Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the ADVENTURE genre (05/24/07)
TITLE: Knockout (beginning and end)
By David (The Goliath Assassin)
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I knew it when I saw her fall, and said to myself, “This one’s gonna’ be a real knockout!”
Little was I to know how right I’d become…
They all come to Hell the same way. Dizzied and unconscious from a seemingly-endless fall. All the fight taken out of them from their futile struggle with the wraiths… humanity stripped-away along with their clothing. The humiliation could end here if they’re lucky enough not to land on their heads. Some of them get woken-up into reality by a sudden, stinging pain of some unknown broken bone. It is at this point that they have a chance to perceive their surroundings… gather their short-term memories and their senses for a moment or two. If they hear the shambling advance of the wretched soon enough, (and if their broken appendages permit) they might escape safely into some cavern or darkened hole.
This is the best entry that most newcomers can hope for. This was, in essence, the entry I remember. But it seldom even turns out THAT well… The wretched grow in number everyday. That’s the usual way. New entries usually have very little or no chance at all. But this girl was different, somehow. I’ll never forget the shear poetry of her falling.
If you’ve read anything about Hell at all, then you know that a man could fall for five hundred years and scarcely reach the bottom floor. Not everyone falls to the bottom, right away, though. I have never traveled beyond the realm of Eternal Silence, myself. It is in the realm of Eternal Silence where the bodies that fall are the least covert. It’s not as if nothing can be heard. It’s just that everything’s so dead that nothing normally stirs… save for the arrival of a new piece of flesh.
The wretched are not the first terror, as I have said. The wraiths are the first scourge. The scourge of the air. Their immaterial bodies are scarcely seen, let alone FELT. They are the elevated souls of the Arcs who spent the majority of their bodies in Satan’s defense. The threat of murder is what compels him to be so kind. Some would argue that they are undeserving of the same fate as the wretched and the vile. I see no difference, myself… but one could make the same judgment of me. The wraiths aren’t just free to fly the skies of Hell barred of any continued service, however. In exchange for the freedom of formless flight, Satan has charged the wraiths to “deliver the newcomers.” He has his standard methods of preparation.
The wraith’s first duty is to scare the last bits of anything holy right out of your fallen skin. Little more than a glimpse of their face and an ear-piercing screech is ever in need. The next process is to strip off whatever clothing was worn by the wearer, thus stripping them of any sense of privacy or pride. She was still fully-dressed when she came crashing down, however… I suppose this is where the theatrics begin!
I had been napping in my cavern when I heard the first of the shrieks. It’s tough for a guy to get any un-interrupted sleep down here! I don’t usually spring right out of bed, but then, I don’t usually hear much else going on besides the shrieking. I took a moment to trace the skies before I found her falling at her peril with the wraiths. She flailed around for a while with bawled-up fists hitting nothing but enchanted mist. I watched her flailing and had to give a chuckle. I thought, “What a Jezebel! She’s clearly as violent as I was during my fall!” What then transpired is what truly surprised me…
…The battered wraith actually made a hole in the ground where he fell. The jezebel, sadly, landed face-down on her chest. She failed to get up or stir the slightest bit, and I was afraid that she might have become D.O.A. I heard the shambling of the wretched now, enticed by the sound of her contact with the ground. I made a split-second decision and ran over to the girl. Scooping her up, I could see she was barely holding onto thin threads of consciousness. I chuckled to myself as I made for our swift escape:
“Yup. Just like I said… This one’s gonna’ be a real knockout!”
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