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Below are the 5 most recent journal entries recorded in
Story Snippets' LiveJournal:
|Tuesday, March 15th, 2005|
Snippet Four: Opposites
find myself pacing the floors now. There have been more and more recent arrivals, and this bothers me. Yes, of course it bolsters my forces, but what could this be a sign of? For my ranks to swell so suddenly...what must be going on, in other places?
I look out over the courtyard, and find myself grimacing. The New Ones are camped there...companies of them. Enough to form an entire brigade. I stretch my wings as I sigh, this seemingly happy sight making me crawl even deeper into my depression. Yes, I rule here. My throne is of the most ebon wood, my palace...yes, my palace. It has struck fear into the hearts of many. Few people who are not garrisoned here, even in my own realm, enjoy this place. But it is the place that I call my own. The wings of those around me are interesting. All wings are different. Some are misshapen, so that those who have them cannot fly. I stretch my wings out to full length, and smile. I am probably in that group, but I would not know. I walk where I need to go. I am their Commander, yes. That makes me superior. However, I also care. Ironic, considering what I am Commander of.
If only they knew that I cried. If only they knew why I cried, if they ever knew I did. I walk down to the ground level of the palace, and out into the courtyard. Immediately, people scatter out of my way, for fear that I will find them wanting. They are scared, and they do not know where they are, or what their purpose now is. I was once like them. I was once scared.
A short tour, then I step back into the palace. One of my advisors is waiting. His wings are huge. Graceful in the extreme. Watching him bow was nothing short of watching a performance. What made me smile is that he did not know he was being flamboyant. He merely thought of it as respect, and I took it as the same.
"Beobachter." I nodded in his direction, and he nodded back, before speaking.
"My lord." My mouth turned down slightly. I hated to be called that, but I did not interrupt him. "Our supply projections, you must know, are now completely thrown off. This sudden growth in population--"
"Yes, I know." I did. We would have to somehow come by more food. This was far easier said than done. This place, as would suit its inhabitants, sits in a land that is devoid of plantlife, devoid of any nonpoisonous animal. All food was shipped in from outside. Allies and trading partners were few and far between, and most things were taken from the other Realms. "How many?" I said, referring to the number of New Ones.
"Enough for another division, lord." Another division? My eyes widened a bit, and Beobachter nodded. That was...an incredible number of new recruits. Suspecting my next question, Beobachter continued. "We can have them battle-trained in as little as a month and a half." I noticed his wording, and my gaze made it plain. Battle-trained. Not Battle-ready. "We do not have the equipment for all of them...again, this will have to be gained through raids."
I tired of this. "Thank you...please, write a report and submit it to me. Good job organizing them, by the way."
I wanted to walk away then, but he bowed again, and I had to watch. So graceful, yet given what we all were, this should be impossible. After he bowed, then my feet carried me back to the throne, where I sat, and looked at the Time. Not the clock, for things such as that could not be made or found here. I simply pulled out Time and glanced at it. Barely midmorning. I sat back and closed my eyes.
The beginning of another day at The Fortress of the Fallen.
Snippet Three: Love
A dealer steps into the mall. Eyeing a map, he briefly considers going to the arcade, but decides against it. He has business to conduct, as well. He reaches into his pockets, and feels the bags in there. 'Dime bags', as they were known. Nodding confidently, he heads toward the northeast corner of the Food Court.
A Security guard frowns at his watch. He was late. He needed his stuff, and the bastard was late. Leaning against the pillar of the Food Court, he couldn't help but chuckle at the irony. Here he was, a security guard, the one the little kids looked up to, because they didn't know he wasn't a real cop, and he was the one buying the drugs. He shakes his head, and chuckles again. Eventually, the security guard spots his dealer, and nods. The man nods back, and begins to walk toward him.
At the same time, another man frowns at his watch, as well. All too close to Christmas, and no shopping done yet. He drives around the parking lot closest to the store he wishes to visit, but cannot find a spot. Instead, he chooses to park at the Food Court--a central location, and he could grab a bite before he left. He steps out of his car, briefcase still in hand, and walks through the doors, passing behind a pillar that a security guard was leaning against...
It was all because of a little kid. As the dealer crossed in front of one of the tables, a young boy ran directly into the man. The child was small enough not to knock the man down, but was large enough to force the man's jacket askew. That's all it took. The holster was visible enough--
--and so was the .357 Magnum pistol protruding from it.
Another security guard happened to be in that area of the food court, and began to run toward the dealer. When the dealer pulled the weapon and fired, the second security guard went down, though he appeared to only be hit in the arm. The dealer-turned-gunman then aimed at his buyer, for in the end, he was still a security guard. The guard managed to duck as the gunman fired, but a shocked man holding a briefcase was too surprised to do any such thing.
Time stopped. Not in the way the movies portrayed it. The man holding the briefcase was aware that Time was not passing...for he wasn't breathing, and couldn't in any case. Nor could he move. However, this did not seem to bother him in the least. He was merely looking straight ahead. At the bullet. From this distance, it was possible the bullet would merely graze him...but it also looked as if it would strike him through his heart. Not being a trajectory analyst, the man could only think about all those people and things left behind as he waited for something to happen. After a timeless interval, he began to think that even death would be preferred over this waiting--
A figure cloaked in white appears before the man, and speaks without any sound coming from under the hood...it was just as if it had changed reality so that it had spoken, without actually performing the action.
"I know what you think...what has consumed your mind for so long. You wonder if you will die."
The man found that he could nod his head, and even speak, though he seemed to never need to take a breath. "Yes...I wonder that. Who are you? God?"
The figure in white laughed, and the man could tell that it was male. He comtinued to chuckle as he answered. "You think God has time for you? Of the billions of people in the world, he would choose you? This is nought but a training mission for me...to see if I make the right decision...to earn the right to be a Higher."
The man found himself slightly confused by this, but did not press his luck. He asked in a weak voice. "...and if you choose wrong, does God fix it?"
"No. What you call World War II was an example of that. Azra could have killed Hitler in the crib, thereby preventing the war, but he would have also prevented the igenuity and inventions that came from the duration of that war. Thus, the war was allowed to happen...even if God did not...agree."
This surprised the man. Everything he had read had spoken of God as omnipotent. But that was not to be debated now. Having digressed for a moment, he pulled himself back to the problem at hand. "Am I going to die?"
The figure in white chuckled. "If I told you yes, would you dispute it? Would you have your way and tell God that His plans are not good enough?"
The man stammered. "I-s-s-s-suppose not..." He was getting a sinking feeling in his stomach.
"But then, what if I told you that the bullet was going to graze you, but hit a woman behind you, and kill her. Would you then ask me to make the bullet hit you, in order to save her?"
The man was silent for a long time. He lowered his head, and answered honestly. "No."
The figure in white nodded. He picked up the bullet and began to toss it around. "Even though I am moving it, it still has the same momentum should Time flow for you again. I could even have it aim for the one who shot it. I would love to see the ballistic report for that one..."
The man frowned. "If you are an Angel of sorts, then why are you toying with me? Do you not have Mercy?"
The Angel stopped. "You have...a point." He smiles. You couldn't tell under the cowl of the hood, but the man simply knew. "I will tell you God's plan, mortal. You will be one of very few mortals to know even this little inkling of the Web. God plans for this bullet to strike you dead. When you die, you will ascend into Heaven, where you will live in bliss for all eternity. Would you trade that for a chance to live more, risking that by Sinning?"
The man barely hesitated. Calling up the image of his wife and children made up his mind. "I wish to live."
This seemed to outrage the Angel, and he placed the bullet back where it was. "You will die!"
The Angel raised his arm, apparently to restart Time, when a whirling circle of lightning bolts about four feet in diameter appeared less than ten feet from the Angel. The voice that came out of it was a voice that had, in the past, demolished this world. A voice that had led Moses out of Egypt. It was the voice of God.
"You will stop." The Angel froze, and the man also found that he could no longer speak or move. God continued. "The future has been rewritten before. The most often it is rewritten for love. Love is a force that is not completely under even My control. When one person truly loves another, they can change destinies, empires...love will make Me pause." God did, indeed pause for a time. "This man loves his family dearly. I will see him in Heaven even if he does not come now, as I have written. Let it be thus."
There was a thunderclap, and before Time began moving, the man heard the wail of the Angel, as if he were in great pain. Then, he heard the gunshot. The man grabbed at his shoulder, at the small patch of flesh gone from the bullet's passing, and watched in horror as the woman behind him doubled over. His mind, he admitted to himself later, was not on the woman. He was thinking only one thing.
"Love can do THAT?"
Snippet Two, Part Two: Choices Made
Jochraim stood in front of the same two men, and grinned. The choice was clear now. If one or the other won, the kingdom would be stable, even if under the leadership of a madman. However, if both managed to perish, then there would be an untold amount of fighting. An untold amount of sinning, for war was primarily Wrath, and Wrath was a deadly sin. Jochraim tweaked each man's blade so that it would deliver a fatal wound to the other. Satisfied, he walked back to the Throne. The Master was away, apparently, and Abaddon was sitting in his place. Jochraim walked up to the throne and knelt.
"I have chosen." Jochraim smiled at Abaddon, who gave one of his rare nods of approval.
"Yes, you have. I must say, your solution was rather unique, enough so that I need not ask your reasoning behind it to determine if you were loyal to our ideals." Abaddon furrowed his red brow for a moment, before speaking again. "Tell me honestly: Did you yourself come up with this idea?"
Jochraim's already grinning face turned even more sour as the grin was twisted. "Actually, it was mentioned to me by one of the Archangels." Abaddon looked baffled for a moment, then burst out laughing. "For the first time in years, I think we have a competant recruit." Abaddon furrowed his brow more seriously, reaching a hand up to stroke one of his horns--a sign of serious thought. "It is important to remember what we learned Up Above before we were cast into this Pit...In fact, I believe you have just earned your wings..."
Jochraim felt a searing pain on his back. It reminded him of that day, so long ago, that he had become one of the Fallen. He went to his knees, sobbing...but after a minute or two, he felt strong enough to stand on his own two feet. He pulled his wings up behind him, and turned to look--and gasp. They were magnificant...a translucent blue, wavering as if looking at them on a very hot day. Which, of course, it was. Not because hell was flames all over--of course not. Hell was merely a gathering of the fears of the people there. You'd just be surprised at how many people were actually afraid of immolation.
Hell itself, at least if you were one of the Fallen, was not altogether a bad place. It was just a twisted version of Heaven. Imagine two houses built on the same floor plan, with one twist: The builder was allowed to build the first house (Heaven) while looking at the floor plans, but when it was time to build the seecond house, he was to do it from memory alone. Yes, there were places where Heaven and Hell did not match up. For every statue of the Angels or those revering God in Heaven, there was a statue of one of the Fallen in Hell, though they were admittedly outnumbered by the statues of the Master. One thing that a person would notice was that Satan had no altar to himself. He needed nor wanted any followers, other than the Fallen. Satan found it charming that people would worship him, in the same way that we find it charming that a dog will allow us to pet it directly after kicking it. Satan held no special place in his heart for those humans who followed him. It was far easier for a human to come to evil than an Angel.
"Lord Abaddon...will you forgive an impudent imp a question?" Jochraim was plesaed when Abaddon nodded. "Lord, why have the Fallen never assaulted Heaven directly?"
Abaddon simply looked at Jochraim for a moment, and it was apparent that he was considering punishing him for asking such a question. Jochraim let out a sigh of relief when Abaddon answered. "We are powerful, yes, but remember whom we would be fighting. Who can curb the strength of God?"
Jochraim frowned. "He must have limitations. He lets the Fallen live, instead of wiping us out..."
"That is only because he needs us to rain hate upon those not worthy to enter his kingdom." Abaddon was frowning now, and Jochraim knew he was on thin ice.
"Then why does He suffer us to go into the mortal world and tempt humans?" Jochraim frowned himself.
"Because--" Abaddon paused for a moment, and frowned even deeper. "...because little imps like you ask to many damn questions. You have your hell-wings, go use them. Come back tomorrow, Earth time."
Jochraim nodded, and couldn't help but wonder if he had planted a thought in Abaddon's head.
Snippet Two: Choices
The Angel looked upon the frozen scene of the battle before him. There were two figures there, fighting with swords. One dressed in blue, who went by the name of Alakais, and one dressed in mostly red, who went by Nurli. Alakais was leading a rebellion against the harsh dictatorial government of Nurli. A momentous occasion, and a great turning point in history. At times like this, God liked to send an Angel down to make a decision. God's Book was written already, of course. Few people knew this, and fewer Angels still, but God also owned an eraser. In any case, the Angel could look to his left, and see the future as it was if Alakais succeeded. It started out fine...Alakais was an excellent ruler, and the country prospered greatly. However...after a generation or two, the country was in even worse ruins than it had been under Nurli, with little hope of that ever changing for at least a millenia. The Angel looked to his right, and saw the future should Alakais fail. Nurli grew even worse, bringing horrible and senseless destruction upon his people. But after his death, a long line of benevolent Kings began...a good future, for at least a millenia.
The Angel touched upon the ground, and looked back at his glowing blue footprints--a sign that he had been there, showing his every move. He stumbled, and blue marks were left where his hands and side touched. After picking himself up, he studies the two men. A slight change in the angle of either of the swords would produce the desired effect. The Angel studied them carefully--the obvious choice would be to let Nirli succeed...but the Angel hesitated. What if, two millenia down the road, life went back to being horrible, much more horrible? The Angel was not gifted with infinite foresight...a millenia was more or less it. He froze. How was he to decide? How could he? He was an Angel, yes, and that carried with it some clout, certainly, but he was not God.
The Angel began to sweat. What to do? Well, there was always a third option--he could leave the two alone, and let what happens happen...but was that allowed? He was sent here to make a choice...was the choice to not make a choice a choice? The Angel put a hand to his forehead. That train of thought would run out of track very quickly. The Angel studied the scene for an amount of time that, were time moving at the moment, galaxies would have ran into each other, black holes would have been formed, and the very planet the Angel was standing on would have long been destroyed in the Rapture.
At long last, the Angel moved. He turned around, took flight, and flew back to the Throne of the Lord. There was an Archangel standing there, looking sad. The Archangel spoke, and mountains moved. "Jochraim. You have made a horrible, horrible mistake."
The Angel, Jochraim, looked stunned. "What?"
The Archangel shook his head. "You looked to your left, and saw one future. You looked to your right, and saw another. Why did you not look behind you? Did you even realize that not doing anything was a choice in itself, and would have its own future? One that you would be able to see?"
Jochraim was speechless, and just shook his head.
"If that had been your only mistake, perhaps you could have passed. You also completely ignored a fourth option. Why not take the swords form both men? Or perhaps move them to opposite sides of the planet? Or kill them both? These were all errors you made." The Archangel looked down at Jochraim.
"W-w-what was my punishment determined to be?" Jochraim saw the sadness in the Archangel's eyes, and cried out to the Throne. "No! Please, Lord, one more--"
Jochraim let out a cry of pain as his wings slowly burned down to stumps. His cry only intensified as the fire continued to burn at him, and he disintegrated, so slowly.
The Archangel shook his head. "He really believed that the Lord would give him a second chance after such a screwup."
The Archangel shook his head. All of the newer Angels were coming with a horrible preconception. He voiced it aloud.
"Why do they always assume that the Lord is loving? Men have said that the Lord is loving, yes...but He has never said it..."
Snippet One: Things That Matter
This one is a timed writing, seeing as how I need to get to sleep, so that I don't fall asleep at work.
"Negative. Continue with your sensor scan." The Corporal informed his squad. They had just asked to take part in the offensive that involved the rest of their company. No, their orders were to remain in Alpha Zone of this planet, and scan for signs of life--besides the aliens. Even during a war, science continued. The HUD (Heads-Up Display) built into each of the Space Legion's helmets were set to science mode.
"Corporal Zim, how're we supposed to rack up the kills from way back here?" Private Second Class Rico inquired, in the tone of voice that indicated that a good answer had better be forthcoming. Corporal Zim was just about to blouse (correct) the young upstart for his attitude, when his display turned from science to battle, and a line of text at the bottom of the HUD appeared, saying 'Congratulations, Sergeant. You have been transferred from Squad Leader to Platoon Sergeant'. Corporal Zim nodded grimly. The Sergeant had bought the farm, so the next in line stepped up. Now-Sergeant Zim heard an excamation from Rico. Of course, he would be the new Squad Leader. Zim was excited. He could begin to do things that mattered, now...
"Well, you get your wish, Rico, we're head to sector Charlie!" Zim began to run, followed by the rest of First Squad. "All squads, report!" Zim needed to know what he was running into.
"First Squad, all present." Of course, Rico had to be a smart-ass.
"Second Squad, taking heavy fire! We're losing our guys, left and right! We--" Zim didn't need to hear all that. He cut the comm to hear Third Squad's report.
"Third Squad, all present. We're guarding the Ell-Tee." The Ell-Tee, or LT, Or lieutenant, wouldn't be getting his hands dirty. Zim would be damned if a Squad from his platoon (for now, it was his, even if only for the past ninety seconds) was going to pull an easy detail.
"Sergeant Zim to Third Squad. Come join us on the battlefield. Direct Order." Zim continued to run. The fighting was audible now.
Sergeant Zim sprayed another of the wretched aliens with a clip from his mag-pistol. The fighting was getting bad. He had lumped his platoon into two squads, for they had lost too many to remain effective as three. Zim heard screams from the rear of the battle, just as another line of text flashed on his HUD: "Congratulations, Lieutennant. You have been transferred from Platoon Sergeant to Platoon Officer". Right below it was another line of text. Zim couldn't believe it: "Congratulations, Captain. You have been transferred from Platoon Officer to Company Commander". Zim was ecstatic! He could make a difference now! He could turn the tide of war in his favor! He could be known as a hero! He never saw the alien rush up to him.
Across the battlefield, Corporal Bivin was startled to see a line flash in his HUD: "Congratulations, Sergeant. You have been transferred from Squad Leader to Platoon Sergeant". Bivvin was happy. Maybe now he could do things that mattered...
Why the hell did I wirte that? I don't know...I'm too tired to remember writing most of it. Is there a moral in there? Damned if I know. Any thoughts on this ramble, by all means comment.