Sunday, March 10, 2013


An Isolated Branch by Tekulo the WindWriter

I am the most important person in my life.  Well, that is to say, I suppose that’s true.  It’s not that I completely love myself or anything, it’s just that I can’t think of too many other people that are, well, in my life.  I would probably give a generic answer like “My mom” or “My dad” but I know that’s just not true.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I dislike my folks or anything, but I hardly see them nowadays.  My childhood to me seemed pretty standard:  Two parents, a house and a family pet.  That was really it.

I never really had a group of friends to call my own.  Back when I was in school I normally ate lunch alone every day.  My mind was preoccupied with the next assignment set in front of me by my professors.  Sometimes it would be about Shakespeare or Pavlov or maybe Wilheim Wundt.  Most of them are blurs nowadays.  Still, it’s not that I never had fun.  I love things like jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, the occasional video game here and there or some show on TV like Doctor Who.  I also read a bit here and there.  It’s not the greatest reading list in the world to be honest.  They’re mostly just mystery novels that I find here and there in the library.

Well, truth be told I’m out of school now.  I’m working at a factory down in the city.  It’s not the best of jobs, and certainly not the most impressive paycheck, but it gets me through to the next day.  I live alone, by the way.  It’s a small apartment downtown.  The rent isn’t too bad, so I never needed a roommate or anything.  Actually, the place would be pretty cramped with one.  I’d love to get a dog, but the building doesn’t allow animals, not even with an additional fee.  Too much noise travelling to the neighbors, I guess.

So, that’s my life.  It’s not too much, but I can’t just up and die now, can I?  Right now I just live day by day without anything too eventful going on.  Sure, if you watch the news, then the world seems anything but uneventful.  Still, I’m not one of those victims cursed with a disease or a missing limb or anything like that.  My health is generally regular.  I’m certainly not a body builder, nor am I a weakling.

I guess it is funny to think about, but it’s really just me.  That’s it; alone in an apartment with a job that pays rent.  I guess I should be lonely or something, but to be honest…  I’m content living the way I am.  I wonder if that makes me selfish or cold or something like that?  Well, if I am, then I’ve never taken any notice of it before.  Well, that’s just life, I guess.  It’s not as grand as everyone being a hero or a villain or a sidekick.  I’ve never seen myself as any of those.  I’m just me.

Temple by John 55555

A glimmer of light pierced the shattered dome. It was broad daylight outside, but one would never guess that from within. The darkness was nearly absolute.

There was still gold and silver leaf on the various adornments. Somehow it had never been stolen. The lure of gold was less than the fear of this place. To step over the threshold meant death, or worse. So the stories go.

This place is evil, and even though it's time of corruption is long past, it's book is not yet ended. It must be cleansed. And what must be cleansed is structural, so it will fall with it's cleansing.

High on the mountain, it was quite a journey to reach here. Once it had been thought a pilgrimage, though it was more like the blind leading the blind. Into greater darkness.

I gripped my staff more tightly, and struck the ground with it once. twice. A third time. A light shone from the stone embedded in its head.

The light was dim at first, and flickering, like a candle on a windy day. Then it suddenly steadied and grew strong.

The edge of the circle of light was a hard white against the blackness. It spread, slowly but surely, crawling over the seats one by one, and the walls.

And as it rolled across the floor, the blackness was purged, and with it the stain of evil that filled this place. The chairs nearly crumbled under it, some did. As it began to light the walls, and the began to fall too pieces, I stood my ground. The dome above me leant to one side, and cracked anew.

The light was brilliant now, and the blackness was weak, now it was the candle in the wind.

All at once the dome fell down, the walls too damaged to support it. As it fell, the light shone upon it, and it crumpled to nothingness, and a mere grayish dust fell upon me.

The sunlight streamed upon the wreckage. I dusted myself off, and slung my staff over my shoulder for the journey down.

A days work done. A stain cleaned off the world.

Temple by Alex Humva

It was perhaps the most frightening moment of her life.

She stood in the middle of the forest, possessing nothing but the clothes on her back. In front of her rested an impossibly large stone structure, years of growth having covered it in grass and leaves. It had taken her five days to make her way through the woods to this spot, where the elders had said the Great Spirit would reveal to her, her purpose in life. Now she was here, and she wasn't sure if she truly wanted to be here anymore. While nothing about the temple was exceptionally frightening in and of itself, the atmosphere that surrounded it was... dark. The environment sounded threatening, the simple chirping of birds now sounding like raven caws.

Maybe her family was right. Maybe she should simply do what she was told; fishing wasn't such a terrible job, was it?

No. She had to continue. She had to know what she was truly meant to do. With a bold breath she entered the temple, noticing a torch positioned near the door. Picking it up she lit it with a deft motion, looking around at the interior. There were no rooms to speak of, instead, simply a vast and open chamber. Hesitantly she prod softly across the stone floor, wondering who could of created this structure. Never before had she seen stones cut so large; how could one transport them, nor less build with them? Perhaps witches of another time?

She reached the center, looking down at the floor, then up at the ceiling. Magnificently carved memorials rested there; pictures of ancestors long since gone, scenes of war so elegantly depicted. It all had that look of freshness, though. No grass grew here, no weeds sprouted through the rocks nor leaves blew in. How could that be?

She knelt on the floor, pressing her face down into the direct center of the chamber. And she waited. Waited for hours, until the sun had set and the stars had come to greet her. Silence fell over her world as she remained motionless, waiting. She knew it could be some time. She knew that others had spent weeks here.

Finally, it came to her. It was an... odd sensation. A sort of knowing, like she had learned for the first time what a color looked like. It was clear to her, now, what her task in life was. She would never see her family again, for now, it was her duty to tend to this temple. To keep it clean, to watch over it, and to become one with the Great Spirit. It was not an easy life, but it was not a hard life. It was existence in the spiritual sense. She would continue to tend to the temple until her days were used up, and then, the cycle would continue. Another from her tribe would come, and they too would tend to the temple.

And that was fine

Temple by Harvey Nuile

Think . . . think . . . think . . .

I drummed a tattoo against my temple with one finger, eyelids tight shut, lips taut. I was deep in concentration . . . and deep beneath the planet’s surface.

You expect that thinking would be easy in pitch darkness, but it’s not when you’re surrounded by such an unnatural stench and when you know that you’re running out of air. Instead of open and limitless, the darkness was stifling. And then there was that constant susurration to suggest that I wasn’t alone.

Think . . . think . . . think . . .

There had to be some way to escape. I had felt my way along all the walls, which were more than I could count. The room was shaped like a polygon the sides of which I could not determine in the darkness. And they were all bare.

The floor was dusted with sand, which I had sifted fruitlessly. There was no way of telling how far away the ceiling was, for I could not reach it and I had nothing upon which to stand but the floor.

Think . . . think . . . think . . .

Secret door? I’d searched extensively.

Explosives? If I had any. . . .

Smash through a wall? With what?

Think . . . think . . . think . . .

There had to be escape. There had to be a way out. There had to be an answer.

I just had to think!

Think . . . think . . . think . . .

And then I had it. I realized there were only two ways out: up . . . or down.

I folded my legs beneath myself and drew a long, deep breath. I brought my hands together before my face in the darkness. A smile played across my lips.

All I needed was to think.

God's Face by Eli Otter

“O God, you give strength to to the weak, riches to the poor, and bring faith to the sinner’s heart,” a voice intoned, repeated by others as I walked ever nearer. The complex before me was huge, and yet it was enclosed even farther by an outer wall, gates placed among it facing to the North, the South, and the East and West.

“Your love is all-encompassing, your word guides our lives, and your spirit watches us always,” I heard the voice call out again, even as I entered the gate of the inner court, seeing the altar before the temple, looking upon the lavers nearby. Even as I stepped within I knew I was not supposed to be here, and yet I knew I must carry on.

“Your mercy gives us life, your grace knows no bounds.”

I stepped past the altar, continuing yet further, each step telling me to go faster, and the space between each step telling me to turn and run out of here, to hide what I had done from all others. Past the porch, past Jachin and Boaz, I could see the gold-plated interior of the temple, and the barest fringe of the veil at the bottom.

“You are all powerful.”

Up the first steps, I have given into the first compulsion, to go faster. I fly past the pillars, bursting into the Holy Place, all those still within turning to look upon me with seeming horror. Oh, the light, the light, how it burns my eyes, yet what visions I see! Angels stand among men, smiling upon me, gesturing me on further.

“You are the one true God, and we can do naught but worship you, our most holy fa--”

Too late they try to stop me, the men, the angels having held seemed to hold them back. I burst into the Tabernacle, looking upon the Ark within, even as the High Priest rushes in behind me. I see a fire above the Ark, resolved into the shape of a man, and I see approval in his posture.

I can not stand, I am rendered to my knees, and pulled back out. They drag me out, far past the outer courts, where I cannot soil the Temple’s holiness, yet ever before me I see a face of smiling flame, a cleansing fire that has rendered me pure within, if not without, dirtied from being pulled on my knees through the sand.

“What did you see?” one of them asks me, forcing me to look at him. I compose myself, smiling, even, as I feel the touch of steel upon my throat.

“I saw God’s face,” I told him. “And he smiled upon me, for I have succeeded in his task.” I feel steel’s cold touch fade into warmth as it draws away my blood, as they drop me on the sands.

And even then, I can see God welcoming me into the highest of heavens.

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