flash fiction by Aaron Rosenberg gryphonrose
* * *
YOU HAVE BEEN JUDGED.
“I ddn’t do anything!”
BUT YOU DID. YOU KNOW YOU DID.
But it wasn’t true. Not really. And they both knew it, of course.
He hadn’t fallen. Not completely. And that was always his problem. He could never decide. “Nasrafel the indecisive,” the others had called him. “Nasrafel the hesitant. Nasrafel the wishy-washy.”
But he just wanted to be sure!
It had sounded so good at first. Of course. The Morningstar could charm the stars from the sky, and sometimes did, just for fun. When he spoke of his plan, it had sounded wonderful and beautiful and simple and obvious and completely safe. Of course they should pull away. Why wouldn’t they? What could be more right than that? And how could He disagree with such an obvious and elegant solution?
But the minute he’d been alone again, Nasrafel had begun to question. Just as he always did.
“What if it goes wrong? What if He doesn’t actually approve? What if this is just a test? What if this is the wrong choice?” Nasrafel wrestled with these questions for days, weeks, months—time held little meaning there. When the call came, he was still struggling to decide.
“Well, Nasrafel?” The Morningstar had asked, extending one golden hand to him. “Will you join us?”
“I—” Nasrafel looked into those beautiful eyes and felt himself fall. “Yes,” he said at last, taking the hand. “Yes, I will.”
But once that gaze was lifted he began to doubt once more.
And by the time they’d reached the gates, guarded by far more than usual, he was lagging behind, dragging his feet, his wings spread to slow his progress.
And when they began to battle, angel against angel, Nasrafel slid to one side and cowered, unable to decide which side to join. If any.
But apparently that was enough to condemn him.
AND THAT, IN AND OF ITSELF, IS A CHOICE.
Nasrafel bowed his head.
YOU ALMOST FELL. AND SO YOU WILL BEAR THE MARKS OF THE FALL.
Nasrafel screamed as his wings twisted, their feathers falling away, the flesh beneath turning dark and leathery. He writhed in pain as a row of shark barbs burst up through his skin along his spine.
YET YOU DID NOT GO, AND SO STILL YOU SHALL BEAR YOUR OWN VISAGE.
Tears fell from Nasrafel’s eyes as his long fingers confirmed that his hair was still soft and golden, his features still smooth and even and beautiful.
BUT YOU DID NOT FIGHT, NASRAFEL. YOU DID NOT DEFEND. YOU DID NOT MOVE. AND SO YOU SHALL NOT, UNTIL YOU HAVE LEARNED WISDOM.
Nasrafel crouched in submission, accepting the verdict, and felt his limbs stiffen. Ice formed along his body, hardening instantly to crystals, and he felt the cold slice through him, freezing him in place. Head bent, wings upraised, hands flat on the ground, he found himself paralyzed, still as a statue, as the ice and rock beneath him. And, for the first time, Nasrafel felt a surprising calm flow through him.
Here, at last was his answer. He no longer had to decide anything. For the first time since his creation, Nasrafel was not torn between decisions. He was finally at peace.
Look at what I've become by Rabbit (caudelac)
* * *
Disobedience (in the name of change!!) is all well and good, until
someone loses there soul. And after that--
--well after that comes falling. And fire, and the burning black of
the wings of one's back and the spiral shrieking and then collapse--
--And you wake in a world where the light is cold and golden and made
more of fire, and one's spine is a sword and your soul is no more and
you wonder was it that you disobeyed or was it that you obeyed too
But Hell is hell.
And you would uncurl and face the face of the dark new world before
you, but your golden head stays curls and your eyes hard fixed,
To your un-beating chest,
And your brand new breasts.
Oh seek change and be yeself changed, indeed.
flash fiction by Jason Allard
* * *
Apple sat on the side of the inn’s small stage, adding her guitar to the local musicians sound. They played an unusual music, with heady drums and a tune that seemed tailor-made for swift, whirling dances. Their flashy, brilliantly colored costumes matched it perfectly.
A cheer rose from the crowd as Cassia stood and joined the trio of dancers on the floor in front of the musicians. She held her hands over her head and twirled deftly, skipping and flowing between the others. Dressed in a tight leather breeches and a loosely laced shirt, she was a petunia amongst roses, but every eye in the place followed, and her alone. She blew a kiss at Apple as she swung close.
A louder cheer rose as Apple set aside her instrument and hopped down. She leapt into the dance, stamping the heels of her boots in time with the hand drums as she circled through the dancers to join Cassia. They twined their steps together, revolving around each other, closer and closer. The crowd clapped and stomped, keeping time with the drum beats.
Apple pressed herself against Cassia from behind. She traced down the runaway princess’s arms with her fingertips, running them down Cassia’s ribs as she squatted down. Her fingers continued down, tracing the curve of Cassia’s hips, then down her legs to top of her boots, then back up. Apple slid her hands around to draw them up the top of Cassia’s thighs, pulling the two of them tight together. She lightly kissed the nape of Cassia’s neck as they swayed together.
“I love you,” Cassia whispered.
“I love you, too,” Apple breathed into her ear.
The smell of sulfur suddenly pervaded the room. The music stopped in mid-beat, and murmurs shot though the audience. Apple pushed Cassia away and dropped to her knees, hugging herself tightly.
“NO!” she wailed. “Nononononono.” She tried to hold it in. She been holding it for weeks now. She threw back her head and screamed as blue-white flames engulfed her, scorching away her clothing. Pain flared in her shoulders as her leathery wings forced themselves free. A ridge of barbs erupted along Apple’s spine. Her heritage would not let itself be denied.
“No,” she whispered, “she can’t see me like this. It’s not fair.”
Apple was dimly aware of panic in the haze of orangish smoke that wafted about her. They would kill her. Of course, they would. If they were terrified of simple magic, what would they think of a demon suddenly revealing her true nature? She balanced on the balls of her feet and her palms flat on the floor. She hung her head, waiting for the blows to fall.
When nothing struck her, Apple looked up. She looked up into Cassia’s face, looking down. She was smilingly, but tears streamed down her cheeks. She was lovelier than even. She caressed Apple’s cheek and sank down next to her, encircling the both of them with her brilliant, white wings.