Writer: Timothy Dumont Jr.
Co-writer: Crystal Ferguson

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Flashback 217: God-Rank -Indigo-

I was twenty-three when I earned my God-Rank. I was the second youngest person to earn their God rank; the first being Patrick at age 15.

I stood in front of my Father as he looked at me. He smiled and motioned for me to step forward. I had been waiting for this day even though I already knew what I would be God-ranking into. My power involved emotions; I could see and manipulate a person's emotions, but with my touch I could do all that, and create or destroy emotions as well. I was jumping right up to the top and becoming the Goddess of Emotions.

God-ranking was a rite of passage for most of us. We aspired toward it so we could find out where we ranked compared to our other classmates. Getting a rank could either give or take some power from the receiver, and very rarely did it ever leave them the same. It all really depended on what my Father decided was best, but most had a change to their abilities happen when they were ranked.

"Indigo, my dearest daughter, you have done well in proving yourself and you demonstrate incredible control over you ability, and that makes me proud."

I stood tall and proud like a daughter should. This was my moment.

"What doesn't make me proud is the relationship you have with Patrick. I've even heard rumors that you've joined him in his crusade to find an imaginary person. You spread rumors of a war that is going to be worse than the one we're in right now and you did all of this against my wishes."

My pride deflated like a popped balloon. How could I explain my feelings for Patrick? My feelings that had not been returned despite my best efforts. Everything my Father had said was happening started because I wanted to be noticed, but over time I realized that Patrick was speaking the truth and trying to save us from destruction.

"Dad, I didn't mean to disappoint you. Once I'm God-ranked then I'll be sure to make you proud."

"Or you could end up taking my rule right out from under me and giving it directly to Patrick." He slammed his hand on the throne's armrest, "You disobeyed a direct order from your ranking officer and your father. You have disgraced my name more than any has yet."

"But Father . . . " I felt the tears flow but didn't care, "I'm sorry."

"You have proved yourself to be capable of God-rank, that is true. So your rank shall be Goddess of Guilt, a title suitable for someone who has shamed their family so much."

I felt my powers slip away as I fell to my knees. I would no longer control all emotions, my control would center around guilt alone. Sadness at the loss of my ability built up in my chest and then slowly formed to anger. I pulled myself to my feet and smiled a dark smile at my Father.

The room became heavy with guilt. Some people burst into tears while others began tearing at their faces. I slowly intensified the feeling until everyone was trying to kill themselves over the guilt they felt. Except my Father. He sat there unaffected, like always. Our powers didn't work on our parents, something to do with protective powers through blood.

He stared at me angrily until the last person fell, "Are you done?"

I turned and stomped through the puddles of blood to the door, "I hate you."

I closed the door behind me and then fell to the floor in tears. How could he do that? How could my Father be so cruel? I thought he loved me, but I was nothing but a tool that had broken.

"So, I need a favor." It was Patrick and coming from across the hall.

I looked up at him, tears still streaming down my face, "Will it hurt my Father?"

"Yes. If I'm right, then it will do more than just hurt him."

I wiped the tears from my face, "You saw what happened in there?"

"No, but I did hear it. Your father is a very twisted man."

I ran up to hug him but he sidestepped, "Indigo, I can't ask anyone else to do this. I need your help."

I knew I would help him already. I wanted to make my Father suffer for destroying my powers like he did, "What do you need?"

"I need you to find someone willing to perform the needed spell so that I can go to the human realm. I think that's where Gilfred is hiding."

"I'll do it." I couldn't deny the request of someone I loved.

And I didn't care anymore.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Flashback 216: I Will Not -Indigo-

The first time I saw him I was twelve. I was the eldest daughter of the headmaster of the academy, and as such was always present whenever someone was given an award or a punishment. From when I was old enough to understand, I'd heard legends about Patrick; how he'd been the most powerful child in the academy, how even as a lowly Janitor he was able to proceed in raising his rank. I had always wanted to meet him, but my Father said that he was a very dangerous young man that talks of blasphemy.

"Step up, Patrick." My Father's voice echoed through the chambers.

His handsome features took my breath away as he approached the throne. He stood almost as tall as my Father and had piercing eyes. He stood there with a face lacking emotion, but it was very evident to me that he felt a deep hatred toward everyone in the room. I could see it flowing around him like a windstorm. The control he had over his emotions was unbelievable; like nothing I'd ever seen. He was everything the legends had said and more.

"You speak of a man while you work? Would you mind explaining yourself to me?" My Father was trying to make Patrick comfortable, but it would never work. Patrick had a whirlwind of anger that even my Father couldn't destroy.

"Sir, if you may, this is not why I'm here. I have other things to atten-"

"You will answer, Patrick!"

"Yes," Patrick was unaffected by Father's rage, "Gilfred is the only being that can stop Mardockt. I think people should know that for the coming war. We need to find him, only then is there any way to survive, sir."

At this point my Father's rage matched Patrick's, "Mardockt is dead and Gilfred is an old myth. You will stop spreading these falsehoods throughout the community. We have enough to deal with at the moment."

"I will not."

No one had ever said that to my Father. All my life I'd seen people walk up with an opinion or suggestion and the second my father denied it, they would nod and leave. That wasn't all. Anyone willing to go against my Father's orders was as good as dead, but Patrick had no fear. It was all anger and hatred that flowed around him; a red and yellow inferno that wouldn't be weakened by the presence of any threat.

My Father sat there staring at Patrick for a moment. Then he stood and walked in front of Patrick. He raised his hand back and then down toward Patrick's face. My Father was very strong, the strongest person in the academy and combined with his ability he was practically unstoppable. The force from that swing could end the life of any student. Right then, I knew that the legends of Patrick were over. I would never be able to speak to such an unbelievable person again.

I was wrong. All the anger and hatred that Patrick had flowing around him was absorbed into himself instantly, and I watched as my Father's hand was stopped by Patrick's wrist. A loud smack echoed off the walls and then silence took the entire room. There Patrick stood, his wrist holding back Father's hand while the rest of the people present stared on; shocked by what they'd just witnessed. Dumb-founded we watched as Patrick pushed my Father's hand aside and followed up with a swing that missed my Father's face by inches. My Father had been so shocked that he had waited till the last second to move.

"I'm sorry that you think force can make me agree with your views. It must be disappointing to find out that you can't control all your students like you used to. I don't understand why my talk of Myths and the dead could warrant such a response, but I'm sure you have your reasons. Now, I came here for a reason and I'd like to see the purpose through to the end. Unless you'd like to try again, but next time my retaliation will not miss." Patrick spoke with a smooth voice that was filled with strength, fearlessness and raw power. There was no one in the room who could doubt what they'd just witnessed and many of them were getting up to leave the room; something that I was considering at the moment as well. If my Father and Patrick began to fight then this room would become a war zone.

My Father composed himself and sat down in the throne, "Indeed we did. Let's proceed then."

My Father's anger was still raging around him, but Patrick had no emotion at all; not in his face, not in his aura. In fact, it was as though he was aura-less. His body was surrounded by clear air with no hint of feeling anywhere.

"Patrick, you have done much to prove yourself even after you'd been permanently ranked as a Janitor. As such, I remove the restriction and appoint you into a God-title worthy of your prowess. I hereby appoint you with the title: God of Death." My Father smiled a sly smile.

Patrick frowned, "Sir, that's still a janitorial position and is never permitted to leave The Other Lands. I beg you to reconsider and give me another post."

"You expect me to allow you to spread those lies to the humans from the other realm? You must be kidding. You've got what you wanted, you had your rank increased. Leave."

Patrick bowed, turned and then left. The people witnessing the ranking left shortly after leaving me, my father and his adviser alone.

"Sir. I think it was the wrong choice ranking him after that show of utter disobedience. You should have killed him right then." His adviser chose his words carefully.

"You think I didn't try?" My Father glanced in my direction and then back at his adviser, "He stopped me. He's less than half my age and he just brushed the hit aside."

"Shall I send the guards to pick him up?"

"They can't. We currently don't have any guards with enough poser to stop him. Right now we have him following our rules," My Father rubbed his cheek where he'd been nearly hit, "We don't want to provoke him to start breaking them."

The adviser noticed my Father rubbing his face, "Did he hit you sir?"

"No, but if he had then I would be leaving here in a casket."

Hearing that filled me with awe, fear and longing toward the only person who had made a lasting impression on me.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

215: Heart Vs. Fear -Andrew-

I found myself standing in the rain. Up ahead stood the one group of people that despised me more than anyone else. The Warlock stood off to the side, his head down with ears blushing red and Ben was wrapping Crystal in a blanket.

My job was simple. All I had to do was find Carl and his brother, then kill them. If this was the other me than I wouldn't have even hesitated, but I had escaped my prison. Indigo hadn't just devised this horrible situation just to get back at the brothers, but also to tell me where I stood. To her I was nothing but a human, an easily manipulated sponge that she would squeeze the water from until I was wrung dry.

"Daddy, I don't know what to tell you." My brain emulated my daughter's voice, "I don't want to go back in that place, but this is wrong."

I knew it was wrong but I had no choice. If I didn't go and do her bidding then I was lost; I would never have my mind back.

"Honey, what happens if you do it? What do you become if you do as she says?" My wife was always the stronger one, the one to ask the questions no one wanted to.

How different from the old me would I be if I did what she'd asked? Would I end up the same? A monster in the skin of a man. The only difference would be the hate I feel for myself, but after a while wouldn't even that fade away? The group up ahead had stood and were walking away. They were probably headed to the hotel they were staying at. As I watched them I noticed a kind of deep camaraderie that I had only felt when my life was simple, and my family was alive. If I did what she said, then I would be destroying another family, removing two important people and leaving the rest in ruins.

Up ahead a bus turned the corner splashing Ben, Crystal, Nick and Will.

When I was in the Other Lands I remembered watching them, studying their movements and learning their skills. I had gone to the museum knowing that I could beat them, only to find that everything I'd thought was wrong. This single group of people spit in the face of what was definite, almost as though they weren't held down by the rules that bound us all. None of them seemed very special, they weren't even the most powerful people he'd met, but something about them kept them going even against the power of Gods.

"Daddy, you're special too." Tears came to my eyes, and even though my mind was making up her words I was touched, "That mean lady can't control you if you don't let her. We can all choose to be different."

"Honey, we're with you no matter what you do. You've gotten us back, so we're here for you."

The bright headlights of the bus filled my vision and something in me fell together. Indigo and Patrick had caused me all this hardship, but this time I wasn't their puppet. Back then I was tortured and weak, unlike now when I'd faced death and lived. I was like those people I had studied. I was my own person, able to make my own choices and not be controlled by the greed and vengeance of Gods.

I stepped off the curb and turned to face the several tons of metal hurtling toward me. I held my hands up and screamed, "Indigo! Here's what I say to your request you manipulative, evil witch! Go to H-"

The bus collided with my body. I felt my skin rip open and my insides burst as pieces of me flew every direction. I heard a muffled scream as I hit the ground and slid in the mud. I was dying and the pain was incredible, but I'd felt worse. I had felt it for so long. Slowly the world blurred away and went black.

I was free. I was strong. I was special. I was dead.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Flashback 214: Adjusting part 4 -Christina-

I felt wetness on my cheek, touched it with my finger and stared at in confusion. It wasn't that I didn't know what it was, Samuel had told me it was called crying back when his mother died, but it had never happened to me.

"You cry because something you care about was lost," He had told me, "It's a way to help your body heal."

Maybe I thought I didn't need to heal because there wasn't much that could hurt me, but as I put my foot down again on the fay's face, I felt more pain than I'd felt my entire life. For the last year I'd spent my time with him learning to love, learning to adjust, becoming more human than God. For the first time I was starting to understand what happiness really was. Now as I cried, everything he did seemed so pointless; like a movie without an ending or a book with no last page. I felt there was more to be told, but key parts were missing.

Soon the rage slipped away, like water down a drain, leaving only emptiness behind. I felt my legs shaking and only had the strength to move near Samuel's body before I collapsed. I tried to look at his face, but just a glance was torture.

"Samuel," I lifted him up and pressed him against me, "Please, let this be a dream. I want to wake up. Please." My voice faded as I was overtaken by sobs.

A siren in the background told me that my time was up, so I laid him back down and bowed my head over him, "I swear," I slipped to fingers in to his wound, covering them with blood, "that I will find a way." I smeared the blood on my shirt, making a large, crude S, "I will be with you again."

I stood to my feet and wiped the tears from my cheeks, "And may God have mercy on anything that stands in my way."

The police car turned the corner as I got out of the area.

A week later, I had learned that about a year ago a fairy named Qaliphus had used Excalibur to revive every fairy that had died in the war and bring them into this realm. Carl and Melissa had both been trying to stop it, but ended up killing each other in the confusion. During the following year, fairies had been slowly and silently making their way toward complete human control, and anyone that had stood in their way was very quickly destroyed. Just like Samuel.

My hand grasped the final rock as I pulled myself up the side of Mount Ida, the final resting place of The Palladium. The Palladium was a large wooden statue that Athena had given to humans. They thought it was used to keep the city safe, but they didn't understand how. Only a few humans knew that.

I stood in front of a large cave opening; the entrance to the temple containing The Palladium, an artifact that could rewind time for the person, or persons touching it. There was nothing I could do now to bring Samuel back, but there was something I could have done then. I had to go back and fix it, only then would I be able to be with Samuel again. I looked down at my shirt, the S now a brown color, and remembered every moment of that day. Tears stung my face once more as I remembered my promise.

Stepping into the cave, I saw the statue sitting atop a shrine of gold and silver. It was unguarded, so I could just walk up and reach out to touch it. I knew it was unguarded because I had helped put it here. After I used it, I would be expelled and this temple would move to a place unknown; a final protective measure to keep humans from getting greedy.

My fingers touched the warm wood and I closed my eyes as the world around me blurred. I had to find Melissa, and then I would stop Qaliphus from bringing the faeries back. When I was done, I would fight no more. I would find Samuel and we would spend our days together, and be happy.

But first, I had to get my old sword Balmung back.

Flashback 213: Adjusting Part 3 -Christina-

"Hey, do you think you could go to the store?"

I laid the controller on the floor and pulled myself to my feet, "I guess. There's no more milk anyway." I stopped at the door as I grabbed my coat, "I think I'm going to grab a candy bar."

"Cookies n' Cream?" He stood and walked over to me. Placing his hands on my waist, he leaned in.

"Of course." I kissed him lightly and then slipped out the door.

As I made my way down the stairs I slipped on my coat. Almost a year had passed since he'd found me in that store and saved my life, but I still wasn't used to any display of affection yet. He was probably the only person that could get away with anything with out losing a limb, but normally even a hug put me on edge. I swooped down to grab an empty can off the street and looked ahead for a source of disposal. There it was, about five blocks away was a nearly full trash can that had just enough room.

Two children that I'd seen here before stopped to stare at me as they always did. I didn't like children and found enjoyment in making their jaws drop. At least it stopped them from staring. I pulled my arm back and threw the can with as much force as I could muster.

A loud boom was heard as the can zipped through the air, smashed in to the diamond grating of the trash can and stuck there. I glanced at the children and grinned at the way their mouths hung.

"Remember, pick up your trash." Then I turned and continued my way to the store.

I don't ever want things to be the way they had been at the academy again. I was never free to do things that I wanted to. I was trained to fight and never anything else. He had taken the time to teach me that the world wasn't just a terrible place where war ruled. He taught me to let my guard down enough to enjoy the world around me. He showed me a sunset for the first time and then taught me how to walk to the beach so I could see it again at anytime.

Video games. He gave me them so that I could relieve my anger in a way that wasn't a felony. I was a master at almost every one he put in front of me except Super Smash Bros. Brawl; I could never beat him in that no matter how many times I forced him to miss work so that we could keep going. He was right though, I didn't feel like punching anything that moved. I was even okay with people accidentaly touching me, and I didn't think of humans as lower than myself. In fact, I had come to realize that they had became the reigning species not because of an accident, but because they deserved it. I found myself feeling proud about their accomplishments, almost as if they were my own; as if I were human.

The shop owner was sitting outside of the store and as I approached he waved, "Well, how are you this morning?"

I returned the wave, "I'm just here to grab some milk and maybe some of those delicious candy bars of yours."

"That's good, I got a new shipment today. Just go inside, Darrel will take care of you."

I stepped in the store and walked to the milk. One thing I really loved about humans was the invention of air conditioning, which this place had neglected in purchasing. My candy bars were probably melted. I carried the milk to the front register and grabbed three cookies n' cream bars.

"Christina! Hey, How's the man?" That's what Darrel referred to him as, probably because they once played games together and Darrel was so bad that I had to look away.

" I think he's okay, he seems happy." I shrugged. Human emotions still confused me a lot. I could never tell the difference between happy and indifferent, but I tried to pretend I understood.

"Well, we should get together sometime. I've been practicing."

"Let me see your hands." I leaned over the counter as he raised his fingers.

The wear from playing games was nowhere on his fingers and not a single controller blister could be seen. I leaned back and laughed at him, "Not enough practice, but I'll see when he has time for you."

"Oh come on, you always say that."

"And you always lose." I grabbed the change from the counter and smiled as I walk past the store owner.

I enjoyed this life we'd made. I was smiling when we were together and peaceful when we were apart. I loved walking to the store and making dinner when I brought it home. My favorite movie at the moment was Mrs. Doubtfire, and I enjoyed the band Poets Of the Fall more than any other band out there. I didn't have to worry about having my life in danger at every moment of the day, which was more relaxing than I had thought it would be.

I turned the corner on to my street and I knew something was off. Ahead of me stood three people, a tall dark skinned man, a small child with a look of fear on her face and then there was him. He was defending the child. I knew it because that was the kind of person he was. He would do what ever he could to help someone and even some things that he couldn't do. He'd helped me because I looked like I didn't belong, and he didn't even crack a smile as I told him all about my life. He was the kind of person who was born to be the hero, even though he wasn't built for it.

The air was wrong. This situation was wrong, and as I dropped the milk to run over I noticed what it was. The man he was defending the girl from was a fairy and the young girl was anything but. As I raced toward him the girl lifted up in to the air, attached by a thin string of muscle to the man. It was its tail and he was their prey.

The tail grabbed him tight, restricting his movements and the fairy swung its arm straight through his chest. I was close enough to smell the blood, as the fairy raised the heart of the only person I truly cared about to his mouth and bit down.

"This one was good. Very . . . defiant, and strong. He was very tasty on my tongue." He hadn't realized that I was closing in, but he would soon.

The rage flowed forward, unlike anything I'd ever felt. In mere seconds everything that I'd learned had been torn to shreds in front of me. There was no amount of gaming that was going to release this tension. I knew of only one way to make the pain go away and I wasn't even sure if that would work. I felt empty and I filled the emptiness with rage. All the pain and suffering I was feeling slid along until it rested at the edge of my fist. For some reason I felt that would make my fist swing faster, hit harder; I felt that it would erase the emptiness once the rage was gone. I knew I was wrong.

"HIS NAME . . . " I was running full force as I pulled back my fist. The creature finally noticed me but it was very late, and it knew it.

I swung my fist forward with a force that left my ears ringing, "WAS SAMUEL!"

I felt the fairy's surprised face vaporize as my hand collided with its head. Fairy blood sprayed across the buildings along the street as the creature's body hit the ground. The tail screamed and tried to run, but was stopped by the weight of the body. I flicked my wrist, cleaning it of the blood and leaving a light, red stain in its place.

The fairy tail screamed as I crushed its head with my boot, but I didn't care. Samuel was dead.

Flashback 212: Adjusting Part 2 -Christina-

"A county is in mourning since early today when a school bus of forty-three children disappeared in thin air only to be found 2 hours later across state lines. The children were found dead inside and the bus driver had vanished. But that's not all of the unusual news today, as a you-" The radio was shut off and he pulled it from my grasp.

"You've been listening to that broadcast on repeat for the last hour." He flopped down on the bed next to me, "It's time for you to put it down and return to reality."

I watched him for a few moments and then smiled, "I guess I got distracted. Was there something planned today?"

He stared at me for a few moments before speaking. He did that a lot and at first it made me very uncomfortable, but lately I'd come to expect it. When it didn't happen I would feel weird and end up moving into his line of sight.

I guess he paused to think out his words beforehand because his questions always surprised me, "So, when are you going to start using my name?"

"I . . . I can't." I was an unsigned God but even they never called humans by their names, they usually came up with a nickname or just called them "you". Calling someone by their name signified equality, maybe even intimacy, and was very much frowned upon with humans, "It's not proper."

"We've been dating for two months." He rolled to look at the ceiling.

Dating was a very foreign word to me, even after I'd heard him using it so much lately. I knew what it meant and thinking about it made me feel flushed. Although we didn't talk about what we did when we were alone often, I always knew that he was thinking about it by the look in his eye or the way he smiles when he's deep in thought. I didn't understand why it was so important that I use his name, or why the fact that we're dating has anything to do with it. I reached over and pushed him off the bed.

A loud thump was heard followed by an exclamation of surprise and then silence. I waited for him to get back up but heard nothing. My heart leaped into my throat. Had I hurt him?

"Are you okay?" I leaned over, trying to see over the side of the bed to make sure he wasn't injured, "Say som-"

"HAH!" He sprung up at me, making me jump back in surprise and fall off the bed. As I untangled my limbs and pulled myself off the floor, he was laughing so hard that his eyes were watering. I grasped a pillow off the bed and smiled.

He looked surprised and ran for the door. He didn't make it, my pillow snagged him on the foot causing him to tumble into the living room. I went after him, snatching the other pillow off the bed. I turned into the living room and was met with a couch cushion in the face. My bottom hit the floor and he jumped at me, pushing my wrists down.

"Gotcha." He said breathing heavily.

He didn't have me. I could easily have thrown him off anytime I wanted, but that was the problem.

I laughed lightly, "Yeah, I guess you do."

"So, now I get one request and you have to comply." He grinned.

I bit my lower lip, thinking about all the things he could ask, "What is your request?"

"I want you to tell me about your past. I want to know why you were wearing armor and didn't know what a trash can was."

It wasn't what I had expected. I looked to the left, my eyes resting on a controller that had been kicked under the couch. I didn't want to tell him, because then he might go away. How many people have I killed? How many times have I done horrible things in the name of my academy? How could he stay around someone as horrible as me? I'm not worth his affection, and I don't even know what affection meant.

"Hey," He let go of my wrist and swiped a piece of hair away from my eyes.

I turned to look at him, but didn't say a thing.

"You have nothing to worry about. What ever you tell me, I'll stay right here. Then after you're done telling me, I'm going to take you to your favorite place to eat."

Looking at his eyes I could see sincerity, and for some reason I trusted him, "Okay. I'll tell you," He was about to move when I stopped him, "but don't go until I'm done."

"I'm not going anywhere."