This past week has been a crazy week. But I've somehow managed to kick out five blog posts as opposed to my usual seven, and that includes a call to entry to the first ever farmpunk flash fiction contest.
What I did not do last week is enter the Steem Monsters fiction contest, so that's three, I think, that I've missed since the very beginning. So I decided to enter this week's contest and write a story for the Skeleton Assassin.
Image from the contest announcement page
It is not easy serving the Greater Good, but someone must!
We all have our stories. I was an humble storekeeper. My lot was to serve Mitreyya, to work toward reunification at the task assigned me. But when times got hard, I lost my way. I picked it up again with recruitment into the Horde.
My story begins a long time ago. I loved my clan, my splinter, my goddess. But in times of great famine, hungry men do bad things. I just wanted to feed my clan, to contribute, to pull my weight.
Business was slow. I would wait for days for a traveler to enter my shop so I could trade something, anything, for an item of value which I could use to obtain a meal. With each passing day, the shelves grew more bare, and the bowls of my clan grew more empty. We even lost a few to the hunger. Finally, I'd had enough. I needed to feed my clan.
One day, a young efreet entered my store, traded an obsidian mask for my last coat of fur. I looked upon that mask with fear and wonder. How could it feed my clan?
One sad day, I pulled it to my face. It felt so cold. Odd, out of place in my own element, I could not keep it there. I threw it to the ground, rid myself of the evil that begged me to keep it on. Or so I thought.
Hours upon hours, days upon days, my mind drifted to that mask. Travelers, having heard of my empty shelves, passed me by without a glance. On they went to the next storekeeper. And my clan hungered all the more. I took that mask, carved it to fit the countours of my face, and wore it day and night. Was I hiding? I cannot now be sure, but something within me led me to keep my face behind that mask, and I did.
A caravan passed. They had goods, I could see. Many items of value. I was hungry, and weak.
When they moved beyond my sight, I followed. Keeping my distance, I only wanted to catch a glimpse of the wealth that I had been missing. But that wealth had an allure unlike any I'd ever seen. This clan from the north traveling east, what did they have for me?
When they stopped to camp for the night, I hid in the forest and waited. Late at night, I crept into their camp to see what I could find, perhaps some valuable I could take home with me, put on the shelf of my store and use for trade. It didn't take long.
On the hilt of a sleeping serpentine was the prettiest blade I'd ever seen. I snuck close. Could I pull it from its side without being noticed? I did my best. And I might have succeeded had I not been happened upon by a sentry, a one-eyed giant, making his rounds. I could not run fast enough. Screams and hisses woke the camp. I scurried left, scampered right, and danced around the beams of the moon to make my escape until, finally, I ended up with my back against a tree facing a three-headed mongrel angry as darkness in the center of fury. I was sure he would eat me.
There I stood. His shadow fell over me, his three gruesome heads growling, teeth dripping with the wetness of his jowls. And before I knew what had consumed me, the tree I wore on my back burst into flames engulfing me like the very teeth of hell. In seconds, I was nothing more than a charred piece of flesh left in the cinders of an Everlasting Tree.
Days passed. I do not know how long for sure, but I know it was days, perhaps weeks. A visitor from another realm stopped to examine my bones, weakened by the ash that smothered them.
It must have been magic that made me move. First, a twitch. Then a bump. Every bone had its chance. In what seemed like minutes, this ivory rose up, strengthened by the desire to live again. The ephemeral being from another plane pushed a blade into my hand and breathed new life into my nostrils. Impelled by a newfound acceptance, the bravado of a new clan, my joints took their stride among an army of death. Unconstrained by the caste that had me bound in the old life, a new equality filled my marrow making me rich in spirit and hungry for blood or a new soul upon which to feed.
We are all the same. Different stories. Some come from royalty, others from soil. My brethren come from every splinter, both male and female, every race, every class, every station in life. We all live to serve one purpose, the Greater Good. We are skeletons. Assassins. Bringers of death, makers of new life.
Review Me, Please
Dividers provided by @calumam
While you're here, check out my other Steem Monsters tales:
- Free Range Rexxie, Or a Fowl Collision
- From Common Thief to Goblin Shaman
- Haunted Spider
- Feral Spirit
- Feet of Clay, Heart of Flesh
- The Ballad of the Crustacean King
- How Magic Was Born
- Enkidu the Fire Beetle
The backside 5 (my five latest posts):
- Old Shows, New Shows: Miss Evelyn's First Movie Experience
- Farmpunk Flash Fiction Contest: The First EVER!
- Bitcoin Fell, Crypto Smells, Robinhood Laid an Egg ...
- What Is The Trade.io Liquidity Pool?
- Why Are Steemit Users Powering Down and Leaving?
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Animation By @zord189
created and used by veterans
with permission from @guiltyparties