So I saw a challenge to write a three word story. Here goes mine:
I said no.
Another writing prompt!
Tsss! Flames sizzled past Liriel as he leapt up and grasped the tree branch. His heart thudded in his chest as he pulled himself up and swung his head downward, staring at the path the fireball left in its wake. Leaves blazed in the trees, ash fluttered to the ground, and the mountain boasted a new fiery, smoking pit. Liriel’s eyes widened as he pushed himself up to his feet on the next branch up.
“Come down here now!” Teras shouted up at him as she stomped her heel into the ground. She lifted her staff, eyes flashing and jaw set.
“N-no way!” Liriel called back. He slid his dagger from the sheath as his back.
“What are you going to do with that?” Teras stuck her tongue out. “You’ll have to come down here and fight me properly if you want to use that!”
Liriel looked down at the dagger. Red text danced over the blade, carved there by a blood mage. Liriel flicked his gaze to Teras and he turned the blade around so she could see the red text, too. Her eyes went wide, her mouth fell open.
“Don’t you dare! You wouldn’t dare!”
Liriel sank the blade into his own chest.
Please note that this scene involves abuse. Read on at your own discretion.
“You failed,” Angelo said, striking him with the back of his hand. Heavy gold and silver rings bit into his jaw and cheek and Shin Il had to fight the urge to smile. Clearly, Angelo wasn’t thrilled about what happened. He sent the word down to kill that bastard, Myo In Sung and here Shin Il was, unable to kill him. No, he got away. Sneaky bastard. Somehow, he managed to get away and although Shin Il tried to hunt him down for a good few hours afterward, he couldn’t find him. The city was too large and even though Shin Il knew the area well, he still wasn’t able to ferret out any possible hiding places. He deserved every smack he got, every derogatory term…
But he couldn’t smile. No, he couldn’t smile at all.
“You know what happens to failures… I know you do,” Angelo said, gripping his hair tight in his hand as their eyes met. Yeah, yeah. Failures got punished. Now this was the tricky part because he couldn’t enjoy the punishment too much or they would catch on. The look in Angelo’s eyes was hard this time, though, and there was something new and dangerous there. Had he caught on now? Did somebody tell him something? His gaze was sharp as a hawk and Shin Il stared too long–he was rewarded with a hard shove back and away. The harsh movement wrenched his neck and shoulder and he didn’t have to hold back the seething little hiss of pain that elicited in his still broken arm. Ahh…
“This is your third strike,” Angelo said, looking down at him with flat eyes, disappointed eyes. Yes, this was the third guy who escaped. But of the other two, he did eventually get them when punished and given a second chance. Besides, his work usually went well. Three out of however many he had been given since he became a hitman? Better than most! But Angelo looked dead serious, his jaw tense.
“We can’t afford this many errors at this point in the game, little Shinny. I don’t think you get it. That asshole’s been taking down some of our best and there’s just no way we can allow him to live. You had your chance and you blew it. So…” Angelo brought out a gun and pointed it at Shin Il’s head, between the eyes. Even Shin Il knew what that meant but death and pain, those weren’t the same. He had too much left to just let Angelo blow him away now.
Gathering together whatever water he could, he flung it hard in the direction of the gun. Just as it went off, the water hardened and sliced through the air, cutting Angelo’s hand clean off.
“FUCK!” Angelo shouted, immediately grabbing for his bleeding stump of a hand. Wasting no time, Shin Il dropped down to grab the gun, prying the hand from it and taking it in hand before he aimed the gun first at Angelo’s shoulder, his chest, his knee, and then finally smirked as he pointed it at his nose. The last thing he heard was Angelo’s cry as he ate lead and dropped to the ground in a pool of his own blood. He heard voices down the hall, however, and he had no time to waste. They had to know something went wrong when they heard so many voices. Damn it. Why did he have to relish the violence so much?
Skidding out of the room, he went down the hall and through the first door he saw. Lucky day. It led to the stairwell. He moved up rather than down; they would be expecting anybody running to go down. Up, up, he ran until he made it to the rooftop, where he shut the door behind him as quietly as he could. He threw the gun over the ledge and heard it clatter into a garbage can. He looked over the ledge himself. He was six stories up. Jumping wasn’t an option if he actually wanted to make it alive. So he turned his gaze around to the building next door. The jump was dangerous, too but… It was about his only option.
He started at a run and he jumped. His heart was in his throat as he leapt through the air. He landed on the other side, hitting it with his knee and rolling over onto his broken arm. He sucked in a breath as he rolled onto his back and that was when he heard somebody coming up on the rooftop he just left. Quickly, he slid over to the very edge of the new roof, pressing against the side. They probably couldn’t see him, and who would think he would have jumped rooftops if they didn’t see him running like an idiot? Still, he held his breath as he listened to shouts and then heard the rooftop door close again.
Still, he didn’t move, remaining where he was, watching his own rooftop, every part that he could see. His eyes darted around from one spot to the next. Then he heard the rooftop door across from him close again. Still nothing. Nothing. He didn’t know how long he lay there before he finally got up, but there was nobody on the other rooftop and nobody on his. Slowly, he made his way to the rooftop door and listened carefully as he descended the steps.
Eventually, he made it out of the red light district but he quickly dodged into a shop where he could buy a hoodie and pull it on. Not too fishy, given where he was. He skulked through the shadows of the alleyways until he found himself near the edge of the territory. Then he was crossing over. Still nothing, yet he didn’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Finally, he made it to a little diner, where he edged into a hidden booth near the back. Now what? Now what?
Note: The title of this came from the song Error by Madeline Juno. I highly recommend giving it a listen. Check it out here: Error – Madeline Juno!
Want to know more about Shin Il? Check out Somnia. Be a part of his story! Please note that you have to join the site to see in-character posts. 🙂
He’s never been much. He doesn’t like sticking out in a crowd and he never meets the gaze of another person unless bidden to. Even then, the contact is brief, fluttery, such that one probably wonders if their eyes are playing tricks on them. His master has always said that he will never amount to anything. He is the Sacrifice to his Destroyer. He will never be anything else.
He doesn’t say much. Nobody wants to hear him. When somebody speaks to him, he wonders why and he can’t help thinking there must be an ulterior motive. Years of being cuffed on the back of the head and flicked on the temple have taught him to stay on his toes. He can’t say the wrong thing, he thinks. If he does, pain will be inflicted. It’s not the pain that bothers him, though. It’s the rosy color that creeps up his neck and over his cheeks, that feeling of the lowly dog being caught in the act of sneaking scraps from the table. He feels impudent. He feels foolish and stupid.
He doesn’t do much, insofar as outsiders know. They see only the meek servant of the Destroyer, always walking three paces behind, bowing, and avoiding eye contact. He doesn’t act human, so they don’t think to treat him like one. Is that a robot, they think to themselves. He looks so real, but there’s something very mechanical about him. In truth, he does all of the housework. He cooks and cleans, on top of all the lessons heaped upon him in order to achieve what his master likes to call a “classical education.” This means he reads classic literature, he is forced to sit in front of a piano two times a week, and he probably knows more about etiquette than Miss Manners.
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
His master quotes this to him on a daily basis. It has been drummed into him, a mantra, his life’s philosophy. He is nothing, or he strives to be. With fulfillment, will he finally escape his master’s tormenting words? Will he no longer feel the heavy hand of his punishment against the back of his head? He longs to be nothing, he longs to truly embrace this philosophy.
It is only when he looks at him that he believes there is something more than settling for nothing. He is afraid to say so, even to himself, but sometimes, he wants more than nothing. He feels greedy, ungrateful, but if he is nothing, then that one will not see him. Nobody does. He tells himself he is content to sit in the library and watch him, but he knows he’s not. He wants more. For once in his life, he wants.
His master would laugh at him, if he knew. His master doesn’t believe in other people. He tells him they’re all tools, a means to an end. Even when he takes a woman to his quarters, it’s not out of love, but only to alleviate his own needs. Does his master think of his Sacrifice’s needs? He thinks he doesn’t–and why should he? A Sacrifice lives and dies for his Destroyer. His life will be short and brutal. It has always been this way for the people of his village. The ways haven’t changed just because they have moved. His master is old fashioned. He will never give up the traditions ground into him from infancy.
He contemplates this. If he was a Destroyer, would he, too, be content with his lot in life? He often thinks being a Sacrifice wouldn’t be so bad, if only he had a kinder, gentler Destroyer. But it is not in their nature to be kind, nor gentle. A Destroyer destroys. A Creator creates. And a Sacrifice sacrifices.
So he will sacrifice his own thoughts, his own feelings. He will not think of kind eyes that strip the walls from him with one look alone. He will not imagine what it would feel like to have fingertips caress his skin. And he will not pretend, for one second, of how his life would be if he was not bound to his master and if he could instead be bound to him.
He will do nothing. He will say nothing. He will be nothing.
He is nothing and he will stay that way.