This week’s Chuck Wendig challenge is to click this link, which will generate five random military operation names, then to use one as the title of a story. As I write this introduction, I’ve yet to hit that link. Here we go, the results are:
Wow. Um. So here we go I guess. I’ve decided to cheat and use two. If you like this or my other flash fiction stories, I have a longer story in the upcoming Memory Eater anthology, currently seeking funds on Kickstarter.
The Merciless Demon and the Unindulgent Ogre (A fable)
Once there was a demon and an ogre.
The demon was known as a particularly merciless demon. He would drink the blood from only the tiniest kittens. He would push only the littlest and oldest ladies down flights of stairs. He would steal candy only from the most helpless of babies, and then give it to the most petulant.
The ogre was known as a particularly unindulgent ogre. Which is an odd thing for an ogre to be. He made his bread from flour, not the crushed bones of Englishmen. He regularly allowed goats to cross bridges of all sizes. He worked out, he at all his vegetables, he made sure to go to bed on time every night, and he never talked back to anyone.
In spite of their differences, the merciless demon and the unindulgent ogre were friends.
One day the merciless demon came to the unindulgent ogre and did an excited dance. “Guess what?” He said. “Great news, great news, great news!”
“Did you smash a flower?” The ogre asked.
“Did you kill an orphan?” The ogre asked.
“Fifteen times better!”
“Oh dear, did you kill fifteen orphans?”
“No! It is the end of times! Mankind is to be wiped off the earth, and my father will reward all who have exalted him!” The merciless demon danced and danced and danced around the unindulgent ogre.
“Oh dear.” The ogre said.
“A week, a week, the race of men will be dead in a week,” the demon sang as he danced away.
So the ogre worked hard. He cleaned his house from top to bottom, wanting it to look the absolute best. But, whenever he looked out the window, he would see the demon only pulling the petals off flowers. “You shouldn’t do that, you should be getting ready,” the ogre would say.
The ogre took all his clothes down to the river to thoroughly wash them. But the demon only pulled fish from the water and mocked them as the flopped around on the shore. “Time is short, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared,” the ogre would say.
The ogre washed his breakfast dishes every morning. But the demon only sucked the souls out of men, leaving their bodies as hollow husks before moistening the soil with their spilled blood. “Oh dear, dear, dear, some people don’t learn,” the ogre would say.
Finally the day came. The demon woke the ogre early. “It’s time! It’s time!”
The unindulgent ogre followed the merciless demon outside, and saw that the world was awash in fire. Obsidian skeletons walked the land, the seas were as blood, and men screamed. Over it all stood the great demon lord. He looked down at the ogre and the demon and said, “I am displeased.”
“I tried to warn him,” said the ogre. “Tried to tell him there was not much time.”
“No,” said the great demon lord. “I am displeased with you. While my son was spreading my glory and preparing for my coming, you were just cleaning. What glory is there to me in a clean bowl? In clean clothes? In a clean house?”
“But,” the unindulgent ogre said, while the merciless demon danced and laughed and frolicked.
“No buts,” said the great demon lord. “If you think cleanliness is so important, clean this world when I am done with it!”
And so it was that the merciless demon joined his father in visiting eternal torment on the race of men in a dimension of fire and pain, while the unindulgent ogre was left on the charred husk of the earth with nothing but a broom, wishing for all eternity that he had just been a little more bad and a little less good.