Project 52: Toppling Atlas

1 short story a week. 52 weeks a year.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Week Fourteen: June 7th - June 13th

Hunos Pyxis

The year is 1842, and the continent of Africa is on fire. European nations wage long, bloody wars with local tribes in order to take control of trade routes, precious goods, and slave trade. The most notorious of these are Britain's 1832 invasion of the island of Madagascar. Queen Ranavalona 1 has kicked out the British, and has killed 120,000 followers of the Christian Faith. The queen herself had given Admiral Joseph “Bloody” Bower use of the royal navy to put and end to this. The war lasted 2 years, and was the bloodiest war ever fought on the African soil. A young soldier named Aiden S.D Douglas rises to fame with his brave, and risky maneuvers. Unknown to the public, Aiden had help from an unseen hand. Under the orders of Bower himself, Aiden massacred a helpless village, and the village “shaman” called upon Anayaroli, an African demon to hopefully spare his people. Anayaroli, noticing the strength of Aiden, instead offered him power for a price. Aiden wanted power.

Sitting in a dark room, Aiden pushes hair out of his fiances face with a single finger, and smiles at her. Elizabeth is possibly the most gorgeous woman hes ever seen, and for the first time in his life, Aiden can feel at peace. “Aiden, are you sure you wish to marry me?” she asks him flirtatiously. Picking her up in his arms, he kisses her on the forehead, and looks into her eyes, and says “more than anything else in the world”. Kissing her on the neck, Elizabeth squirms away, and in between giggles says “stop it Aiden! You know I have to head to my mothers estate in Lancaster today, we simply cannot.”

Elizabeth continues to giggle, but after seeing the look of horror on Aiden's face, stops and touches his knee. “Darling, are you alright?” she asks. “What's today's date Elizabeth... what is the date.” Nervously, she responds “I-It's June 5th darling, you really need to get out more”. Aiden whispers “no” seconds before a loud crash is head behind her. Quickly turning around, Elizabeth can see a large dark blue clothes chest sitting amongst broken debris in the corner.

What is going on Aiden! Darling, please, what is happening”

Pushing her aside, Aiden lunges for the chest, and starts to dig through it, throwing clothes and old war memorabilia out of the way, searching for something. After a few seconds, he pulls out a small glass box, full of teeth, and lets out a sigh of relief. “D-darling... what is that” Elizabeth asks, shaking in fear by now. “I never wanted you to see this... they are the teeth of all those I killed in the war”.

Aiden... there are children's teeth in there!”

Aiden buries his face into his hands and starts to weep, while Elizabeth just sits on the bed, waiting for him to react. He finally sits up and tells her the story of meeting Anayaroli, that he would never die in battle, as long as he kept the teeth of these he cut down. Every 10 years, the demon would come check on him to make sure he kept them, and today was the day. Elizabeth rises in disbelief to walk out of the room, but two black hands reach out from behind her, silencing her shouts, and her white dress starts to turn red from every direction.

Anayaroli catches Aiden by the throat as he jumps to help his love, but it thrown against the walls opposite of them. Aiden looks up and is begging Anayaroli to take him instead, but the demon just laughs. “We had a deal demon!” Aiden shouts. “I've done my side of the deal, and now it's time for you to do yours!” but Anayaroli just laughs. “Human, it's in my nature to do as I please, I don't have to do anything”.

Our story ends as Anayaroli pulls out the teeth of Elizabeth, and places them into the glass chest as he laughs hysterically. Aiden lays on the ground, wide eyed and shaking. Poor Elizabeth, Aiden should have passed away in the war.


  1. I really like this one, Caleb. It's very intriguing. The way you set up the back-story was nicely done and it really drew me into the story.

    I may regret this question, as it shows how thick-headed I am, but what was Aiden referring to when he said to Anayaroli, "and now it's time to do yours"? Was there more to their deal than keeping Aiden alive in battle? Sorry if it's a stupid question :]

  2. Nah, it was meant to be implied. The deal was that Aiden would kill for him, and provide teeth, and would in turn be spared death. So the point of the story is that Aiden is VERY naive. Meeting this deity, he assumed that for something as simple as keeping teeth, he would gain basically immortality on the battlefield. Anayaroli is a trickster demon though, and as such doesn't really have to follow any thing the human says. It's just sort of showing that omnipotent beings aren't human I 'spose, but yeah, it was sort of confusing. If I ever redo this story, i'll have to make major structural changes haha.

  3. I actually realize now that as much as the beginning is ok, the ending is very abrupt and roughly written. I might just edit that tonight.

  4. Caleb, is this the story you got from a dream?

  5. Mm hmm. It was me and my girlfriend however, and it was much more dramatic in the dream. In the dream, Amanda was just standing next to me, and the trunk fell, and I was frantically digging through it, and when I pulled out the box, I told her monotonically that they were the teeth of every man I killed in the war, and she sort of inquisitively whispered "But Caleb... there are children's teeth in there. And I just started bawling in my dream, and apologizing for killing children, and when I looked up, the shadowy man thing had her on the ground dead and was ripping out teeth and I weeped more hahaha. Pretty fucking strange stuff.

  6. Woah! that is really an intense dream :(