Flash Fic Challenge – Thorn of Prophecy

This is the challenge. I had no idea where this story was going when I started it. It does remind me I want to get to this paranormal horror story I’ve had brewing in the back of my mind for ages. I wonder if I’ll ever get to it.

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The Thorn of Prophecy

He ran to the very end of the earth, and still, he couldn’t escape.

He tried to hide in the coldest, darkest crevices of the world, in ice caves so slick and cold they’d have been death traps for anyone else. But they found him. He had no idea how, except they always did. He had gifts, but they did as well.

He put up a fight, but he was badly outnumbered, and it was always a done deal. When he woke up chained to a chair, bag over his head, he wasn’t surprised. He also wasn’t surprised by the thick smell of incense and rust, a scent so cloying he wanted to sneeze, but he was afraid to in his dark sack. What if the snot just flew back at him? Gross. “We all know I’m awake,” he said. “Would you take this bloody bag off?”

They took their time, letting their footsteps scuff on the stone floor before slowly pulling the bag off, mussing his hair as much as possible. He had to wait for his eyes to adjust to see how dire his predicament was.

These guys went for the classics. It was a stone room with a high ceiling, lit by candles, giving everything a warm golden glow. There was wooden furniture, including an ornate desk, behind which sat Michael, his face propped in his hands, wings spread out behind him like a preening bird. “You disappoint me,” he said, his voice full of righteous indignation. Michael, like most of his ilk, sounded constantly full of himself. There was also this tiny noise, like a delicate brass bell chiming in another room. He couldn’t imagine having that. It would drive him bananas.

“Do I? Good. My entire life’s goal has been to disappoint you. I can die happy now.” He looked down at the heavy chains holding his wrists together. There were little marks etched on the chains in golden ink. Some of that Enochian scrawl the he always found fussy and precious. He could read it, but he really didn’t have to – they tasted like burned salt and rancid oil. That told him all he needed to know. “This is ridiculous. Get me out of these things.”

“Not until you agree to do your part.”

He shook his head, making his chains rattle. “This is ridiculous! What is Mum going to do? Start again? For what reason? All this work, all this time … what is the point? It’s a ridiculous waste.”

“She’s a scientist. This was an experiment. It’s done now.”

He scoffed. “Are you seriously telling me you’re okay with this? Mike, I know you’re not. “

Michael glared at him, a glint of steel trapped in the amber of his eyes. When he wanted to drop the guise and assume his real skin, he was ferocious and terrifying. In his current guise, he looked like a pissed off CEO lost on his way to the costume party. “You know nothing. I agree with Mother. This has gone on long enough. They’re going to destroy everything anyway – we’re just speeding up the time table.”

“It’s not a total death spiral yet. They can pull out of the spin.”

Michael put his hands on his desk and pushed up to his feet, his wings a shadow behind him. “No, they can’t. We need to shut this down and start over as soon as possible. Mom is tired of waiting, and frankly, so am I. So suck it up and do your job.”

“Why? Why is it on me?” he snapped. “This isn’t fair!”

Michael gave him a simpering smile. “It’s not supposed to be fair, Cif. It’s a program like any other. You’re part one; I’m part two.”

“It’s idiotic and devious at the same time. Why is Mom so cruel?”

“She’s not. Mostly, she’s indifferent.”

“Which is so much worse. At least she could extract a bit of sadistic pleasure from all of this.” He hung his head and sighed. He’d examined this problem from every angle, but he couldn’t see a way out. He didn’t need to look outside the room to know he was surrounded by his brothers, sisters, and those that had never chosen a gender. He tried his best to defy his family, to chart his own course, but in the end, it didn’t matter. He’d been cursed by prophecy, and while he’d run through hundreds of scenarios they always ended here, in this room. Destiny was a trap; you were snagged by it before you ever existed, and once you did, you could never quite free yourself from it. Or at least he had never managed it.

Michael must have picked up the tone of his thoughts, because his chains snapped and fell off of their own accord, pooling at his feet. There was a sword there too, one that hadn’t been there before.

Lucifer stretched his black wings, which felt cramped after being chained down, and picked up the sword. “This is stupid,” he said. “You know, in a few million years, we’ll just be doing this again.”

Michael raised his own sword, and flames ran up the edges. “So, we’ll be doing it again. It’s our duty.”

Lucifer looked down at the sword in his hand, and flames started licking up the blade. It was purely for show. Flames wouldn’t hurt either of them, any more than the swords were. This was apocalypse theater.

Despite this, Michael’s sword crashed into his own, and while Lucifer took a step back, he felt the tremble deep in the center of the Earth, signifying the end of the Human race.

It would never be known that he tried to save them, but Lucifer attempted to console himself with the fact that he tried.

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