Saturday, October 20, 2012

Flash Fiction Nightmare Fuel: War Games

For G+ in the month of October there have been some prompts for Nightmare Fuel. The picture for today and a song by Woodkid ended up with this story. It's a little gory, more along the lines of a horror story, so I'm putting the story beyond the jump. Enjoy! 

Prompt picture

“Do you remember when war was just a game?” he asked me. My brother’s voice was low, smooth.

I whimpered. I was bound fast to a chair. I felt points of pain along every part of my body. Nothing made sense. Where was I? I couldn't see much. It was dark, I was in a circle of light. I was bound fast to a chair by thin wire, wrapped tightly around my arms. Blood lined the wires, they were sharp enough to cut skin. Seeing my blood made me realize how badly my body was hurting. It wasn’t a sore pain, it was a sharp stabbing pain all over. I was sitting on a chair made up of what I could only assume was knives or nails digging into various parts of my body. My mind was sluggish. It didn’t register yet how badly the pain was or exactly where the pain came from. I looked up to my brother, my brain slowly churning out the realization of where I was.

My brother laughed and lowered himself silkily to my level and asked again. “Do you remember, dear brother?” His breath smelled. Rotten. Blood trickled from his lips. My blood. How did I know that?

I dared not speak. I moaned softly.

His head craned to the side. Too far. It moved too far. His head moved a little past his shoulder in a motion that should have been impossible. He was unnatural now. Bile rose to my throat and I pushed away from him. My feet pushed against the pins under my feet and my back pressed against the knives on the chair. I felt skin resist, then give to the sharp edges.

I stopped moving. Blood dripped. He laughed. He was enjoying this.

I heard myself scream and I tried to move on instinct. Twisting made the knives built into the sides of the chair bit into me. I was beginning to understand. Only a day before we had been brothers, fighting over a girl in a war that brothers play. Our father had given us armies. We had made our sacrifices. I had beaten my virgin and thrown her into the sea and that had been the end of my tortures. I thought the Gods had been pleased by a clean but brutal death.

War had been just a game.

I had lost.

I was in the chair of torture. I recognized it suddenly and was sickened. If my bladder had not already been emptied for the ritual, I would have done so then. Knives, pins and nails bit my skin. They would draw blood as slowly as possible. My body would be filled with poisons to slow death. It would take hours if not days for me to die. But why? What had I done to deserve such punishment? I looked out, past the basin over which my chair was held, in which my blood would be spilled. My brother had already drank my blood, I knew it was mine. I don’t know how.

My brother smirked at me as he saw realization come over my face. “War is just a game, dear brother. Do you remember?” He was standing lightly on a wood bar that spanned the basin, allowing him access to the chair I was on. Beyond the silver basin it was dark. By the echos we were in a temple. He bowed. His joints doubled back upon themselves, folding as no man’s joints should move. What had he done for such inhumanity?

“Father!” I called out, making a guess. “What have I done to raise such ire? I am your firstborn, yet you...”

My brother cut off any words by whipping me across the chest. The whip was tipped with thin blades. They cut my skin deeply. Crimson spread down my chest and my body tensed with the pain, digging the nails and blades into my body from the chair. I could do little but scream in agony.

I don’t know how long the torture lasted.

I have seen it done before. Our Gods demand pain for power. My father had done unspeakable things during war for power. My brother did to me things my father did to slaves and virgins. Father would have done these things and the Gods would give him a blessing of power. My father always called it a game. The more pain, the more blessings. He was very good at what he did. My brother did the same things, but upon his own brother? Why? As the punishment continued, these questions fled my mind.

I don’t know why I was alive or conscious through any of the tortures. Drugs? I prayed at first, but they did not last long. If the Gods cared about me, they would have stopped my brother when he broke my fingers and toes. I begged for my father’s forgiveness, then gave up quickly. If my father had any love for me, he would have stopped my brother when he burned and flayed my skin in long strips, laughing like a demon the entire time. Hours or days later, I felt nothing was left of me.

When thorns pierced my cheeks and tongue and I had no blood left to choke on, I knew I was going to die. No one would save me. I was all that remained. I was nothing but a shell. Bloodless. Empty.

Do you remember when war was but a game? That was the only thing my brother told me, repeated over and over. I didn’t understand.

My body was cut from the chair when all the blood was drained from it. The basin was filled. The chair was tipped and I fell in an undignified heap into my cooling life’s liquid back first. How was I still alive? I was dead. There was no blood left in me. My heart no longer beat.

War is but a game.

The phrase repeated inside my bloodless skull, rattling around my brain, which had shriveled and died.

I floated on top of the blood for a time, but the holes in my skin slowly opened and my body absorbed some of my cold blood back before it separated and congealed. I sank halfway. Once my mouth was covered and the liquid entered into my orifice and touched the thorns still lodged in my cheeks, I forgot everything else.

The blood had been spilled through pain. My pain. My blood. It held the memory of my agony. It wanted to give me the power of that pain back. Pain is the purity of the Gods. I wanted to take it back. Sudden fury rose inside me. My heart exploded in my chest. No, it imploded, and demanded the pain to be encased inside it. Crimson strength rose within me. I felt my dead body pull and move as it shouldn’t. I felt the power of the Gods rush through my broken and tortured body.

War is but a game, and the sudden realization flooded my blood starved and dead brain. Father wanted power more than he wanted sons. What sacrifice would mean more to the Gods than any other? To torture one’s own firstborn and raise them as a monster. Clearly he had done something to my younger brother, he had been changed. Now it was my turn. Anger turned to hate. War is not just a game, dear father, it will be your death as well.

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