GrunkleStanwhich t1_je8wm6s wrote

It has all been burned. Legends on the battlefield now piles of dust soon to be blown away. Their legacy amounting to nothing but hopes of a single line in a book written on some third-hand account. Anything unfortunate enough to be left whole will rot and decay, be buried without graves. Nature will be sure to feast on the spoils.

And yet somehow amongst this ruin I remain. Amongst the blood that covers the dining hall walls, the flesh that fills the porcelain bowls at the table, in the rot and ruin, I am all that is left.

As I pass through the halls I am reminded of the scenes I have witnessed. Server boys cut down holding silver trays of olives. Father's losing sons, brothers killing brothers in blind anger. And in the end, all of it for a treasure that now only the living could possess. Only I.

The moment King Ledonous fell, the throne planted its hooks in my brain, called out to me from the beyond. Like a gnat in my ear it buzzed Sit, you are deserving. You are King if you just wish.

I looked around the chaos of the battle to see if anyone else had heard, but no faces turned. Only I could hear its want. Maybe it knew, knew I'd be the lone survivor of the bloody battle. Or maybe I had only survived only in pursuit of its power. Either way it called to me, even now.

You are champion! Come, find me and take your seat. Rule. The thrones voice floated through the castle halls like the smells of spring, wafting me ever closer.

Too long without power and the world collapses. It is you, it must be you! It begged.

Upon reaching the Great Hall the throne suddenly hushed into a collage of gossiping whispers in my head; I could hear none of what they said. The Kings headless corpse still remained on the seat, blood pouring down his blue robes and turning them black.

Voices flooded my head all at once, crowding to fit, begging to be heard. Each pushing the other aside to yell to me. I shut my eyes tight.

It could all be mine if I just took a seat I thought. And then the voices agreed, screaming in a castrophony of anguished voices.

You are deserving, no?

It could all be yours if you just took a seat

Take a seat


Upon opening my eyes I was face to face with the still seated corpse of Ledonous, his whitened hands now gesturing to take his place. From a great glass window above a beam of colored light shone down upon him as his hands bent. Bent in cracks like the twisting of a rabbits neck as he invited me to the throne, then the corpse fell limp from the seat.

Become. King. King Azadeus The throne belted its final plea.

I reached out with an eager hand and a greedy mind, gripping the arms of the throne. But the ecstacy died, replaced by images of the kings before me flooding my mind. One beheaded, another burned, a queen flayed; each flash revealing another stain on the throne in an infinite stack of stains that only piled larger. The throne was suddenly covered in its past.

I reached out beyond the throne and gripped a lantern from the wall behind.

What is this. Take your place foolish man! The throne yelled.

"You are ugly." I replied, slamming the lantern down in a burst of sparks.

And as the fire burned behind me, the castle belted smoke up to the sky, I was glad it was me that the throne had chosen.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_je8t26v wrote

After the echoing sounds of gunshots the room had gone silent. A sprawl of various masked men lay in pain on the ground, most holding their sides or stumbling to find the door. I looked around, feeling pleased with a job well done; Abby, well Abby did not look nearly as much so.

"What did you just do!?" Abby yelled across the room, eyes wide with surprise.

"I shot him! He was coming right at me!" On the ground the man was still writhing in pain, moaning and clutching the space where the bullet had carved a path straight through his abdomen.

"Oops, one moment." I walked up and fired two more rounds into him, silencing him in a splatter of gore. "There, now we did it!"

"Jesus Christ Quinn, we're heroes for gods sake!"

"Yes, thats the spirit! We saved the day! So, how do you want to celebrate, drinks? Im buying." I winked.

Abby rubbed her temples in annoyance, the magical sparkles that always radiated from her like a drizzling rain now dried up, leaving her appearing almost normal. Almost aside from the bright pink dress and matching wizards hat. I didn't much understand the outfit, but I guess it made about as much sense in a fight as my suit did.

"Ok Quinn, listen, please just listen." Abby floated over, gliding over the piles of bodies until she met my face. "You are a hero now, so you can't just shoot people."

"But I just did. See that guy? I just shot the hell out of him and I feel great."

"Heroes don't shoot people!"

" if I had beaten him to death I'd be more of a hero? Here get that guy." I pointed across the room to a black suited man stumbling for the door. "I'll try again on him!"

The man turned wide eyed, first to me, then down to the bloodied body at my feet, and finally launched himself headfirst through the doors.

"See! That guy will never commit a crime again, and all it took was me shooting a man to death."

Abby was no longer listening though, instead she was bent down besides the corpse pressing her hand gently to his wounds. And for a moment an unnatural feeling spread through the room. As if all the air, all the sound and the atmosphere itself had left. I felt that even if I could speak in this moment that if I tried then the noise would be pulled into the void, lost to the blanket of invisible snow that now encompassed me.

A rain of light fell down from Abby onto the man I'd shot as the blood was sucked back into his body as if through a series of straws stuck in his back. Then, with a final hand gesture from Abby, he rose.

"Get down he's back for round two!" I raised my gun, but Abby put herself between him and I.

"I- I'm alive..." The man stuttered, then removed his mask off his head.

"Yes. Now you may go, your death is penance enough I think."

He did not hesitate, turning toward me with fear filled eyes before running through the door. Abby shot me an angry look.

"Hey, the way I see it that works! I brutally murder the bad guys and you bring em back. Teaches them an important lesson in humility I think." I replied to her gaze.

Abby rolled her eyes. "If that's as close to a realization I'm getting from you then so be it. Now let's get drinks. You're buying."


GrunkleStanwhich t1_je182tz wrote

Thanks! I think I had a few ideas in mind, one just being that demons could be cunning enough to snatch or borrow a person from heaven. The other being that she's not the real her and more of a representation to punish him. Up to interpretation.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_je11rg3 wrote

"In Hell you may have whatever you'd like, but it all comes at a price", the first thing the little winged imp said to me when I approached the twisted iron gates to the underworld. I knew what the little reddened ball of hatred really meant. In earth there were plenty of stories of man being tricked by the supernatural. Of wishing for everlasting fame and being granted eternal misery instead; restlessness, as fame meant to be tracked in every waking moment until the end of time. But I was smart, or so I had thought. My wish simple: let me see her again.

The imp smiled a crooked smile, teeth like the rotted keys of a long abandoned piano. His laugh was a song of fury and wrath.

"I'll take you to her then."

The gates creaked open as if they had been waiting just for me, and on the other side suddenly was her, standing amongst a field of brimstone like a single flower left alive after some great burning. Her face showed no wear, no break and no lines. Porcelain, white and left in a cabinet to be admired. In hushed words I stuttered.

"I...I it's been and eternity my love." The words choked at my throat.

But she only stared, her eyes frozen pools of blue that could only sit until unthawed by spring. A spring that I knew would never come. She blinked back in disbelief, registering what had been done to her.

"Do you know where you have stolen me from Lawrence?"

I stepped forward, through the arch of the gate and towards her, but she stepped away, miming my movements in reverse.

"Steal, no, no. I just wanted to see you. Just for a moment." Now the tears fell down my cheeks, falling to the stone floor and sizzling in little spurts of steam.

And somewhere above the imp cackled. The devious laugh of a crow hidden in the treetops, joyous at what I had done. Reveling in my misfortune. I looked up to the reddened sky's of hell but was met by nothing but a voice calling out though the void.

"Now you may see her, see her forever. You have plucked an angel from heaven, a fool disguised as a romantic. Enjoy your reward, Lawrence."

I looked to my love, who had turned away from me.

"At least we have each other, right my love?"

"Yes, and I can say that with that, you have truly made this place hell."


GrunkleStanwhich t1_jdrateo wrote

I have never been the same person two days in a row. Tom says he doesn't mind. "It's like a new adventure every day!", is what he says, and I suppose there's some truth to that thought. But I can see it in his face when he wakes up every morning to me, the new me. A droop in his eyes. A slight in his expression, as if every morning he is desperately trying to remember the me he first met, the one he fell in love with.

The pictures that scatter the walls are of that me. A me so far removed I forget what she looked like until I look at the pictures again, but when I do I cannot remember what it felt like to be her. Despite what Tom says, I know he only stays with me in hopes I become her again one day.

This morning upon waking up I am Asian; tall, thin, and model like. When I check the mirror the first thing I notice is my skin: fair and flawless, like a sheet of freshly fallen snow wrapped around me. And I feel pretty for the first time in a while.

Thankfully I'm a woman again today, the days where I'm not become... uncomfortable, for me and Tom both.

From the bedroom I can hear Tom stretch out loudly as he does most mornings, then call out.

"Who are you today?"

"A woman, really pretty." I try to hide the tiredness in my voice, but feel as if it's ingrained now.

"You sound different too. Can I see?"

As I step back into the room his eyes widen, and I feel excited to be this new form, but as usual his face droops again.

"In the past few years have you ever felt the same as you did back then?" Tom gestures over to a picture on the bedside; an image of me and him, the me before my condition.

In truth I had not. I don't even remember what being her felt like anymore, and if I did then I'd already be her again. But that's not what Tom wanted to hear. What he wanted to hear was that everyday I was closer to being her again. That any day I would return to his beck and call as who I once was. What he really wanted to hear was:

"Some days, yes. I can tell you like me better those days. But I'm getting closer so you don't have to worry."

My words were met by a soured expression, like a rotted grape staring back at me. Whether distaste for my reply or a disbelief I could not tell. It did not matter though, tomorrow I would be a new person once more and be taken another step further from the me I once was. No longer Marcy or Anna; Glenn or Carry, something new every day.

As I returned to the bathroom and looked in the mirror once more I could almost see her. The woman I had been those years ago. She teased me, flashing between the old her and the current me. I reached out to the glass and touched, my fingertips, the fingertips of this Eastern born stranger I inhabited, meeting with the fingers of the real me. If I could just push through maybe I could be her again.

"Honey, did you take your medication today?" I jumped, Toms voice startling me back.

"No, I will now" I replied, opening the bottle by the sink.

Carefully I took out a little white pill. Mood Stabilizer, is what my doctor had called them. I didn't know what that meant though. My mood wasn't the problem.

I brought the pill over to the sink and dropped it in as I did every morning, then turned on the water and watched it decay.

"There, took it." I called out.

"Good, you won't get better if you don't try sweetie. I'm proud of you and whoever you feel like today."

This time, in the mirror, I saw her. Me staring back at me. The me from all of those years ago; though as always, the moment passed.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_jdorvj6 wrote

Lightning. The flashes danced through the glass panes of the window above my bed, bringing loud booms and violent vibrations with them. Every flash sent me further from the window. Further and further back until I was teetering uncomfortably on the edge of the bedframe.

I always had a fear of storms. They brought me back to memories of my father sending me out in the cold rain to "Build strength" is what he'd say. The only thing it built though was a lifelong fear of the natural and anxiety enough for two people. Also the much later understanding that my father had never wanted a girl, so I would have to do. No matter how many times he sent me out into the rain I never came back stronger; only cold, wet, and a little more terrified.

Another rumble of thunder, this time much closer sending a shaking through the room that I thought would send the great windows lining the wall clattering out of their frames and into pieces on the floor.

This time when I jumped a great scaled head pressed up against my arm in comforting reply. I turned to face it, my eyes locking with its great golden irises that practically glowed in the darkness of the room. It pressed up against me once more: a request to be held.

I took its great head into my lap and stroked at the spaces between scales until it cooed in reply. A dragons coo is not that of a baby or a kitten, it is a low rumble like soft thunder rolling over distant hills. A rewarding sound to achieve a bond with such a great being.

"Thank you Oren, for the distraction." I whispered, as if it was not just her and I.

In reply she brought her golden eyes back up to mine, then let them drift closed once more.

Hours later, come morning, the storm had barely subsided. The room remained as dark as it had been. I lay flat in bed, Orin's head still filling my lap. A voice at the other side of the door called.

"Lady Helvor, there is a suitor here for you! He says he has no fear of the", the voice hesitated, then continued. "Well that he has no fear of the beast that holds you captive." At his words Oren stretched her wings up to the ceiling, shook herself awake, and stood tall.

"Tell him he may come if he'd like, but that if Oren doesn't kill him then I gladly will."

"Well you may tell him yourself he-" Before he could finish the door burst forth in a violent series of bangs and splinters. In the doorway a suit of armor stood proudly.

"I am Sir Gladwell the Mighty here to save you from the great beast that holds you captive m'lady!" At his words he unsheathed his sword in an empty display of courage. If a dragon could smile then in this moment Oren did, and I followed, drawing a sword of my own from the bedside.

Gladwell gave a shocked look before stuttering out the words. "I..I suppose we can fight the beast together, which by the way seems awfully docile-"

"Docile because she's mine. And if you harm her, not that you could, I will skin you and send that skin back to my father."

His brain seemed to stop. He maintained a steady grip on his blade, but his eyes shot back and forth, from me to Oren, then me, then Oren once more. Behind him in the door Johnathan peeked in and gave a shrug.

"So, you don't want to get married then?"

Oren reared her head back, flames licking up out of her mouth and up her face in a threatening display. Behind the knight, Johnathan came forward and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"I believe it's time to leave sir. Good try, tell her father we send our regards. Oh, and if you have friends, maybe mention they not come."

Though dazed, Gladwell seemed smart enough to weigh his options, of which the latter was death. He turned, shoulders slumped, and stomped back out of the castle into the rain. I let out a long sigh upon him leaving and fell back to the bed, then brought my face up to the window

And as Oren and I watched him trudge through the mud and back onto his horse, for the first time in quite a long while, I felt thankful for the rain. Hopefully it would keep others like him away.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_jdj0tc7 wrote

This was a particularly cold winter in Evergreen, birds left quick, the trees turned early. I noticed it all the way back in October, their changing from life colored greens to yellowed shades of dead. The disease licking up their foliage disguised as something beautiful.

Birds had left around the same time, the same October day. Took their songs south and left the park as quiet as it was empty. Now only I and the bench remained. Not much of company, but it's what I think I preferred. And all in all it could always be worse. There could be no bench at all, then I'd truly be alone.

As I looked around the park, the empty patch of land whitened by falling snow, I wondered if this was all for me. That truly would be something special then. But I knew that it could not be. The snow would thaw, the people would return, and the park would be reclaimed by the birds, bugs, and children. Even now a man across the path was walking my way with purpose.

I tried to avoid his gaze, but his gaze was obviously meant for me. An older fellow, long coat and wide brimmed hat. He hobbled over and took a seat by my side with a sigh. Then, a long silence. Me looking anywhere but him. Him glancing over to me.

"It's spectacular is it not?" He gestured to the whitened landscape, speaking aloud to nothing and nobody in particular.

"It's dead...." My reply felt cold leaving my throat.

"And that is not spectacular?"

His words hung off in the air, but were extinguished fast by the falling snow. And I was left thinking of what to say and how to say it.

"It's death. Just a thing. Would you call walking spectacular? Does driving your car simply blow you away?"

"Some days not so much." The man continued. "But on others those simple things do prove to impress, and I can honestly say that those days, the days where the simple things mean so much, are my most memorable."

Above a flock of birds flew overhead sending both of our heads upward. I watched as they curved through the sky in a unified pattern, separate but together. Upon returning to the man he was staring at me with a grin.

"Are we both here for the same reason then?" The older man spoke, reaching into his coat pocket and withdrawing a necklace. With a small metallic click the locket opened, revealing an old picture of a woman. On the opposite side a message read: Forever Entwined, My Love Always.

"Ah- I suppose so." Hesitantly I held up a picture of my own. A girl, young and fair haired. Still young and fair haired today, never aging in the only place left for her to exist: my mind.

"If you wouldn't mind, I think I'd prefer to be alone now." The words choked up in my throat.

"It's no mind, seeing as you already are alone. It's just you and the park bench."

The man kissed the locket and returned it to his coat pocket, then turned and stared out to the park in renewed silence. And we sat. Both of us just sat, alone together.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_jb1obo0 wrote

I can feel their hunger. The longing they feel when they see my pale skin reflecting in the moonlight. Their want glows through yellowed eyes, grows with every flash of their fanged teeth, and they think now only l how they will go about my demise. But what they do not take into account is that I think too. That I have played this game hundreds of times and never tasted defeat. That I am not the prey, I am the hunt.

And it will take a lot more than three fledgling girls to be my end.

From my waistband I draw my blade, long, thin, and silver coated. One of the three girls, the oldest it seems, backs up at the sight of its glow. The only one smart enough to now recognize the danger they may be in.

The leftmost girl jumps down from the rooftop, her face unchanged, cold and unfeeling. Ready to feed. The other two follow in suit, moving closer with every second. They close the gap slowly but surely until the distance between them and my blade is mere feet. I hold it up, pointing up passed my head and up into the sky like the temple of a church.

Ahead the doors of homes remind me of the reason I am here. The reason I fight. If I fall in this night then every light in the window becomes dark.

But before they can approach all three grow suddenly still. They feel something, and I think I can too. Something powerful. Something ancient. A chill shoots down my spine and I spin, following my blade in a wide arc. A shadow leaps back into the dark with surprising agility.

"Apologies" The shadow speaks from the darkness in a deep and sharp voice. "I'm really quite sorry for the trouble." It steps out of the dark and into the moonlight. A fourth vampire, this one much taller, larger and with a face that shows great experience. His reddened eyes are not filled with hunger, but shame.

"Apologies? What for." My words are demanding but my voice falters. I tighten my grip on my weapon.

"There is no need hunter. You may sheath your blade." I do no such thing though. I know the power of a vampires suggestion, any sign of falter and I will comply whether I like it or not.

"I see, you are a cautious man. There is no need though, truly, I am only here to collect my children. They can get...overzealous."

"I wouldn't call trying to drain an entire village overzealous. Id call it evil."

"Maybe, hunter. But then again you already think us to be so I am not here to change your opinion. Only to collect my children." At the gesture of his hand the three girls meet him at his sides.

"And if I don't want them to?" I speak, digging deep to sound as if I have intention, a plan.

"You have no say in the matter, Grayson. Though I'm sure that you would try. Now, sheath your blade." This time I can feel the suggestion fighting. Rooting in my brain as if normal thought. Though I struggle my hands move on their own, planting the blade back at my waist.

Across from me the vampire rubs his temples in annoyance. "Now was that so hard? Thank you, hunter. We'll be on our way now. Quite embarrassing the whole ordeal." He turns to the three girls. "What were you thinking, tomorrow you have studies! Sneaking out, what will I do with you three."

"Sorry, dad", one of them mumbles in shame.

And just as they came they left back into the darkness of the surrounding forest. I let out a deep sigh and fell back into the grass, knowing I'd just come into contact and threatened the most powerful father in existence.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_j9rflg7 wrote

"You rescued me!" The princess exclaimed, stepping gingerly over the still warm corpse of the beast that had been her captor.

"Huh?...well yes I suppose" the armor clad knight scratched his chin in confusion. "I just figured that someone should have come out by now."

The princess leaned in, fluttering her eyes just the way she had been taught so many years prior. "Yes, well, aren't you glad it was you?", she whispered, closed her eyes, and brought herself close. She was met quickly, not by the lips of her savior, but by the cold metal of his gauntlet, the knight holding fast with his arm now extended into her face.

"Ah no, I rescued you because you needed rescued. That's all." The knight spoke, hand still firmly in her face.

The princess pulled back, a confused expression only highlighted further by a stray lock of blonde hair falling down over her eyes.

"Also, how old are you? I have a daughter your age you know. You can't possibly be into-", the knight gestured down to himself. To worn armor and a gut that spilled out beyond the plating. To a face full of scruff, scarred from years of service, and a smattering of dark colored blood across his armor. It was true. He was not what she had expected, but still she replied.

"Well, of course I am, you rescued me! I have to show my gratitude somehow." Her words trailed off upon realizing what she had said, or more how she had said it. Now, staring down a man who looked at her with such pity, she understood the strangeness of it all. Rewarding a stranger for being nice, or rather just for being decent.

Sensing her realization the knight cut her thoughts short. "How about this: don't get captured again, and we'll call it even. And if you do, well then have me sent for, ok? My name is Sir Gladstone."

The princess managed to put on a comforted smile up to Gladstone, which he returned.

"Deal." She agreed.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_j85gy6f wrote

"Put the knife down you fool, you are not willing to use it" I spoke in a tone as close to comfort as I could manage.

"You don't know that. You dont know what I'd do!" The girl responded, trembling hand still gripping the blade. Her words were produced like smoke, fickle and quickly fading.

Slowly I reached forward with a clawed hand, closing the gap between us until it was no more. She hesitated, but conceded, allowing me to take the knife.

"Of course I know that. Because I know you El." I paused to tuck the knife away, then continued. "You forget I can see your mind."

She grew suddenly quiet. Tears welled at the corners of her eyes and choked at her throat; a moment later little shiny streams were running down her cheeks. Years ago I would've froze at this very human gesture, but at this point in my guardianship I was more than prepared. I knew what she needed.

"Come here girl. We're ok." I held out my arms. She came forth and sobbed into me, darkening my coat with her tears. She cried and cried, shook until empty.

A guardian demon. Who thought of such a foolish thing? A relationship, a real relationship, between infernal and man. It was unholy at best, sacrilegious at worst. But I had a job to do, regardless of the terms that would be used to describe our binding.

Those some three years ago when I got the call I knew it to be trouble. Micheal never called unless it was. And old friend, yes, but a friend all too good at understanding my vices.

"Leonard, I know it's been a while but" is what he'd said, how he'd started me on this path.

"No. Whatever it is Lucifer's no." I replied

"You didn't even hear me out, old friend. Can a demon and angel not get in one simple conversation? I've missed you."

"Though I cannot say the same friend. I know your games all too well. They call us the masters of deceit, yet here you call claiming to wish me a nice day yet your voice reeks of desperation-" I felt my anger growing, but was cut short by his reply.

"She's my daughter, Leonard. Not god daughter, my blood daughter. It will be three, four years at best. I just need you to watch her, you don't even have to interfere!"

There was not much to say after, only to agree to his ridiculous pact. In return he said I'd have clearance to the earth for as long as I'd watch, though I did not care much for the promise of roaming a worthless rock.

But now, now holding El in my arms, sensing her trust in me, I could not help but to feel this was the only decision to be made. I did not care if Micheal returned for her. Hells, I think I may have even preferred if he didn't. Because someone, someone needed me, and now I think I needed them too.

And the honest truth is, she would have used that knife too. She would have killed the things that wronged her, then buried her shame in a lifetime of sadness.

I was the only thing telling her not to.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_j70oix3 wrote

"What do you see?" I asked, staring up to the blackened sky above.

"Hundreds, thousands of lights. Little, white lights, some big, some small. Like Christmas." Jackson replied over my shoulder.

I squinted my eyes and tried to imagine it. To concentrate hard enough that maybe the lights, stars, would appear, but nothing as always. The sky remained barren.

Star blind, they called it. Such an interesting term for a mundane defect. A genetic disorder categorized by ones inability to see the wavelength projected by stellar bodies., is what my medical sheet said.

"See anything yet?" Jackson moved closer, eyes still fixed to the sky.

"Yet? I never will. I won't just suddenly get over my Star Blindness." I shot back. I could feel the sadness creeping up at the back of my throat. I was angry, jealous, but most of all frustrated that I still felt so incomplete. That my entire world was in blackness. That I couldn't tell the difference between day and night. That me and the others like me had to carry around those damned solar lanterns when nobody else did.

"I...yeah I'm sorry. I didn't really think." Jackson mumbled to the ground.

But I was no longer concerned with his words as something had appeared up in the sky. A spiral, small at first but growing larger by the second.

"Wait, Jackson! I think I see one!" I pointed to the sky. "It's growing!"

He looked up quickly in excitement, but was only left squinting as I had been before. "Uh...Marcy, there's nothing up there. As a matter of fact that's the only place in the sky without stars." His voice changed to panic.

I stared as it continued its blackened swirl, like a pit of tar holding all that it could within. Swallowing but never full. A void of nothingness.

It's me, I thought. Doomed to never see what it swallows, yet taking it anyways. Doing my bidding, making sure that next time someone looks up to the sky, they see the same blackness as I.

I hoped it would leave the world truly black.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_j5ws905 wrote

I was not born special. The event of my birth was as normal as any other child, a run of the mill baby with run of the mill parents in a house far too cramped and a head far too big for my neck. Yet despite the absolute mundaneness of my birth, my parents loved me as if the world had become anchored around my existence. For them I think it really did.

The house in which I was raised was only special to us, and only because it was ours. To any passerby, any wandering eye on the sidewalk who glared into the windows, they would read our lives as nothing but simple. As a mother who cooked and a father who worked. A child with a sensible amount of curiosity and another who died young. But that wasn't notable, that was just life. That was my life.

But of course, somewhere along the way, I thought the world had begun to revolve around me too. Convinced so by how much love my parents showed me. I must be special if they thought so, my parents were never wrong. And in this rare, stupid instance, it turned out I was right.

I had realized quickly as a child that I could move things. Not move from place to place, but between places. I'd put something behind my back and poof, gone. Then with my other I'd reach into the apparent void and just like that, it'd be back again.

A superpower? Hardly. Hell, it was hardly even of any convenience. I had only ever used it as a party trick. A simple display of harmless fun to entertain guests. Well, at least that was until I understood where it all led to.

It was Jackson's thing, a party I guess you could call it. Not enough people to be considered a party I'd thought, but he was turning twenty-one and those few of us there were making a big show of it. Finally he asked me, as he always did when he introduced me to others, if I could show them my "superpower". I obliged, starting with a candle, then a book, a handful of marbles, simple stuff. Sometimes it'd come back odd, candles used, marbles scuffed, minor things that I couldn't explain.

But it didn't seem to be enough, not for Jackson.

"Ok, ok! Now do me!" The room shut up at his eagerness.

"Have uh...have you tried it on a person Harry-" A concerned voice spoke up from the back of the room. But Jackson insisted.

"What? If not even better! I'll be the first." Jackson continued. Everything you've ever put in comes back right?"

I was hesitant, scared, but eager to know where it all went. So, he positioned himself behind me. The small crowd of friend's leaned in as if to notice any imperfection. Any clue of how my oddity worked. But nothing. The moment my hand touched him he simply faded from our existence.

The crowd ooe'd but I trembled knowing the power I now held. If I decided to do nothing he would be gone forever. My hands shook. Instantly I pulled him back, reaching into the void behind my back and yanking. What came through the other side though was something different. Much older, grayed hair and circular wrinkles around his eyes. A pair of wire framed glasses he did not previously have.

"I...I...send me back. God please send me back." An audible gasp blew through the room at this older mans desperate pleas. His eyes shot between us as if we were nothing more than distant strangers. But I knew it was him.

"Jackson? What was on the other side- where did you go?" I stuttered the words out.

"Paradise, hell, purgatory, does it matter?! Send me back! Please god what sort of cruel dream!" He dropped to his knees in a desperate plea. Rather than wait for my reply he gripped my hand and dove at my back, dissapearing once again.

Instantly I yanked back, feeling around the void for his shape, but gripping nothing. Nothing came. Nobody in the room moved, they all just stared at one another in disbelief as I struggled. I put my hands behind my back and yanked, and yanked, and yanked, my heart pulsing in my chest.

"Jackson! Jack!" I yelled, pulling one last desperate time. And this time something did come from the other side. A person, child, smooth skinned and wide eyed, no older than five. He looked like Jackson, in an odd way; something deep in his eyes.

"Jackson?" I questioned in a whisper.

And the child shook its head up and down.

Then and there I knew, it was true I was not born special, I was born cursed.


GrunkleStanwhich t1_j5ggrwv wrote

The world is a stormgate, constantly holding back a torrent of water that beats upon it. And though it is worn to near ruin, the gate does not falter, does not concede to the water. It only stands. Of course the powerful waves that this stone gate holds back are far more impressive than it. But still it will never lose.

I am the sea, and my prison, the stormgate. No matter how hard I've pushed in these five centuries the great tree in which I am bound to has hardly budged. I am but a prisoner to its mechanisms. I must feel as men cut through my limbs yet do not free me. As children climb yet I may not speak my words to them.

Though at that point I admit that I was hesitant I even had words left to say.

I was reduced to a forgotten thing. Lifeless and abandoned, a thing that could rot so easily. So fragile, so, weak. The clergymen who placed me here are long dead by now, yet still I could hear their laughter at their victory over me.

Yet there is a branch of hope. Recently my stormgate has changed, an opening appeared when I have been chosen by a savior. Young she is, but certain in her decision. She took one look at me and understood my greatness, despite my ruin. All it took was a point of her tiny finger to capture my freedom.

"Why yes Abigail, it seems this one would make for an excellent rocking horse" Her father replied in childlike talk to his daughter. What she actually meant by her pointing he did not know.

He approached and sized me up and down, and that was all. By the next week I was something new. Not a tree but a new shape born of the old, a horse it seemed, a poor excuse for the real things. Even poorer than the original, humongous creatures that wandered the hellish plains.

She was overjoyed to see my new form. I was simply happy to no longer be a tree. But something more, I was happy to be known, almost seen.

When I mumbled she listened. When I ached she halted her play. And when I grew attached she already was. For the first time in five-hundred years somebody remembered that I existed and loved me for just that. Nothing more, nothing less.

And though the stormgate still existed, still held back my true form just underneath, I understood that now, my wait would not be so bad anymore.