//disclaimer: I wrote about it a bit earlier, but decided to delete the post because there wasn’t much more than some WIP lines and felt redundant after writing this post.
Although I took a break from writing in May, I did do a lot of worldbuilding, and revised some of my earlier mentioned drafts. With the great advice of my critique partners I finished the manuscript for “From Ashes to Ashes”. This piece of flash fiction started out as a kind of vengeful and angry piece called “Wildfire”. Here’s what it used to be:
Cast upon kindling, they watched as flames’ hungrily lapped at my flesh. Hatred flared in the reflection of my eyes as I leered back passed the dancing fires, and as the flames fed off by seething, their laughter turned to fright. They’d been mistaken. A heart that burned with centuries old grudges cannot be killed with fire. Instead, it surfaced, and readily combustible in its broiling, the flames growing, consumed me. It took me in and we melted into one, birthing a wildfire only dousable by their tears.
I liked the concept but there was still a lot left to be done about the draft. Thankfully I’m easily inspired. The person burned at the stake turned into a hellhound first, then a Church Grim. The story gained a setting, and one month later that setting has grown from just some random place with a church, to a continent separated from Salandrine’s continent (Atlenora). The continent has its own history, of how the people survived the coming of magic and how they developed afterwards.
I named the MC Ashe, she got a cute girlfriend (of which their first meeting is the short story Tempted), and soon she grew a part of a larger story about a sinister cult, the coming of a second apocalypse in the resurrection of that cult’s goddess, and the thin line between monster and deity. I’m still working on an outline and characters keep on inserting themselves in this story, but then again, this story won’t be written until after Salandrine (and possibly some other novels) have been written to completion.
The flash fic will be part of a short story collection with other dark fantasy and horror fics, so you’ll be able to read it. Until then, here’s the first few paragraphs to get a taste of the story.
Samael secured my ropes one last time. The knots bit into my skin, binding me to the stake, with my feet buried underneath timber.
I could smell the self-righteousness wafting off the man; like ashen smoke, a cologne based with holy water he thought to cleanse himself with, but there was no masking the scent of fear. His nervous scratching. The grimace lining his clean shaven but sweaty face. The whole area reeked of him, from the collapsing cathedral behind me to the surrounding grassy wasteland it was supposed to protect and save.
His eyes bore into mine. I was used to violence, to aggression, but I’d never felt a hatred as tangible as his. As if beholden with magic, his leering grated my skin, his grimace biting into my soul, his intentions burning, as if wanting to light me up from the inside, until I’d explode.
But he knew not what he were doing. That he only woke a deeper, primal part of me. One that wanted to tear his throat out.
I lifted my chin and bared my teeth. “You’re starting more than you’re finishing.”
So as you can see “From Ashes to Ashes” is a part of a larger group of stories. As more of them near a completed state, I’ll share more excerpts, deleted scenes, and worldbuilding details.