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Members' Choice Nothing like peer recognition! Nominate and vote on the work of fellow members.


Members' Choice - Voting

View Poll Results: Vote for your favorite piece!
Crappy - Lin 1 14.29%
Gabriel - Sunny 0 0%
The Answers to Everything - Tony 0 0%
Sleep No More - Earl Grey 2 28.57%
Mister Matter - Cajeck 0 0%
The Swordman's Challenge - Hunter_Killer 0 0%
Hellbound Ch2 - TimH 4 57.14%
ArchAngel, Prologue - Peregrine 0 0%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 12-18-2008, 06:54 PM
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Default Members' Choice - Voting


Hello everyone!

We have quite a selection of pieces for you to vote on this time around: eight!

Please vote for the one you feel deserves to be published in the upcoming issue of Writer's Beat Quarterly.

Voting will end at midnight on December 26th.

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  #2  
Old 12-18-2008, 07:00 PM
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Default Lin - Poetry

CRAPPY

She was
Driven to it
By accident of birth
Adelaide her, because what's in
A name?
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:01 PM
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Default Sunny - Non-Fiction

I was sleeping but I felt him come into the room. It was an overwhelming flood of peace that awakened me. I rolled over to confirm it was John. He had returned from a spiritual sojourn, a four day weekend, where he would gain the tools to become a mature Christian, a leader or fisher of men. He held out a tremendous bouquet of flowers and presented them with the most passionate ‘I love you’ of all time. In twelve years of marriage I had never met this man. He was lit up from the soul out, aflame with the Holy Spirit. We talked until the wee hours of the morning.

I wondered at this transformation I was witness to in John and his best friend Ron. They seemed drunk in the Lord and they spent evenings studying the bible in depth as they never had before. Their faces glowed as they reveled in His word. It piqued my curiosity about my upcoming weekend. But they were keeping secrets because they didn’t want to ruin my experience. So time dragged on and I waited. And while I waited I questioned if I had the kind of faith it took to kindle that same fire in me. My best friend Katie shared my impatience, as she was going with me. She worried that she might not hear everything because her hearing aid was only working sporadically. I promised to take copious notes so she wouldn’t miss anything. Finally, the two weeks passed and we were on our way.

Shortly after arriving to a huge welcome and stashing our gear at our cots, we were seated at separate tables that had paper nameplates. Lydia was the table name where Katie was seated and mine was Mary Magdalene. In the bible, Lydia was a seller of purple cloth, which was a royal color, but Katie told me later that it made her feel inadequate. I thought Jesus was telling Katie she was a child of the King of Kings and told her so. She turned out to be a super witness and her spirit became a wonderful tool for the Lord.

Mary Magdalene was a woman of loose virtue whom the Lord Jesus forgave but all I could think was ‘they put me at a whore’s table.’ What had they heard? What did it mean? What in the world must they think of me? Eventually, I realized I couldn’t forgive myself, felt unforgivable, how could Jesus forgive me. How could I ask? My past stood in the way of my relationship with God. Maybe Mary Magdalene felt the same. Someone asked me if I thought my sins were so great that Jesus dying for them wasn’t enough. What could I say? No of course not, but in my mind I couldn’t quite see why He would want me. There were so many more worthy. I had come to this place expecting to gain a stronger faith and I left wondering if I’d really
been born again at all.

A few nights after returning home, I dreamed I was standing at the sink, near the door, in a small apartment. John was there next to me and seated at a diner type booth on the opposite wall was a man in black. There was a footfall on the stairs, then the knob on the door turned as someone tried to open the door, not forcefully, but for some reason I was terrified. Then the rubber mat in front of the door bunched up and kept the door from opening. It closed again and the footfall receded down the stairs. The man in black rose calmly and went to the windows facing the street. John and I followed his lead and we looked out to see a yellow taxi parked across the street. There was a man looking up at us, standing at the front driver’s side fender of the car. It was Satan, I was sure of it. Without looking away, he waved his hand over the windshield and the sun’s glare disappeared. There was a woman on the passenger side sobbing hysterically. In an instant, I believed she was very important to the man in black. Somehow I knew there was trade in the offing, she for me, but the man in black stood his ground.

I awoke in a cold sweat. I shook John awake telling him my dream and we turned all the lights on and cast the devil out of the house in the name of the sweet blood of Jesus. We talked and prayed for hours, until I felt secure enough to go to sleep. In the morning, I spoke to my pastor, who told me people often saw the angel Gabriel as a man in black.

I finally understood that each and every soul was precious to the Lord. The Shepherd left His flock to seek out the one who was lost. I was lost but now am found.
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  #4  
Old 12-18-2008, 07:03 PM
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Default Tony - Non-Fiction

Esse Simplified

[Summary of the basic precept of my pending book "The Answers to Everything" and of the Society of Esseans International]

Esse defines cosmic reality as the interstellar presence whose activity generates an environment of perceived material forms. This tri-part premise can be visualized in the following manner:

The cosmos is like an infinite ocean whose water is in constant motion. Its currents interact with one another as they traverse that cosmic ocean. This interaction produces changes that provide contrasts between past and present states of activity. These contrasts are the essence of experience.
Picture the material realm as a collection of eddies. When those eddies come in contact with each other and in contact with other currents, each changes as a result of that contact. Each now evolves a new state of being different from its former state. If because of its greater complexity, an eddy retains an impression of its former state and an impression of its new state, that eddy develops an awareness of change. Thus, it becomes aware of its experience and aware of its environment. If the complexity of its being permits it to accumulate these awarenesses, it evolves a sense of self as being different from the rest of its environment.

At our essence, each of us is a complex collection of eddies (subatomic activity) functioning cohesively within our human forms. Our cells are made up of molecules that consist of atoms. In turn, those atoms are made up of infinitely smaller particles that we can describe best as no more than particular activities occurring within a given region of interstellar space. We view ourselves as separate entities because no perceivable tangible forms exist between our bodies and the other perceivable aspects of the material realm. Just as we no not see the air that exists between our eyes and the words on this page, we do not perceive the existence of the spatial fabric between our bodies and the other seemingly separate objects of the environment even though that spatial fabric is a maelstrom of activity. The electromagnetic fields we have detected and now utilize are evident proof of this. However, because of the bulk of spatial activity rests beyond the grasp of our native senses, we erroneously conclude our environment is made up of separate "things". Like two eddies observing each other within an ocean and not being aware of the water or the majority of its currents, we conclude that we are isolated beings.

Essentially, perception is the interaction between moving aspects of interstellar space (active fields of activity). It is an experience of change in a state of being and not a true reflection of that which truly exists. We sense the existence of a material thing because, in some way, its activity interacts with our own and effects changes within the activity that makes up our bodies. For example, a portion of the light spectrum reflects off an object and alters the activity of the cells leading from the eyes to the brain. Thus, we claim to "see" that object when, in reality, we only interact with the narrow portion of the light spectrum that object does not absorb. However, these illusionary perceptions allow us to function within our environment in a manner that permits us to survive. The same can be said of all our senses. They are attuned to that portion o interstellar activity critical to our continued existence, providing an awareness of only a small fraction of the cosmic realm.

Indeed, we are patterns of spatial activity - no more and no less. However, our senses delude us and lead us to believe otherwise. They provide no more than a functional grasp of reality, prompting us to view ourselves as isolated material entities, living within an infinite void populated by separate material things. Yet, as our sciences are beginning to reveal, the opposite is true. Interstellar space embraces a uniformity that envelops everything we know to exist. If we carefully analyze the cosmos, we must concede that the material realm with which we are familiar exists as no more than activity functioning within the fabric of interstellar space. To assert any other premise leaves us with the irreconcilable conundrum of explaining how that cosmic activity can exist and thrive in an absolute "void". Logic should lead us to conclude that interstellar space is an active medium, albeit one we cannot detect. It is the cosmic "water" that we, like fish, swim about in; and, just as the fish detect the water's movement but not the substance of the water, we have no perception of interstellar space except by contrasting it with the things we do experience.

According, interstellar space appears to be the absence of perceived things that exists between those perceived things. Therefore, we label it a "void". Just as logic prompts us to accept phenomena we cannot perceive naturally (atoms, particles, electromagnetic radiation, et al), it should render the plausibility of a medium that even our finest instruments cannot reveal. Modern science is founded upon similar postulations. Why not accept the possibility of an infinite medium as the foundation of the entire material realm?

From the perspective of Esse, the cosmos is an infinite presence whose perpetual activity gives rise to experience of tangible forms. The atheist can accept this premise as the basis of Nature while the deist may choose to define it as God. The selective perspective is irrelevant for Esse represents that which truly exists. Reality cannot be dissected further. Only the mechanisms of that reality are left to be explained.
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  #5  
Old 12-18-2008, 07:04 PM
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Default Earl Grey - Poetry

Sleep No More

Well met, Macbeth,
you who hailed witches on the moor,
you who killed a king and stole a crown,
well met.

Full of sound and fury, you say.
Signifying nothing, you insist.
And you had the right of it.
Immortalized only by a playbill and a pen,
without which you are nothing
more than a brigand lost to Scotland
(both figuratively and literally, I mean).

You took words for promises
and thought your future was made.
But the dagger wouldn't wield itself
and you had not the stomach for its edge.
Immobilized, you left that bloody task for a woman,
who would have swept back to sanity
had she ever met with me.

I, Macbeth, I am so much more.
You never roasted or dissected;
you never gassed or skinned;
you never poisoned or stretched;
and you certainly never relished the screams.
The world wonders if it was hundreds,
though I will only wink and smile.

Yes, well met, your majesty.
Make yourself comfortable.
Here we sit in this lowest of circles,
but only I belong.
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  #6  
Old 12-18-2008, 07:05 PM
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Default Cajeck - Poetry

Make you matter,
Make you talk,
Make you giggle,
Make you squawk.
My mister matter
Made to shatter.
Dearest darling
Lost in laughter.
Love me loosely,
Love me quiet,
Love me lost,
Tossed in riot.
Like a child
Caught in throes.
Worst of you?
No one knows.

Make you matter,
Make you bolt,
Make you shift,
Skirt and fault.
Call me sweet,
Your low defeat.
Challenge notions--
No one sees.
Gallant, brave
My chilling knave.
Who to save?
Who to taunt?
What treasure
Show and flaunt?

Make you matter,
Make you stalk,
Make you hurt,
Make you balk.
Mister matter,
Made to shatter.
Dearest darling,
Lost in laughter.
Love me gone,
Love me cold,
Love me true--
Cinching goad.
A tired beast
Caught in ropes...
Best of you,
Holds my hopes.
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:07 PM
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Default Hunter_Killer - Prompts and Challenges

A swordsman of uncountable skill
Rides his horse from over the next hill.
Down a winding path that moves from place to place.
His journey began as only a simple race,
To wander from town to town to meet,
Those who were nimble on their feet,
and sharp of eye.
He gathered them to give a try.
A simple challenge the word did go,
To defeat him in combat with the final blow.

Offers of gold and fame and more,
Lead many a man, and his mind explore,
If such a task could been done by one’s self,
Or if one needed some extra help.
They attacked in pairs and groups and more.
And every attempt he cut down to the floor.
For the price of failure was every man’s dread,
Since the swordsman would simply remove their head.
A retribution that saved their humiliation,
In a form his mind saw as the only operation.


It was in the field on that fateful day,
Those four horsemen should come his way.
And take his challenge as their own
So battle ensued to terms unknown.
Each horseman was skilled in their own arms.
Their abilities matched the swordsman’s to his alarm.
The first had a dagger that looked like a weaving spike,
Like the adder waiting to strike.
The second held a sword as large as a man,
Yet wielded the weight with ease, by using only one hand.
The third held two blades, crossed behind his back,
What their design held in speed, in power they lacked.
The fourth figure whose face, like the others, was cloaked from sight,
Held a Scythe that gleamed in the moon’s light.
Each had a name the swordsman knew well:
Famine, Pestilence, War and Death, their figures from a prophecy that did
foretell,
Of any fool that attempted to fight,
These dark sentries of the night.


The fight continued as the hours ticked
While not a blow, scratch or nick,
Could be landed by either company as they tried,
Yet the swordsman’s exhaustion he could not hide.
His moves shifted from their graceful dance,
To feeble blocks to keep his stance.
The four slowly began to circle their prey,
As Famine and Pestilence rushed to end his days.


From the forest, a sliver light flew,
From what or where or who?
The arrow pierced Famine through the breast
Buried deep and lodged within its chest.
The creature shrieked and began to pull back,
Finally the swordsman saw his gap.
He pushed forwards and slashed down low,
Hoping to land a fatal blow.
Across the waist the sword did bite
And pulled it he must, with all his might.
As he struggled to pull it free,
War lashed out and collapsed his knee.
He fell to the earth and turned in fear
As Pestilence crossed his blades to form a shear.
He crawled away as the weapon drew near,
Until a twang of a string echoed for all to hear.

A silver arrow bathed in its own light
Passes the swordsman who watched in fright,
As the arrow penetrates through Pestilence’s skull.
It drops its blades as the swordsman rolls,
To escape their touch at where they fell,
Soon he began to rise and Pestilence as well.
For it is disease that makes up its being,
No connection to the dead, nor love for the living.


The swordsman dove and made a slash,
Cutting away is stomach with a gash.
Famine arose from where it fell,
Dagger dancing between its fingers with unmatched skill.
With one fluid motion, it left its hands with a flick,
Its accuracy true and before he could blink,
A third arrow flew and hit its mark,
Diverting the dagger through Pestilence’s heart.
Who screeched in agony and writhed uncontrolled.
Famine became impaled by the sword in its dying hold.
The two collapsed in clouds of dust,
Returning to their realm while their weapons began to rust.


The swordsman turned, only two remained.
War with his power and death with his Scythe’s blade.
The two greater of the horsemen fresh for battle.
While the swordsman staggered and began to stumble.
The moon began to fall from its throne,
Half the battle was nearly gone.
The swordsman began to breathe long and deep,
Fighting exhaustion, dizziness and sleep.


Death circled left as War moved right,
The swordsman backed up, struggling to keep both in sight.
His grip on his hilt began to tighten
As unseen winds and storms struck with thunder and lightning,
Upon his mind, casting doubt and regret,
Unsure if victory would ever be met.
His luck had helped him survive this trying bout.
But he knew his luck was almost out.
For a trying chance to cheat the four,
Would result in death and nothing more.
This challenge he had began was his curse,
That allowed any being, whether living or dead, a chance at his purse.
In his mind the voice’s howled,
Each one an individual he had felled.
They spoke of death and scream their vengeance filled,
While his body lay rotting in this empty field.

He raised his blade and cleared his thoughts,
His opponents circled and gained their spots.
An advantage they took, that he did regret,
While one was in his view, the other one he was left to bet,
On where it would strike from after
And how he must avoid both attacks faster,
And return a blow to grant him space
In which he must turn to face,
The challenger who held the greatest threat upon his life…
But he knew that it was Death and his dangerous Scythe.

The battle began and it seemed to flash past,
As the dance of blades resumed and the swordsman struggled to last.
From out of the woods emerged a being bathed in silver,
A bow drawn in her hands as her person began to shimmer.
Her lips of cherry, eyes of sapphire,
Lit by some internal fire,
That breathed a calming light upon his heart,
That echoed his courage as his strength did start.
She raised her bow and took aim,
Accuracy true as the arrow sang.
It hit War through his hand, pinning it to its hilt,
The force of the impact caused it to turn and tilt.
It fell with a crash as the blade hit too,
Splitting the ground between the swordsman’s feet in two.


He sidestepped the massive blade and went in for the kill,
But death appeared behind him and his body turned still.
An unnatural force kept his body within invisible chains
While death appeared before him, holding him in its gaze.
An arrow of silver light, shimmering through the black
Catches the Scythe as its falling, wrenching it from Death’s grasp.
The swordsman takes one motion and plunges his blades through its hood.
As he removed it from its face, it collapsed to its knees as it should.
So he beheaded the monster where it lay,
His strength starting to return to him as he had survived this day.
The Horsemen were left broken and rotted,
Left in the field beside the twisting path he noted.


As he turned to thank his savior, she appeared to vanish from the lands.
But his guardian angel was always with him, protecting him with her own two hands
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  #8  
Old 12-18-2008, 07:08 PM
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Default TimH - Fiction

2.

I stood on the roof top with Satan next to me, my mouth agape as I looked around at the world of hell. The Devil laughed and slapped me on the back like an old friend. He walked out onto the rooftop and over to the massive glass windows, I followed like a lost puppy.

Looking down below and the around at the world outside, I barely registered what I saw. To the left, a few kilometers away, a mountain jutted directly out from the otherwise flat surroundings. It was a twisted black crag of rock, covered in a mass of gnarled, burnt trees, arching toward the boiling sky. A massive mansion perched on its peak, no roads going up or around the base. “The only way up there is by chopper or dragon” Satan said “It’s my palace, Casa Diablo, atop of Mt. Bilial. Let me give you the tip, it’s way better than the Playboy Mansion!” He pointed to the far distance. “Straight ahead is the sulphur lake you hear so much about in the classics, it’s bordered to one side by a lake of fire and the other side is a lake of liquid ash, together they make the three eyes of Satan.” He sounded like a chirpy tour guide describing the pyramids of Egypt. “We go fishing sometimes in the sulphur lake for giant crab-goblins, very tasty eating.” He licked his lips with a forked tongue as I turned to look at the three lakes. They did indeed look like three eyes; one red, one black and the last crystal blue. A thin smoke haze hung above them, blending their colours together to form a twisted kaleidoscopic cloud. I started to get a headache staring at the swirling colours in the sky. Blinking I looked away and over to the right to see beyond the city, where bare plains stretched out into the distance.

“That is the desert of the doomed.” Satan said solemnly, “Where lost souls, who have given up any hope of salvation, go to roam aimlessly for all eternity.” He quickly turned me away from the ghostly spectacle, sweeping his hand theatrically in front of us, “And here is the pride of Hell City, a den of diabolical debauchery, fetish and fun, a cross between Las Vegas, Amsterdam and Bangkok, the delicious suburb of Smoking Gun.”

It looked straight out of a bizarre comic book. Themed Casinos with flashing lights and neon signs made up the centre, they ranged from the grand to the grotesque. There was obviously no consideration taken to offending anyone, with one casino named Cleopatra’s Clitoris, a massive building in the shape of a naked Cleopatra spreading her legs and pinching her left nipple.

“The nipple is the penthouse suite.” Satan giggled. Another building to the side of it, obviously a brothel, was called Magdalene’s Mansion. There was a massive billboard posted on the side of the building advertising bibles! The list of stupefying establishments went on; glitz and glamour to be had at Castle Dracula, rare meats at Hannibal’s Steakhouse and gay abandon in Liberace’s Drinking Palace.


“It’s like Disneyland for adults, dead sinning adults.” The Devil said theatrically. “You can dine on all seven of the great sins, Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Pride, Sloth, Wrath and even Envy. There’s gambling, sex, killing and torture, everyone has fun in Smoking Gun, that’s the suburb’s credo.”


“This isn’t what I expected hell to be like.” I stammered as I looked at the gaudy streets of the Smoking Gun.

“Well what did you expect?” Satan asked, raising a black eyebrow which framed an even blacker eye.


“Well” I replied, “Hell; suffering, unbearable heat, demons the flames of damnation. A place where people come to pay for their sins.”


“Ah ha!” Satan boomed, “Now we’re back to it; the purpose of Hell. Most people, like you” He said, poking me playfully in the chest, “have it all twisted about. They think my job is to make people pay for their wrong doing on Earth, to punish the evil for their sins. As I was saying before, in actual fact, Hell is like a jail. Hell was designed by God to help the tainted souls of Earth to be cleansed so they can go onto heaven. Unfortunately, just like a jail, some of the people become intitutionalised and don’t want to leave. Instead of expelling their demons they become them. As for the heat” He said with a wry smile. “You’re standing in an air conditioned building. It’s a whole lot hotter once you walk outside.”

I stepped back and looked at him, realizing for the first time that this may not actually be a dream. It was as if him talking about something mundane like air conditioning made me connect everything he had been saying with the real world.

“Finally!” He laughed. “You’re starting to accept this is actually happening. I must admit it normally takes most people a bit longer.

“So when you say that people become their sins you mean that a human can turn into demon?” I asked.

“They can and they do” He replied nodding and smiling like it was the most normal thing in the world. “If a person is so insatiable that they will never have enough money or power then they eventually turn into a Greed Demon, forever bound to hell to tempt others into a life of voracity. Their skin slowly turns yellow and their eyes green, pointed horns sprout from their heads and their noses grow into a pig’s snout. There are demons for every possible sin you can imagine. The idea being that other souls in hell will see how deformed these demons have become in pursuit of their chosen pleasure that they will no longer want to commit that particular sin.”

“So this isn’t the end of the road then? There’s hope?” I asked.

“There’s hope for all”, the Devil smiled “but still there is not salvation for all. As I said, some cannot or will not be cleansed, some become demons of their vice. While demons are meant to serve as a warning to those who would go down the same path, sometimes these demons are very persuasive and sometimes actually talk others into believing that murder or lust will give them the meaning they have been searching for. They recruit souls to become fellow demons of their sin, but I do my best stop that. You know some of the Demon aren’t all that bad, many even work for me. Some are the purist evil though and extremely powerful. ”

“So some souls don’t ever leave?” I quizzed

A sneer ran across his draconian features. “Well why would you want to leave here? He snapped. “Aside from the smell of sulphur and the oppressive heat and darkness, this place is actually a lot of fun! You get to do whatever you want, however you want, to whomever you want for as long as you want!”

“So what’s the catch then? Why would you leave at all?” I asked.

The Devil paused, he looked like I’d just walked in on him looking at naked pictures of old ladies, but he quickly regained his composure. “Well there are a few draw backs.” He admitted slowly. “One is that there is no law here except jungle law. If you’re weak then you are easy prey for the murderers, thieves and worse. We stop no-one doing what they want to do, so Hell is governed by the powerful and the ruthless. People do suffer, but at the hands of others, not by my hand.”

I was horrified. “So there is no punishment for the wicked after all. It is just like in life, where the mean spirited and selfish get what they want.”

“Now wait a second.” The devil snapped. “I haven’t finished just yet. There is serious punishment for those who think they can continue their evil ways without judgment. There is the guilt.”

“Guilt?!” I scoffed. “Demons and the damned don’t feel guilt; all they feel is hate and anger. They don’t care about what they do as long as they get what they want.”

Now the Devil started to really laugh. I was furious. This was no laughing matter. My belief in goodness was being shattered before my eyes and here Satan was laughing like a boy who’d just seen an enemy stub his toe and fall on his face.

Suddenly Satan’s laugher cut short and he looked me deep in the eye with his flaming stare. “You should know this,” he said in an apocalyptic tone, “You should take heed Michael. NEVER underestimate what I say. NEVER sell me short Michael, you forget who you’re talking to, I am Satan. The guilt that you will feel down here is like nothing you’ve ever felt before. It is the guilt of the condemned, the guilt of those deformed by desire and greed. You will feel it more acutely than you could ever imagine, and you will feel it trust upon you six times each day, when the sky burns and smolders from horizon to horizon and the black smoke swells out of the gutters.” Satan’s voice grew louder and louder as he spoke, fire dancing in his eyes as he ranted like a deranged priest on the pulpit. “When Hell’s Fire shatters the minds of every soul in Damnation you will know where you are and why you are here. When the weight of every misdeed and sin is thrust down upon you like a crushing burden of menacing responsibility, you will know what you have done. You will feel the guilt, you will feel the haunting. It is enough to drive the most evil soul insane. It is unrelenting and it is absolute. Don’t underestimate the power of a guilty mind; never underestimate self shame and self destruction.” The devil raised his clawed finger and pointed to the horizon, which had begun to flare and burst into a bloody vortex of flame. Suddenly it exploded over the heavens of Hell and I collapsed as sharp spikes of pain shattered through my skull.
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Last edited by Devon; 12-19-2008 at 02:54 AM..
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Old 12-18-2008, 07:09 PM
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Default Peregrine - Fiction

Archangel – Part I


Over the town of Greenwich, a half moon was rising, casting what pale, feeble light it could upon the darkened town. An unusually cold and strong wind whistled through the little town. Drawing their coats tighter about them, the residents hurried into their homes, and were soon lighting fires and pulling their blankets closer.

Outside, however, one man remained, standing dark against the pale moonlight. Walking slowly down the streets of this idyllic town, he appeared as nothing more than a shadow. Few saw him if they glanced out their windows, and fewer still thought the movement anything more than a piece of errant trash, blowing in the wind.

But some did see the man, and what they saw was a black robe, flapping in the wind, and streaming, light brown hair. One hand was free, but one was within the robe, grasping something in his belt. The few who saw this strangely dressed man watched him for a moment, then shrugged and returned to their fireplaces and their families. As soon as they did so, they had no memory of him, just an errant shadow in the moonlight.

The man walked on, down the roads and alleys of the little town. His keen, stormy-grey eyes peered deeply into every corner, every shadow. He was hunting on this dark, windy night, and his prey was hunting him in return.

Hearing scurrying footsteps behind him, Raphael whirled and beheld the empty street. So. Amaymon wanted to play games with him. Well, Raphael would show him that he could play, too.

Walking slowly back the way he came, he saw a piece of shadow that stood out from the darkness, substance in the corporeal. Quickly averting his eyes, he continued to pretend he was searching the street for the intruder as he walked slowly on. When he drew level with the shadow, he turned suddenly and hurled a silver dagger at the shadow with his free hand.

With a guttural curse, the shadow dodged the knife by diving into the street, where Raphael clearly beheld the humanoid being. It had a skull-like visage, with burning eyes topped by two tiny nubs of horns. As the being rose to its feet, clawed hands pushed against the ground, and the hooves became clearly visible.

The demon glared at Raphael, the fire in its eyes flaring as it did so. Unperturbed, Raphael drew back his cloak and finally moved the hand that had been clutching at his belt. Silver glinted in the moonlight as he drew a sword. “I can’t say that it’s a pleasure to see you again, Amaymon,” Raphael said urbanely. “But I suppose I can bear your company for a while longer.” Dropping all pretenses at humour, Raphael continued, “This time, you won’t escape.”

The demon snarled in reply, and drew his own weapon, a serrated sword forged of some black metal. As he did so, it burst into flame, and the demon roared, swinging the sword.

Sighing, Raphael muttered to himself, “Must they always be so dramatic,” as he swung his sword up to meet the ungodly-looking weapon. The two clashed in midair with a metallic clang, but Raphael was already swinging low. Amaymon parried the attack with too much force, and as he attempted to counterattack at his opponent’s face, Raphael used the force of block to whirl around, bringing his own sword up to face level and parrying the demon’s attack. Suddenly leaping to the side, Raphael released Amaymon’s sword, and the surprised demon fell forward. As he did so, Raphael circled behind him and cut into his back.

The beast roared with pain and rage.

Turning, the fire in Amaymon’s eyes burned stronger, and Raphael could see the bloodlust rising in them. Yet, with a titanic effort, the demon controlled himself, and with no warning launched a wave of fire at Raphael. Raphael, caught by surprise, rolled to the side. He came up just in time to see Amaymon put his hands together in front of him, as though in prayer. Fire suddenly erupted from the ground at his feet, and when the flame cleared, the demon was gone.

Biting back a curse, Raphael sheathed his sword. Amaymon had used this exact tactic on him when he escaped last time. Raphael hadn’t believed the demon would use the same strategy twice, and apparently the beast had counted on that belief. Now he had escaped Raphael’s blade twice.

Fighting back his frustration and exasperation, Raphael walked slowly to the local church. He was tired and hungry, but his need to cleanse himself after his encounter with the demon was much more immediate.
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Old 12-18-2008, 09:09 PM
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Uh, with TimH's Hellbound thing, you've got half of chapter 1 at the top which should be shaved off.

He forgot to put that bit in at the end of Chapter one, which is why it's there. It just... shouldn't be.
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:52 AM
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Whoops! Thank you, ArchAngel! It was late when I set this thread up.
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