Hidden Behind Light
Nikolas Scott dragged his load along, hefting it up over his shoulder. It was incredibly heavy, and it was already taking quite some effort to breathe by the time he got to the park. He was only halfway there and already he was exhausted. How was that fair?
Some people gave him weird looks as he continued along, but they took one glance at his face and went along on their way. No doubt his reputation had reached this town, just as it had in every other place he’d been in. The people would leave him alone.
In the last few years, a string of murders had been appearing all across the country. Murders were not uncommon in themselves, it was a cruel world afterall, but something about these were different. They were much more frequent, in smaller, localized areas, for one thing. And even besides that, there was something that was just...off about them. The local police were always unable to find any evidence connecting the killings back to anyone.
And then Nikolas would arrive in town. During his first few ventures, no one would pay him any mind. Now that his reputation was growing, it was more difficult to go along unnoticed. It was annoying, but thus far it hadn’t impeded his work.
A month, a week, maybe even a few days after Nikolas would show up in a town, the killings would stop. A few days later, the authorities would find a body dumped in the woods or in a dumpster. A signature N-shaped slash would be carved through the chest, along with every single piece of information that Nikolas had been able to find that tied the killer back to the murders.
The people would no doubt be amazed and relieved. They hailed him as a hero. Some had even devoted a religion to him. The local authorities would sigh and shake their heads. “What can we do?” they’d ask. “He’s a genius investigator. We wouldn’t have figured it out anyways. Who cares? Makes our jobs easier.”
And so it had gone for the last two years, as Nikolas jumped from town to town, slowly becoming a hero of the people.
He finally made it to the bridge. With a groan, he hoisted the load up and over the barrier and watched it sail into the coursing river below. They would find her in a few days, along with all of the evidence. By then, Nikolas would be in a new town, with new people to save.
No one had been able to tie the murders back to him yet. No one thought he was involved in an even closer way. And why would they? He was a genius, and more careful than any killer that had come before him. Who would see him as a villain when he was hailed as a hero?
Who would view him in darkness when he was hidden behind light?
Writing Prompt Wednesday #93
Write a story that weaves together multiple lives through their connection to a particular tree. https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/general/write-a-story-that-weaves-together-multiple-lives-/
I've seen many things since the time of my planting.
I've seen good men die, I've seen boys and girls grow up. I've witnessed marriages, and funerals, and celebrations of life alike. I've seen these creatures that are called "human" or "people" hold hands and celebrate. I've seen them shoot each other down with their guns, all in the name of peace. I've seen them create, and destroy.
The first human I ever met was an older man. I know him only by what his saplings called him, "Pop-pop". So that's what I came to know him as.
Pop-pop was the man who planted me. Sprung from a tiny little acorn found in his son's property. I heard the story that he'd tell his saplings as they ate and drank beneath my branches.
"Well I was walking around ol' Jamie's land and that's when I saw it," he's say in that voice of his. It sounded like the shutters on the house knocking against the walls when the wind ruffled my leaves. "It was this little acorn, underneath one of the most magnificent oak trees I'd ever seen in my life. Well I thought to myself, 'I can't let such a beautiful sprout get eaten by the squirrels, now can I?'
"So, I bunded him up and took him home and planted him in my backyard. I wasn't sure if he'd take, but here he is. And isn't he beautiful? Prettiest sapling I've ever seen in my life." Whenever Pop-pop would reach that part of the story, he'd reach out and pat my branches with a look of what I now know is love in his eyes. This was back when I was a young sprout, when I didn't know what the world had to offer. Things were nice then.
"It's a shame," Pop-pop would always finish. "That I won't get to see him grow into a full oak."
I never knew what he meant when he said that. Afterall, I was just a sapling. I didn't know about the humans; how much shorter their lives were than us trees. The trees don't die; not unless the earth decides our time is up. But these people, they weren't built to grow and stand tall for forever. They were built to love and to create and to destroy, and their bodies soon expire.
Halo and Horns
She wore a halo.
Her eyes were golden like the sun. When she smiled at me, the light would light up her entire face. This divine, ethereal blush that made her shine. She was radiant, and beautiful, and light. Everything that someone should be. Everything that is beautiful.
Before we met, she would go to picnics in the park. She would sit with her group of friends at lunch, all just as perfect and beautiful as she was. The light she had about her was one of someone who never knew pain, or heartbreak, or darkness. Her life was filled with light. She could do any sport that she wished. She volunteered at her church every other day. And she was happy.
And then I came along.
I...I didn’t have a halo. Maybe I had one once. But it was so long ago that I was happy and light and carefree, and by that point my halo had cracked into evil, snarled horns.
She came into my life.
She pitied me.
She gave me attention in the way that only someone as light and beautiful as her could show to someone as dark as me. She sat at my table at lunch. She sat on my bed in my home that had torn me apart. She sat on the phone with me everyday, trying to shine some light on my world.
She tried so hard to put me back together.
It doesn’t exactly work that way.
People like me, we can’t exactly be put back together. Once a halo becomes horns, and the angel’s wings are torn away, you can’t bring that light back.
But oh, she was so hopeful. I could see it everyday. I knew that she didn’t love me. How could she? She was angelic and beautiful and radiant in the way that I never could be. She didn’t love me, she loved what she saw in me. What she thought I could become with her help. What she wanted me to be.
Stupid fucking white knight complex.
I don’t know when she realized that it wouldn’t work. That her efforts had been in vain. That I was far, far too broken to be stitched together. Whenever she realized it, though, it was already too late.
I’m still not sure what it was that kept her there. It couldn’t have been love, at least not love for me. Possibly love for who she thought I was. Maybe it was because she was lost, after having spent so long trying to repair me, that she wasn’t quite sure what she’d do without it. Maybe she was starting to break even then.
Whatever the reason, she stayed, and I watched her halo crumble. I tried to get her to leave, I really did, but she didn’t budge. Angels were always too stubborn for their own good.
She fell apart. Her light dimmed. It started in her body, slowly moving inward, until it faded from even her eyes. No longer golden, they stayed a dull, lifeless gray. Then her wings started to moult, more and more feathers falling off every day. Her halo cracked and twisted and whirled until she wore horns like me.
I dragged her down with me. I didn’t want to, but that’s how devils are made. She fell from light, and now her halo is gone. She wears horns like me.
Writing Prompt Wednesday #92
Write about bugs. -Julia Smith
A whole world looking down
At a few small workers
Insects and arachnids
You all disgust me
Alone each one so weak
Can you not see
Striving to achieve a dream
That will never be fulfilled
Do you know who you are
Tiny pens and small guitars
Fighting for recognition
Why don’t you stand together
The might of a swarm
Is mightier than all
If you stood together
You would not fall
Not to them
So trapped in your own pathetic lives
You do not even realize
You are being destroyed
Writing Prompt Wednesday #91
Write a poem where the last word of the first line begins with the first letter of your name, and the last word of the second line begins with the second letter of your name until you have spelled out your first and/or your last name https://www.agodon.com/uploads/2/9/4/3/2943768/writing_prompts_by_kelli_russell_agodon.pdf
A place to create and build worlds
A home for all that is good and right
It is more than a blog it is
A place where you’re tethered
A place you can go every time
Something feels scary or rough
Open your doors and let me in
Don’t worry, I’ll be here always
Showing you care and love