the willow tree

a calm serenity rustle in the leaves

i began writing back in 2013. most of my stuff just isn't worth anyone's time, so i've put together the highlights worth reading for you here!

2020 [https://write.as/sibachian/red-as-in-christmas] 1747 words.

2018 [https://write.as/sibachian/just-one-of-those-days-on-an-old-derelict-ship] 1727 words.

2017 [https://write.as/sibachian/angelic-extinction] 2624 words.

2016 [https://write.as/sibachian/the-spectral-investigators] 3900 words. [https://write.as/sibachian/house-secret] 14898 words.

2015 [https://write.as/sibachian/the-man-who-ate-himself-a-thousand-times] 2729 words. [https://write.as/sibachian/holographic-sky] 5935 words.

Romanji Betydelse
medaka medaka (japansk risfisk)
kairyou improvement, reform
kiwami ryuu polar dragon
kiwami extreme, very, polar
ryuu dragon
ryuusei meteor, shooting star, falling star
komachi belle; (town) beauty
aka red; crimson; scarlet
ki yellow
kou, beni, kurenai red, deep red; crimson
cha brown
shiro, haku white
kuriimu cream
ao blue
burakku black
kuro black
ougon gold
kohaku amber
shuaka vermillion
orenji orange
pinku pink
kouhaku, sarasa red & white
kin gold
midori green
tekkamen iron mask
miyuki miyuki
bekkou tortoiseshell
furu bodi full body
toumeirin transparent scales
katahoho red cheeks on the side (special case of toumeirin: gills are red only on one side)
hoho nashi transparent scales; non-transparent gills (special case of toumeirin: all other toumeirin characteristics apply except for the transparent gills)
hitoumeirin non-transparent scales
arubino albino
ruubi ai ruby eye
sumooru ai small eye
deme protruding eyes
panda panda (iris and the entire eye are black)
memae forward facing eyes
biggu ai big eye
rame lame (cloth made from gold or silver thread)
tashoku multi-colored lame
sanshoku tricolor
nishoku two-colored
nishiki bicolor
chenji karaa color changing
toukou head light
youkou side light
aojiro pale
zenshin tainaikou full body internal light
fukumakukou peritoneal light (bright light in the peritoneum)
gara pattern
buchi dappled; speckled; spotted; black spots appear in various area of the body
burakku rimu black rim
kyou hikari “strong hikari”: light on the back is more pronounced than usual
gintai silver belt: the body is wrapped in a 'belt of light'
daruma body length is shortened to around 50% of normal
han daruma half daruma, body shape is slightly longer than regular daruma
hikari daruma combination of hikari and daruma forms
hirebi brightly colored fins.
tainaikuro internal black
tainaikou internal light
taigaikou external light (light outside of the body, extracorporeal light)
fukumaku ao peritoneal blue (blue chromatophores in the peritoneum)
hirekou fin ligh (bright light on the fins)
isshukou circling light (fin light that circles the edge of all fins)
haichi hannou nashi background independent color (usually, body color changes depending on the background. in this case, the body color does not change)
hige beard (there is a small protrusion near the chin; this appears only in “demae” (protruding eyes) medaka
choutengan upward facing eyes
mozaiku panda mosaic panda (an albino with black areas in the eyes and on the body)
shiisuruu see-through (no chromatophores, therefor the body is transparent even the organs are visible)
oorora aurora
taikei body shape
no possessive particle
kettou lineage; pedigree
keitou strain, lineage, family line, system
seru fin sail fin
hishio diamond tail
maruko no dorsal fin
meraa long fin merah
suwaroo long fin swallow
hirenaga long fin hirenaga
rongu fin long fin (dorsal and anal fin only)
hikari literally “light, ray, beam”; refers to a body shape where the dorsal and anal fin have the same length
ujou house name of a breeder.
matsui breeder who bred a certain type of longfin
kei type; style; pattern
hire fin
era gills
hoho cheeks
henka change; variation; alteration; mutation; transition; transformation
naga long
buriido breed

Authors Note: Curiously, while this short was finally wrapped up in 2020. I actually began writing it on December 2016, but each year, when I came back to it around December, I missed the deadline and postponed it for another year. What's unique is how every new segment, written year by year (separated by a line) has an entirely different take and direction for the story. Normally one would rewrite and edit, but I left them all 'as is' to be able to see how my style and maturity changes over time with the story.

John woke up to a Christmas Carols' tuned alarm. Bleary-eyed he hit the stop button and swore. “Every goddamn year...” He looked around and saw the green clothes placed on a chair. “Why...” He flipped his phone open and hit up favorites, making a call to Honeysweet. “To you too... I remember asking—no—begging you not to change the alarm tune of my clock this year.” “Yes, yes...” He said and got out of bed. Scratching his ass, he picked at the clothes on the chair. He found a pointy green hat. “A pointy green hat?” “I work at a computer store, not a shopping mall...” “...Which the parents come in and buy for their kids as presents this time a year.” John let out a sigh with admitted defeat. He knew, when she used that particular line, his inability to sway her with his initial arguments had permanently chiseled her decision. He was going to have to wear the green pointy hat. “Yes, yes... My dear.” He rolled his eyes. “I'll try. See you after work. Love you.” Resigned, he draped himself in the green elf suit then stumbled his way into the kitchen and found the cooked coffee pot. It was still warm on its plate. He poured himself a cup and died a little inside. “I thought we changed the goddamn beans.” He swore as he spits the liquid into the sink and added 'NEW GODDAMN BEANS!' to the fridge shopping list. He had found the coffee to taste like radioactive waste fermented in the underground sewage systems of Hiroshima. “I'll just have coffee outside today...” He grumbled his way to the entryway door only to be flabbergasted once more by the woman. “Really?!” He stared down in disbelief. “Really?!” With a groan, John slid his hands across his face and up his hair then toed at the stitched green elf shoes with white little balls at the pointy bit. He took a deep breath, then slipped the elf shoes on. The transformation was complete.


A short distance from John’s computer store was a street hot drink stand. Serving coffee, teas, and hot choco. “Black please.” He said. The woman behind the stand poured coffee from a pot into a mug and handed it to him. He took a sip. Then closed his eyes with a sigh. He spits the coffee like a fountain; painting the pristine white snow of the sidewalk with the black afterbirth that he now feared had permanently left its taste in his mouth. With a grimace, he asked the woman, “just …give me a hot choco.” The hot choco was a pleasant contrast. If only it had caffeine... The store had no employee entrance and he entered it from the front and was met by his boss jolly laugh. “Your girlfriend called,” Freddy said. Laughing between words. “She said you had the brilliant idea of hiring a Santa and act as our elf for the day. I can see you’re dedicated to the last minute gift sales!” John glared at his boss, “did you know that Hitler banned Christmas during his rule of Nazi Germany?” “Good thing we won the war!” Freddy said. “The hired Santa hasn’t arrived yet. Since this is your idea, can I count on you to handle the setup?” “Yes, yes,” John said, now wholly resigned to his fate. Don’t fight it, he thought. It will just end up making things worse.


It took him a good 20 minutes, but the hard work paid off. John had built a stylish throne in the shape of a wagon by using keyboard and mice cartons. Each at a 15% discount Christmas sale. That sale had been Freddy’s idea though. John disagreed. What if people started buying the items, destroying his hard labor? It was almost eleven, and the store was now open to customers. Santa hadn’t arrived yet. As much as John hated the idea of playing an elf, he now dreaded the possibility of doing this whole event on his own. The customer doorbell rang. A big red-dressed figure stepped in. “Santa?” Freddy yelled from inside the storage room. “Ah yes, Santa!” The big red-dressed figure said. “I was requested for a job?” “Is this a joke?” John said as he walked up to greet him, “you’re supposed to be Santa. Not whatever the hell that is.” “Am I doing it wrong?” The big red-dressed figure asked. John sighed, “this is a children’s event, not a dress-up party.” Santa stroked his long black beard and then pulled a slip of paper out of his pocket, “the letter says; ‘Satan requested for store event on the 23rd! You have your own Santa dress. 4 Hours job. $20 an hour.’ Is there something wrong with my dress?” “Satan?” “Yes?” John blinked. Then looked him over again. Indeed. Red skin. Yellow eyes. Crooked nose. Sharp fangs. John scratched the back of his head. “Satan? As in, lord of hell?” “The very same.” “I see...”


Customers came and went, and all stared at the themed mix of the Satan-Santa with clear discomfort. the words on everybody's lips were: 'That's more offensive than clever.' John had desperately thought of an excuse, 'It's a promotional event for BSD!' albeit the customers were not too familiar with the logo of BSD or even BSD itself, but there seemed to be a general acceptance of the concept, just not the dress itself. Satan clearly wasn't cute enough to represent the operative system. Few brought their children, and thankfully in the situations where they did, they were quite resistant to the idea of placing their child on Satan’s lap.


The day was coming to an end without any major incidents and John had started to relax, well, as much as he could, all considering. “So,” John said to Satan. “Why did you accept the job?” “I’m an entrepreneur John, and a decently successful one at that.” “I don’t think entrepreneurs take on low wage side gigs.” “I didn’t come for that, John.” “Then why did you come?” “I came for you, John.” A shiver ran through Johns's body, “what do you mean?” “Make a wish, John.” “I…” “Make a wish.” John closed his eyes. He had occasionally seen Supernatural on TV, and the whole crossroad demon bit seemed to be the play here. For all he knew, a bid for a wish would end with his soul's eternal damnation. He never believed to begin with, but it was hard to argue with reality when it stood in front of him. “I’m not willing to sell my soul.” He said. Satan chuckled, “you know when the last time was someone consulted me on allegorical accuracy?” “No.” “Never.” “So you’re saying I won’t have to trade my soul?” “Of course not. There’s no such thing as a soul.” John thought about it. “How do I know that’s true? People who believe in you, in the faiths, all claim you’re, well, the devil. It’s your method of operation. Trickery, deceit, lies.” Satan sat down on the throne of keyboard cartons with a sigh, “I’m going to level with you, John. When Yahweh came to your planet, he hijacked one of the many faiths at the time and has been building an empire ever since. Like a ball of light, it wasn’t exactly hard for him to pose as a sun deity. Me? Well, look at me. He was already established long before I arrived and all he had to do to make sure I wouldn’t be able to compete was to make me out as the bad guy.” “So wait, you’re both aliens, then?” Satan snickered, “of course we are, what else would we be? There’s no such thing as deities.” “So the devil is all propaganda?” “My given name is Heylel.” “Let’s say for a minute that I believe you. What do you get from fulfilling my wish? What’s the price?” “Satisfaction.” “What?” “I’m immortal, John. My people have been around for longer than your planet has been around. We’re not the only ones who figured out how to tame the universe to our will, it’s just that while we want to do it for our own satisfaction, there are those who just want to rule. Think of us as an open-source advocate, just a lot bigger in scope.” “Is that why the BSD logo is a devil?” “Now you’re getting it.” “So why don’t you just help humanity get on equal terms with the wider community of the universe?” “Is that your wish John?” “Maybe? But it was a question.” “No one simply asked for it.” “Well then, I’m asking for it.” Heylel clapped his hands together and vanished.


The bright sun of Christmas day beamed through Johns's bedroom window, forcing him out of bed. As he approached his window to pull down the blinds, he saw a large structure bigger than the moon fixed in the sky. Now entirely awake, he went into the living room where his girlfriend sat in horror, staring at the TV. He looked at the TV curious what it was all about, and there he saw Heylel, repeating these words, “I am the herald of change, here to bring a new era of enlightenment to fulfill the wish of my friend John. Together, we will deliver a Christmas gift, for all of mankind, to work towards acceptance into the intergalactic fold.”

BACK: [https://write.as/sibachian/fiction]

my fiction archive.

most recent story: red, as in christmas – November 07, 2020.


2020 | 6p | red, as in christmas

2019 | 1p | the prison of sol

2019 | 4p | the ferry man

2018 | 5p | just one of those days on an old derelict ship

2018 | 3p | the sully of a man gone yonder

2017 | 213p | krigsmar: the city under the lake

2017 | 2p | never collar your dog

2017 | 8p | angelic extinction

2017 | 4p | the death of men and birth of legends

2016 | 3p | the problem with powers

2016 | 3p | reignition

2016 | 18p | an augmentation of black and white

2016 | 27p | let's hook up in real life

2016 | 12p | a burgnarly

2016 | 1p | hide & seek

2016 | 3p | quantum brain

2016 | 12p | the spectral investigators

2016 | 3p | the girl who would inherit a house full of secrets

2016 | 1p | death clock

2015 | 4p | the new people

2015 | 2p | shadows in the night

2015 | 8p | the man who ate himself a thousand times

2015 | 17p | a holographic sky

2014 | 13p | a day in the light

2014 | 16p | a night in the dark

2014 | 26p | sweet & gorgeous

2014 | 4p | the room

2013 | 60p | the human factor

2013 | 108p | heart of the moon

It doesn't really matter how many years we spend honing our skill as a writer or anything, really. We will always have a weakness that is hard to overcome.

Personally, I don't think I'll ever be good at character tropes. As much as I love certain character tropes, I just can't pull it off. At all.

Regardless, the art of writing has a few rules we should all keep in mind when in doubt:

Read more...

i used to make ascii art, here's a selection of my favorite pieces.

character illustrations

portraits

hi,

call me sibachian,

this is my corner of the internet.

want to get in touch? drop me a message on mastodon.

Authors Note: Written in 2018. This story was actually written for a literature class I was taking at the time. It was 3 times as long originally but the teacher demanded I shorten it as part of the material limitations. I lost the deleted parts, but it's probably better this way. I got highest points in class for it!

“We all have things we enjoy, sitting on my ass is mine.” Rigsby said, he was leaning in his chair and staring at the dark metal ceiling. “Some people paint, some people play with yarn, this? This is my relaxation, it gives me time to think ...and I get to stay as far away from other people as possible while doing just that.”

He pulled his legs off the desk and leaned his sizeable, unfit, upper body over it, bumping his elbow into the desk light as he did. It skewed the light, nearly obscuring their faces. He didn't care to correct it.

“So say,” he said. “Why do you annoy me?”

“But captain,” Johnson the chief of engineer said. Her hands behind her straightened back with a uniform which hid nothing. “The noises and clangs are getting worse as the days go by.”

“So?” Rigsby said, his face losing composure. “I wasn't elected captain so I would deal with technical issues. That's your job description.”

“But captain,” Johnson insisted, with a short glance into his eyes for the first time. “I don't know what to do about it and the people are getting worried.”

“You're getting worried,” Rigsby said with a hint that he really couldn't care about the situation at all, but getting Johnson out of his office was becoming more and more vital to his own peace. He leaned back into his chair again and placed his hands behind his head. “Tell the people the air vents are undergoing maintenance.”

“For days?” Johnson asked. She blinked at his reluctance of care.

Rigsby waited a few moments, expecting her to leave. He finally gave in and sat up straight, his hands planted on the desk.

“Fine,” he said. “What is it you expect of me?”

“We need a full investigation,” Johnson said. “The noise is coming from the walls.”

“But there is nothing out there, beyond the walls.” Rigsby said.

“Exactly.”

Rigsby pushed himself up to stand, his chair slowly rolling away from him.

“Oh, I get it,” he said with a sigh. “So you need me to oversee a walk operation.” He sighed again and rolled his eyes. “Lead the way.”

Johnson turned on heel and left the captains room. The outside of the room was just as gloomy as it had been on the inside. Not enough light to cast a good view and all of the detail was rusty old metal.

They left through a dark passageway and entered into a dimly lit open space. Cardboard and old plating from the lifeboats of an era past had been used to construct stalls in the now defunct cargo bay. The market place was full of life, with hundreds of people having a good time, participating in events, and yelling for sales and trade.

“Hello captain!” The nearest stall owner said. “Can I interest you in some hot beverage today?”

Rigsby just held his hand up as a no, passing the man without a word. There wasn't time for that sort of nonsense. The sooner they solved the mystery, the sooner he would be back in his chair. Enjoying the bliss of solitude.

“This way captain,” Johnson said. Leading him through a small path behind the stalls.

Once they arrived at the other end of the market, they entered a second dark passageway.

At the end of the passage was the staircase down to engineering. This was perhaps the most lit room in the entire ship. It had to be, as it was the only vital part of the ship still in operation. If something here went awry, it could spell death for the entire crew.

“Hi captain,” a boy no more than fifteen said. He was sitting by a screen with a series of numbers flashing by in various colors. He wore the same style of suit as Johnson. “I didn't expect to see you come personally.”

“Eh? Why didn't you?”

“You didn't tell him yet?” The boy asked in a hush to Johnson, shoulders raised, head forward.

“No,” Johnson said. “I was... leading up to it.”

“Told me what?” Rigsby said, the annoyance was clear in his tone.

“Well, you know the logs from back when our great grandfathers got stuck here.”

“I've studied them just as much as the rest of the crew.” He said.

“Well,” Johnson said. She looked concerned. “You know how in the beginning, a lot of debris ended up causing damage to the hull, which then had to be repaired externally.”

“Yes?”

“Well...”

Rigsby closed his eyes and mouthed a silent “Fuck,” then faced Johnson. “When was the last time someone repaired a leak on the outside?”

“The last time,” Johnson said. Thinking. “I believe I was five years old back then.”

”...and that was how long ago?”

“Twenty four years ago.”

“What,” Rigsby said. “You mean to tell me the evac suits haven't been used since? How do we even know they still work?”

“Well, captain,” Johnson said. “As you said yourself, there's nothing out there anymore.”

“Clearly I was mistaken considering what we're about to do.”

“Yes, well,” Johnson said. “No one expected this to happen.”

“Remind me to make it law for routine inspection of the evac suits.”

“Yes captain.” She said with what couldn't be anything other than shame.

Rigsby and Johnson left the engineering operation room and into the nearest airlock. They had twenty suits to choose from and they each picked one at random that looked functional. Did a preliminary air pressure test. Then got ready for the depressurization.

They sat at each end of the airlock, the com buzzing.

“How far is the walk?” Rigsby asked.

“The noises has been coming from the front of the ship,” Johnson said. “Same place as all the damage in the past, so I gander about fifteen minutes.”

“It makes sense that it would be at the front and not from the back,” Rigsby said. “Considering what's behind our engines.”

Once the room had been turned into a vacuum, they opened the door to the outside. Pitch black, just as promised. The first time someone on the ship saw the empty void in twenty four years. Neither of them felt comfort in the void, and it was apparent.

“It feels like my stomach has been gouged out,” Johnson said. “It must have been terror working all those shifts out here in the black back then.”

Rigsby grunted. He didn't want to admit fear of the emptiness to himself. He kept occupied with his evac suits status.

They each used a set of magnetic clamps to climb their way along the hull. The nose of the ship was squared and the ship itself large. They wouldn't be able to tell what was causing the noise until they reached the edge.

It took them a good eighteen minutes to reach the nose.

“Johnson,” Rigsby said, looking back. He struggled to let his gaze go of what he saw. “A-Are you okay back there?”

“It's hard to believe what I saw, captain,” she said.

“Y-You think,” he stuttered, turning back to look at the nose of the ship. “You think maybe we have an opportunity here?”

“Um, captain.”

“I mean, think about it.” He said. “Just get one man in each suit and deploy a team of welders!”

“Captain!”

“Let's just head back and prepare,” he said in a smug tone. “This is going to win me my second term!”

“Cap...tain...”

“What's wrong with you?” He asked and turned to look at Johnson again.

Johnson dangled with a single hand at the magnetic clamp.

“Shit!” He yelled. “Johnson!”

There was no answer.

“These suits are fucking suicide,” he complained has he began to clamp his way towards to her. “Fuck.”

He pulled the string buckle from his suit and connected it with hers. Nudged her hand out of the clamp, then started climbing towards the nose of their ship.

“You fuckers better not be hostile,” he mumbled. He had limited time to act before Johnson would die from asphyxiation, going forward was her only option for survival.

At the nose of their ship, was another, smaller ship. Alien in structure, it looked far newer than theirs ever did. Even when it was newly constructed, a stylized structure had not been part of the design. Getting the mission done had been.

He found a hatch at the bottom of the alien ship and opened it. There was a big green button in there that read 'Pressurization'. He locked the door and slammed the button hard. The room filled up within mere seconds. With that, he immediately removed Johnsons helmet. She was unconscious, but breathing.

As Rigsby removed his own helmet, the door to the airlock opened, and another human stood on the other side.

“Hello?” He said.

“What?” Rigsby said in turn.

“My name is Miles McCarthy.”

“What...”

“Oh, sorry. Let me introduce myself formally.” He said. “I'm a xenoarchaeologist and I found your ship here. It's very exciting, oh and, your friend there. Is she alright?”

“What is going on?”

“I've been studying your ship for a few days,” he said. “I didn't think anyone was still alive in there. It would have been much too dangerous for me to go inside without a team. You know, protocols and all that.”

“I'm the captain.” Rigsby said, stunned.

“I'm a captain too!”

“Rigsby.”

“Right, well then.” He said. “Captain Rigsby. Your ship is old, very old. There aren't that many records of this ship type. I've only seen some virtual reconstructions. So tell me, how long ago do you believe you left harbour?”

“Our great grandfathers left in 2127.” Rigsby said. “That was about two hundred years ago.”

“Oh, that's really something isn't it!” McCarthy said, all excited. “That was over thirteen thousand years ago from my perspective!”

“No one came looking for us in thirteen thousand years?”

McCarthy laughed, “you do know where you are, right?”

“Yeah, in the void.”

“Right,” McCarthy said. “It's only been about the last thousand years that we can even get this close to a singularity. It's frankly quite mind-blowing that your engines has create an equilibrium, keeping you from falling all the way in.”

Johnson regained consciousness. “W-what's going on?”

“Hello there, miss!” McCarthy said.

She stared at him blankly.

“I think,” Rigsby said. “I think we're about the be rescued.”

BACK: [https://write.as/sibachian/fiction]

Authors Note: Written in 2017. I had constructed a large universe for this story, but in the end, I only ever finished this one short. It's still decent as a standalone tale tho!

The last three men in existence found themselves at a long since abandoned pub.

A candle illuminated the small segment of the bar disk where they sat. Their silhouettes idling by the low light. One of them, a clean shaved brittle old man in rags by the name Gordy, sipped from a glass of dark liquid. Poured from—as far as he knew—the last bottle of liquor in existence.

He coughed to the taste. “This is awful.”

Behind the bar disk stood an old spindly gentleman with a priest collar called Mitch. He sported a mustachio yet carried it with a sense of nostalgic pride.

“Well,” Mitch said as he scrubbed a glass clean with an old cloth. “It's the last remaining bottle for a reason.”

Next to Gordy sat Kenneth. Muscular despite his old age and dressed like an army man with a rifle slung over his back. His great beard and long hair covered most of his face. There was a glass in front of him with the same liquid. “What's in it?”

“Gammel Dansk.” Mitch said.

Kenneth picked up his glass and inspected the content with furrowed bushy brows.

“Well boys,” Mitch said as he held a personal glass with liquid. It was clear but with a yellow tint and not black like the ones he had served. “To the end of all.”

Gordy mumbled as he saw the clear liquid. He had a suspicion that Mitch might have saved a last batch of tequila for himself. “To the end,” he grumbled and held his glass high.

“To the end!” Kenneth agreed in a cheer as he clinked into their glasses with his own. He had a smile on his lips. They had gone years without a bottle, this was one last opportunity to get shit faced before they had to move again. That they had found the pub last week with some liquor left untouched had been short of a miracle in his opinion.

“The last end that is and ever will be...” Gordy added as he pulled an old sheathed dagger out of his pocket and inspected it. “Depressing...”

His comment made each of them sigh as if a dark cloud had materialized above their heads.

“Well,” Mitch said as he stretched his back. “Blaming ourselves serves no one as we're all that's left. Let's not brood over our past.”

“We still have each other.” Kenneth said as his eyes sparkled with renewed vitality. He took Gordy's hand and squeezed, “and all eternity ahead of us.”

“I was not meant for eternity,” Gordy said with shaky voice. His sad eyes stared at the dagger between his fingers. “I do not regret what I did for you—both of you—if I had to do it all over again, I would. But the burden of our sin weights on me and I find myself asking; am I to blame for all the misery? Am I the sole person responsible for the end of days?”

“I didn't mean to imply—” Kenneth started but the entrance door slamming into the wall and interrupted him.

Gordy slid the dagger back into his pocket and faced the intruder with a blank stare.

“Hello,” a boyish-looking figured said as he entered the pub. Moonlight reflected in his chiseled face and beautiful blonde curls.

“Leave.” Mitch said, not bothering to look.

“People only.” Gordy added.

The young boy gave them a raised brow, “Am I not a person?”

Kenneth scoffed, “we know what you are.”

“You're an idea, a concept.” Gordy said. “You don't belong here or anywhere.”

“That is alright.” The boy said. He ignored their hate and approached the bar disk, taking a seat on the far end, away from the three aged men.

Mitch rolled his eyes, “I suppose you're going to ask for a glass of liquor?”

“If you do not mind.”

Mitch poured the last bit of Gammel Dansk in a dirty old glass and sent it skidding across the bar to the boy. He caught it with ease.

“It fills me with such joy that I have finally found you all.” The boy said.

“Yes, well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.” Mitch said. “We haven't heard from the other group in over five months, so I suppose we are the last of the last.”

“Such a shame,” the boy said with an eeriness in his voice as if to mimic sympathy. “If only it could have been prevented.”

“Such a shame?” Kenneth said. “You've killed us all!”

“That we have,” the boy admitted. “Though, I would perhaps not use the term kill. Nevertheless, it is what happens when your kind meddle with things they do not understand. It was not the first, but it will certainly be the last.”

Gordy responded with a nervous twitch to his comment and the boy noticed.

“You feel responsible?” The boy asked.

“Get on with it, boy.” Gordy snapped at him.

The boy swept his glass as if he had no sense of taste, which was most likely the case. “I am sure you have prepared yourselves already, but just in case, I will allow you to take a minute.” He said as a pair of grand wings exploded from his back and filled the room. They had a golden glow which radiated like sunshine throughout the pub.

The blinding glow only lasted half a second, in the other half each of the men had made themselves ready for a fight. Gordy threw his glass of liquor at the boy, it still had some left in it, and then he followed up by throwing the candle. The boy's upper body caught fire. Kenneth grabbed the rifle from his back and blasted a shot at the boy's abdomen. Mitch pulled a shotgun from behind the bar disk and let a wide spread of pellets bombard the boy's entire body. From the holes, they could see right through his body.

“You know,” the boy said as the bullet wounds rejected the metal and closed themselves. “Those things do not actually work on me.”

The fire still burned on his upper body but he didn't seem to care or even take notice.

“Fuck!” Kenneth yelled. “He's one of those!”

“It's Abby St. all over again.“  Gordy said.

“Nowhere to run this time.” Mitch added.

“Nowhere indeed,” the boy said. “Now, please, if you may. You are the last of men and I am here to collect.”

“Fuck you and your fucking rapture!” Kenneth yelled as he ran towards the boy with the butt of his rifle. He swung it wide in the air hoping to strike. The boy didn't even bother to dodge, he just waved the back of his hand and a gust of wind swept Kenneth into the wall.

His body crumbled down on the floor. Unconscious.

Mitch had taken the opportunity to jump over the bar disk. Despite his advanced age he was still as nimble as a monkey. He attempted to squeeze himself under the right wing of the boy while he kept busy with Kenneth. The boy slammed his wing down without looking, blocking Mitch's path as if he anticipated it all along.

Gordy was never one for acrobatics and had instead reached for Kenneth's glass. He threw it into the boy's face. The fire soon caught up from the chest and blinded the boy as his face burned. He used the opportunity to crawl his way past the right wing and to the door.

“You had your epoch,” the boy yelled behind Gordy as he stepped out. “It is time to let go of your mortality!”

“Shut your trap you glorified carrier pigeon!” Gordy yelled back as he made a few steps outside. The darkness outside caused him not to notice the swarm of winged fiend's waiting for him until it was too late. Basking in the moonlight, thousands of them had lined up in an ever expanding circle around the pub. He stopped in his track and frantically searched for a route to escape by with his eyes.

“Raphael, actually.” The boy said as he joined Gordy on the dark street. His radiance giving glow to the outdoor environment like a giant searchlight.

“Why don't your shitty army glow like a Christmas light the same way you do!” Gordy said as he turned to face his enemy, fingering the blade in his pocket.

“I allow myself some privileges.” Raphael said. “As would you all.”

“Oh fly off!” Gordy cursed.

Raphael placed two fingers on his lips as if in thought then pointed them at Gordy. “Do you even know why you are the last mortal in existence?”

“Because you just killed my comrades,” he said with a sneer, eyeing the army of angels with vengeance in his heart. A seething hatred growing in his soul.

“Oh, not at all.” Raphael said. “But that's beside the point. As the last of your kind, I believe at least one of you deserve the knowledge of why.”

“Delightful.” Gordy said through his teeth.

“One of you mortals committed a sin so severe, the death of Christ pales in comparison.”

“Uh-huh,” he said, keeping an eye around him and fingering the button on the dagger's sheath.

“You don't seem surprised.” Raphael said. “Not at all curious what it was one of you did to cause the end of your little world?”

“Not really,” he said as he used two fingers to loosen the dagger from the sheath. “Look sonny, I don't know what you're playing at but get it over with. I've lost. There's nothing left I can do to fight. Half your face is burning and you don't even care. What can a lone man do against a God? Nothing.”

“Don't! ...Call me a God.” There was a hint of pure fury burning in his eyes. To suggest an angel is a God was of the highest offense.

“Fine. Whatever.” Gordy said. He did not want to risk the opportunity he sought. “Get on with it.”

“Very well.” Raphael said and approached. He reached for Gordy's head with his long fingers. Gordy assumed it was the process required to extract souls from their host vessels. To lay his hand on his head and send his soul to the celestial city. Moments before Raphael's hand touched, Gordy twisted the blade into his heart.

Raphael's jaw dropped. He had suffered bullet wounds, explosions, incineration. A long list of violent ends of confrontation, but never touched by a human. In the end, they always gave in. They always allowed him to let them pass on to the beyond. It was part of his show. The damage often inflicted to his body and healed as a display of intimidation and might. Creating the illusion of an unstoppable force.

“How dare you!” Raphael shouted in a deep-layered inhuman voice. His wings spread wide and mighty, splitting into two sets of four. The army of angels screeching in unison like uncontrollable creatures of horror.

Gordy staggered back and lost footing from the stress of commotion, ending up on his rump.

“How dare you!” Raphael repeated as he pulled the dagger out of his chest. He held the dagger in his hand and looked down upon Gordy as if to punish him, but then... He lost footing. His legs weak. “What... what have you done to me?” He too, fell onto his rump.

“The same thing I did to Azrael.”

Raphael looked at the blade in his hand, his lips began to shiver at the sight. “T-This can't be! You gutted him with his own blade?!”

“You are an idea.” Gordy said.

“I... Why...” Raphael began to lose his ability to speak, to form coherent thoughts.

“What happens when an idea dies, Raphael.”

“You bastard...” Raphael mustered. His body decaying, pieces flowing off like ash in the wind.

“Ideas don't have self-awareness. They don't think for themselves. They are mere thoughts by others. You are the delusional manifestation of those thoughts.”

“You...”

“Soon, those thoughts will disappear forever.” Gordy said. Raising himself up to stand. “But. My people, they live on.”

“I...”

“Yes, that's right. I will be the last. But I will be eternal.” He pointed to his temple. “In here, my kind will live on. Be remembered. Always. You? I will forget.”

The last of Raphael's body vanished with the wind. Gordy looked out across the angels around him. They had all frozen in place. As he stared at them, they too puffed into dust and swirled like an endlessly large spiral towards the night sky. Untouched by the dust, he found himself at the eye of the storm.

He bent down and picked the dagger from the ground. Sheathing it and stuffing it into his pocket. He had acquired it by happenstance one fateful day and turned the world into chaos the day after. Raphael may have been the Archangel of Judgment Day, which Gordy supposed this was. But the Lord's personal assassin, the Angel of Death had also been slain by his hands. There was also a third creature. He wasn't entirely sure if the third one had been an archangel, but he was certain it had been something similar. He knew what it had represented, and how after killing it, he had ended the world. This left him without question, without doubt in his mind, that the others would come for him. They would find an excuse to one day come and claim their revenge. He was certain. If the Lord would allow it.

Gordy walked with heavy steps back into the pub. The souls stolen from his old fellows, now gone forever, their empty vessels left on the floor. He carried them to the bar disk and prodded them up in chairs.

He crawled across the bar disk and bent down behind it. There, he found an almost full bottle of Malört. “Hah,” He said with a low tone as he nodded to the lifeless husk that had once been his friend. “Mitch my friend, looks like I misjudged you.”

There was still one glass left on the bar disk that hadn't been used in the fight, the one Mitch had drunk from. Gordy filled it up and took a swig. He coughed with a bitter grimace. “I'm sorry boys.” He said. “This one is for you.” He poured some Malört from the bottle down on the floor.

He emptied the glass and placed it firmly down the table. Tears began to roll down his weathered cheeks.

“Why did it have to come to this...” He said with shaky voice. His lips shivering as he pushed his tears back.

“We could have been together forever.” He said as he touched Kenneth's hand.

The tears kept coming, and his voice let itself go. He bawled as he moved his hand from Kenneth's hand up to his hairless neck.

“How was I supposed to know she was Death?”

His upper body crumbled across the table, his hands moving down and finding a rest in Kenneth's.

“I only reacted. She was coming to hurt you! I never knew what it would do to the world... Please forgive me...” He yelled between cries.

“Despite how far we've come...” His cries turned to low sobs.

“Despite ending the world for you... I failed you my love... Please forgive me...”

He squeezed Kenneth's hands, “...Please forgive me.”

In a world bereft of all life, only silence prevailed. Silence, and the sobs of the last man that ever was and ever will be.

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