Thursday, January 26, 2012


No One Shall Ever Know
By Richard Paul / Peculiar Richard

‘Hear me, rebellious denizens of Ceren; many times have I offered you the chance to surrender. Many times have I tolerated your audacity and invited your world to live under my divine rule and protection. Your incessant defiance however has brought you beyond any hope of forgiveness. My patience is exhausted and you have proved yourselves undeserving of my mercy. Today your treacherous world shall be reduced to ashes. All that you are, and have ever been, shall be removed from the face of existence.’

The voice seemed to come from the clouds. More mechanical trickery from the so-called ‘Allmaster’ no doubt.

For a long time after his speech, nothing seemed to happen. Knara sat cross legged upon the tall hills outside of the town, the same as she had done a hundred times before. She watched the spires and shining white roofs of her home standing as stoic as ever. The town shined with all its beauty, as if daring the Beasts above to defile it.

It was of course deserted now. Everyone had fled to the woods or mountains, trying to seek out hidden spots of natural seclusion upon which the enemy might choose not to fire. Her family had fled too; they had not, it seemed, made much effort to find her when she ran up to the hills at night.

She tried to picture Jykin sat beside her, their hands clasped together, staring out over the green and orange landscape, content of its unshakable constancy. If she looked for him now she would find only air, grass and trees. With her eyes pinned forward though, he was there. Just out of sight but there all the same. They had both spent so much time up here, how else could it possibly end?

The first shots tore through the sky, leaving black trails in their wake. A bright red flash and a furious howl of destruction sent Knara hurtling forward, her hands pressed against her ears and her eyes shut tightly. She screamed at the sudden chaos, trying to force it away.

The first impact had reduced the cathedral and the nearby houses to dust. The next had impacted on a hospital near Toraqk avenue. Each torturous blast took away another piece of Knara’s home. Still she lay on the floor and screamed; it was the only thing left to do.

They could have wiped out the planet with one shot but instead chose to pick it apart building by building, stone by stone, giving the insolent population time enough to witness the result of their defiance before the end.

People screamed all over Ceren, casting forth their terror and outrage, willing all the darkness to disappear under the sheer weight of their fury. But that had never been enough to save them before and now, on the final day of the war, it served only as their dying breath.

The epitaph of Ceren was thousands of screams, drowned out by the sounds of Ragnarok, dissolved into the air of a murdered world. No one would speak of it again, and no one would remember it.

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When not scurrying about in the dust at his workplace, or procrastinating in some form or other, Richard partakes in writing, game reviewing and more recently producing dramatic readings of short stories.

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