Month: June 2019

The Nascency of Dawn by Claire Bugeja

The Nascency of Dawn by Claire Bugeja

It was the stars that caught her attention first. She was sitting by herself near the lake, her face lifted to the sky, the bright blotch-mark of sunlight red against her closed eyelids. Her fingers trailed listlessly across the surface of the still waters, and […]

Automata by Jacob Fiott

Automata by Jacob Fiott

The night was vibrant. There was an electricity in the air that was tangible, and yet, there was something about it that felt dead. The city was visibly active in those dark hours, with people going about their individual activities, always the same, unchanging. Some […]

Nox by Marcon de Giorgio

Nox by Marcon de Giorgio

The large rusted door screamed as Ramiel’s hands curled around the lever and pulled it open. Rust plumed down in showers onto the grass, reddening the leaves.

“It should really change this door shouldn’t it?” Ramiel’s joking tone was unfitting. 

Louise said nothing, her palms white as she clenched them. Dread filled her the instance she was given this task. What a cruel joke.

Ramel sighed. “Loulou, lighten up.”

She wordlessly stepped into the tunnel, her nose wrinkling at the putrid smell. It was too dark to see. She snapped her fingers, her palm emitting a dim light. 

Ramiel whistled as she did. “Fancy. Your skills come in handy.”

She shot him a glare, trying to stop her hand from shaking as she illuminated the tunnel. There seemed to be no end as she led them through it. Her heels stepped over bones, causing them to snap beneath her soles. She took uneven breaths, willing herself to calm down. Being tense meant she’d be unnecessarily on edge, the worst thing she could have been at that moment. She glanced at Ramiel; his hands were leisurely tucked into his pockets. A smile formed on his lips when he met her gaze.

“You should show some fear. Arrogance will get you nowhere.” She warned.

“Oh, I’m scared out of my wits!” He laughed. “I took a long ass anxious shit right before we came here. It’s exhilarating.”

She rolled her eyes, unamused by his choice of words. She might have appreciated it had she been under the influence, but at that moment her mind raced on other matters. Her anxious state got slightly worse when they were met with another door. She glanced at him expectantly. He cracked his knuckles, slight sparks emitting from them as he did, and grabbed the wheel in the centre of the large door. Each turn rattled her chest. Each turn was a step closer to what was beyond it.

The rancid air increased tenfold as Ramiel pushed open the door. Louise made her way through the crack, the door being too big to open fully. The air was stuffy and weighed down on her. She stretched her arm out, illuminating the room around her. It was here, she could feel it.

Ramiel stepped in behind her, his squinted eyes surveying the darkness. “Nox!” He yelled recklessly.

Louise was about to hit him, but stopped when she saw movement from the corner of her eye. She turned, watching the abysmal darkness shift and move around them. 

It used its hands to help itself stand up, its body shifting and contorting, forming the vague shape of a man. If a man had four arms at uneven length, a slouch that disguised it’s true height, and a mask for face. The figure slowly circled them, regarding them both curiously, its arms and legs moving in unnatural ways as its smoke-like body moved through the air. Louise eyed its face, a theatrical mask that gave it the look of constant euphoria. The smile unnaturally curled upwards, its snake-like tongue slithering out from between its razor-sharp teeth. The darkness of the room concealed them well, but not well enough to hide its grotesqueness. The creature stopped, a predator who had successfully observed its new prey. 

It loomed over them as Louise raised her hand to see it better. She gulped, fear consuming and paralysing her. Its face was frozen into a perpetual wide smile, a mocking gaze. It knew. It knew the fear that held her voice. The fear that haunted her dreams, her memories. The creature contorted, writhed and twisted as the smoke turned into skin, the shape morphing into that of a very handsome looking man. A stolen face.

“What is it that you want from me?” It said with a low and bewitching voice. 

Louise couldn’t move. She glanced at Ramiel; whose lips were parted with admiration. He chuckled, almost maniacally. “That never gets old.” She refrained from rolling her eyes, expecting him to go on.

The creature stuffed its hands into its pockets as Nox’s new face huffed. “I don’t have all day.”

Louise cleared her throat, willing herself to speak. “T-the Goddess.” she managed. “She has another assignment for you.”

Its face remained impassive, waiting for the details.

“A mage by the name of Reed. They’ve been accused of blasphemy and treason. A top tier magic user, specialised in wood magic.” She continued, tense.

Nox slowly nodded, unblinking.

“She warns you not to underestimate them.” Louise said, glancing at Ramiel to avoid its gaze. “She wants them alive.” She then gave it the news it was waiting for, “You may steal their husband’s face.”

The handsome man’s face contorted into a playful smirk, a maniacal joy. It started to chuckle. “Oh joyous!” The body began to contort into another person, a nimble woman this time. “A new face to add to my collection.” said the new voice.

Ramiel watched with awe as Nox changed shape. Louise couldn’t understand how he could be so fascinated by such a horrifying sight. He should have been unsettled! Especially when one of the faces Nox possessed was Ramiel’s old lover. She willed herself to move. Their task was done, they were allowed to leave. She was about to tell the disgusting creature this when she watched its face contort into something familiar. Her face paled significantly; the light she was emitting faltered as shock pierced her stomach. A muffled sob escaped her lips. The young face looking back at her smiled sweetly. The little girl’s eyes matched her own, her hair as black as hers. She wore the same dress she did from that night. She felt warm tears escape her; she had no control over her emotions. What a cruel joke.  

The little girl’s smile turned foreign, enjoying the reaction it was getting. Louise’s hands closed into fists, the room darkening completely. She let out a raging yell and slashed through the air, a bright ray of hot light cutting through the darkness and slashing everything in its way. 

“Don’t. You. Fucking. Dare!” She yelled. The creature turned back to smoke, watching her with avid curiosity. “I will not sit here and let you mock me! We’ve given you your task. Report to her once you’re done.” She arranged her collar, rage snuffing out her fear as she glared daggers at the cruel creature. Nox merely cocked its head to the side, a mocking or questioning gesture. She bowed her head, not wanting to further aggravate the situation, and turned, walking out of the tunnel. Ramiel whistled and hurried after her, he didn’t dare say a word. If it was out of respect, or if it was the fear of receiving the brunt of her anger, she did not know. She only focused on getting out of there, her steps heavy and digging into the cracked soil. She didn’t look back, not once, not until they were out of the tunnel.

She let out a ragged, but relieved breath once they were out, taking in the cold air. It was completely silent for a while, except for the occasional rattle of the greenery around them. She let herself calm down, her moment of weakness finally over.

Ramiel pierced through her brief serenity, his voice prodding at her. “What was that?” he asked. “WHO was that?”

“That’s none of your business.” She shut him up, remembering that her birthday was soon. She should light a few more candles for her this time.

Liquid Gold by Ian Zerafa

Liquid Gold by Ian Zerafa

It was with an ostentatious display of wealth that Amintore Volantesso, the Margrave of Giaverno, had chosen to flaunt the first gratifications of his new position. An enormous column of glass descended from the ceiling, filled entirely with golden brown liquid. Avrahm reckoned that the […]

The Cold by Corrine Annette Zahra

The Cold by Corrine Annette Zahra

I dragged my feet to first period History class and opened the black wooden door. The whole class looked at me as I gently closed the door and walked inside towards my desk. Our teacher, Mrs. Black who was from the Dark Side, said nothing […]

Half Blood Daughter by Claire Bajada

Half Blood Daughter by Claire Bajada

Dear diary,

I have a dilemma. I have to make a choice today, either to embrace my true heritage or the life I was raised in. This is rather frustrating. I think it’s better to start from the beginning of this madness.

All my life I’ve lived in what many would call heaven, what the Ancient Greeks called Elysium. I guess you could say that I was raised by angels. My favourite was Gabriel, the messenger in heaven who had taken care of me since I was born. He played with me, educated me and always had an answer to my never ending queries. There was one question, however, that he had never given me a straight answer to—my parentage. All I knew was that my mother was an angel and that she had died after giving birth to me. When I would ask about my father, Gabriel would change the subject or simply stay silent and walk out of the room. As I grew up, he became more protective, often becoming possessive and paranoid. By sixteen years of age, I was no longer allowed to roam Earth with him, his reasoning being that it was no longer safe. I always argued that if anything, it should be safer as I could protect myself much more as I got older.

On my eighteenth birthday was when he crossed the line. After I woke up and got dressed, I went to meet the other angels, Uriel and Rafael, in the garden, but when I arrived, only Gabriel was there. When I asked him about the others’ whereabouts, he claimed that they were unable to come. Normally this would be a plausible explanation, however they had promised me the day before that we would celebrate my birthday together. I demanded the truth but he simply led me back to my room and locked the door. I was livid. As I was pacing furiously around the room, I heard a buzzing in my head and my hands felt like they were on fire. I screamed, but not in pain, no it was rage, pure rage. Darkness enveloped my vision and I fell into what seemed like an empty void. 

The next thing I remember is waking up on a bed, a comfortable one for sure. I also remember opening my eyes, but instead of the crisp white walls of my room in heaven, I saw black and gold walls. My eyes trailed to the bed I was lying on. It wasn’t covered in my usual ivory bed sheets but, rather, red satin was draped on it, the ends elegantly cascading to the floor. Saying that I had a panic attack would be an understatement. I was wheezing and blinking furiously, trying as hard as I could to get everything back to normal, to wake up from this lucid dream. What felt like hours was probably only a few minutes. A man who looked no older than forty suddenly appeared and attempted to calm me down. Any sane person’s normal reaction to this complete stranger hugging me unexpectedly and telling me to relax would be to panic further, but I, being the oddball that I am, felt safe in this man’s presence. It was the comforting feeling I used to get when Gabriel would rock me back to sleep after a nightmare when I was a child. I stopped, relished in this feeling, and that’s when I saw him. The black hair and blue eyes, his youthful face and the look of sheer joy on it. 

What shocked me the most however was when he said “Oh Lucifer, you look just like your mother. I can’t believe those angels kept you hidden from me for so long. Welcome back my beautiful daughter”. Now, when a strange man who looks like he could easily beat the living crap out of you calls you his daughter, you probably shouldn’t slap him, but that’s exactly what I did. He was stunned, and honestly so was I, but admittedly I had a pretty good reason. I expected him to be mad but he simply laughed, the kind of laughter where you hold your stomach and tears come out of your eyes. I waited for him to settle down and then ordered him to explain what was happening. When he did, I wished that I had just kept my mouth shut. He said that his name was Faramir, my reaction to which was to laugh and ask him if he could take me to Gondor. He merely smirked and asked me where I thought that Tolkien got it from. He also told me that he was known around that place and to mankind as the demon of lust, and that he was my father, before the angels took my mother, before she had me and they hid us from him. So it’s safe to say I was in both figurative and literal hell. 

When he told me the entire truth of how I came to be, I had a flurry of emotions flowing though me, the two most prominent ones being happiness that I had found my father and disbelief that I had been lied to by the angel that I had thought was my closest familiar. Faramir, or should I say my father, led me out of the room to the dining hall, assuming correctly that I was hungry. There I met six other people err… demons. There were two females and four males and they happily introduced themselves to me as my aunts and uncles and lo and behold they were gluttony, sloth, pride, greed, envy and anger. Despite the stigma surrounding them, they were all nice to me, especially gluttony or Uncle Zeno as he requested me to call him, who admired my ability to consume my weight in food. After the dining experience, I was led to a huge library. Father had said that it was my mother’s favourite place when she would sneak down there to meet him. I had questioned whether he had truly loved my mother or not, since he was the literal embodiment of lust, but the sad expression on his face when he picked up a photo of her and showed it to me was all the proof I needed. 

Before the tour of the palace was over, (oh yeah my father and his siblings actually had their own freaking palace), I asked how I had come to hell in the first place. He explained that the anger I had felt in heaven was enough for Anger, Aunt Aithne, to track my whereabouts and portal ship me to the palace. That day had been the best one of my life. I met my father, found out that I had six other relatives and that I was a Nephalem who had the ability to become even more powerful than the full blooded angels and demons themselves, with the proper training. Sadly, however, this news came with a condition. I couldn’t choose to keep aligning myself with both sides forever, but would eventually have to choose a side. The side that I chose would determine the powers that I would acquire and where I would keep living my life. My father sensed that my attention was no longer on him and stopped speaking in order to take something out of his pocket. It was a letter addressed to him from my mother on the night that she was taken. When I read it, I could almost imagine my mother writing it, telling her beloved Faramir that she was with child and that she had to leave in order to prevent a war between the angels and demons. Her words showed how much she had loved my father and his rebellious nature, as well as how much he had made her feel free in their time together. 

At the end of the letter however, there was something addressed to “my dear daughter Kaida”. She had addressed these words to me, writing simply “Light is good and family is light”. Before I could ponder on this, Zeno came running towards us saying that the angels were requesting my presence immediately. I saw hesitation on my father’s face before it changed quickly to determination. He looked at me and grabbed my shoulders, telling me firmly to remember that I was free to choose. We walked outside of the palace and I immediately saw the angels that I used to look up to, the ones who had raised me, only to then let me live a lie. Gabriel stood at the front in all his brightness, calling joyfully out to me, though at this point it only made me sick. I walked forward and met him half way. He engulfed me in a hug and told me to go back with him, apologizing profusely for keeping the truth hidden. 

I almost agreed, when he made a side comment that Faramir was a disgrace of a father. Then, with a force that I didn’t know I had, I pushed Gabriel away from me. I was fed up with everything and announced that I knew about the choice. My father then requested for a civilized meeting to be held, in which I would deliberate and make my choice. And that brings me to you diary. Now you see that I’m in quite a sticky situation. I have to make a decision soon, and although it will be hard, I will think of my family, my mother. I think I know what I will choose.

Goodbye Diary, and wish me luck.

Yours truly,

Kaida

The Tangibility of Darkness by Christine Galea

The Tangibility of Darkness by Christine Galea

The darkness was only being held back by his magic, but Melchior couldn’t keep it up for much longer. And even if he could, why would he? The billowing shadows, reeking of death and destruction, had taken his whole world. His lover. His friends. His […]

A Forage in the Park by Maria Francesca Spiteri

A Forage in the Park by Maria Francesca Spiteri

Melly was restless. It had been a good day – all three of her children had come to visit with a card and flowers too. But Melly was bored beyond compare by five thirty in the afternoon – with the rest of the evening stretching […]