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.
Cat: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Chicken: Oh here we go again. Ramblings of a drunk armchair philosopher. Existentialist I take it?
Cat: No really, there’s a legitimate line of inquiry here.
Chicken: Fine fine, entertain me.
Cat: So there’s a chicken living in the heart of New York City near Times square on-top a trendy rooftop farm. By the new Cluck Laws, chickens can enter into a living contract with a farmstead where they get free feed, a roof, and heating during the winter. There’s even entertainment such as TV/internet plus a job with a great health-insurance policy to boot.
Chicken: That sounds too good to be true… What’s the catch?
Cat: Well there’s an expiration date. After some time, the homestead moves you to a retirement home, puts you to sleep, and … off you go to cluck paradise.
Chicken: Holy catnip!! Execution is illegal here. And what happens to the body afterwards?
Cat: They feed it to humans… but you’ll be in paradise remember. The exact dates are all spelled out so there aren’t surprises.
Chicken: I don’t want to know when I die! What of my children if I have any?
Cat: They’ll be given the same contracts.
Chicken: And the alternative?…
Cat: Well, there’s always the road.
Entry to this week’s WPS! Location: Waterloo, Belgium.
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.
Priory: The priestess gathered her acolytes at the dining table. Tonight, they will make a sacrifice to the moon goddess so that she will hide their passage west. A calf was brought to the pedestal and a sharp blade drawn. Two slashes later, blood stained the walls. The calf was still alive.
Bastion: The revolutionary huddled with his conspirators in a dark corner. At midnight, they will raid the armory for explosives and set them over the palace’s supports. One who had second thoughts fidgeted with a pistol in his coat pocket. A loud bang went off, commotion reverberated the walls. The lantern had fell.
Museum: The activist raised his microphone atop the podium. After dawn, they will parade across the finance district with artifacts stolen from their homeland. Riot police looked uneasy as they gripped their batons. A building alarm blared; sirens flooded the street. The uptown heist began.
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 …
Incubus: I saw atop the fortress a seducer who had captured the host’s maiden. The two had eloped before abandoning the domain. Their unholy union left a pair of twin changelings in the wake. A clan of ravens took pity and raised one of them as their own where it assumed their eponymous title.
Raven: The sky temple looms over a barren city. A woman on the ledge stares into distant lands across borders. She seeks her father whom she’s linked to but never met. Shapeshifting into a raven, she forms a portal and flies into another’s dream. I follow suite.
Succubus: A seductress reins over the court. She assumes the role of queen over an absent throne. Suitors line up offering their hand, but she strings each along until they are spent and discarded. Her eyes then fixate on mine before a silver bolt struck her in the heart.
Dhampir: The hunter emerges from a shadow in the corner of the room. A man of few words, he quickly unloads several more rounds as the Succubus thrashes against the ground. When she finally bled silence, the Dhampir tasted a sample before spatting in disgust. Half-bred he scowled.
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.