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Fallen

June 25, 2010

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This is my first attempt at participating in the Friday Flash Fiction hashtag I keep seeing on Twitter, but I’ll tell you what happened tonight. I stood outside and saw the most beautiful falling star I’d ever witnessed, and it sparked an idea. The idea stems from another story I’ve been working on lately–a novel–and I realized after I wrote this that I may have a short story that falls between books. Anyway, it’s 985 words. Seeing as how anything I write ends up a novel, I just tried to keep it under 1000 words. =)

Fallen

A bright star shot across the sky at an angle, burning long and slow before dissipating into the desert scenery. Everett looked to the Elder standing next to him under the full moon’s glow.

“An important one has fallen,” he said. The glowing fire-orange tail was what made it different from the others.

The Elder nodded. “There have been many of those lately.”

“Why do you think that is?”

She shook her head, loosened strands of her long white hair wavering with the motion. “It’s hard to say, but I fear the answer. Go investigate.”

Everett turned and stepped inside the adobe building to retrieve his weapons. Upon his return, he’d suited himself with crossbow, arrows, and his shotgun, along with a few daggers. Before he walked into the desert, the Elder grabbed his arm.

“Take heed, Everett,” she said. “This one will not be like the others.”

He nodded once, whistled for his companion, and began his pursuit of the Fallen.

Everett’s duties were to extinguish any Fallen that arrived. They were his proof that God existed. Without them, he’d simply believe that religion was something made up in the minds of men. The wolf trotting at his side was a pure being, able to discern the Fallen from ordinary humans or whatever it’d chosen to become. Sometimes, the Fallen took the shape of a human, sometimes it was a creature. On few occasions, what the Fallen had chosen to become existed neither in this world or the next. He could only describe them as monsters.

Coyotes barked and howled in the distance, signifying their kill for the night. The wolf stopped briefly to listen, ears perked, head cocked to the side. Everett snapped his fingers and she caught up to him as he made his way through the brush, careful to stay on a clear path. In the desert, things liked to hide in the crevices of rocks and beneath desert sage. If you weren’t careful, you’d end up with fangs in your calf.

Which is the reason Everett wore boots with his camouflage pants tucked inside.

When they’d trekked a few miles, the wolf stopped to sample the air. Everett halted and waited for her signal, crouching low when he saw her upper lip start to twitch into a snarl. The low growl that came from her was only loud enough for him to hear. He pulled his crossbow off his back and notched an arrow. From the corner of his eye, he watched the wolf. She looked straight ahead, so Everett studied that direction and saw a figure in the distance. His eyes widened when he realized the figure wasn’t walking away from him, and he quickly ducked to the side for cover. They never came toward him. It was as though they could sense him just like the wolf could sense them.

Another star shot overhead, and he looked up just in time to see where it landed. Moments ticked away like hours as they waited for either Fallen to enter their field of vision once again. The wolf’s head snapped to the side and she growled again.

“Ma’iitsoh, no,” Everett whispered as he watched the wolf’s muscles twitch. “Down.” He didn’t need the wolf to try to protect him. It wasn’t her job.

The ground vibrated beneath him and Everett held his crossbow ready and aimed in the direction that held the wolf’s attention. Whatever it’d chosen to become, it was big. From the tops of the brush, it soared into the sky, black as oil, and eyes red and fixated on Everett. His finger depressed the crossbow’s trigger, sending a silver-tipped arrow through the air and into its heart. A war cry came from his left and he quickly grabbed his shotgun, but as he pointed it toward the other one, the Fallen launched itself at the black beast as it hit the dirt. With another cry, a sword slashed through the air and decapitated the creature.

The Fallen stood over its kill, whispering, as Everett watched, stunned. He’d never seen a Fallen kill one of its own. Dark brown hair whipped around its body in a flurry from the sudden wind. With a jerk, it looked to the sky, and Everett followed its gaze with his own. Then it turned toward him.

He raised the shotgun. And froze.

She stepped forward, the moonlight casting upon her pale skin and divine features. She’d chosen her true from. Everett had only ever seen one other such as her, and he briefly wondered why she’d made this choice. “We haven’t much time.”

“Stop!” Everett shouted as he stood. The wolf jumped up and the Fallen held her hand out to her. Ma’iitsoh sniffed the air and sat back on her haunches. Everett cocked a brow.

“You are the assassin of the Fallen,” she said in a voice worthy of song.

He nodded. “Yes, and you’re one of the Fallen.”

She giggled. “Am I?”

“I watched your star,” he said.

“Was it like his?” she asked and jerked her head back to point out the creature she’d slain.

“Well, no,” Everett said. “It was slightly different.”

“I don’t have time to explain to you, but we must hurry,” she said as she continued to walk toward him.

He kept his shotgun pointed at her, and watched her walk past him. “What’s the hurry?”

She stopped and turned her head to the side, her vibrant yellow eyes glinting in the moonlight and searing into his gaze. “God is dead.”

Everett blinked. “I’m sorry?”

She turned her head and continued walking toward the direction Everett originated from, toward the humble adobe structure and the Elder. “You can help me, or you can stand there like a fool and stare at the stars as Armageddon falls upon us.”

Ma’iitsoh followed the fallen angel.

Everett looked to the sky and saw a thousand stars descend.

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2010 9:18 am

    Woh! Awesome piece! Beautiful and stunning. Wow!

  2. June 25, 2010 3:42 pm

    I definitely agree “…beautiful and stunning”. I also like very much how you describe something like what a character looks like without just giving a description. “If you weren’t careful, you’d end up with fangs in your calf. Which is the reason Everett wore boots with his camouflage pants tucked inside.”

  3. NL Gervasio permalink*
    June 25, 2010 3:45 pm

    Thank you both very much. =)

  4. June 25, 2010 4:19 pm

    Wow, very cool! The descriptions are fantastic, making this world come to life, and the situation is fantastic. Well done!

    • NL Gervasio permalink*
      June 25, 2010 4:28 pm

      Thank you, Eric. =)

  5. June 25, 2010 5:58 pm

    Wow, no less than Armageddon as your debut #fridayflash. Where do you go from there? 😉 This reads really well. I love the ominous tone of it, the mixed feel of ancient and modern. Nicely done.

    Welcome to #FridayFlash.
    ~jon

    • NL Gervasio permalink*
      June 25, 2010 6:00 pm

      Thank you so much, Jon. We’ll have to see what comes to mind next. 🙂

  6. Blackbirdsong permalink
    June 25, 2010 7:17 pm

    An interesting take on Armageddon. Beautiful descriptions throughout. Welcome to #fridayflash 🙂

    • NL Gervasio permalink*
      June 25, 2010 7:40 pm

      Thanks Rach. 😉

  7. June 25, 2010 10:12 pm

    Yes, the mixture of modern and ancient, with legend, fantasy and magic realism all to combat armegeddon. Well done! I’m glad you participated in #fridayflash.

    • NL Gervasio permalink*
      June 25, 2010 10:14 pm

      Thank you, Peggy. 🙂

  8. June 26, 2010 7:05 am

    What a stunning piece of work. A tremendous opening for a novel. As Peggy noted, it’s a great mix of fantasy and modern elements. The last line was a killer. A great debut to #fridayflash. Look forward to more of your work.

    • NL Gervasio permalink*
      June 26, 2010 7:23 pm

      Thank you so much, Alan. I think I wrote that last line right after I wrote the first paragraph. 🙂

  9. June 26, 2010 3:45 pm

    I love this story. Beautiful language, and your use of strains from different genres is superb. Really excellent.

    And welcome to #fridayflash, by the way. 🙂

    • NL Gervasio permalink*
      June 26, 2010 7:26 pm

      Thank you, Gracie. 🙂

  10. June 26, 2010 7:18 pm

    I GOT CHILLS!!! Love the last few lines…..Lumiel is rejoicing in my head.

    • NL Gervasio permalink*
      June 26, 2010 7:20 pm

      ROFLMFAO! Crap, I didn’t even think of that.

  11. June 27, 2010 2:31 pm

    Wow! Two debuts with stories named Fallen; both completely different and both completely awesome. Your writing is beautiful, your imagination great. Welcome to #fridayflash! Look forward to more from you.

    • NL Gervasio permalink*
      June 27, 2010 3:29 pm

      Thank you so much, Cathy. 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. Flash Fiction Turn-ons and Turn-offs (part 2) | Be the Story
  2. Prince Charming was a putz: An Interview with N.L. Gervasio | Random Musings

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