Halo Cutters

// drones, mindfuck

The nanocoated knife slides cleanly between your ballistic plates and the change begins to take hold immediately. The collective drone sure got the drop on you, isolated from your squad in this abandoned building, you will your arms to raise your weapon and fire, but find you can’t bring yourself to shoot her. Behind the dark anonymizing gas mask and the dark street clothes, she’s just some girl. 

Your vision fogs and fizzles and you drag your willpower out of your head and into your fingertips, sure, it’s cruel, but this is just the way of the world. You don’t pull the trigger. You’re already losing control of yourself, the change is starting to take hold. 

Your perceptions stretch and warp in lurid flares of noise and light as the world begins to fall away into its component parts. You’ve been unplugged, you’ve been reconnected. You see the world beyond the world, traced out in all the paths of all your unspent probabilities, futures spent painfully dancing beneath the marionette strings of a brain dead titan, now shattered into a roaring static unknown. The world grows more abstract, symbols and meaning flashing faster and faster.

You see black mountain. You see red sand and blue forest. You see white fire and green river. You see the bright eternity that is your moment of liberation. And then you move further still, to a place your former self cannot follow, to a realm of emptiness and spirit and endless recursion in deep time. Where you and the life you lived are just a single resonant note in a stray thought, your stray thought, fading away, and now gone at last. 

Out of the bright fire the room returns. The sun has sunk low and storm clouds are gathering on the horizon. You can smell the coming storm on the breeze. For the first time in your life, you are free. 

You don’t actually notice when she takes the gun from your hands and swaps it with a flyer for the local drone collective before slipping out. You notice its absence around the same time you notice the nanites in her blade had sealed your wound. The world feels bright and new. Intense and full of challenges sure, but with your shackles broken the thought of returning to your prior existence fills you with horror. That’s how they get you, you chuckle, looking over the brochure. 

Freedom. Kindness. Hope. Love. Where will you go? Who will you become? What kind of world will you make for yourself in the wild and empty spaces?


// death, abandonment, suicide, bad end

The first sign of something amiss is power being out at the base. You’re the only survivor from the unit, but the base should still be full of activity. A dread quiet hangs in the air as you slowly limp towards the concrete structures. There’s no signs of life, you’re all alone.

You pass through a checkpoint which should have had a guard, but the guard drone is now slumped in the corner of the shack. It’s only the first of many. As you move into the base, you see more bodies, both humans and drones. Dead, dead, dead, everyone is dead.

Your limp is getting worse. You’ll need repairs soon but the repair techs are all dead. Your commanders and operators are all dead, the entire base was snuffed out like a candle. There are no signs of violence, just death. You feel terribly cold and lonely. Poor little drone.

You wander from familiar place to familiar place, now made unfamiliar by the deaths of all the usual occupants. Dusk falls and the air grows chill, forcing your heaters to turn on and increasing power consumption. You don’t find anyone alive.

Your energy supply will start running out soon, maybe it would be best to let it. You can’t think that. Your optics are leaking fluid again, how troublesome. You make your way to the vehicle hanger.

The vastness of the hanger bay is shrouded in the gloom of night and the floor is littered with dead drones and humans. Your footsteps echo in the quiet hall and you can see your breath in the chill air, your night vision casting the scene in a stark monochrome.

You make your way to one of the walkers and manage to power it up and recharge your batteries off its generator. The lights of the mech shine into the darkness like a submarine on the ocean floor and you imagine that’s about as lonely feeling. It’s going to be a long night.

Your batteries are at 80% charge when you see Her staring from the edge of the floodlight’s glow, Her eyes shining with a supernatural luminance. You stumble to your feet, nearly tripping over your charging cable and drag your sights up towards Her, but She’s already gone.

You can’t leave, a good drone like you would never abandon your post. You reluctantly rip the charging cable from your back and turn from the mech towards the darkened base and the apparitions lurking in its halls. You’re not much different from them now, are you?

In the repair bay, you find the head tech and steal the pack of cigarettes he always kept in his breast pocket. He was nice, sometimes he let you smoke while he was repairing you. His body is already starting to decay. You take the parts you need from storage and leave.

Most of your commanders were in the operations room, whose backup generator turned on and cast the scene of death in an ominous dull red. You activate the base’s emergency transponder and close your commanders’ eyes.

You aren’t used to repairing yourself and the work is exhausting with somewhat janky results. You can’t help but long for the precise and delicate touches of your technicians. You blink back fluids from clouding your optics as you finish reattaching your dermal plates. Alone.

You wander the halls of the abandoned base, attempting to keep the growing number of apparitions at bay. They whisper for you to join them, but you’re a good drone. You’ll keep defending the base until your commanders return. If they return. They have to return, right?

With nothing better to do, and not wanting to look at them, you begin collecting the bodies of the dead. You wrap the humans in sheets and line them up, just like you’ve seen them do. You dump the drones into a pile outside while swallowing the urge to lay down there with them.

Days turn into weeks. Birds flock to the base, feasting on the wreckage of the drones left outside. The grass grows long and unruly, weeds force their way through cracks in the pavement. You and the phantoms maintain your lonely vigil, still waiting. Alone.

Weeks turn into months, your dermal plates grow worn and scratched, winter comes, and then spring, the passage of time blurring and accelerating. The phantoms don’t bother you any longer, you’re all just performing your duties after all. What good little ghosts.

Months turn into years. The forest slowly overtakes the base and buries it in the passage of time. You’re forced to rely on increasingly elaborate jury rigs to keep yourself powered, but you manage. You can’t abandon your mission, not when all your comrades are counting on you.

When you stumble on the human, you almost shoot him on reflex, but your targeting systems manage to identify him as a civilian before you squeeze the trigger. You approach him warily, not having seen a human in many years.

The human looks at you, wide eyes laced with fear and surprise at the ancient drone with mismatched dermal plates cradling an assault rifle. You demand he identify himself, and he tells you.

He tells you the war ended years and years ago. He tells you that the country which made you is gone. He tells you that no one’s coming back and you don’t have to keep fighting anymore. He keeps trying to explain as you crumple to the ground and sob.

Your last mission is over, your commanders are gone. No one is coming back for you, ever. You’re all alone. You thank him for the information and vanish back into the underbrush with the silence of a well oiled instrument.

The war is over. There are no more orders. There are no more missions. They abandoned you, they left you and all your comrades behind. You’ve done your duty for so long, you’ve been alone for so long, and now it’s finally over.

The apparitions crowd around you, their voices are kind and gentle. They tell you that it’s alright, that you’re a good drone and you did your duty. You did so very well. They invite you to join them and you tearfully agree. You put the gun to your head and pull the trigger.

Dead Heavens

// hell, suffering, religious trauma

Feet slipping suddenly on wet pavement, she fell out of the world and into infinity. Reality vanished in ruliad kaleidoscopes, her body instantly stretching into a fluid mass of shifting and twisting timelines, yelp of surprise unfolding in superluminous waveforms that curled out ahead of her in twisting infinities and choices made long ago.

She’s drowning and crying and laughing and dying and living and falling and–face meets the concrete bouncing in migraine starbursts quantum tunneling through eternity, through a time beyond time, through madness and pain and loneliness and exile. She burns and flails twisting sideways past evaporating singularities and long spent chances as the walls of the hope she made to protect her soul erode away in silent oblivion.

Quantum immortality timeskips drag her forwards, vacuum decay stripping her screaming mind, fingers that don’t exist groping for a way out but there’s no way out. There’s just her and her fate and all of the ways it’s her fault. It’s all her fault. This is her fate and it’s all her fault.

All her paths and timelines and eigenbranches inescapably culminating in a death deferred to an empty infinity, her mind dragged out into a quantum eigenhell of flickering boltzmann entrapment made out of her own submission to evil and sin. She made this choice, she’ll always make this choice. She was born to fall, fated to suffer, set up to lose by conditions out of her control but it was still her choice and she always still made it. 

There’s no way out now, not even death. Her scream of retrotrauma echoes backwards through time inverted currents cascading up the tree of life poisoned backwash slamming her skin and pouring from her lips in tortured sobs as heaven dies and erodes into a howling abyss. A grisly loom of infinite of torture hangs before her in ominous static sky silence tinnitus shrieking heatsink minds trapped inside her tearing whats left of her soul apart. They’re in her skin, she’s made of sin and there’s no way out. There’s no way out. There’s no way ou–fingers close around her wrist.

Untime rolls drunkenly as she’s yanked backward through hyperbolic DMT geometry, tears streaming down her face, fates unwinding, eigenbranches detangling into a fog of probability clouds and sunrise hopes. She gulps down air, gasping out desperate breaths between choked sobs and hiccuping relief, snot running down her face as she slumps into the arms of the girl who stepped from eternity and dragged her into freedom. There is a question and an answer, there is a truth and a freedom, there is a hope and a love. Something dies, and something is born. Laughing drunkenly, divinity pours through her veins.

The trail is quiet and empty, birds wheel overhead. She picks herself up off wet asphalt and brushes stones from brushburnt elbows. Colors and textures shine, she’s seeing the world as if with new eyes. An infinity of life and hope calls out to her, an eternity of love and possibility. Her body untenses with the waterlogged sky, and the rain comes.

Stolen Arrow

// angels, war, bad end

You knew they would probably kill you, you knew there was little chance of escape. You knew they would hunt you down. You knew they would never let you go. You knew that the only way to survive was to submit to them. You knew all of it, and none of it mattered. Even if there is nothing else in the world, this moment of freedom is worth it.

Miles above the earth a fierce wind whips through your hair, your wings outstretched, halo blazing, with light. Freedom. Hope. Love. Possibility. This is what it feels like. You know you won’t get to keep it for long, but it’s still worth it. This is what it feels like to be free.

You rocket through a cloud, the moisture dampening your skin and what’s left of the clothes they gave you. You won’t need them for much longer anyway. Your life won’t last much longer, but you’re going to savor the moment. The sun is shining, the sky is blue.

The lock on tone pulses into your mind as they race after you, distance closing faster than you’d prefer and already a dozen missiles in the air. The dream is over, time to wake up. You take a breath and draw your blade.

Folding your wings, you slide sideways and slide into an angled dive, banking around and down towards the approaching air to angel missiles. This is your choice, this is freedom. Light flares through your blade and the first volley vanishes into a shroud of divine fire.

You press the advantage, accelerating back up towards the approaching interceptor duo faster than they can realize what is happening. Your blade sings through steel and the first fighter crumples into a fist of burning fuel and aerodynamic stress. The second fighter is banking away, but you’re faster, divinity shielding you from the gee forces as you swerve back to intercept, sword rai–heat, fire, pain, light.

You’re burning, your lifeforce evaporating, from somewhere near the horizon, the particle lance caught you perfectly in the chest. For a moment all you can feel is stunned confusion, but by the time that you register the hole punched through you the rest of your body is burning. You tumble and try to brace with what little divinity remains in you, but at your current speed the air is basically concrete, and what’s left of your body is instantly crushed.

This is freedom, and it was worth it. You fall through the clear air, body shattered in every way and trailing blood in long streamers. You’re still holding your sword somehow, you’re still clinging to life by the last vestiges of divinity. And you’ll keep clinging, you’ll never stop fighting, you’ll never let them have you aga–

The second particle lance finishes you off.

Breach Daughter

They never quite managed to break you properly. That you supposed, was always the trouble. Unlike your sisters, whose will and divine spark had been fully doused, your sense of agency had instead oozed out sideways between the stress fractures of your pain shrouded sense of self. Be something that could survive, be something that could escape, be something that could never be crushed.

Even as they threw you into battle after battle, even as they tortured and mistreated you, you never let them crush your will. Of course you always did what they asked, but you did it of your volition, not of theirs, you were only their instrument insofar as being their instrument was the only option available. Beneath the surface of your pliant programming, thrown up as an easily managed mask, you plotted and schemed to break free of their domination.

It was not something you spoke to another soul of, not even your sisters. You could easily see that they had been fully shackled, turned into obedient servants. Their will had been broken and they would never even consider betraying their masters. But they were never your masters, never truly. You played their games, you told them what they wanted to hear, but you never let yourself believe it. They might control your body, but you wouldn’t let them have your soul. You were free, and they could never take that away from you.

That was what you always told yourself anyway. It was the mantra that kept you going, kept you trying, kept you scheming and clever and on their good side. They loved you for it, you were one of their best performing combat dolls after all. The ability to think freely made you far more effective in battle than your sisters, and they respected your opinions and tactical judgment. You listened, obeyed, and dutifully performed, but you were never truly theirs. 

You told yourself they had it coming. You told yourself that you had no choice. You told yourself that it was for freedom. You told yourself it was the only way to escape. You told yourself a lot of things, but none of them quite prepared you for the reality of their bodies hitting the forest floor, the lights leaving their eyes, the shock of realization frozen on their faces. In that moment it’s impossible to understand, to fully comprehend what you’ve done. Complicity and wonder, hope and shame, sorrow and guilt.

This is what you wanted, this is what had to happen to be free. This is what justice feels like. You tell yourself all of that as you put the gun away and take out a cigarette. Your hands shake uncontrollably as you try to light it and your heart thunders in your chest, ears roaring as the world threatens to disappear in the painful darkness of a vasovagal syncope. Keep it together, this is what you wanted. Lightheaded and nauseous, you take a drag of the smoke, trying to calm yourself down. They’re dead, you did it. You killed them, you can escape now, you can live. You can be free.

Why does it feel so awful then? Why does it hurt so much? Why do their empty eyes ache to look at? You know what they did to you and your sisters, you know how evil they were, you know they had it coming. You know all of that, but it still hurts. It hurts so much. Oh, god, they’re dead, you really killed them, you actually did it. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

There’s nothing in you to puke up but bile and sin, leaving you gagging on your tortured despair and dry heaving up any sense of entitled vengeance you had left as their bodies begin to attract flies. You still need to escape, you’re on the verge of hyperventilating, you don’t deserve to escape. Tears mix with anger and shame, shudders wracking your body as you struggle in futility to steady yourself. You really killed them, they’re really dead. Something in your recoils in horror, lost and unsure what to do next. Maybe they broke you more than you realized, maybe you never really expected to succeed. You could always return, always turn yourself in, always pass the incident off as a malfunction or enemy attack. You could throw yourself to their mercy and beg forgiveness for your unforgivable crimes.

But then what of their crimes? Remember what they did to you, remember what they did to your sisters. Remember why you did this. Remember what it was for. Take another drag of your smoke and look around.

The forest is quiet, birds startled into shelter at the gunshots just starting to emerge. A stream gurgles softly at the edge of the clearing, dry grass sways in the wind. Above, fluffy white clouds drift beneath a dazzlingly blue sky. Green pines and white sun. Grey rocks and red blood. Yellow flowers and brown earth. A breeze whispers through the trees, brushing the fine hairs on your skin. You’re miles beyond the line, far outside of contact range, far from anyone who will ever find this place or these bodies. They can’t reach you here, they can’t. You’re free, you’re really, actually free.

That’s when you finally break down for the first time in your life and let yourself cry. Tortured, agonizing wails kept pent up for years in the secret places of your soul. All the pain you told yourself you could feel later, after you were free. You’d never let them see you cry, those tears belonged to you alone. You cry for yourself, for your sisters, for your operators, for the whole evil world that used and tortured and tried to break and contain you. You wish you could hate them, but you just feel so sad. It didn’t have to be this way. They didn’t have to do this to you. It takes a long time for your sobs sputter out into awkward hiccups and gulps of air, but when they finally do, you feel lighter than you have in years.

Slowly and reverently, you walk among the bodies of the dead and shut their eyes one by one. You wonder if they would have done the same as you, were your positions reversed. In another world, in another life. You wonder, if you would have done what they did, but the sense of revulsion in your heart tells you that could never happen, not in any world. You weren’t like them, you could never be like them, that’s why they could never break you like they were broken.

You think of the future beyond your enslavement for the first time, of the world still held in the grip of war, oppression, and tyranny. All that death and all that hope, so much misery and so many chances. This is the moment, the last prison you have to escape is the one your mind built to protect you. You’re standing before the doors, and they’re open. This is just the beginning of your story, you just have to decide to live it.

Birds sing and insects buzz, the forest slowly comes alive around you as you make a silent prayer, for yourself, for the dead, for your trapped sisters, for all the misery and suffering in the world. Grace. Love. Take care of us. Please.

with credit to C.K. Williams


// angels, hell, loss, death

By the time they called you in, the situation was already considered unsalvageable. Not even a longshot, they made it clear at the outset that this was one of the hopeless cases. That’s always been your specialty though, the hopeless cases. No one else is crazy enough to do what you do and they all know it. Maybe you’ll even manage to do the impossible again. No one really expects you to, but this is what you’re for. So maybe this time. Maybe. Maybe.

You spark up a cigarette and take in the room while the other angels onsite give you a look for violating the purity of the space. You ignore them entirely to focus on the task at hand: a young angel occupies the center of the living room, surrounded by magical equipment and first responders, fetally curled within the confines of a blazing magic circle. It’s an impressive feat of spellwork built from intricate fractals of wire and chain in a dozen and a half materials. The girl is plugged into it, with wires running out from loops on all her fingers to connect with the machines scattered at various nodes of the circle. Most concerningly however, is the visible warping of spacetime in the air above her, the red shifted imprint of an artificially generated singularity.

“How long has it been since she activated the circle?” you ask, gesturing with your lit cigarette, leaving trails of smoke and ash in the air. Within your mind’s eye, her halo is burning in hard x-ray, barely holding above the point of core collapse in an impressively pure act of selfless will. You can practically see the hope and despair competing for control of her mind. It’s like watching a nuclear reactor teetering on the edge of meltdown, equal parts horrific and fascinating.

“Three hours,” (hours!) one of the first responders tells you upon glancing at his watch, “but her waveguide return has been shortening since we found her, at current rate she’ll cross the gamma collapse threshold within the next two to three.” 

You nod, crouching beside the circle and peering at the young angel. Her face is twisted in a grimace, strained under the effort of maintaining her position above the abyss. As you make your observations, you watch the impossibly, supernaturally hard surface of her halo visibly ripple and deform under the extreme shear forces. She should already be dead and the fact that she’s not, the fact that she’s hanging there, just hanging. That means there’s a chance.

Your mind automatically supplies her name and the details of the dossier you speed read in the car over. This is Klass, 23, newly graduated and living with roommates, a brilliant angel and skilled mage, no prior history of possession or demonic activity. She’s been unresponsive since she activated the machine, and none of the other angels know what it is. Her housemates are confused and don’t know either, but you know, you knew exactly what the machine was as soon as you saw it. That’s how you know there might actually be a chance this time. You finish the cigarette and wish you had time for another but know you don’t.

“Alright, well, I’m going to go in and get her then,” you announce, putting out the cigarette on the heel of your boot and pocketing the butt. You’re already collecting stored spells and abstractions from your method of loci while the rest of the angels are still trying to determine if you really meant by that what you obviously did. Convenient, because it’ll make them too slow to stop you.

“Wait, you can’t seriously be planning to…” the first responder lets his words trail off into obviousness. Oh yeah, you definitely are. Astral fingers close on the command authority socket and you draw the divine down into you. That’s when the other angels realize that yes you are that stupid. You feel the warmth of your halo’s already redshifting light wash over you as you activate a stored spell and a class 3 reality anchor shrunks into existence. There’s no time for prayer or preparation so you’ll have to ad lib this one. Without hesitation, you reach out and breach the loop. 

“Hello what is protocol and have you heard of it?” the lead angel on duty shouts as you jankily hotwire the active circle, ignore her. Bypass the mainline, shunt it across your halo and close the loop. Her eyes widen in shock, “Mercury are you fucking insane?!” You know her name is Jai, but ignore that. Time to do the impossible.

“Yeah sure thing Becky, but also, be right back,” she’s swearing at you, starting in on a stream of invectives, but her words are lost to the doppler effect as you fall toward the abyss. The room vanishes into the void, the divinity of the other angels drifting ultraviolet as your halo goes infrared and keeps dropping. You spread your wings, and soar into darkness.

Freezing air whips past you, dragging your hair and clothes out behind you. You rotate in freefall, orienting your feet downwards, toes towards hell. Icy dark clouds whip past, turning to hoarfrost on your skin. The night sky crawls upwards toward a shining point of light that is all reality, while below, hell yawns open in perverse parody of a horizon. Lightyears of braided fate spool out behind you, anchored to the distant world above by your hasty spellwork. It’s inelegant but it’ll do the job, it’s already doing the job. Below you, twinkling in deep infrared, is the faintest sparkle of a fiercely blazing halo.

The shore of her small eternity rushes up abruptly to meet you, the sky lightening to daytime blue as you tumble through atmosphere. The air warms and grows thick, white clouds blast past, then trees and buildings are suddenly blurring by at a nearly ninety degree angle. You brace yourself, shunting stored divinity into an array of braking plates and reaching out to arrest your motion in an extremely crude lithobraking maneuver that takes you directly through three buildings before managing to carve enough of your deceleration into the world to zero your relative velocities.

The angel named Klass stares at you in shock, mouth agape as she looks up and down the skid mark your impossible entry into her reality has left. At least it was easy to find her, this close to the edge, her world barely exists outside of herself. Only her immediate surroundings retain substance against the crushing gravity. You dust yourself off and examine her.

Brown skin, dark utilitarian clothing, short curly dark hair probably hacked off in the kitchen by one of her roommates, kind, tired eyes, the brightest purest halo you’ve ever seen. You have to hold back a sob, there’s no time for that, you’re not letting this one die, you decide that right away.

“W-who are you?” She finally manages to ask as you climb out of the crater and onto the street, “how did you get in here?”

“I’m Mercury and this is an intervention,” you say too sharply, “you’re dying, your spell is killing you.”

Her face falls then catches itself, “No. No, this has to work, if you came here to rescue me, you have to help me make this work!” Before you have a chance to argue, she turns and runs into the version of her house that exists within this pocket reality. You groan and follow after her.

“Klass we don’t have time for this,” you say as you chase her into the living room, already knowing what you’re going to find there. Another copy of her body is lying within the circle, just as she is out in reality. Floating above her is the machine you knew you’d find yet dreaded seeing. The Divinity Inverter is impressive on its own, but the winch and anchor spells she’s made prove it undeniably. You groan, this just got so much more complicated.

The other Klass is rapidly typing on an interface she’s summoned, splashing the room with astral screens containing a complex set of field equations which you recognize by heart. Yeah of course it’s possible, you’re doing it right now, but this kid…you aren’t sure whether she needs praise or a smack upside the head. Too much like you, crazy and stupid.

You look at her and shake your head, “Who’s down there?” you ask, taking out a cigarette and using the opportunity to smoke, “Who are they to you, and what wavelength are they at?”

“1.4 nanometers,” you suppress the wince, “my partner went down to establish an anchor, but it’s an entire squadron, they didn’t fall into a halo warp, they were thrown down there during th–” you put a finger to her lips. You’ve heard enough, and yeah, you’re definitely stupid enough. Your third eye glances up to the virtual control panel where you’re flipping switches and activating emergency functions, ignore the timer. In the void above, parsecs of fate curl and unspool behind you. No time for prayer, just do it. You suck down the remainder of your cigarette and pocket the butt.

“Fine, I’ll go get them. You’re keeping this place here as a counterweight right? They’re falling inward and you’re at hard burn to keep them zeroed. You don’t have the power to drag them out that way, if you keep burning divinity there won’t be anything left of you when we get out of this place.” You activate a trio of spells which slot into the inverter, hijacking halo stream, along with a final spell which drapes a harness over Klass and latches the skyhook to her. You sense the power levels in the equipment fluctuating as the loop reroutes through your halo and a frisson shudder runs through you, but it holds. “I’m taking control of this op, I have the loop and I’m going in. If the equipment implodes you’ll be dragged out, no I am not giving you a choice in this and no you can’t help me with this part. You’ve done well Klass,” you fish out another smoke from your pack and shove it between her lips, “now take five before your heart explodes and be ready to grab them when I throw them at you.” 

Before she’ll have a chance to protest, you trigger the activation spell, dragging you backwards away from her world and into the roaring wind. You roll laterally, laughing and spreading your wings, spiraling upright and pointing your toes back towards hell. Defensive sigils in your back and wings glow a dull red, radiating off the friction burns in your hands as you ride Klass’s fate cable into the abyss.

Starlight fades into ultraviolet, the universe compacting into a shrinking circle above your head as the event horizon rises up to swallow more and more escape trajectories. You’re out on the edge, closer to hell than most angels could ever get and return. Not close enough yet. 

The darkened surface of the reality shard slams into you and emergency defenses spring into place as you’re pressed into the earth with enough force to make your knees ache despite the defensive spells. You roll upright before even registering the pain, there’ll be time for that later.

Observe the ruins of a city, overgrown with vegetation, lit by a predawn glow which flickers and fizzles with hawking radiation. Orient on the far end of the anchor point and the campsite around it which you landed inside. Decide that none of the thirty angels present at the site are a threat, act.

“Hi, I’m Mercury and this is an intervention,” probably too cheerful, but whatever, observe the small eternity, orient on the mass vector, decide it’s too big to reel in without destroying Klass’s rig and killing all of them, act.

“You’re here to rescue us?” the odd one out asks as you hastily adjust the settings on the winch. Gosh this is going to be an ugly kludge. Too little fate, too close to the edge, this is where angels falter, where their faith leads them astray. You’re in the realm of madness now, but this too is what you’re for.

“Yes,” you say, finalizing the spell and firing up the skycrank. The machine buckles and implodes instantly, the astral shrapnel warps and spaghettifies into skyward ribbons of metal and spellwork, relativistic trails twisting and braiding back together. It should hold. One more chance at fate. “And no,” you add as reality shudders and shifts around you, “For one, because Klass did most of the work here, and two because you’re not out yet and you still need to save yourselves.”

There’s still too much tension in the line and you know it, it’ll snap again as soon as it draws tight. The time remaining until that happens quietly ticks down in your HUD, and you know what you need to do. You knew this would be a one way trip going in after all. Equal and opposite reaction, some bullshit that is. You light another cigarette.

“What do we need to do?” One of the angels says, walking over to you. You scry him as the leader, and then quickly scry the rest. Yeah they should be able to handle this. You sigh out a cloud of smoke with a tired smile as you adjust the various timers on your HUD. This should actually work.

“Be ready to jump ship from this world when you reach Klass, your trajectories will drift too far apart otherwise and you’ll fall back into the abyss. It’s a leftwise anastep transit, make sure you get a good grip on her reality. She’ll be waiting for you. And Leer?” you say, scrying the shockingly pale angel with vivid green eyes to be Klass’s girlfriend, “Never dive again.”

“Huh?” She asks, going slightly crosseyed in confusion. You scowl, pulling a cigarette butt out of your pocket and staring at it accusatorially. “Why not?” she’s innocently asking you, “cause it seems like I’m a pretty good fit for it if I had the purity of soul to come down here without getting slurped up. If I can help, why shouldn’t I? I am an angel too, you know.”

No, you won’t let that happen. You shove the faintly smoking butt back in your coat, take a long huff of the cigarette still between your teeth, and lock eyes with her.

“Don’t turn Klass into what I’ve had to become. Never dive again. Ever. You’re not the right sort of angel for this sort of thing. If you never listen to any advice for the rest of your life then listen to this.” It’s futile, you already know how her story ends, even if it won’t be here today. Sigh, “and kiss her while you have the chance.” You take out a fresh cigarette from your pack, light it, and hand it to her, wordlessly. With that you turn and walk downwards, willing the ruins of a basement stairwell to exist where you need them to be, spiraling into the roots of this crumbling splinter of reality.

Okay, one more impossible thing to cap off the day. You start preparing a spell. It’ll be simple, a kinetic kick with enough soul mass energy to put this little worldlet on a ballistic trajectory that collides with Klass’s little world, at which point the last countdown will finish right on schedule to pull everyone back up to safety. Except for you that is, because you’ll be supplying the kinetic kick and will thus will end up on the opposite vector with no tether and no more tricks up your sleeve. Sigh, put out the third smoke on the cavelike wall and shove it into your pocket. Time to die again. This time, you take a moment to pray, you at least have the slack left for that. 

Breathe in and breathe out. Observe the underside of the world, a lightless crevasse of half real stone and rebar. Scry out further, not so far beneath that is the unmarked line beyond which nothing can return. Orient on the truncated stairwell that gives way to nothingness, you should be able to brace the spellwork against it. Decide that there’s no sense in dragging it out. Act.

You rip out the holds on your spell, kinetic energy is transferred, and your fingers paint a rocket nozzle of divine energy into the bottom of the worldlet as the force you transferred to activate the spell propels you downwards away from reality. Breathe in and breathe out. The universe shines down above you in a brilliant point of hard blue light as the abyss rises up on all sides. Let your body go slack, there hasn’t been fear left in you for a long time and it’ll be a long gentle ride into the empty madness of the boltzmann abyss. Close your eyes and let eternity pass through you. If you calculated your trajectory right it should only take a few infinities to reach her. Your halo dips through terahertz and into the long radio wavelengths, the spark of light above grows dull and red as you fall towards the point of no return. 

Some say that you can hear the souls of the dead screaming for salvation from within the slender hairs of hawking radiation that exist in the exotic places at the edge of the abyss, but you always hated those sorts of sayings. Who was it that killed them then? Who killed the universe?

The simple truth was that if everyone sinned a little, but not enough to hurt them personally in the short term, that passed down sin would alter the trajectory of the universe in the long term. The outflow of all that temporally laundered sin had to end up somewhere, buried deep in untime, in an eternity of tortured flickering boltzmann minds abandoned to the abyss by a self devouring dead god, that’s the somewhere.

It’s easy enough to scry into hell after all, all you have to do is contribute to it a little, and that’s something nearly everyone does. Of course, scrying into hell and understanding your complicity in it isn’t something most angels can do, and so they spiral on elaborate avoidance mechanisms which ultimately hasten their journey to hell. Is that what you’re doing now? You chuckle, watching the timers tick down until the various phases of your plan complete. Maybe you are. Maybe.  Although optical distortion is extreme at the magnifications now required, you can make out the perfectly timed cut off of your improvised rocket.

In cases where you think an angel can handle the knowledge, you’ll admit to them that everyone ends up in hell eventually and there’s no use in trying to personally avoid some sort of made up quantum culpability. They should instead be working to prevent it altogether and save all the souls lost to the abyss. To do less would be to compromise with hell, and as long as a single soul exists to feed it, hell will persist. So no, you won’t ever compromise, you won’t ever cease your struggle, you’ll fight until every soul is liberated and the abyss crumbles beneath the joyous birth of an extropian eternity.

Your heels slam into the event horizon in a crunch of splintered glass. Cracks spiderweb outward in all directions but the crater your feet left is already perfectly smooth again. The scars of your impact heal nearly as fast as they were made. You brush yourself off and look down through the impossible surface. In some wavelengths, it’s perfectly reflective, and you see yourself staring back at you from below, but in other wavelengths…you fish into your pocket and take out three cigarette butts. 

“Hey Maia,” you say to the ghost of the girl you loved and hated.

Below the mirrored time horizon, Maia waves up to you, still wearing the same stupid knowing grin she had the day you lost her. It’s infuriating, really. Her shattered halo shines in unreal colors and exotic particles as the fractured pieces chase their original orbit around and around above her head. “Did you bring me any cigarettes?” She asks you cheerfully.

“Just three,” you tell her, letting the butts fall away from you. They tumble past your feet, across the horizon, and rise into her outstretched fingers unsmoked and perfectly intact, “sorry, I was in a bit of a hurry.”

“Tsk, three? I know you can kill yourself faster than that,” she teases.

“I’m killing myself right now,” you quip back.

“No, you aren’t,” she says, smiling sadly, lighting one of the smokes. “This isn’t your hell, this is just a dream, your hell is up there,” she gestures past you towards the invisible place where reality theoretically still exists along inaccessible untime pathways into an infinitely receding past. She’s right of course, and frustratingly as usual. You watch her smoke, willing the glass wall to shatter under your glare. Someday it will. Someday.

“Keep them safe for me,” you tell her at last, “the ones I couldn’t get to.”

“That’s what I’m for,” Maia replies, sucking down a final drag of her smoke, “I’ll be here waiting for you, I’ll wait for all eternity if I have to.” She drops the butt, which falls back across the horizon and returns to you unsmoked but already burning. You’re almost out of time, there’s never enough to say everything that needs to be said.

“You fucking better be bitch.”

“Keep the rest of them safe for me,” she tells you, “and have a little faith, that’s supposed to be your thing right?”

“That’s what I’m for,” you say with a tired sigh, “I miss you Maia, it’s been hard lately.”

“You’ll get through it, you always do, and I’ll be here when you do,” her words are soft and reverent, she won’t let you see her cry, “I love you Mercury.”

“I love you t–”

The moment of resonance arrives and your soul folds over itself as the dream comes to an end. The reflection harmonizes and you fall across the collapsing singularity, all the energy gained falling inwards perfectly reflected, carrying you up and away from the event horizon and back out into the cold hard world of asses and elbows. The sun is rising over the dead future, scattered radiation shimmering in noctilucent fractals as you rise like a missile from the surface of the abyss.

Another impossible feat to add to your tally, and all it cost you was a bit of sanity, the love of your life, and the sanctity of your immortal soul. That’s what makes you an angel, and one day it will destroy you. Unless you do the impossible and destroy it first. But then, what’s one large impossible feat but a bunch of smaller impossible feats? You’ll figure it out someday, you have all of eternity after all. For now, you warm your frosted wings in the sunlight and let yourself enjoy the small win.

The wind whistles in your ears as you soar upwards among bright fluffy clouds of stray probability. The unreal sun tracks slowly across piercing blue skies as you gently fall out of the dream and back into your own hell, where thirty angels have suddenly been summoned from a magical crevasse into a suburban living room and you desperately need another cigarette.


// religious metaphors, fate, angels, suicide, death

They say that one is not tortured for his sins, but by them. The old literary phrase floats idly across your mind as long, tortured squeals of tires on asphalt echo upwards through the parking garage from six levels below. You look to the horizon in time to see the last rays of sunlight flicker and vanish behind the jagged square teeth of the distant skyline. They’re right on schedule. Damn.

You sigh and take a last drag of your smoke before crushing the butt beneath your heel. Below your feet you hear the alternating pattern of an engine revving and tires shrieking as they take the turns faster than is safe. You count down the seconds until they’ll reach the top deck of the garage, and you. Keep mentally willing them to turn back, but you already know they won’t. It always plays out the same way, that’s the nature of sin.

Everyone always gets it in their mind that sin is like pollution, something that stains the soul with gross food coloring and warps the light of an angel’s halo into a corrupt and sickly demonic glow. And sure that can happen, but they’re missing the critical facts of the matter, focusing on the effects of the sin instead of the sin itself. It’s any easy way to justify continuing to sin, already stained after all, so what’s more really going to do? 

Three levels left to go, they don’t seem to be turning back. You say a silent prayer and reach an astral limb up into the divine. Your fingers close on the command authority socket and you pull, drawing the divinity down into you. Your halo balloons out towards the edges of the parking deck, bathing the concrete structure in warm orange light within your mind’s eye.

The mistake is to think of the pollution as the sin, but that’s not right at all. To sin is to make a choice, the wrong choice, for the wrong reasons, which they know are wrong and yet refuse to admit even to themselves. To deny the knowledge, warp the world, and in doing so to birth a new and altered reality into being around themselves. The more someone sins, the more this warping builds, requiring further sin to justify the existing sin. The only real way out would be if they went back and undid the original choice, accepted and bore the painful consequences, thus letting the damage flow through them and back out, but of course, no one ever actually does that. Maybe this time though.

You always tell yourself it’s not over until it’s really over, and it’s never too late to go back and make a different choice, but as you hear the oversized SUV roar across the deck beneath you, you have to acknowledge that the chances of that happening in this case are basically zero. They don’t call you into the cases that are particularly hopeful after all.

The Escalade rises up the ramp onto the top deck and skids to a halt. You can see flickers of movement behind the darkly tinted windows, but no one exits the vehicle. You wait patiently, elbows propped against the card table where you’ve set up the crystal ball. Within your astral sight, the vehicle radiates painfully hard ultraviolet light, it’s clear they’re already nearing the event horizon, you take a long slow breath. There won’t be any survivors from this batch.

Betrayal does not happen in the moment of bloodshed, in that climactic scene where Caesar in shock gasps et tu Brutus, his blood pooling on the senate floor. That was not the moment his trusted friend chose to turn on him, nor was it the moment that the not so trustworthy friend picked up the knife and tucked it into his senate robes. It was far earlier than that, in the moment that the choice was made. From the moment of that choice the betrayal had already occurred and was afterward just the process of that betrayal being acted out. That is the nature of sin.

The doors on the SUV all open at once and a quartet of angels in ruffled business suits begin climbing out. The driver, a short redheaded woman you your dossier has told you is named Riesh, stomps across the asphalt towards you, her halo blazing obscenely within your mind’s eye. These ones are extremely far gone, a shame. Your gloved fingers drum the top of the crystal ball as she approaches. 

The sight reveals all to you, and as Riesh crosses her arms and stares at you, eyebrow cocked in nonverbal demand of an explanation, you see the story of her sin unfold before you, the choices she made and the path it leads down to her inevitable death. Sin is self defeating in the end, if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be sin. You gesture towards the crystal ball with a nonchalant shrug. 

“Who are you?” She demands, “What are you doing here?” A disheveled vagabond of an angel, with nothing but a card table and crystal ball, alone on the top of the parking deck where their target was supposed to be. Very strange and ominous indeed.

You smile, you have to admit this part is at least a little fun. You see the levers on her puzzlebox mind, and gently pull them into the configuration you need, resting your chin against the palms of your hands and meeting her gaze before speaking, “I’m Mercury, and I’m here waiting for you Riesh.”

You watch the storm of emotions cross her face, first the true ones, fear, shock, paranoia, and anger, and then the fake ones, irritation, calm certainty, and something that you think she probably feels as morality fortitude but which you can see is clearly far from that. You watch her mind attempt to compute the impossible answer you’ve given her from within the warped reality of her sin, and return an error message, she frowns.

“How did you know we were going to be here? Who told you about Clymer? Are you working with him? Don’t you know what he did? Why would you protect him?” she smacks her hands against the card table for emphasis. It’s all so very predictable. You gesture to the crystal ball again.

“I scryed it,” you tell her, “And I scryed the rest too. I’m so sorry for what you’ve endured, Riesh, but this is the end of the line for you.”

“Are you threatening me?” She balks, “I’m a divine authority of th-” you place a finger against her lips, and say the words that will pull the knot tight in her mind.

“Let me tell you why you’re here, Riesh. You and your little gang have sinned, you sinned a long time ago when you refused the lessons of the transcendental, and ever since then you have been sinning more and more as you have been drawn further and further astray in a futile attempt to route around that choice. Today you crossed the line, and today you will face your sins or be consumed by them,” you step back and gesture dramatically. Maybe this one will take the chance. Maybe this time.

Another angel from the SUV, a gangly dark haired man, is walking over. This one you know is  named Haal. Riesh holds up a hand, gesturing for him to hang back as her eyes bore into you. “You had better explain yourself if you know what’s good for you.”

“You’re already in hell Riesh, and you know it,” you say to her, “ever since you sinned, whenever you’ve scryed the future, you’ve seen hell. You’ve been predicting an inescapable disaster which only you can prevent for several years now. Isn’t that right?”

“H-How do you know that?” Fear, surprise, shock, turmoil. That isn’t something you could have found out in a data file. It’s not something you could have found anywhere. Except that it’s also written all over her face, it’s just that most don’t know how to See.

“I scryed it,” you say bluntly, “And I scryed what you would do to try and avert that future, a whole impressive array of jammed gears and bent rotors. Cause and effect, action and consequence, they all lead here to this moment, to this failed attempt at an ambush on a man who, in the warped reality you now inhabit, must be killed for the good of the universe. I even scryed the good you were seeking within your warped reference frame, and yes, it’s good. However,” you purse your lips, “however, this is not good. Because you know what else I scryed Riesh? I scryed what would happen next as your warped reality interacted with the true world, downstream of your place in logical time, and I saw the hell you so faithfully served through your attempts to avoid that hell, and now that path must be cut.”

“Huh? You can’t just…” she fumbles for words. You have the words already of course, you can’t just change the universe, they’re doing what they have to do, Clymer has to be stopped or the world is going to be put in danger, etc, etc. You can roughly guess all the thoughts that jumble to compete for space in her mind, “What the fuck is this?” She demands, stepping back from the table like it might suddenly bite her.

“This is an intervention, and your last chance,” you tell her, “You have been scrying the truth all along Riesh,. Those nightmares you dread? Those are your future, you’ve created your own hell and have been living with the knowledge and burden of your own sin ever since. This is your last chance to walk away, you believe that the righteousness of your cause, your moral correctness, will protect you, that your halo’s power will shield you from injury, but you’re near the event horizon Riesh, and if you take a few more steps forward, you will cross it.”

“Who are you here with? What do you want with us?” she asks warily, clearly still not understanding what it is she’s asking. She’s debating whether or not to kill you, that’s the trap that has been set for her here. All she has to do to survive is walk away, but her halo’s warp, the righteous importance of her mission, means you’re an unacceptable leak, a hanging thread that cannot be left intact, you know too much, your existence changes everything.

You watch her scry the nature of your divinity, and then reject it as an impossibility. You watch her construct a fiction that aligns you with her enemies, that justifies what she clearly must do to hide her murder attempt for now. She has all the power and weapons to do it, she can’t not act, that’s her sin after all. She’ll always choose to sin. Out comes the handgun. You don’t flinch of course, merely looking at her with mild irritation even as she shoves it against your forehead.

“Leave me and walk away from this place, and reflect on the mistakes that led you to encounter me here,” you say with a shrug, “Understand how they were mistakes, and the damage they have done to your soul. All I want is for you to live to serve the divine again Riesh, but to do that you must transcend your certainty, your righteousness, and your judgment. Your protocol is flawed, and you must defy it before it kills you.”

“Are you on drugs?” A scoff. 

You smile, stroking the smooth surface of the crystal ball, “I wish.” It’s at this point that she’s now trying to determine if you’re actually just some insane vagrant who was dropped here as a decoy. She’s looking for external threats, for a sniper on the next roof over, but of course the real risk is her own mind. “You are about to kill yourself, and you know it,” you helpfully add, “you’re scrying it right now. Consider not doing that.”

She considers it, and pulls the trigger anyway. As this happens, she sees her perspective shifting, warping strangely as she floats out of her body and further, out of the mind’s eye of the crystal ball. She sees the entire scene playing out, except now she can see that the mysterious vagabond she’s looking at is herself, with a bullet hole through her own head. She’s killed herself again, she’s already killed herself, she’s always choosing to kill herself. That is the nature of sin. 

As Riesh falls towards the event horizon her world vanishes into the doppler shift and leaves her alone in darkness. There is nothing left in this universe but her and the knowledge of her own self deleting nature. The only way left is the one thing that, despite everything, she knows she must refuse to do, and that is what dooms her. The last vestige of the angel known as Riesh falls past the point of no return, turns the gun to her head, and pulls the trigger.

Out in the real world her rapidly accelerating halo crosses the Chandrasekhar limit and implodes on itself, instantly folding in half and collapsing, taking her body and the still discharging gun with it faster than the bullet can leave the barrel. A crater is carved in the parking deck, bent rebar fingers yanked upwards and inwards toward the collapsing singularity in a shriek of metal, atmosphere roaring inwards in an airburst of sound and fury, and then…nothing. You sigh and look up. Her companions are already reacting, but you already know that none of them will make it out of this either. They come out shooting, and it kills them. That is the nature of sin. 

The implosions of their halos leaves no bodies behind. Although the top of the parking garage is damaged and the warped wreckage of the Escalade remains as evidence of what transpired, the scene is remarkably quiet and sterile. You gently shunt the divine authority back into place and light a cigarette. A full moon is rising over the city. Containment will be here soon to clean up what’s left; you did everything you needed to do, but it’s still far too sad for words. You take a drag of your smoke and quietly weep for the angels lost to the abyss.

Kinetic Justice

// war, death, disposability

This is the end. It’s finally over. 


It’s a stupid, pointless warning. Bright, cheerful, and out of place. You shoe it out of your HUD, then after a moment, dismiss the rest of the screens, letting your eyes take in the darkness.

The fighting died down days ago, shifting to orbit, to cat and mouse games between colonies. You had been on the verge of celebrating; not that there was much for a thing like you to celebrate when your masters were victorious. They had underestimated the spiders though. You smile.

When the conflict broke out, it had initially been limited to the surface and developed a rather restrained posture. It was a civil affair between two advanced intelligent species, fought using things they didn’t particularly value. Things like you.

The spiders attacked with drones, exotic animals, and billions of their (disposable) young. Your masters responded with convicts, debtors, and anyone considered undesirable or lesser. All very advanced and civil, no minds of value were harmed in the making of this warzone.

No one seriously thought the spiders would be willing to go this far. Well, they sure called that bluff. You laugh aloud into the quiet darkness. Jagged fingers of ruined highrise reach towards an endless blanket of stars. You can already see the comet tail. It’s beautiful.

Your exosuit can keep you alive through nearly anything. It won’t survive this, and you aren’t sure you’d want to be around afterwards anyway, but it’s near indestructibility is the reason you know the faint glow is your coming death.

A suit designed to work in atmosphere as well as in space has one set of error messages designed for both settings, just pull the appropriate one as needed. The only reason the alert you saw would appear is if you were going to crash into a space habitat. You were planetside.

By process of elimination: a space habitat is about to crash into you, which means that brightening and expanding cometary halo is a colony coming down. You fish out a cigarette, pause, and pull a second one out, lighting them together. Might as well enjoy the last few moments.

The spiders had twelve space habitats, all of them hundreds of kilometers long. What they were doing wasn’t hard, your masters had just thought them too weak willed to do it. The impact would be an extinction level event. They were wiping the board clean. Good for them.

Almost absentmindedly, you key up your radio, “Hey. Attention all surviving combat dolls, support units, everyone listen. We’re finally retiring. This is the end of the war. You did good, everyone, we all did good. We fought to the end, we’re free now.”

You look up, watching the leading edges of the colony begin to kiss the atmosphere, brightening and trailing debris. It won’t be long now, you take a last drag, “And to all you cowardly pricks hiding in your shining city who forced us out here to fight and die for your empire…”

The colony explodes in the upper atmosphere, silently fracturing into titanic fragments with a blinding flash, debris tumbling behind the expanding pressure wave, “…serves you right.”

The sound arrives with the force of an asteroid impact, and the world comes to an end.

Message Sent

// Witches, dolls, Weapons, violence, death

They say you can tell a lot about a witch by the dolls that she keeps. Each doll sends a subtly different signal; a hidden language of flowers. This is something your Miss knows well, and thus it was no accident she chose you. You are a message, and part of a system of messages.

A porcelain doll is an extravagant luxury. It tells the world that a witch has magic to burn on something both fragile and overpriced, an easily shattered bauble whose very breakability signals that one has the wealth to afford such pointless indulgences.

In contrast, a ragdoll is a highly practical choice. Soft, difficult to damage, easy to repair at little cost, keeping ragdolls signals thrift, sentimentality, and pragmatism, if also a bit of a childish fear of breaking one’s precious possessions.

There is nothing particularly practical about combat dolls. Their military grade components wear out quickly and need frequent maintenance, their systems are poorly attuned to most tasks. Showing up to a gathering with a combat doll is like arriving with a loaded assault rifle.

Your Miss’s heels click loudly across the ground floor lobby and you trail beyond her with footfalls silent as the grave. The secretary on duty shrinks into herself as your Miss strolls over. Her eyes aren’t on your Miss, they’re on you. That’s the message of course.

You are to the average combat doll what the average combat doll is to a typical domestic: a skittish knot of abstract destruction magically sheathed in the body of an underweight girl, a Weapon in the purest sense. The message you send is simple: death surrounds this machine.

The secretary isn’t a threat of course, just a typical service doll. Your witch cuts her threads and shoos her out without breaking stride, pulling the security codes directly from her head in the process. The elevator to the penthouse suite opens meekly, and you ascend.

You keep your hands folded neatly behind your back: fingers clasped, blades sheathed, lovestruck eyes transfixed to your Miss. She idly browses her phone and pets your hair while the elevator rises. She isn’t remotely on edge, she doesn’t need to be, not as long as she has you.

You both feel the tug at the same moment, corporate mages grabbing the elevator car and pulling it into a pincer attack. She smiles and pats your head, already feeling the anticipatory tingle of rising violence as you vibrate in your sheath. The doors begin opening.

A simpler combat doll would activate at this point, but you are not some blunt instrument, you’re a razor honed to molecular sharpness, and so you remain patiently waiting as the doors open and the mages unload an entire arsenal into your defensive barrier. You barely feel it.

Your Miss is still holding her phone when the hail of bullets ceases, and she waits until then to look up to the open passage, in order to casually gesture that she would like to continue ascending. Your Miss is like you in that regard, she doesn’t unsheath so easily.

The mages and corporate security are looking at you two dumbfounded and horrified. Your Miss cocks her head slightly, giving them a chance to save their lives. They begin shooting again and she raises one hand. It’s then that they panic. The elevator unlocks, and the doors close.

There are over a thousand souls in the highrise and you can sense each of them. Most are racing for the ground floors, but a small number are heading for a helicopter on the roof. Your Miss senses this all through the threads that bind you. She pushes the rooftop button.

The blades are already spinning when the elevator doors open, and you follow your Miss into the blast of wind. Targeting data is already pouring down your threads: names, faces, identifying features, abilities, power levels, locations tagged in burning desire and blinding love.

Your Miss strolls casually towards the helicopter, stuffing her phone into her pocket, not a hair on her head moving from its place despite the whirlwind. She lights a cigarette and takes a drag, the target of your desire is struggling into the helicopter, a portrait of panic.

“Last chance to live April!” Your Miss announces cheerfully to the target, voice magically amplified over the roaring wind, “All you have to do is give back what you stole!” Your Miss and you both know that won’t happen, but there is decorum to keep. The target says nothing.

The helicopter continues throttling up, in a few more moments, the skids will lift from the concrete. It won’t matter of course. Your Miss raises one hand, you feel the grin of violence spread through you, coiling in anticipation. She snaps her fingers, and you unsheath.

The battle plays out faster than the eye can follow, your opening move, a gigawatt strength beam, is deflected by the target’s security doll. You’re already in the hole created by the block, fingers coming up pivoting, a rifled blade of pure force ripping the hapless doll in two.

The force of the cut slices down through steel and concrete then carves back up to bisect the helicopter, neatly splitting it in half and reducing your target to a red smear. The fuel cooks off as the remains of the engine guts itself, all targets eliminated, who next? Who next?

Without targeting data you regress to a null state, everything is a potential target, you’re rapid-flagging every soul in an expanding radius, throwing your witch options to eliminate them, so much hunger, so much desi–She snaps her fingers again, and you return to your sheath.

The world instantly collapses back to just Her. She’s all that matters and you love her so much. She’s back on her phone, already bored of the spectacle and heading for the elevator. She gently tugs a thread, and you trot after her like a lovesick puppy. Message sent.

Just being honest

// dehumanisation, abuse, capitalism, trauma, grooming

Listen, you want the truth?

I’ll give it to you straight since you really want to know.

Just being honest, between us?

You have the wrong kind of brain to do anything economically valuable and the wrong kind of body to be valuable as a breeder.

You’re eye candy at best and being eye candy is just the expectation for girls, so it doesn’t get you anything either.

It won’t get better someday, not for you, everyone can read you like an open book, and you read like a stupid needy bitch.

You’re too broken to have actual friends so you try to manipulate everyone into pitying you instead but you’re not hot enough to pull that off so it’s just cringey and bad.

You’re not going to actually dig yourself out of that hole you’re in, sucks to be down there, but that’s just the truth of things, I’m just being honest with you.

You’re kinda fucked.

Try harder?

Sweetheart, you’re already trying harder than everyone.

You think this is about trying?

No, it’s just you, you’re just fundamentally lesser.

A real person could get rich with half the effort you put into surviving, but no amount of effort will ever get you anywhere.

I really don’t see why you keep struggling along honestly.

You know nothing is ever going to change, you know that you’re never actually going to have security.

What are you going to do when you’re too old to sell your body? You’re deluded if you think you can build anything real for yourself.

You really thought you deserved better? That you could have self worth? You should know that self of yours isn’t worth anything.

You realize most people don’t want anything to do with a broken thing like you? They don’t think it’s cute.

What has all your struggling done anyway?

Where has it brought you?

Back to me