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Godot's Short Story Thread

Godot

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I know I did this on the previous site. I know I didn't post short stories very often. I'm not sure how well this is gonna go over, but someone recommended I share some of my stories here. I mean, I suppose it might be a good idea. So I'll start by linking to the old thread to get a look at the stuff I wrote back then. And then at some point over the course of the month, or next month, or whatever. I'll eventually start sharing things here, maybe D&D backstories at first (because that's the only stuff I've written in any serious capacity that hasn't been deleted yet) and then later wholly new stuff. New to you and new to me, because I want to stretch these writin' muscles of mine.

Without further ado, here's the link: Link... Here's hoping I don't regret this.
 

Godot

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In the tavern just after closing time earlier this week, Calico Jack slowly stowed his lyre on his back and walked over to a chair. “Hey, Owen, have a bit of tonight’s tips. And as per usual here’s some for you too, Hilda” Calico Jack said with a grin handing about two hundred gold between the two. He continued to grin as he looked back toward Owen, “Shame the boss doesn’t pay you this much, after tomorrow I’ll have to move on. But enough of the glum stuff, how’s about the three of us share one last celebratory dri… Oh right, sorry Hilda. How about you and I have one last celebratory drink, Owen.” He said remembering that Hilda was pregnant.
After a quick sip he turned back to her, “I know you want the best for our child. A nice home in a safe part of town, just enough money to keep them well fed, and a father who’s willing to do anything to protect ‘em… I want that as well, but in order to make the world a better place I have to find a new gig. I hear there was some sort of commotion in the slums last week, perpetrators are supposedly a group of ‘vigilantes.’” He said using the city watch’s preferred label for this kind of person. “I’m sure they had meant well, although blowing up the old sewage treatment plant is not a reasonable method.” He said, it was quite clear to both Hilda and Owen what the bard had meant by this. “It would be nice for House Calico to rise from this class and become an official noble house. Perhaps I could balance out the veiled malevolence of my relatives.” At this Owen leaned across the counter with a grimace.
“Surely they can’t be as bad as that” the bartender said trying to keep Jack calm. “I mean you say they’re terrible people, but they’re still family and you’re rather nice.”
Jack sighed “Owen, we’ve been over this. You don’t know true terror until you’ve seen the dark arts, forbidden magics, up close. House Feare was ruthless raising servants from the dead, killing and raising those who chose to backsass them. And I still don’t know what happened to Uncle Horace, although I suspect my parents or Bonny had something to do with that.” The grin that had once covered his face had become a frown.
“William, dear,” Hilda said placing a hand on the bard’s shoulder. “I know you’re still worried about him, but it’s been seven years. If Horace was still alive you’d have heard from him by now.”
Jack sighed again, “But now Bonny’s the acting countess and Thatch is probably her right hand… Then there’s Mary, the youngest of the family, who’s probably become Bonny’s religious council.” he said before adding, “And, of course, the founder slumbers still beneath the manor. His old bones still living after all these centuries in a twisted unlife… ****ing lich, animated by his own damnable magics.”
Owen sighed “Sorry I asked, William.” he said. “Anyway who told you about this ‘band of vigilantes?’ I mean since when do you use words like ‘vigilante’ anyway, you must have borrowed that word from another’s vocabulary.”
“Well spoken as usual, Owen,” Calico Jack replied, “I’m sure you’ll find a man who can look past your orc blood and respect you for your wordsmithing eventually.” He’d said looking at the half-orc bartender with respect. “But you’re right of course, someone else used the term vigilantes… And if I want a job with them, I have to use that word too. Although I’d much rather call these folks heroes. As for who told me about this group, well, ‘twas an informant in the city watch. Alphonso to be specific.”
The trio knew Alphonso well, a local guard who often patrolled nearby and was a regular during the noon show. “Ah right, the rookie.” Owen said remembering Alphonso’s rank in the watch. “So you’re working for him?”
The trio laughed together at this thought and then Jack spoke up once more. “No, no, my dear friend. I’m going to be offering my skills to someone much higher up the ladder than ol’ Alphonso.” he’d said gently implying that he’d be headed to the watch’s headquarters soon. “Just let me get the paperwork,” he added picking up a single sheet of paper with a contract drawn up on it. “And I’ll be off.” he said walking out of the tavern and down the street reading over the contract.
So this is what they want me to do? Well, how hard is it to keep an eye on a couple people and report their actions while also acting as a go between for them and the guards? He thought signing the crudely written contract handed to him by Alphonso. Gods be damned, he’s thought it all the way through… Although I wonder why he’d dictate this to a rookie of all people. Probably to get in touch with me specifically, all things considered.

Yes, it's a backstory for a character I never ended up using. Yes, there's foul language. And yes, it involves a Lich (Liches are undead mages, usually necromancers). If you've got a problem with any of that, I'm sorry but this was written years ago and I don't care enough to edit it down.
 
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Bunnie

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hey Godot~

I really enjoyed reading your stories, i'd love to read something more recent of yours, to see how your writing has developed. Your prose is good and consistent, it shows that you know how to write, though i'd love to see you experimenting a bit more with language tropes and stuff, it makes the narrative more rich. You know how to create an interesting setting though, i love how we jump straight into the story, without feeling detached from it. I'd love to get to know your characters a little more, through the story as well.

looking forward to reading more of your stories, you're really good! ^^
 

Godot

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@Bunnie Glad you like it. I tend more towards character driven narratives, so you're more likely to learn about each protagonist from their own perspective more often than not. Although a lot of the old backstory stuff is written in third person, but first person is my favorite way to tell a story.

Disclaimer: This one's dark.
The Following has been translated for your convenience.
August Centurion's Log Entry 1:
I've been here a week so far. I've heard great stories about Plathington. A large, sprawling city that's easy to get lost in... I may have spent a day or two just trying to find my hotel. The address said it was at 2457 Falstaff lane, although when I looked the first time I saw nothing there. Almost as though the address didn't exist. I asked around and was given the correct address by a very friendly woman named Beth. She seemed nice, maybe if I wasn't here for business I'd ask her out. The week passed without much trouble, I just needed to check in with the local museum and make sure that they had the artifact ready for transport. Unfortunately I was informed that it would be a while, they needed to bubble wrap before putting it in the box for the plane ride. That was on Wednesday, they've probably got it ready by now. Then it's just me, the artifact, and a plane ride back to Invicta.

Augustus Centurion's Log Entry 2:
Finally back in Invicta, oh how I love this city. We've got architecture dating back to the first Emperor, all the way up to the thousandth. So much history in one place, and the imperial archives are just a short walk from my house. As Imperial Archivist to his highness Emperor Gaius Julio Claudius Flavius, I've got a very important job to do. My first order of business after returning home was to check the artifact and make sure nothing bad happened to it on the ride home. Opening the box and unwrapping the bubble wrap, I finally laid eyes on it. A scroll dating back to the days before Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus took power. This beautiful artifact needs to be put under glass immediately, if only so that I can study it without damaging the thing. It's been said that looking upon something so old could drive one to insanity, but that's just a folk tale. Something clearly made up to fool the incredibly superstitious.

Entry 3:
Well, the scroll's been under glass for a week now and it seems to just be a census written in a language I don't know. Considering Plathington's geographic location, it's probably one of the, now dead, languages of Gaul. Not every language is as permanent as Latin, especially not since Gloriae Romae conquered the entirety of the world. This artifact isn't of as much import as some of the others, just another pre-conquest census to be added to the rest of them. Such a shame too, I thought there'd be something worth deciphering in there. Perhaps even something worth insanity. I sighed slowly and walked back home, writing my official report on the ride back. The report read as follows: "Another non-Roman census. Mentions a few major figures of the time, but I regret to inform our Great Emperor that it's completely useless just like the ones from Nova Roma's pre-imperial days."

Entry 4:
Another week done and gone, another census made its way here carried by a lower ranking archivist. This one from Nova Roma, as expected Gaulish names were on it. Funny how Britannia thought they could form an opposing empire, only to be betrayed by their colonies across the ocean. And that republic didn't last much longer. On Wednesday I stepped out for a bit of fresh air, I love the archives but standing around with a bunch of musty old tomes and scrolls isn't the healthiest thing to do all day. On my walk home that night, I was bitten by something although I couldn't see what. Whatever bit me, the wound it left hurt like hell. I called in sick yesterday, so that I could stay home and make sure the wound wasn't infected... And also so I could figure out what the bite was from.

Entry 5, First Week of May:
Well, it's not from a dog. The doctor I stopped by last week confirmed that much. I had thought this week would pass without incident, at least until Wednesday. Wednesday evening I had felt something like excess hair growing on my arm. When I looked down I noticed that the wound was both fully healed and completely covered by thick hair. I've noticed more hair since then, on my legs and other arm. On Friday it seemed to get worse, the hair continued to spread. Just yesterday I thought that it was the worst it could get. Fortunately the hair only seems to grow at night, although once there it stays. I've taken to wearing sweaters and jeans under my toga to hide the excess hair. I can feel it getting worse, something's gnawing at me from the inside... Not physically, but mentally.

Entry 6, Second week of May:
So it turns out that whatever bit me is supernatural in nature. And capable of running great distances in a short amount time. I woke up on the other side of the city entirely, specifically at the Colosseum. Eviscerated entrails surrounded me. I don't know what I did last sunday night, but I have a feeling it involved the thing killing someone. On a possibly related note, the colleague who brought in the census from Nova Roma last month hasn't come into work today. I fear the worst. Not only that, but the beast is speaking... Sort of, it's nothing even vaguely human sounding. It's more like loud growling that I hear constantly, it sounds like a leopard or maybe a cheetah. During the days, work has been roughly the same. New text, same old story. Our finest archaeologists are out studying in what used to be Greece, looking for the sunken city and studying the ruins of Minoan Crete. At night, the beast stalks and looks for prey. I've been buying live chickens just to keep it occupied, I don't know how long this will work but anything that keeps the thing from eating another co-worker is fine by me.

Entry 7, Third Week of May:
The thing is still at full strength, but I've at least got it occupied with chickens at night. This is clearly not a permanent solution, but conventional medicine can't help me and anyone working in the supernatural would probably run if they knew what was happening. I've been spending more time inside and less time socializing, that's just how it's going to have to be until I figure out this thing's schedule and when it goes dormant. At least it can't read, although I'm starting to think it understands my thoughts. It's only a matter of time before it decides to fight back. Night is about to fall, I'd better get the chickens ready.

Entry 8: Fourth Week of May:
I'm still waking up covered in blood, some of it chicken the rest of it I'd prefer not to know. The standard routine is not working, it's doing far more than just chasing and killing chickens. I don't like sharing a body with this thing. Against my better judgement though, I've decided to name the thing because "Beast" just doesn't fit. It needs a proper name, he needs a proper name. I've settled on Janus after the old two-faced god, from the mental purring I gather that he approves. I don't like Janus, but I'm going to try harnessing his abilities for good... Unless training him to stick with chickens works, in which case we'll continue with that process. As the month moves closer to its end Janus seems to be getting weaker, tireder, like he's about to settle down for hibernation. Perhaps next month I can do something to get out of Invicta, I can't risk Janus committing worse crimes and while as long as his tracks and patterns remain animal like we should be fine I don't want him anywhere near the emperor.

Entry 9, third week of June:
Just as I thought, he's not active outside of the month of May. Although I wish he was further restricted to a single day, like the ides of May. Beggars can't be choosers. I've moved to Plathington, I'll be here for the rest of my life and I'll be getting a new job somewhere. Beth has been my pen pal for the past couple of months, although I haven't told her about Janus. The first few weeks of my new life in Plathington have been fine, I've been working at the local museum. Just last week Beth and I had a dinner date, I think it went well but we'll see. Janus has expressed approval through the usual way, I don't know why he likes her but at least we agree for once.

Entry 10 Fourth Week of April:
It's been a long while since I last wrote one of these and there's a lot to catch up on. First off, After eleven months of dating Beth and I are engaged. Janus has continued to be mostly dormant, outside of the occasional purr of approval or growl of disapproval. In a month he'll be more active and I need to take the necessary precautions. Had to explain to Beth why I bought so many chickens today, which means I had to explain Janus's existence... She seemed rather unfazed, strangely. And then she explained that she also had something like Janus sharing her form, apparently something exactly like Janus. So, that explains why he approved. She has explained that the virus, as she calls it, actively seeks a suitable host and spreads through biting. Now I wonder where she was the night I was infected. I'm sure the truth will reveal itself in due time. We have agreed that the proper term for what we are now is Were-Cheetah. Similar to werewolves, but more feline and with greater speed. I went out and bought more chickens, we'll need them considering that we're both still trying to get our other forms under control.

Entry 11 May again:
Well, tonight's the night. It's time for all those chickens I bought to start paying off. Over the course of this month, we've been going through chickens like crazy... And apparently other livestock as well, I found some pig and sheep carcasses among the chickens. At least Janus and Minerva, what Beth has been calling her other self, have been satisfied. It's weird being able to communicate with Janus, yes it's still in growls and purrs but I'm learning to understand what each one means. Living out here in the province of Brittannia has been interesting so far, I'm starting to wonder if there are other werebeasts around here. According to Janus, it's just him and Minerva here the wolves territory is elsewhere. We've been able to set basic ground rules for the beasts, on the basis of we need to guarantee our survival for the good of the group.

Entry 12:
Another year has passed, Beth and I got married in December. In the first hunt of the year Beth and Minerva had unfortunately been spotted by humans... As we would later learn these were slayers intent on culling the more dangerous werebeasts and removing the virus as a whole. She was fine, merely wound by a shot to the foot. I doubt they were even carrying the right type of ammo for a truly lethal shot. The next hunt wouldn't be so lucky. I saw the hunters coming this time and gave the warning for her to run. She didn't listen, although I can't blame her. We descended on the hunters as a pair. I had seen the flash of a muzzle and then felt the impact. It hurt like hell but I could move, sorta. Beth was fine, grazed slightly but she'll live. Not too sure about myself, that bullet was made of tungsten and I took the full brunt of it. I could hear Janus trying to console me, the damned voice in my head letting me know that I didn't have much longer. Three years with this virus and it feels like a lifetime, if Beth hadn't turned me in the first place maybe things would be different. This looks like the end, hopefully I won't be forgotten. Beth, if you're reading this promise me you'll protect this journal.

Agent's Report:
We found this on the corpse of a werecheetah, mid thirties, female. The male had been dead for a decade by the time we found her, just as well these things are dangerous. As befits the CIA's Supernatural Phenomena Division, the locals were told it was just a wild leopard that had escaped a zoo and was too dangerous to drag back alive. Anyone who witnessed the creature or the inter-dimensional rift that she walked through to get here have had their memories erased, following standard protocol. The names of those involved in this journal have been left the same considering the extenuating circumstances of alternate universes. Signed, Agent Gladius
 
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Godot

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Glad you liked it.
Warning: It's dark and deals with Norse Myth, specifically Ragnarok and the events that lead up to it.
A sigh left his mouth. "Look, you're not who you said ya were. Now here's the thing, we maybe criminals and thugs but if there's one thing we're not, it's willing to accept an undercover cop into our midst. Now tell me your real name, Miss." The mob boss said, his words whistling through the gap in his teeth. He spoke with a thick, but intelligible, Texan accent which was more than one could say for his underlings. "If your a cop, you'll be buzzard bait in no time. Even if ya ain't, we'll do what we can to help ya shuffle off that mortal coil." The mob boss added with a sneer.

"I told you once, I told you twice, I've told you a thousand times by now. I'm Claire, Claire De Cartes." I'd said, lying through my teeth. It's one thing to attempt to infiltrate a gang because your blood-brother's kid lost something valuable. It's another thing entirely to be forced into an undercover investigation with an alias you didn't get to choose. But then again, that's how it always was. I was the law enforcement, the undercover investigator, the sad sack repenting for his prior actions. "Look, I can either repeat the same old story or I can slip a couple bucks your way and you give me the hammer. Plain, simple, and no one gets hurt." I'd said getting sick of playing the role, it's no fun if I'm not beguiling them by choice.

"Look, missy, you ain't in a position ta be makin' threats. I won dis here mallet off some redhead with a beard, fair and square. Far as I'm concerned it's mine." His eyes narrowed, but it hadn't seemed like he'd caught on quite yet to who he'd been dealing with. "Mister Clayton, was it? I know it seems to you like it's your property. But, well let's just say the man who lost it wants it back. And I'd prefer not to invite his wrath, but if you insist..." I paused letting my form shift. "...Then let's have some fun!" Assuming my true form, I towered over this pathetic little man. My long black hair flowing behind me. "Allow me to explain, that hammer you've procured belongs to my honorary nephew. And he's a very violent man. By contrast, I'm more agreeable... Generally, but you blew your chances." I drew my weapon at the ready, these new contraptions called guns. I named mine Mistletoe for old time's sake.

"Joseph Clayton, we both know you cheated in your little game. You can't fool the trickster god. And now as those who rob Thor usually do, you must die. Should have been better at hiding that ace in your sleeve, or rather lying about winning the hammer at all. Thor takes that thing with him every where, Odin knows I've found him sleeping with the thing. Just remember to tell my daughter I said hi." I aimed mistletoe at him and took the shot. And with my cover blown, I wasn't about to leave the rest of his gang alive. I returned to Asgard much more bloodstained than I had left.

"Loki, there you are and with Mjolnir! Finally." Thor was in a relatively good mood to have his weapon of choice back. I smiled back with a slight snark in my tone, "Next time, try not to lose it in a game of cards... Or at least not to the mob." He seemed to be laughing at something, when I finally inquired he stated, and I quote: "You're all covered in blood. Don't tell me the mortals tried to shoot you down." I rolled my eyes in response. "Oh please Thor, mortals aren't like the Aesir. Besides, even you lot took longer to kill me than you would have liked. Isn't that the whole reason I'm working the security racket."

At this point Odin had walked in. "Loki, a job well done... I suppose." I smiled graciously at his praise and then added "And all it takes is being tied up for a millennia, having my children unleash Ragnarok upon the world, and then being revived by the very same kid I killed all just to repent my crimes. But yes, a job well done in this instance. If you'll excuse me, I need to see a dog about a man." Odin looked at me with curiosity and worry. Not entirely misplaced, given what Fenrir and Jormungandr did last time. I laughed to myself, perhaps eventually I'd consider a proper return to form.

"So, that's what happened on daddy's journey to the mortal realm today." I said with a smile, finishing my recap with Fenrir. "I see Tyr put you in those chains again. Tell me, did you bite off his hand in turn?" Fenrir nodded, "Good, good, so it appears the past shall repeat itself in the present. Keep gnawing at the roots, you'll be free soon. These chains that bind you to Yggdrasil can't contain you forever. When the time comes for this era of the world to end, you'll know." I walked away with a smile on my face and made my way towards the great ocean and informed Jormungandr of the coming revival of Ragnarok.

"Yes, that's the gist of it. Stay here and wait... Not that you have much choice, given that the other gods forced you to bite your tail for all eternity. Look, I'd better go and visit your sister. She won't be happy to see me, given that all of the souls of her realm will be released when Baldur comes back from the dead... Perhaps there's a way to keep him from coming back. No, better to make sure Hel knows what's going down before I kill Baldur again and find a solution to his resurrection."

"Hel, my lovely daughter, how's the land of the dead? Seriously though, Fenrir's in chains again, Jormungandr's encircled the world again... I'm sure you can assess why I'm here. I'd prefer not to have you betray me again. No helping Baldur get resurrected, he stays dead. Or we figure out what happens when a god of death is killed. I don't care if you love him, he must die." With that I made my way back from Hel to Asgard, no more stops. I must make it there.

"Loki, come here uncle." I heard a familiar voice as I walked back into the fields of Asgard. "I want to duel, like the mortals do." I smiled at this, but made my best attempts to hide it. "Oh really, Baldur, I would think you'd have learned not to spar by now. Remember what happened last time?" Baldur looked back at me, his eyes seemed sad. "But there's no need to worry, I'm invulnerable. B-Besides, the mortals use guns now. Not spears, so you shouldn't have anything capable of harming me." Ah, how innocent and naive he is even after having experienced betrayal over several millennia. Spears, swords, arrows, each one ending an era of humanity. Now it's guns.

I drew mistletoe and smiled. "Alright, Baldur, you get the first shot." I said watching as he drew his pistol, aimed, and pulled the trigger. Seeing the bullet flying for me, I immediately transformed into a frog. "Nice one, Baldur. Now it's my turn." I changed back drew mistletoe and aimed. One, two, three! On three I pulled the trigger and just as expected Baldur stood perfectly still relying on his supposed invulnerability to protect him. Seeing Baldur fall down, I instinctively moved to hide. More will be necessary to bring about Ragnarok, but I'm just getting started.
 
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Godot

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A figure walked slowly through the doorway. "Ms Poe, the time has come." The figure said in what seemed a bored monotone. "But this can't be, where's the horses? What about the scythe and the skeletal hands?" The figure shook their head "Look, I'm very busy today. Perhaps if there were less creatures being hunted and people dying I'd be able to roll out the traditional method. But unfortunately the fairy tale isn't reality. Look, you're just the most recent on the list and unfortunately explaining this is eating into the time I could be using to transport those who actually achieved something in life. But instead I'm here discussing my job with a deceased twenty-something shut in." They turned the clipboard so that she could read it. "You know what this means, don't you? I'm running late, so you're coming with me and we'll grab a couple souls on the way. Think of it like Charon's ferry, except you're walking the entire way and we're not crossing a river."

Death led the way out the door. "Careful unlike those stories you hear, you can't actually phase through solid objects. Where did you humans come up with that? Doesn't matter." Death said answering their own question. "Ah, there's the next seven souls. Poor things died before they were born. Sorry, puppy souls make me sentimental. I've only got two hands... Here you hold a couple, Ms Poe, don't worry the most they'll do is gum you." Death snapped their fingers summoning a skeleton to carry a three souls. "There we go, that should do." Death smiled, an ethereal puppy in each arm "Shame they'll never reach full size, I could use a canine companion." Death casually pet the pups as he continued walking "Who's an adorable little soul, you are, yes you are." Death repeated over and over again to the pups, dropping the monotone in favor of cooing.

"Well that's a side of you I hadn't expected to see." Ms Poe stated holding two of the puppies diligently. Death shrugged "Oh, you mean my affectionate side, tough luck. I may be busy, but unlike you these puppies never knew life." Death then added "Besides, these creatures died of natural causes. Yours was more or less caused by crossing the wrong person's path. Not quite sure who, not my job to care. Now let's move on there are more... Hmm, we're near the zoo, that's a dead tiger over there... Hold on a moment, Ms Poe, I promise this will only take a moment I'm good with animals." They paused not mentioning that only dead animals regarded them in a friendly manner. "Come along, oh mighty beast, that I may escort you to well I'd be lying if I said you'll exist after this. Perhaps I can file with someone at the agency to let me keep the tiger. Or the pups, I like both." From this point on Death rode on tiger back.

"Nonexistent? I thought..." Ms Poe began, only to be cut off by Death's whistling. "Oh you thought there'd be a choir, pearly gates, or something similar. It's what you make of it really, animals don't have such beliefs so most of them cease to be. Those that don't are companions to the different members of the agency. I'm Agent Thanatos, by the way." Death takes a moment to shift between the classic form and the one they were using, in between using male and female forms. "Appearance means little to those of the agency, we can take any form we wish. Whatever best suits the patient if need be. Although I prefer not to bother when running late."
 

Godot

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He walked into the living room, a pistol holstered at his side. He looked back toward the bedroom, his dirty work done. His suit was immaculate, clean and perfectly pressed in contrast to the mess he'd made just a few moments ago. He'd expected his business to have been concluded then and there, but now he saw a potential witness. Moving slowly toward the kid, he made a point of lowering his voice to a gentler tone. "Pardon me, I'm a friend of your father's." he stated moving ever closer to the next victim. "We were just discussing a deal he'd made with me." The man added as the child noticed the holster at his hip. "Trust me, this won't hurt a bit." he lied through his teeth, giving the kid a friendly smile before drawing his gun. He aimed and pulled the trigger, one moment the kid was standing in front of him the next there was blood splattered on the wall the kid had been standing against.

The man's skeletal face remained smiling, after all he was doing his job at all costs. Sure, he'd be reprimanded for removing a child before their time but he didn't mind. His body was lean, skeletal, and looked as though he'd been beaten to a pulp numerous times in his life. Several compound fractures in the skull from fist fights, bullets stuck in several bones. As far as he was concerned the living deserved the full brunt of his directionless wrath. Wrath, rage, and vengeance were all he knew his life was beyond his memory and what little he could recall was inconsequential. He hated what he once was and all he wanted was to see humanity brought to its collective knees. After all he was the spirit of Violent Death, it didn't matter to him if his victims deserved their fate or not. He looked in the mirror seeing the human face he'd used to dispatch the kid and their father. The owner of this face had been some mob member of some sort. "Mob hit? Guess the murder suicide angle was ruled out."

Meanwhile across town, his sister had been busy with something of equal importance. "It will be all right." She'd said in a calming voice speaking gently to the elderly woman in front of her. "Your time is up, but you had a long and healthy life." She looked towards the pictures of the elderly woman's family, several of whom had already passed. She looked at the dual centenarian with a mix of pride and sorrow. "They're all gone as well, their times all came far sooner... I can't imagine how hard it was loosing so many family members. Generations have come and gone, but you'll live on through their descendants memories." She noticed a tear falling down the old woman's face. "This job of mine never gets any easier. Agnes, come towards the light. Come towards your family." She'd taken on multiple forms at once, but was speaking with the face of Agnes's daughter. She knew that Agnes would be gone after following this order. That the mind would crumble away and the corpse would be all that remains. But this was her lot, making the process of dying easier on her clients.

Doing this job had reminded her over the years of her own life. The one she'd lived prior to becoming the spirit of Old Age. She had lived a long life as well for her time, many millennia ago. Everyone she'd known had died before her, with her living to the ripe old age of a hundred. Claire frowned remembering her siblings. Edward was brash, quick to anger, and even quicker to violence. Claire had remembered Edward being sentenced to death for one of many crimes, among which was intergalactic piracy. She had remembered the sound of her little sister Sylla drowning in the bathtub. She couldn't remember much else of her family aside from the two others who had become embodiments of death.

Sylla had been watching children at play by a beach, her domain being Marine Death. She noticed that the children were running in and out of the water, but they weren't her primary focus. She was paying more attention to the seals in the distance, watching as a shark neared them. She had been surprised when the shark seemed to veer away from the seals. And even more surprised when she'd realized a kid was out much farther than would be safe. She watched unable to prevent the poor child's demise as the shark bit down. Whether this would be hers or Robert's to take care of was up in the air. She moved closer, realizing the child wasn't dead yet but wasn't going to be able to swim back. She frowned holding the child below the surface and seeing the air bubbles evacuate through the mouth and nose. And then all together the bubbles ceased, the child grew limp and unmoving. She hadn't wanted this outcome, but it was far more merciful than letting the child bleed to death from the shark's bite which she reasoned would have been a much more painful and prolonged demise. She couldn't comfort the dying verbally, her vocal cords hadn't worked since her death. In contrast to her siblings, Sylla's flesh had remained tinged blue from the lack of air. Physically she resembled a child, not much older than the one that just died.

That was when she'd noticed Edward walking out toward her, his special gun pointed right at her. Edward frowned, his skeletal finger on the trigger. "That one was mine and you know it." He said keeping the words and tone calm while she could see the rage in his eyes. He'd never thought to try killing the other spirits, he never thought it would work. But at this point, he was just angry enough to pull the trigger and find out. One shot and Sylla had continued to stand there with a bewildered expression. Another shot and it seemed to do damage, Sylla's forehead was slightly bloody. Four more shots and Sylla had fallen backward before disappearing. Edward had thought she'd just teleported to her next client, nothing more and nothing less. When he looked down, he'd noticed that he had a small amount of blue flesh on his femur spelling out the word Marine. No one had seen this one, he'd been incorporeal.

As Edward approached, Claire could feel pain and suffering. She could tell at once that Sylla was gone and now she realized that Edward wasn't just hunting humans anymore, he'd come for her next. Claire started barricading herself in a hospital room with her next client, trying her best to shield him from Edward using what little powers she had. It was no use, Edward had gotten in and was standing between her and the bed. He looked in the mirror, seeing a corrupt doctor. "Looks like this one's mine." He said with a malevolent smile. "Simple intentional malpractice, the doc has a motive to go with it." He pointed the gun at Claire first. "You're not taking this one from me, Marine Death already stole one of mine." Claire could see the blue tint of drowned flesh. "Now, relinquish your powers or die." Claire refused, her powers focused on the old man. As she offered her hand, Edward opened fire. One shot, no damage just a grimace on Claire's face. Two shots, some very minor damage but not enough to put him anywhere close to killing her. After six Claire was still standing, Edward cursed "DAMN IT! Marine Death only took six bullets to kill. Old Age, I swear I will have your title then no human will have mercy!" Claire frowned as the old man finally took her hand allowing her full power to be accessed. "No, Edward. You triumphed over Sylla because Drowning is just another violent form of death. Where my job is more peaceful and revolves around making it easier for my clients." Another shot to the head, but she just wouldn't go down. "And I see you've killed a child before their time. So with no other option, by the ancient rite of Death I hereby revoke your powers. You will cease to be and I shall fulfill both your roles. May you find peace, brother." She stated watching as Edward faded into nonexistence. At which point she'd become the sole embodiment of death.
 

Godot

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There came a loud knock at the door. It seemed to be a pattern and soon enough John recognized it as the tune "shave and a haircut". He walked over and opened the door coming face to face with a man who looked slightly taller than him. "Hello, what can I do for..." He started and was promptly cut off. "You're dead." The man stated. "Dead?" John asked. "Dead" the gentleman confirmed. "I'm not dead!" John shouted and slammed the door in the man's face.

Susan looked up from her book. "Who was that John?" she asked suddenly curious about all the shouting. "Just some jackass who kept telling me I'm dead." Susan nodded silently before returning to her book. "Perhaps if you play along the game will end." she stated calmly John turned to see the man again. "You're dead" the man insisted once more. "Dead?" John once again questioned. "As a door nail. Finito, Kaput, deceased, you are an ex-human." John rolled his eyes.

"Great, now how'd you get in here?" John asked and was answered by a breeze blowing through the open window. "You broke in through the window?" The man nodded "How else was I supposed to get in, you locked the door. And you're dead." John sighed "Look I'm not interested in this macabre game of tag." he was rather annoyed by this point. "It's not a game. You're dead." John frowned "Fine it's not a game, but I'm not dead. Who the hell are you?" The man smiled "Accept what I've said and you'll see. You're life has been extinguished, you are no more."

John walked up to the man and started arguing, clearly furious. "Enough with that Monty Python line. If I'm dead what does that make you? A god? A demon?" The man smiled once more "Do you mean you accept what I've said?" John shook his head. "Then clearly I must find a new way to get through to you. This one's clearly not working." Susan didn't seem to respond to the man's presence almost like he wasn't there or like she couldn't hear John arguing with him.

The man snapped his fingers and the house ceased to be. "I'm done playing by your rules, John. I wanted you to come to terms with it." John looked around in bewilderment "Where's my house? What did you do to my house? What happened to my wife?" The man frowned "That house wasn't real, it was a memory. Your wife wasn't really present, just a little simulacrum I constructed to give you peace." John frowned "So my life's been a lie this whole time?" The man shook his head "No, just the last day or so. Allow me to explain, I did nothing to your house. That was the doing of you humans."

John was now furious. "So my house is completely gone because of people." The man frowned "Yeah, that's the gist of it. Susan already passed on. Seriously I've been doing this since the civilization you call Ancient Egypt and you're the first mortal to give me trouble. Sure Thanatos and Hermes used to handle Greece and Rome, but when Rome fell everyone started lumping us all into one being." John frowned "So my wife's dead, my home is gone, and... and... And I'm... Dead. How?" The man's head shifted to become that of a jackal. "You know how people were terrified by nuclear war? That's not what did you in. No, you humans started creating black holes and weaponizing them. That's what brought about your demise. For what it's worth you were not the intended target, and neither was your country. It was a mistake, could have happened anywhere in the world really and it has. You lived close enough to a testing facility, it's as simple as that. Although the facility is now gone too, think of it like being a second Chernobyl just with black holes instead of a nuclear reactor."

John's face must have been exceedingly pale, considering Anubis's next words. "But it really doesn't matter to you, not anymore at least. So calm down, I've weighed your heart when you believed you were at home. You can pass on. Or you can haunt the void for the rest of eternity, I really don't care which you chose but I'm done wasting my magic to give you peace. If you believe in an afterlife, you might be reunited with Susan. If you don't you'll cease to be and either's fine really. I'm just a personification of the process of coming to terms with your demise. In reality I'm not here and your body has been crushed by the exceptionally high gravity in an instant." With that Anubis vanished leaving the rest up to John's personal beliefs or lack thereof.
 

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"Memento mori" The figure said slowly turning to leave the building before being stopped by the child yet again. "W-What does that mean?" The child asked staring at the man. "Remember death, kid. We'll meet again, many years hence, and when we do I promise I'll bring treats." Centuries had passed since that fateful day. The child, now a full grown woman or vampire as the case may be, awaited her meeting with the skeletal man with a stake pierced through her heart.

The door to her chamber swung open, the reaper strode in clad in armor made of bones. "And so the time has come. Mary, I must apologize the treats I've brought will not suffice. And your time isn't quite here." The reaper looked over the wound. "Typical, the stake isn't enough to do the job outright. Perhaps these so-called slayers never read Stoker's works, they missed a few steps. Sun's rising, but it will only weaken you. The stake only serves to keep you in place. And above all else your head's still attached and you haven't been set aflame." He turned to see the startled hunter shrinking back towards the wall.

"Memento mori, my child. Fear not, hunter it will all be over soon. That wound is quite bad, unlike the stake through Mary's heart that will be the end of you." He flicked the sword impaled through the hunter's stomach. "I would be surprised, but you mortals tend towards war. What did you get into a fight with some holy crusader in your attempt to slay the vampire? Not like your motives matter much where you're going. I could however speed up the process for you, it would be a mercy." He examined the gash across the hunter's throat. "Vocal chords are severed, shame. Nod once for 'pull the sword out' and twice for 'leave it in'." The hunter nodded once and Death waited for one more nod, only to notice stillness. "Good call, your Templar friend will be handled next." He removed the sword watching calmly as the corpse slumped before him and then absorbed the man's essence into himself.

The Templar lay well and truly deceased upon the floor eviscerated by the claws of some fierce beast or another. Death frowned "I hate this part of the job, but it's my lot." Absorbing the Templar's ectoplasm. He turned to look at Mary, shaking his skeletal head slowly. "Did you kill the Templar or was there a werewolf here? You've wrought a bloody mess, Mary, quite the wicked garden grown. But that was in life, not un-death. Your father gone, his wives also passed some by his hand. Edward died before you turned, Elizabeth after. Tudors are the worst line to deal with, your father created far more work for me than he should have." Empty eye sockets fell upon the vampire with a look of disappointment as he slowly turned his gaze to the werewolf in the corner. "And you, my canine friend are no better. Tell me before that silver chain around your throat burns your vocal chords, were you more like Romulus or Remus?" Eventually the werewolf stopped breathing, incapable of inhaling or exhaling due to the silver necklace.

"We'll put him down as a Fenris type. Simplify it that way. You supernatural creatures are so different from what I'm supposed to handle. There's enough blood for this to have been a doctor making a house call, just without the leeches... A right feast for the vampire now known as Bloody Mary. And what's that I hear? Flickering flames perchance?" He noticed the hunter's corpse was holding a torch and one of the sheets that went right to Mary's coffin. "What's the phrase typically said at funerals? Ashes to ashes?" He quipped watching the flames engulf the room. "And a surprising lack of gunpowder in that plot." He said disappointedly, leaving the building and ceasing to be visible.
 

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A woman sat in a room in front of a computer. Her screen filled with the graphics of the first person shooter she was playing. One round done she'd start another match maybe a half hour later. She hadn't been keeping track of the time spent playing, at least not really. She heard the door open and the footsteps as her sibling walked into the room, turned, and sat in a chair facing the wall. War had known this routine, even though she never looked away from her screen when it happened.

Pestilence would walk in, frowning as usual, sit himself in a chair facing the wall, and stare at an empty test tube. The very thing making him obsolete. He did this consistently every single day since humans created vaccines and pesticides. Sure he still had some way of actually doing things in the world, but for now it seemed his ability to cause humanity suffering was fading little by little. The best he could do is strike down anti-vaxers or those who, for whatever reason, couldn't get vaccinated. Eventually, if technology and education about it continued to improve, he might even become nonexistent. As he sat in the chair today he heard two sets of footsteps walking into the room.

Famine walked in with a smile on her face. People in this world continued to go hungry for various reasons and her favorite was the hunger strikes. The entire thought of humans practically saying "we disapprove of you so we're going to withhold something essential to survival from ourselves until you change whatever it is you're doing" was a futile waste of time. And it fueled her, the knowledge that people would go without food for any reason made her ecstatic. She looked at her twin staring at the wall and then to the youngest. Her thoughts on them were simple; Pestilence was a relic of what would eventually be a bygone era if humans continued their advancements and War was relatively new and equally unpredictable. Out of the corner of her eye she could see her older brother continuing to walk by her side. Their conversation had ended in the hall, but now they were in the barracks.

Death took note of his siblings. While he'd been around the longest, it could be argued that he had the most convoluted work schedule. "First person shooters, War? I guess this method of training yourself is a bit more modern than the sparing we used to do back in the old days. Pestilence, don't give up hope there's still a chance technology won't eradicate all your pets. After all viruses, especially those like the flu, are extremely adaptive and only get stronger with each new vaccine. Famine, I know you love your work but save some for the end of the world. Trust me, I've been waiting for about four point five billion years and I still have no idea when it'll be." The less he'd told them about what he was doing the better, none of them really understood the concept of mercy or true equality. Famine took those deprived of food and drink and only those, War took indiscriminately but with massive collateral damages and always without mercy, and poor pathetic Pestilence was only afflicting those who weren't immunized. Death, however handled all. Regardless of their situations, their wealth or lack of, even their age mattered not. He'd been doing this for eons and knew that how you treated the life-form would depend entirely on how they greet you. To those who accepted him he appears to be warm and welcoming.

A fourth figure entered the room trailing behind Death. "Brilliant, D, absolutely wonderful headquarters you have here. Wonder why I don't have it so nice, but that's beside the point. War's changed again, she's not the shield maiden she once was. Famine, the ravenous, how's it hanging still obsessing over people's diets I take it? And Pestilence, it's a shame what's happened to you." The man seemed to smile his blond hair not hidden at all.

Death nodded "A lot has changed since the age of Vikings, L, I'm sure you'd remember that. After all you and your children are still present in addition to that blood brother of yours and the honorary nephew. Media presence and human fascination preserves a shape shifter like yourself. But more to the point. Are you still planning for Ragnarok and how long will it be before my kin and I can unleash our full strength?"
 

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This last story was interesting. I'd enjoy watching more interactions between the personifications of War, Death, Pestilence, Famine and L (I'm assuming from Death Note??) And humans, but this story left a bit of feeling of dread. Nice descriptions. Good job overall. I also enjoyed the one about John's death and the conclusion.
 

Godot

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Loki actually. The references to Ragnarok and Norse myth were there to show L’s identity despite Death refusing to call him by name. I did a little research while writing and it’s implied Loki’s hair was blond in the mythology. And Thor, the honorary nephew, was a red head. The way I characterize Death is partially inspired by the late Terry Pratchett's version of Death.
 
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Godot

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She sat looking at the contract upside down. A smile playing across her face. Her hair was a bright red, her eyes a deep blue. "The sooner you sign, the sooner we can get you a gig. A nice stage, amps, crowds cheering your name. Come on, sign the damn thing and all that and more will be yours." Her prospective client sat gazing at the text, sweat dripping down his face. "We'll be here for centuries if you don't make a decision, rock star." A frown crept across the man's face as he shifted his view from the paper to the woman's face.

"An agent called Lucy, intent on her clients leaping right on into signing their contracts rather than reading them over? What's your last name? Morningstar perhaps?" His glare was unrelenting, however the agent wasn't backing down. "No, that would be far too obvious. I'm just an agent. And if you must know my surname is Darc. Legally I'm not allowed to put things in print that would be illegible. Besides you're getting a really good deal here and of course the costs are fair. Now would you please make a decision Johannes, or am I going to have to ask that you remove yourself from my office?" Johannes frowned reading over the paper to verify what she'd been telling him. It seemed to check out, but perhaps her prices might be higher than elsewhere. "I'll walk, shop around a bit, if yours is really the best deal out there then maybe I'll come back."

As soon as Johannes left the building Lucille Darc heard her phone ring. She picked the phone up and brought it to her ear in time to hear a voice say "You have three days." Lucille didn't know this voice, it was far too gravelly to be that of her boss and far too faint to be any of her previous clients all of whom were in their mid-twenties. "Who are you?" She asked only to be answered by complete silence. Whoever had called her had just hung up.

The next day had been quite the same, she'd tried once again to hook a client and when they left she heard the phone ring again. She wasn't thrilled to hear the voice repeat her now two day dead line to her. "Two days to do what exactly?" Again no response beyond dead silence. Whoever this creep was he seemed intent on reminding her of this deadline. Her mind raced with possibilities ranging from the absurd to the more or less rational. "Maybe he's just a really committed tax collector. Or an over the top client trying to get me to help him land some sort of acting career. Given all this, I'm willing to be he's a method actor." She said aloud to herself trying to convince herself that there was no harm meant by these odd messages.

The following day she'd decided to let it go to voice mail, this guy always seemed to call at the same time. After dealing with several potential, and at least one existent, clients she went home for the day. Her home was a small two room apartment, meaning one room that was practically a combined bedroom and kitchen and one bathroom. She had gotten a pretty rough deal for it to, paying far more than it was worth. Clothes were strewn about the room, it was practically a pigsty. Here she heard her cellphone ring, she'd been getting the calls on the office landline so it couldn't possibly have been the creepy guy. Or so she thought. "Hello, you've reached Lucille Darc. Who may I say is..." The gravelly voice cut her off. "You have one day."

The deadline was here and to make matters worse whoever this individual was he'd found her cell number. At this point she'd hoped she'd just been targeted by a weird telemarketing campaign. She sighed leaving her home with her breakfast, a single piece of toast covered in peanut butter and an apple. Today would just be business as usual. Go in, work with existing clients, attempt to get new clients, leave, and repeat. That was how it should have been, how it would have been. Instead there was a single solitary hang up. After she sat down at her desk, instead of her first client an individual walked through the door. The figure was masked, thin, and clearly not very bright considering all the messages. "Oh a skull mask, how ominous. I suppose you're death?" The figure stared back and now she could tell he was using a voice changer. "Yes, and no. Johannes and his family send their regards." Lucille's eyes widened "That son of a..." But those were the last words to leave her mouth, the sentence cut off by a combination of the gunshot and the bullet entering her heart.
 
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