease along his forehead.
But this was not a Fisherman, this was not a man. On first sight he looked like a very plump, very self-important pigeon. But few pigeons wear clothes and this one sported a black and white striped turtleneck. On his head a dark beret was tilted ever so slightly and circular glasses hid his eyes and – he hoped – his thoughts.
No, this was not a normal pigeon. No one here was a ‘normal’. He didn’t know why, they were just born that way. Born in this green, vibrant playground. Never needing food or rest. And, from the day they came into being, called ‘Gods’.
And a God he was. Able to look over the Earth and see things that looked like him but were somehow less. As he sat by the lake he looked at one feathered hand, both wing and hand, he could hold things, roll a cigarette, anything and everything. Yet those things down below were really quite pitiful, strutting around naked, content to hide their true intelligence from the humans. Quite happy to be seen as dumb animals, just so they could survive and get by.
Truthfully, he hated them. Hated their chattering, their arrogance, how they constantly bitched about the humans but still leeched of their discarded scraps.
And he, in turn, was hated by them. He was the God of Nonsense. Whenever a Pigeon plummeted to a messy death when they were sure they could fly, he was to blame. Whenever a Pigeon, for no reason whatsoever, was found in a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken covered in hot batter, he was to blame. He was the master of the meaningless, and they hated him, hated how their lives were nothing but a plaything to this unseen, malevolent figure.
But on this day, he had something else on his mind. Matters far more important than pigeons, matters of respect and status, matters of matrimony.
There had been a wedding. The two of them had stepped into the Pavilion, hand-in-hand, and been locked together. Like all marriages, it was arranged. Loveless, orderly, businesslike.
There’s your husband, wash his clothes, sleep with him and if you could give me a grandchild, I’d really appreciate it, sweetheart.
And yet they all stood there, wide smiles on their beaks, clutching their own wives and husbands as if their feelings were genuine and not the result of being pressured to the altar.
The God saw a golden fish looking up at him with innocent black eyes. With a thought, he lifted the creature out of the lake and watched it squirm in mid-air, it’s mouth panting and pouting as it slowly drowned.
“But will they give me a wife?” He asked to the emptiness around him, folding his wings and suddenly feeling like he was a child again, being deprived of a toy by strict and uncaring parents. “Oh no! Heaven forbid! Not me! Not weird, crazy, fat little me! I’d spread my genes. Have lots of weird little kids running around. We couldn’t have that, could we? No, no, no.”
Suddenly he looked at the fish and considered what a charmed life this creature lived. No family. Just endless days of swimming. No one blaming him for simply existing, no one ignoring him because he had a unique sense of humour or peculiar fashion sense. But did he want that? Did he want to be ignored?
No, came a voice inside him, I want to thrive. I want respect, I want everything I know I deserve.
Without even noticing it, he had been twisting the fish this way and that, breaking its spine. His mind worked that way often, any little animal that crossed his path seemed to be flayed or broken. He couldn’t help it, he had an overactive imagination.
Respect. Status. Sex. Yes, he wanted that. Wanted it with a hunger and a passion he had never known before now.
In the distance, he heard his uncle cry out for the cake. Looked like the party was in full swing and one day he swore it would be him being cheered and patted on the back. One day he’d show them all.
“One day?” A silken, milky voice asked. “Why not today? Why not now?”
The young God looked straight ahead and saw a figure on the other side of the lake. He had been looking there for a good few minutes, why was he only seeing this stranger now? Where had he come from?
“Come on over, little one. I won’t bite. I think we have a shared enemy, and a common goal.”
And slowly, unsurely, the Nonsense God got to his feet and paced around the lake. Forging his destiny with every footstep.
Posted 27 March 2012 - 06:16 PM
|a Pigeon, for no reason whatsoever, was found in a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken covered in hot batter|
You've put me off getting bargain bastard buckets now.
It's a wonderfully confusing piece -to me anyway- but I can understand the Pigeon's desire. To once step down ad remove the mantle of omnipotence. To prove to others he too can show them he can do what they do, with much more purer form.
I could ramble on about my own interpretations but this is to help you. Your writing is brilliant, no mistakes as far as I can see, and I look forward to a 2 if you decide to follow up.
Posted 28 March 2012 - 10:17 AM
|QUOTE (Ziggy455 @ Tuesday, Mar 27 2012, 18:16)|
|It's a wonderfully confusing piece -to me anyway-|
To me too. I struggled to get any sensical interpretation from it if i'm honest. It's different, i'll give you that. I had a conversation yesterday with someone on how there's seemingly nothing that's not been done, and sure this is something i don't think i've ever seen before but if i am completely honest, i just don't get it. Perhaps it's the lack of sleep last night, perhaps the V forum's turned my brain to mush, i dunno...
Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:40 PM
I may be completely missing the point here but... do you see a bit of yourself in the pigeon, Typhus? Just a little? There seems to be a lot of genuine, heartfelt anger, contempt and even desire in there.
Posted 28 March 2012 - 03:53 PM
|QUOTE (SIKKS66 @ Wednesday, Mar 28 2012, 15:40)|
| Ah so you finally got round to writing this. I remember you talking about writing a piece about "animals as gods" or something in the Social Club (or it might have been another thread?). I was intrigued at the time, good to see it come to fruition. I noted the little "1" at the start. Cannot help but wonder where "2" might bring us. To another divine beast or perhaps continuing the parable of the pigeon. I felt the story was nicely contained as it is but cannot help but wonder who the stranger across the lake was.|
I may be completely missing the point here but... do you see a bit of yourself in the pigeon, Typhus? Just a little? There seems to be a lot of genuine, heartfelt anger, contempt and even desire in there.
most good characters reflect parts of ourselves i think. To some extent anyway.
I remember the conversation in the social club now!
Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:30 PM
Posted 29 March 2012 - 01:39 AM
Posted 29 March 2012 - 02:42 AM
I came to realise that that broken and almost dyspeptic delivery was in fact part of the intent, part of the balance.
Really really liked it. I don't have to deconstruct it any further - I really liked it
Posted 05 April 2012 - 04:33 AM
The phrase ‘best day of my life’ holds a great deal of weight to us mortals, because our days are numbered and filled with all sorts of drudgery and repetitive obligations. Feed the cat, go to work, refuel the car, so on and so forth.
But a God has no obligations. And The God of Justice routinely spent his days with a beer in one feathered hand and a big screen Television in front of him. He may not have understood humans. But he loved Raymond and even had a soft spot for his insane, nagging Mother.
And yet, despite his omnipotence, despite every pleasure being a thought away, this day was beyond all his expectations.
Sitting at a long table, under a billowing tent, he felt something of a fraud. All those congratulations, all those people wishing him well and giving speeches in honour of the groom. Did he deserve any of it? What did he do exactly?
The pigeons below loved him. He had no clue why that was. Apparently, he gave them justice from their persecutors – the humans, the cats, certain angry seagulls. Supposedly, he was their avenging angel. Whenever a human exterminator breathed in his own poison, whenever a cat lost its tail, whenever a seagull was covered in oil and suffocated – that was him. The God of Justice, at your service.
But he never did any of those things. He couldn’t freeze time, the days above the Earth passed in the same cycle as they did on the planet below. The only difference was that he didn’t age, he didn’t get sick and he didn’t need to eat out of a dustbin.
The only ‘justice’ he ever meted out was when he threw the remote at the TV when Simon Cowell made a particularly cutting remark about some budding singer. He couldn’t do much more than that though, humans had their own Gods and they were a bizarre bunch to say the least.
Hey, he thought, don’t look a gift Horse in the mouth. You’re being complimented, applauded, celebrated. Does it matter why? Just sit back and get blind stinking drunk like anyone else would.
And, as always, that indulgent voice won out. For a fearless warrior of Justice, he always seemed to take the easy way out. Apart, of course, when it came to fashion. Some Gods favoured the scary, vengeful look, lots of skull motifs and thrones lined in Pigeon skin. But The God of Justice had style and he knew it. His robe was emerald and gold tartan and on his skull was a headdress filled with bright feathers of green, violet and indigo. It all seemed to say: I’m The God of Justice, baby. Take off your clothes, heh, heh, heh.
Now they were all sitting down themselves, looking at him with patient expectance.
Ah, he thought, the speech. I wish someone had reminded me about this.
They had, several times, very loudly, for two months. But he just waved them away, he’d had business to attend to.
“That’s your cue.” His wife whispered, nudging him a little. “Please tell me you’ve got something prepared.”
He chuckled mirthlessly and felt his eyes darting back and forth.
“W-what are you implying? That I’ve spent the last two months drinking apple cider and playing LittleBigPlanet? I mean,” he laughed again, “that’s got to be, well, y’know, the most ridiculous thing I ever heard.”
She looked at the guests, her smile merely painted on at that point. Her words escaping through her nervous grin in a quiet, furious rush.
“Damn it, I warned you about that game. Why do you play it anyway? Doesn’t being a God and having unlimited power kind of make computer games redundant?” She shook her head, probably remembering the dozen arguments they’d had on this very subject beforehand. “Just say something. Please.”
He stood up and took a glass in his hand and saw that it was half full of dark red wine. He gulped it down to give him a little courage but still had no idea of how to dig himself out of this hole.
“I just have one thing to say.” He stated in that rumbling, ominous way Gods speak when they’ve got a point to make. “The truth is that, well, everybody’s got a special kind of story. Everybody finds a way to shine.”
They were all deathly silent. Good. That was a good sign, wasn’t it?
“And get this. They’ll have theirs. And you’ll have yours. And I’ll have mine. And together we’ll be fine.”
Coughs, a few mumbled words. They were clearly overawed but still needed a big conclusion.
He raised his empty glass to them.
“To me!” He cried and felt someone jab him in the ribs. “Us. I mean, that’s what I said. To US! Happy couple! Many...happy...returns.”
Though his glass was empty he drank anyway, everyone did the same.
I guess I’m off the hook, he thought with a smirk.
Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:09 AM
Posted 09 April 2012 - 08:53 AM
He thought he was off the hook.
The Goddess of Pity looked at the guests and saw the same thing she felt in herself. Bafflement. Here they were, toasting the happy couple, and the groom couldn’t even be arsed to say a few words.
He thought he was so clever. She was fully aware that he was just stealing lines from an old sitcom, did he think she lived under a rock? She watched TV just like everyone else and knew cheap sentimentalism when she saw it.
Of course, noticing phony emotions was her raison d’être. Unlike her new husband, she took her duties very seriously. They called her The Goddess of Pity. Beloved of the downtrodden, always smiling on the Pigeon with the missing foot or the gouged eye. Why was she born with so much power? She had no idea, but when she was a child she eventually figured out that she could get more food by simply thinking about it. And when she saw the Pigeons down below, crying to her in the night and at their secret, hidden shrines. She couldn’t help but feel bad for them.
Despite her power, despite her incredible gifts. She couldn’t be in two places at once. Maybe she wasn’t strong enough, maybe it would come with age. But she couldn’t answer every prayer and solve every problem. And sometimes good birds died, often horribly.
She could have cried and sobbed, but why? She knew there was an afterlife. It may have been overcrowded and unfair, but there was life after death.
What she resolved to do was get the Pigeons to do the work for her. Find the smartest birds in a city or town and appear to them, tell them what kinds of things could avoid all the nasty accidents and infections. Don’t fly in front of busses, don’t eat coins, that kind of stuff.
She was getting nowhere, her messengers were constantly branded as lunatics. It didn’t help that being approached by a God made some think that they were somehow divine. Mortals did a pretty good job of f*cking themselves over, let alone busses and coins.
Cripples may have elicited her sympathy but her husband did not. She had little pity for someone who knew people relied on him and willingly ignored their cries for help. “God of Justice”? What a joke. What a sick, sick joke.
The only reason she was marrying this fool was because of certain unenlightened gender roles amongst the Gods. The male deities got all the cool titles. God of War. God of Cannibalism. God of Dive-bombing Humans In the Face. The ladies had to put up with titles about food or birth or wishy-washy virtues that never amounted to much in the real world.
She saw her husband sit down beside her, looking much too smug. She noted his smile, the way his eyes passed over her and how his hand automatically slipped back to the bottle of wine on their table. And suddenly, Heaven seemed like the most depressing place in existence.
An eternity of laziness, boozing and sub-par human comedy. Great.
Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:50 PM
|God of Dive Bombing Humans in the Face|
I have a new god.
I'm gonna keep this simple. I'm loving this. So bizzarre but... Cool!
Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:58 PM
Why didn’t he recognise him?
The God of Nonsense knew everyone in the whole lousy afterlife. Not that any of them were worth knowing. But he could tell you, name for name, who sat in the Heavens, who looked down on him. But this one, the one who called out to him, was different.
He was a lean, well-groomed bird. He seemed to stand rigid, his chest did not pound up and down with the working of his heart but was as still and motionless as a rock. But what was that he was wearing?
“You have a lot of courage.” Nonsense grinned, walking closer to this interloper , unaware of the small drops of fish blood that had speckled his face. “Not a lot of people can pull off a bowler hat nowadays.”
The stranger gave a choked laugh. The laugh of someone unversed in mirth. One feathered hand picked a speck of dirt from his black suit and rubbed it into nothingness. He tilted his head and observed the young God with warm humour.
“And fewer can pull off the Beatnik look.”
Nonsense felt his smile widen considerably, but he was far from happy. Even strangers, even complete strangers, felt that they could mock him with impunity. Maybe he’d break this one, like he broke that fish. Yes, that would do nicely. With all the wedding hubbub no one would know what had happened. He could just walk up to -
The stranger lifted up his thin silver cane and prodded the youngster in his considerable stomach, holding him back with a quiet force. “Have a care, little one,” he whispered, “I’m here to help.”
With a petulant sweep of his hand he pushed away the cane and turned around, laughing a little self consciously.
“Help, whelp, kelp, delp, pelp. Boring, boring, boring. Who sent you? My Mum? Daddy?”
Yes, they must have noticed he wasn’t at the wedding. They wouldn’t like that one bit, it would get people talking.
“Your Dad is shaking his groove thang to Phil Collins and your Mother is actually at home right now. Getting it on with...oh.” The pigeon tapped his beak with the cane and looked momentarily perplexed, at last he smiled and clicked his fingers. “The God of Tobacco and Herbs. That’s it. Right now she’s showing him that old dining table in the kitchen, she’ll probably show it to him three or four more times before your father gets home.”
Nonsense contemplated an outburst about his Mother’s character.
Don’t talk about her that way! He’d cry. She’s my Mum, I lover her!
But seeing that other pair of eyes, half-hidden behind crescent shaped spectacles, it finally clicked that he didn’t need to pretend. Not with this one. He wasn’t sure if that was a comforting thought or not. He didn’t like the idea of anyone knowing what made him tick. If they did, they might decide it would be safer to simply kill him in the middle of the night. Too dangerous, too weird, not worth the effort.
“I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.” He said at length, folding his arms. But yes, he did. The God of Tobacco and Herbs was his fathers best friend. A drunken, crude, smelly old scab of a God. A loose, moist cigarette always hung out of his beak and his belly was bloated from his strict diet of beer and nicotine. Mum would probably bed him just to piss off her old man. Self-centred bitch.
The stranger nodded slowly, as though he heard all of the thoughts and suspicions that had floated around inside the mind of the little God. Heard them, understood them and approved. He looked very pleased with himself all of a sudden.
“As you like it. But I’m going to the wedding, it’s winding down right now. The God of Justice is slowly falling asleep. He’s drinking too much. They’re starting to leave. It’s all very embarrassing.”
He didn’t doubt it. That lazy, do-nothing pretty boy had everything he ever wanted handed to him on a silver platter and didn’t appreciate it at all. And for all his laziness all those lemmings down below loved him.
I pray to Justice every night. He is our strength, our rage our might. And whilst our lives are full of care. I know he’s always standing there.
Hymns. They sang hymns to him. And he just got bladdered.
“I’m going.” The stranger cooed, his face a mask of quiet peace. He looked like a dandified Zen master. “And I think you’ll tag along too. By the time we get to the tent, they’ll all have left, even the blushing bride. I have work to do. I can do it without you, but I’d like your help. Will you help me?”
“Help you do what exactly?” He asked carefully. Half suspecting that there was a bucket full of pigs blood waiting to be dumped on him. They’d all laugh at that, that’s for damn sure. This weirdo was probably just sent to play a cruel joke on him.
A cool smirk appeared on the strangers face and his hand drew something out of his cane. A long strip of rusty metal. He held it in the air for a second and it shimmered, like blue waves rolling endlessly under the sun. And then it began to wilt into the shape of a half-moon, aged metal moulded with the ease of a baker kneading dough.
With a scaly crack it hardened and he was left holding a weather-worn sickle. From the looks of it, it had been used decades earlier and simply left out in the rain when the work was done.
“You and me, my friend,” he tittered, “are going to help The God of Justice be the best God he can be.”
Posted 07 May 2012 - 07:45 PM
Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:07 PM
|QUOTE (orbitalraindrops @ Monday, May 7 2012, 19:45)|
|The animal aspect reminds me of Anansis Boys and the quirky obscure Gods remind me as those found in Old Gods. Fan of Neil Gaiman perchance?. Also like I said about 4 times I think your'e projecting yourself too much into the characters. I could critiscise the writing but it's better than mine and I enjoyed reading it so there's not really any point picking up on any grammar errors which I've probably got wrong nayway. I enjoyed it anyway. 7.5/10|
I have never heard of Neil Gaiman so I cannot comment on any similarities between my ideas and his.
And as for projecting myself on the characters, that's not necessarily so.
A common character archetype I find myself replicating is that of a man drunk with power. For instance, a nobody who is suddenly infused with Godlike powers and abuses them.
I admit, that is a common theme for me, because the concept of megalomania is something very close to my own psyche.
But in this story, I'm turning it on its head. This is not about people abusing power, going mad with grandiose delusions or anything similar.
It is basically a story based on my own theological ideas.
Mainly, what if God was held to account? What if God, who has let so many people down, so often, was confronted with his failiures? He couldn't hide behind the 'love' rhetoric, he couldn't pass off difficult questions by raising his voice and making the Heavens thunder, he would be held to account. He would be powerless and forced to confront all the people he had let down.
That's the concept behind this story. But it's a wider world and I have other ideas for the animals within.
Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:32 PM
|Don’t talk about her that way! He’d cry. She’s my Mum, I lover her!|
I feel like a c*nt pointing that out, but that really is the only real mistake I've found within this gem of a story. If it's there on purpose, ignore my sh*t.
But I'm seeing these characters perfectly, Nonsense and Justice seem very similar in ways but that's the idea of good characters, you know each one is to their own and you've definitely shown that here. I can't wait for the next piece!
Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:21 PM
|QUOTE (Ziggy455 @ Tuesday, May 8 2012, 20:32)|
me and the mrs say that to each other all the time haha
Keep up the work though typhus, although it's weird, it's good
Posted 27 May 2012 - 04:43 PM
Yes, there he was. Just as the stranger had said. Underneath a tree, his fat head propped against the bark and his little hat tilted at one side. But was he asleep? Those beady little eyes were not entirely closed but he made no sign that he saw them or even cared that one of them was carrying a sickle and a whole bag full of bad intentions.
The God of Nonsense shook his head, feeling an unusual twinge of pity for bride, the bride who was spending her honeymoon alone. Forced into a loveless marriage. The Gods were truly a caring bunch, weren’t they?
The stranger brushed past his young companion and squatted next to the drunkard, grasping his shoulder and shaking him gently.
“Wake up. We need to talk.”
A grunt, a belch and a sudden odour of fried eggs filled the air.
He slapped the drunken wretch across the beak. Nothing, he was out cold.
“Idiot.” He muttered, digging the sickle into the grass and into the soft brown mud. “Nonsense, do you know what the ordinary pigeons on Earth think of you? You’re barely considered a God at all. There is no shrine dedicated to you in Pigeonopolis, no sermons are ever given in your honour at Trafalgar Square. You exist in whispers, in the foolish tales of frightened children. Even I get more respect than that.”
Nonsense shrugged, all this was old news. He knew what they thought of him and had driven himself mad with bitterness because of it. Everything the stranger said could not make him feel more worthless than he already did.
“This buffoon right here was handed everything. But he’s squandered all his gifts, I doubt he even remembers how to fly. I’ve watched him, watched him for years and years, getting fatter, lazier and stupider. He’s not fit to be a God.”
The stranger got back to his feet and tightened his grip on the sickle, his eyes hardened and he nodded with a firm resolve.
“But you. You won’t misuse your power because you understand what it’s like to be powerless. Yes, I think you know a lot more about Justice than this thing under the tree. So, here’s the deal. Right now, I am going to skin him alive and take him somewhere safe. You will wear the skin and as long as you do so, they will think you are him. You get his status, his wife and the kind of respect you’ve always dreamed of. Sound good?”
The Nonsense God narrowed his eyes behind their glasses. Of course, he wanted this to be true but how often did anyone ever get their true hearts desire? The world was simply not that fair. Before he could question the seriousness of this whole plan he heard a sickening squelch and saw that the sickle had already begun to do its work.
He carved a thick red line down the belly of the drunken God, the blade effortlessly carving its way through feathers and flesh. Along the sickle went, moving around his skull and across his wings and back, the odour of blood circled the scene but no help came, only flies eager for a feast.
When it was over, the strange grabbed a handful of feathers. With a swift pull he lifted into the air what looked like a pigeon costume, albeit one that was dripping blood everywhere.
On the grass lay the God of Justice, still sleeping, but now nothing more than muscle and sinew, a raw thing not yet cooked.
“You did it.” Nonsense whispered in astonishment, both horrified and amused. “You actually did it.”
The dripping pelt was held in front of his beak, just waiting to be put on. Nonsense slowly grasped it and for a second hesitated, the coldness of the dead flesh unnerving him.
“There’s something I should tell you.” Said the stranger in a grave tone. “I am strong. Much stronger than you, much stronger than anyone here. This is not a gift, it’s a job. If you abuse this power, if you let down those who worship you or give in to your baser instincts, I will find out. And if that happens? I can destroy you in seconds, it would be no more difficult than pecking a blade of grass from the mud.”
“I doubt that’s really true.” Nonsense smirked, finally overcoming his moment of doubt and taking the suit. “But I’ll play along regardless.”
The stranger looked pleased and tipped his hat to the younger God. Without another word he turned to the flayed thing on the grass and heaved it onto one shoulder, without a care for the thick stains it left on his suit.
He carried the old, redundant God of Justice away until he was nothing but a dark spot on the edge of Heaven.
Posted 18 August 2012 - 03:18 PM
If the God of Justice had not been so inebriated he would have taken issue with the pigeon who had stolen his skin, and he would have been more than a little vexed that Nonsense – the family joke – was enjoying his honeymoon with his wife.
But inebriated he was, so much so that he never woke when his abductor took him to a circular patch of dry earth and dropped him like a sack of potatoes. He never woke when the stranger tapped his cane on the earth and the God of Justice was swallowed down the muddy sinkhole. When his mauled body bounced off jagged, purple rocks and plummeted into a sickly green pond, he never even stirred.
The stranger had flown down after him, his eyes sharp and cold, his suit burning up into black waves of cinder. Noiselessly he dropped to the edge of the pond.
He stretched his wings and let out a low sigh of relief, he was himself again, in his true form, the form all the ordinary birds were so deathly afraid of.
Instead of the ordinary mesh of grey and green, his feathers were a rich shade of crimson and looked as hard and impenetrable as the skin of a dragon. Atop his head, with its long black beak, were two feathery spikes, horns.
He looked at the foul water and sniffed the air, he knew that smell, it was the sweet sizzle of cooking flesh. Usually they screamed as the water did its work and stripped them down to the bone.
Ah, he reminded himself wryly, this is a God we're dealing with.
But Gods could still be hurt, perhaps not physically, but in other ways. A God was still possessed of a soul, like all other living creatures, and any soul could be broken.
He saw, with no little amusement, that bubbles had at last began to appear on the surface and slowly there rose a frantic sloshing sound, bony arms trying to claw their way back into the light.
"Finally sobered up, have we?" He guffawed, shaking his head with quiet disdain.
With a splash, the God sprung from the water and collapsed on the cold purple earth. He panted and puffed, even though he no longer had any lungs.
Like every other resident, he had been relieved of his burdensome skin and the feathers that surrounded it. He lay on the ground as a collection of bones that still hung and moved in the shape of a living being. There were no eyes in his skull, no tongue in his beak, no entrails in his belly, he was dead. But in this world, that was no barrier to speech or sight, the normal rules did not apply and he could see everything around him as he lifted up his bleached skull.
The landscape was a vast, hilly mass. The ground was not made of soil, but jutting rocks that lay like the scales of a fish. The sky was black and starless, there was no moon, just darkness. In the distance came the sound of screaming and the crackle of fire.
He could see large buildings rising up in the dim, grey monoliths alive with anguished chatter.
"What is this place?" he whispered.
"My home." His abductor smiled, putting his wing on the God and lifting him to his feet. "It's no Paris, but I find it has its own quaint little charm."
The God of Justice looked at him, taking in the blood red feathers and the twin horns atop his head. Had he paid more attention to events of Earth, he would have known who this was, he would have known how the pigeons hated him, he would have known that he was standing before The Devil.
"You're probably wondering why you're here." The Devil stated apologetically.
"I'm wondering why I'm not back home." Justice snapped, not looking his host in the eye.
Why wasn't he back home? Usually when he wanted to be somewhere he simply ended up there in a flash. As soon as he saw the endless gloom of the sky and heard the wails and screams he had longed to be back on his chair watching the television. But it wasn't working, nothing was working.
Even bringing back his skin and feathers was not possible. It began to dawn on him that he was powerless, for the first time in his whole existence, he was powerless.
"I've temporarily confiscated your...abilities. "
"For how long?" He asked, fear bubbling away in the empty space that was his stomach.
The Devil considered him with quiet boredom, looking at a small rock on the ground as he pushed it around with his foot.
"Let's take a walk." He concluded, not answering the question.
If there was anyone he didn't want to be around, it was this Devil, this creature who had abducted him, disfigured him and stolen...everything. Everything he enjoyed, everything he felt or valued. Gone.
But what else could he do? Unless he followed after him, he'd be left all alone, alone with the darkness and the endless screaming.
With a hollow shudder, the God of Justice and the Devil walked side by side up the hills of Hell.
Posted 18 August 2012 - 03:49 PM
Posted 26 August 2012 - 10:02 AM
They walked for a while, their path illuminated only by the sharp wall of purple rocks on either side of them. The two did not converse, the Devil looking ahead with firm eyes and a twitching excitement but the God of Justice staring at the ground, certain this was all a joke.
Surely it was some kind of elaborate practical joke. What enemies did he have? The Gods were mostly a corrupt, overly serious bunch. His wife, for instance, was certainly a great beauty but absolutely obsessed with those filthy creatures who fluttered around the Earth.
"The Libido Killer" he privately called her, but he knew there was nothing malicious about his wife.
No one sprung to mind, save for perhaps the God of Tobacco and Herbs, that smelly old pisshead might have gone on a bender and arranged this whole thing.
Or maybe one of the older Gods, the fringe Gods who lived in the darker corners of the afterlife.
Cannibalism, who consisted only of severed wings and claws, shuffling through the shadows in a misshapen huddle. Or perhaps the God of Excrement? The thing that took the shape of a pigeon but upon further inspection was a rancid heap of crusted droppings?
He suspected them most, purely because he had never talked to them. They were barely worshipped at all these days, maybe they were bitter, maybe that was why they did this to him.
He was so busy imagining how someone had tricked like this that he failed to notice the Devil stop in his tracks. He bumped into his guide and fell clattering to the ground, his bare bones rattling and scraping on the hard stones beneath.
When he had pulled himself up he gasped, they were no longer wandering aimlessly in the darkness, before them both stood a gigantic wooden gate, framed by an endless green wall .
Behind them he could see the monoliths again, but now it was clear that they were home to thousands of pigeons, he saw them fly out in droves, or stick their heads out and shout at their neighbours beneath them.
More troubling was the rusted tower he could just spot behind them, its entire perimeter was a mass of twisted metal spikes and barbs, the air around it was not black but rather a sickly shade of yellow that plumed around it like a noxious gas.
He felt a light tap on his arm and saw the Devil grinning at him.
"Quite a sight, isn't it?"
"Yes," he agreed, "yes it is. What is that tower?"
At this question, his eyes narrowed.
"Rented space, you'll visit it soon enough. But first we have other sights to see."
He took a step forward and the gates opened silently for him, revealing a bustling courtyard. Justice saw that the floor was tiled with black and white squares and though crowds of skeletal pigeons sauntered here and there, the ground was as flawless and clean as if he had been built that same day.
Before them both was something more imposing, a stone foutain which pumped out a constant stream of shining water. In the centre of the fountain was a statue of the Devil himself, looking over his city, arms folded and a benevolent curve of his beak.
Whilst none of the inhabitants had need of food or drink, Justice saw them huddle around the fountain, greedily filling their beaks and then strutting away looking perfectly quenched.
"This is my city," the Devil declared proudly, "Corpsestantinople. Though some of our more pessimistic citizens refer to it as 'Hell'." He shook his head, Justice thought he looked a little sad. "Don't ask me why. Good or bad, when you die down there, you end up here. It's a generally fair place, there's no reward for the good and no punishment for the bad." He paused for a moment and chuckled darkly. "Well, not always."
The two walked through the courtyard and Justice saw the citizens gawping at their master, some bowing their heads in deference, others waving friendlily and a few exchanging hurried whispered before slinking away.
"Where are we going?" Justice asked, peeking another nervous glance at the hideous tower jutting out over the hills which ran through the city.
The Devil gave an indifferent shrug.
"I feel hungry, are you hungry?"
Strangely enough, he was, or about as hungry as a walking skeleton could reasonably expect to be.
"I know this delightful family who live just a few streets from here. Why don't we pop in for some dinner? I'm sure they'd all love to meet you."
There was a sarcasm in his voice that he didn't care for, not just sarcasm but scorn, even hatred. Just what had he done that was so wrong? Who had he offended?
He considered apologising but his last vestiges of pride stopped him. From a God to a sobbing wreck, he could never live with that.
On and on they went, weaving through intricate streets of nests and food stalls, the air rife with the stench of seeds and rotten food. The vendors cried out over the masses, advertising half-eaten sausages and cold chips.
"You feed them mouldy chips?" Justice asked, a little incredulously.
"No, I sell them mouldy chips."
He snorted at this and shook his head.
"You mean they have to pay for this sh*t?"
The Devil gave a satisfied nod and even had an extra spring in his step.
"They ate it whilst they were alive and were happy enough." He reasoned. "And yes, I charge them for it. Do you have any idea how boring eternity is? I realised quickly that I needed to create an economy and social class to stop this lot from going crazy. So I let them keep their hunger, I let them keep their lust, I let them keep all the things that drive and destroy the lives of the living. That is the key to the afterlife, you see. Constant struggle. Laziness and over-indulgence doesn't get you anything besides diabetes."
"Some of us can afford to indulge ourselves." Justice retorted casually.
The streets of the city were labyrinthine mazes, skeletal figures happily popping in and out of their low, wooden homes. How they found their way around this place Justice would never know, he supposed that they had learned all the alleyways and shortcuts off by heart, there probably wasn't much else to do with their time.
Eventually his eyes were drawn to a chick idling by a doorway, how young was she when she died? Justice didn't know, but something about the sight of this stunted little bird rankled him.
"Hey, sweetheart." The Devil said pleasantly, patting her skull with his wing. "Your parents in?"
She gave him a quick hug and nodded her head, looking up with the childish over-excitement life didn't have the chance to rob her of.
"They're right inside Mr. Alasdair, we're all going to visit my grandparents."
"Well, me and my friend here have to chat with them for a moment. Just wait out here, we won't be long."
She nodded again, but Justice saw her give him a sidelong glance, only a fleeting look, but he sensed some unease in her, some distrust. You don't belong here, her eyes said, you're not one of us.
But whether he belonged or not, he still followed the Devil into the small wooden nest.
Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:46 PM
I know you're not into undue praise, and the work obviously isn't perfect, but all in all it's a compelling story. I just hope you don't drop it like "the Man in the Grey Hood" (which was excellent though unfinished as far as I know).
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