Flash Fiction: She Broke Gods

For Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge
“She Broke Gods”(Title by thomasmhewlett)  1,509 words

No one is quite sure how it happened. Did man push too far? A disease, their consciousness disappearing, leaving only their power behind to rage out of control?

No one knows for sure but one day the gods, all of them went insane. Once benevolent, incorporeal beings who shared their power with man, they became crazed, suddenly obsessed with the one thing they didn’t have. A body.

Instead of sharing their man with man they instead took over man. Stealing their bodies, their memories, their life. Burning through it like a wildfire among weeds.Humanity struggled to fight the power they had been dependent on for so long, they did not do well.

But one god resisted the madness, one god who could help the humans fight back. Caedem, God of emotions. He shared his power with a select few, his ordained priests. The few who cold withstand channeling the amount of power needed to break a god.

But his priests were few and the gods were many. Eventually Ceadem, and humanity, lost. That was ten years ago.

++++++

The warehouse was covered in dust. Everything was after the mad gods destroyed everything.

Beams of sunlight through broken windows illuminated a large room that was mostly empty. A few broken boxes, a torn up couch.

One particularly large beam of light shown down upon a table that had three people sitting around it. Two men and a woman. The men drank and played some kind of card game while the women tinkered with some broken device, and unlit cigar hung from her lips.

All three were coated in the same dust that covered everything else.

The three were quiet, there was no need for words; until a loud screech from outside echoed through the warehouse and shattered the silence.

The two men looked up from their game, their eyes on the door, their hands on rifles leaning against the table. The woman continued to tinker with the machine in her hands, tightening some screws.

A shadow of a man appeared in the opened doorway, his face covered in shadow. The two men tightened their grip on the guns but didn’t move.

The man in shadow spotted the group and stumbled towards them, coming into the path of of beam of sunlight, revealing a young man, covered in the same dust as the three, but his hands were covered in blood. The two men lurch to their feet, bringing the rifles into view.

“Please!” He cried as he stumbled closer. “I need a priest!”

“You look like one yourself there boy,” The man on the left nodded towards the young man’s jacket, tight in the shoulders but still with Ceadems patch on the breast.

“I was never ordained,” He said quickly. “Its a matter of life and death, I can’t it back anymore!” His voice is full of desperation, sweat tracking rivers of dirt down his face.

“Hey Rani,” the man on the right calls back to the woman. She still refused to look up. “Didn’t you used to be a priest?”

“None of your damned business,” she replied back. She turned the object around in her hands as if looking for something.

The boy took a step closer but was brought up short as the men finally trained their rifles on him.

“Please,” He called again. “If you were a priest, were you ordained? Do you bear his mark.?”

The woman stops her tinkering, her hand drifting towards her neck, hidden under a faded green banana.

The boy took it as a sign of hope and took a step forward, ignoring the rifles pointed at his heart.

“You’re starting to get on my nerves boy,” she growls. Her fingers grips the machine tightly, the hard edges digging into her fingers.

“Please, if you were ordained then you can help me save her!”

“She made it clear she wants you gone boy,” The man on the left shoved his rifle right up against the boy’s chest.

“Yeah, git gone boy,” They force the boy to take a step back.

“There’s still time to save her! She’s my wife!”

“Boy–” The man on the left began.

“Wait,” A chair squeaked and the two men turned to see the woman, Rani, standing up and facing them, the machine abandoned on the table behind her. Hope blossomed on the young man’s face. “Why do you need an ordained priest, Acolyte?” She nodded towards the white background of Ceadem’s patch on his jacket.

The boy’s ears turned red at the term. “It’s my wife, she’s infected by a god, but it’s a weak one. We’ve been able to keep it at bay of but she’s grown too weak to stop it. But then I heard rumors of an ordained priest in this area, if it’s you, you can complete the ritual and save her!”

The young man gripped the bottom of his coat tightly, his eyes wide and pleading. She spotted a battered silver band adorning one of his fingers.

The two men looked back and forth at Rani and the boy, smirks on their faces.

Rani contemplates  chewing the end of her cigar. After what seemed like an eternity, she tucked her cigar in a pocket of her long jackett and crossed the room towards the boy. As she passed the two men they lowered their rifles and rested them at their side.

“Show me,” She stalked past the boy and headed outside.

The boy grinned wildly and raced again of Rani.

Outside she could hear the screaming.

It was coming from a very beat up truck parked outside.

And older man was leaning against the car, crushing what looked like a hat in his hands, his eyes darting back towards the bed of the truck.

As soon as he spotted Rani and the boy he leapt up from the truck, he looked Rani over his eyes watery and begging for hope.

The boy clasped arms with the old man quickly, gripping his arms tight.

“I’ve found her! The priest!” The boy shouted eagerly.

“Brin is saved!” The old man’s eyes welled with tears.

Rani guessed this Brin was the old man’s daughter.

“I make no promises,” she said walking around the truck. “It’s been a long time.”

“Still you must try,” The old man pleaded.

Rani said nothing as she peeked over the edge of the truck at the source of the screaming.

Lying there on a bed of thin blankets lay a young woman around the same age as the boy.

She writhed in pain, her dark blond hair wet with sweat, her wrists bound to the sides of the truck. A clumsy bandage was wrapped around one of her forearms.

Dark red lines covered every inch of the girls exposed skin, the god trying to take over. Based on the coverage she guessed the god had almost completely taken over. It would be close.

“Can you save her?” The boy asked. She jumped over the edge of the truck, landing heavily at the girls side.

“I’ll try,” she removed the banana from her neck, revealing the violet symbol of Ceadem. It was faded, almost lost against the dark tan of her skin. But as she knelt over the girl, it began to pulse brighter.

Once hand she rest on the girls, the other on her heart. She closed her eyes, remembering the words.

“Finorum est et Ceadem fil evornet Pallas findem…” Her voice was soft as the word wrapped around her like an old friend. She could feel the power flowing through her and into the girl. Her screams few louder.

“Finorum est et Ceadem fil evorent Pallas findem.” her voice rose with the girls screams. The veins began to pulse on the girls skin.

Vaguely she could hear the two behind her saying something but the power rushing through her ears blocked them out.

Her voice rose into a shout. “Finorum est et Ceadem fil eveorent Pallas findem!”

The girls body convulsed once and then was still. The red veins rising from her skin like smoke. All that remained of the broken god.

She leaned back on her heels and watched the smoke rising to the air, quickly fading in the wind, trying not to think about all the smoke she had seen before.

At the edge of her vision she could see the boy clamber into the truck and cradle his sleeping wife. Taking a deep breath she stood up and climbed back down. The boy and the old man ignored her, too busy with the girl.

That suited her just fine. She tied her bandanna back around her neck, the mark faded once more, and walked back to the warehouse.

The two men barely looked up as she took her seat again taking out her cigar and resuming her tinkering.

“All good then?” One of the men asked.

“She’ll live.” She dug around for her screwdriver. “Your turn next Joesph.”

“Alright.” The men grinned and turned back to their game.

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