Poppy stood motionless by the Cabernet collection. Empty bottles and cigarettes stubs littered the flat that was once a lively studio. Her next victim, a former gambler who had stowed himself away in witness protection, dozed off this fine rainy Sunday. He’ll take his last swig tonight, just like all the rest who drew too deeply from her vines and entangled. She was now his best friend… his only friend for that matter when the days ceased to start, life’s currents spiraled nowhere. One last swig she bubbled and extended her hands from the eddies. They were met in kind.
Lucifer meets with Adam in a dream. Outside the gates of Eden, the devil transforms into a rabbit and tempts the boy to follow. Adam complies and enters paradise. However, there was nothing idyllic about the garden. Nature had been reduced to a ribbon farm with every species of plant and animal perfectly arrayed, cataloged. Adam asks the rabbit why he’d been shown this. Lucifer transforms back into an angel and offers a lighter in one hand, a shovel in the other. Unable to choose, Adam wakes up in his capsule. Terra-forming mars was turning out to be a drudgery.
Jack: “So I tricked the devil into paying my tabs.”
Jon: “Oh. How’d you do that?”
Jack: “Satin agreed to a drinking match. My eternal soul if I lose. Ten extra years if I win. Half-way in, I slipped a note to the bartender.”
Jon: “What was on it?”
Jack: “An unsigned IOU from hell.”
Jon: “Damn, how’d he take it?”
Jack: “He started mixing holy water.”
Inspired from the original stingy Jack myth!
A young boy frolicked by a spring-time lake. In his exuberance, he accidentally trips over Death’s scythe and falls into the water unconscious. Death pulls the boy out from under as it was before his time. He then etches the true hour of fate in the back of the child’s mind.
Decades later, an old man returns to the site. He finds Death waiting in a gazebo overlooking a winter-time lake before announcing that he’s ready. Death inquires whether he’d live a different life if ignorant of his fate. The man replies no. The reaper grins and wakes him up.
Illume, the light of the soul, had been blessed with the gift of life. She could animate all that she touched with a flick of her wrist, turning earth into gnomes, water into spirits, wind into doves, and fire into sprites. The dark lord who wanted to possess her however cast a pernicious spell while she slept.
One night, Illume encountered an ebony mirror in her dreams. The mirror did not reflect who one was but instead who one could be. On that night, a resplendent queen appeared in her guise who commanded the adoration and love of all the subjects in the land. The next night, a powerful sorceress emerged atop a mountain who fended off a great barbarian invasion from the north. On the third, a fierce huntress and she-wolf materialized and nearly leapt out of the panel.
The midnight encounters continued for centuries as the dream world slowly bled into her waking life. Illume developed her powers, transmuting herself into every one of the possibilities that the mirror showed. Each time, the ebony mirror absorbed some of her light, slowing turning its dark shade into a translucent sheen until she was eventually no more. By the end, a magic mirror stood in her place in a lonesome tower. The dark lord at long last arrived to claim his prize. When he gazed between the frames, he saw nothing but a blinding light for the magic mirror no longer reflected what one could be, but what one can never have.
For generations, permanent war plagued the lands. The god of strife had seduced the night, pinning Mars and his constellations to the heavens and defying the natural order. Many of the other gods were not pleased and so concocted a ruse to trap the defiler. Pouring their immortality into the holy grail, they descended onto the Earthly plane in disguise to hold a tournament for the soul of the world. Man fought against neighbors. Tribes against federations. Nations against empires. The god of strife basked in the spoils of war until at last he acquired the holy grail and drank its intoxicating power. To his detriment, the grail drank his immortality and imprisoned his soul. The people then sealed the chalice beneath a mountain so that he would never escape. Night, reprieve, and the dawn of new age finally came to pass.
Jamie, I found the field of containers but they are all empty. Why did the city lock them in the first place?
Probably to stop people from living there. To keep the homeless homeless I suppose.
That sounds horrible. I’ll unlock them at once.
6-months later on the news: City’s emerging slums hit with typhoid fever and cholera epidemic. Leading cause was lack of proper sanitation and strained medical services.
Jamie, why are the doctors storing these crates of antibiotics? The children are dying!
Probably to hoard them for themselves and their wealthy friends.
That sounds horrible …
Envy: The tyrant wanted a piece of the sun. Confiscating all the gold in his kingdom, he built a palace high above the Eastern mountains and coated it with the element. This way, he will always wake up to his monument reflecting the light before dawn. The palace took a decade to assemble. On the day of its completion, he boasted to the sky that he will now be first to rise. The sun then blinded him.
Generosity: The prince had renounced all earthly possessions. His wealth, connections, and time would be given away to his people and the Buddha’s teachings. The royal family disagreed and trapped him in the palace. There, he mediated without eating or sleeping until word reached his people and they started donating aid. The family eventually relented but when they opened his chambers, the prince had already transcended. His body turned to gold.
The clock struck twelve on Sunday’s tail.
Hypnos taunts me from a loud corner.
So I take up my sneakers and hit the road.
Drown out the gabber with a midnight stroll.
And find myself lost in the deep of woods.
Where two hoots sound behind foggy veils.
Good or bad company I welcome.
I saw the harbinger in black. A shadowy figure on horseback, it traversed the great plains with supernatural haste towards the walled city. Upon approaching the gates, three requests were made. Water for his mare of which none was provided. Passage to the temple of which none was given. Audience with the magistrate of which none was granted. For three nights, the rider left without admittance but not before circumscribing the region’s limits. On the fourth, a low rumble shook the lands as massive roots tore through the bedrocks. The city had been razed and its name struck from all records by decree.