One Scream At a Time...
“Time is limited, our people will soon fall.”
Three beings stood together, hunched in thought as they conversed. Each was of uncommon height, intimidating of face, and surrounded generously by churning auras of god-like power that boiled and swirled as though formed by starlight and hellfire alike. The centermost, all were male, had a slim face and sharp features that continuously flickered between the ever-changing ferocity of a jaguar and the gentle serenity of a duiker, all while remaining in the form of man. Dark horns swept proud and tall up into the air from beneath his hair while speckled prints of brown and black dappled the flesh to the sides of his softened eyes. Attire regal and formal, flowing and bending with the will of nature and though it was beautiful, it was also chaotic, horrifying as though a violent storm was raging down on whoever gazed upon him.
The figure to his left was cloaked in glowing robes of shimmering light, which swayed and blinked with owlish eyes. His features, eyes charming and molten gold in shade as though touched by Midas himself, and hair were of the same burnt orange color, one that raked across the sky every dawn and dusk as though painted in prominent, oily hues. His rounded cheeks were dusted with blurred forms of gold and red, pink mixed as well, turning his already handsome complexion into that of a canvas, splashed with the lovely smears of the sunrise. From his broad back stretched large, foreboding wings, elegant in all ways terrifying, each glistening feather pulsing with warmth that was nearly unbearable to the touch. Directly in front of him, stood his opposite, whose skin was ash and hair sweeping in ebony curtains across his forehead. The same wings splayed proudly behind him, yet his were far darker, bathed in mystery and assembled with the haunting moan of the night. His eyes, though mellowed and deep with unattainable knowledge, were far too young for such a mature complexion. Yes, they were that of the inky black sky, thunderous and deceptive, yet, there was a glimmer of a thousand exhausted stars exploding beneath their surface, giving a youthful, almost immature gleam to them. Silver speckled his skin beneath his eyes, almost as if constellations were gathering to shower him with the somber glow of the stars.
Each had a face creased with worry and age, something all too familiar for their liking. The darkest figure sighed, not one for conversations such as this. “Jin, we are all aware of what’s to come. There is a war awaiting it’s time for attack, enemies from the east get closer every waking second, and the famine is not helping to feed those who will fight. We have no control over this,” a flash of pain stilled Jin’s shifting, animalistic features, “Yoongi,” Jin was silenced by the sharp glare from the younger.
“Only you can help them now.” Yoongi held no trace of sympathy within his expression, and even Jin knew better than to attempt to uncover how the moon god truly felt about the situation. The brightest of the trio shifted uncomfortably at the electricity crackling between the other two gods in his presence, “Shouldn’t someone retrieve Namjoon? He’s been in the mortal world for a while now.”
Tumbling, dark hair tinted with undertones of deep green was gathered into an elegant updo, a soft bun tied at the back to keep the majority of hair tucked gingerly away from the face while the rest was loose and flowing, long enough to where the very tips brushed against the waist of its host. Classically rich clothing, dirtied and faded as if its color had been lost to the places that had been traveled to, were tugged snugly around the broad, masculine figure that was dancing about in the shade of the jungle trees, toes digging into the earthy soil with each twirl, sleek waves of hair engaging in an intricate battle with the slightly voluminous breeze. An olive shaded skirt spun in a flux of jaded fabric with the figures movements, the hem barely brushing his knees, openly showing his bare feet, brushed with dirt and scratches from so long without cover, and the tarnished, golden coils of detailed jewelry as though they were royal snakes chained about his ankles. His face was young, handsomely so, and dappled with the lightest dusting of freckles that would make even the most lovely person envious.
“Joon!” Giggles of a young girl filled the silence, accompanied by the pattern of delicate feet against the ground as a much smaller form appeared from the trees, decorated with plain clothing of the village, save for the vibrantly woven headpiece that swept the hair away from their rounded face, and a bright smile that radiated life. The dancing male ceased his motions, freezing as though surprised to be caught, stray wisps of hair, curled from the natural humidity of the jungle, scattered along his collar and cheeks as beads of sweat glistened into pearls at his hairline. A god in disguise must always keep up a mortal appearance, of course. Her name was Imani, the only daughter of the village oracle.
Her deep brown irises were heaving warmth into his veins, causing the most rich of grins to pull at his lips. She was one of the reasons he thoroughly enjoyed visiting the mortal world. Yes, of course, part of it was due to the way the people lived and conversed, such idle things that both confused and intrigued the god, yet, this small little girl, hardly over the age of six had managed to charm him with her curiosity and a childish simper, all while keeping a jovial, comforting haze about her life. She was soft yet quick, slow to anger and easy to trust, wise far beyond her years and the stars had aligned her path as the next village oracle.
He found solace in her enthusiastic giggles and sought her out every time he returned to the village. “You forgot a step,” Imani tittered, finally moving toward the taller figure with slightly hesitant feet, not wanting to slip and possibly ruin the scattered prints left behind from his previous twirls. “You completely missed this part,” She chastised, pointing a delicate finger over to where the soil was undisturbed, sleeping, and still breathing right along with the rest of the jungle. His shoulders shrugged and his chest vibrated with soft chuckles as he nodded, “I guess you are indeed right, per usual, Imani.” Her feminine frame paused, as if nervous about entering the muddy soil which still was imprinted with the shape of his feet, overlapped and slid gingerly into place as though crafted from the heavens. Wide, cocoa eyes trained onto his figure that towered over her. He hadn’t faltered from the fragile position he held, arms still bent and toes dug into the ground to root him there. His gaze saddened at how thin she was becoming. The food was scarce now, a disease came over the crops allowed to grow in such a humid area, and the people were so far underfed that their plain clothing hung off of their bony figures as if they were three sizes too large.
“I wouldn’t want to stop you,” Imani smiled as though to distract his stare from lingering too long on her. “Keep going! You have to complete the dance.”
And so, he began once more, pivoting sharply and letting whatever flow rush through his body to guide him, all for the entertainment of a little girl who had no significance whatsoever. Except to him.
The way he glided on bare feet was hypnotizing, eyes fallen closed and face free of all age, hair wild and clothing spiraling liquidly. Truly, to witness such a sight was by far a gift in itself. However, had it not been for the persistent skill of a young oracle’s daughter, he would never be able to lose himself like so in such a mesmerizing dance. He came to the edge of his dance circle, and was momentarily shocked from his stupor by frighteningly cold fingers pressing on his shin.
“Don’t move!” She shouted, forcing him to a complete halt with her small hands about his leg. “It’s perfect.” When he removed himself from the work of art he had spun, he too was amazed. And though he had heard the story millions of times before, when Imani crouched to trace the side of her delicate hand across the outline of his foot, he leaned in eagerly to hear her.
“All walks of life have danced these same steps so when you look down at the mess, you can feel them mimicking you, fitting their feet into yours and reliving everything they once knew. That’s why you never let someone else walk over your dance. Because the connection you make with it can’t be shared with anyone else but you.”
“Strong words for such a young child.” Namjoon chuckled.
“My mother is an oracle, Namjoon, I was raised to be wise.” Imani quipped back.
“Don’t let that go to your head.”
The two were soon just relaxing together, bathing in the heat of the jungle and in one another’s company. Imani was settled at his back while he sat at the edge of his dance ring, letting her tuck and arrange flowers dutifully into his long, tangled hair that she careful uncurled with small fingers. He sighed through his nose, letting the heavy, pungent scent of the soil and trees infiltrate his conscience. He had no doubts or worries in this time, because here, in this place, next to this little girl, he didn’t feel lost.
“Namjoon, don’t weep for me.” She said firmly.
He started, diving head first in a cool rush back into reality, away from his thoughts at her voice. He reeled as though she had struck him across the face, for her words held a dark and powerful meaning that even he was too blind to comprehend, “Imani-” But she was gone, and he watched the hem of her dirtied skirt disappear into the undergrowth.
Mortal legs dissolved, allowing a shimmering serpentine tail to thump in dangerously loud echoes against the polished temple floors as it writhed and twisted while he moved through the massive temple. His travelers disguise fell away, discarded in piled articles as he continued, leaving him draped in translucent, lavishly woven robes that wound about his shoulders extravagantly. His skin began to radiate a glow of power, just as all gods had, the soft aura along his flesh appearing bioluminescent despite how his true powers held no trace of such light. Jewels decorated his complexion, blinking richly with his glowing skin, a luxurious circlet coming to rest upon his head, as he moved toward the grand staircase at the center of the temple. Holes were knocked through the carefully preserved ground, transformed into pools filled with the glittering water of the distant falls while colorful and dangerous fish alike swam through their enchanting depths. Plants grew from the floor, a gnarled, twisting tree rooted at the center of the main room, it’s fanned limbs providing a canopy that shielded the ceiling from view. Various animals milled about; a Capuchin balanced in the tree, a python hissed nearby and a black mamba slithered through the grass about one of the pools, birds of paradise whistled broken tunes out of sight, a speckled jaguar lounged lazily upon the rock ledge connected to the far side of the temple, an odd little sloth moved as though made from molasses. This was not his own temple, but Jin’s, the place where he and his fellow godly figures met to discuss what was best for the people. His hair was now loosed from its ties and he could detect the thick scent of the jungle flowers Imani had given him as he moved to a concealed entrance beneath the stairs, one encased with lichen which successfully hid the opening from any stray mortals who happened to wander off to the side of the stairs. The entrance, which his sleek, serpent body was able to slink through casually, opened up to a grand chamber, one that was illuminated by the rows of stained glass lining the walls, almost in a prism shape that caused warmth to flicker through his naturally chilled veins.
When he entered fully, he recognized the three figures already poised and waiting almost dramatically, their gazes criticizing him as he moved toward them with the waves of his serpent tail shifting in thunderous coils behind him. Instead of their usual attire, each was masked with crafted battle armor, ready to spring to defend their people at a moment’s notice with bangled weapons at their sides. His snake-like eyes narrowed suspiciously, as though judgemental and intrigued, though he knew long before what they were preparing for. “Namjoon,” Jin watched him with probing eyes, seeming to dissect the serpentine god as he approached. “Nice of you to join us after so long.” The snake god grazed his lower lip with a tinted, forked tongue, nimbly analyzing the two other divinities perched opposite one another almost as if to ignore his elder. “You could’ve told me to come back earlier, Jin,” He nodded at the other two. “Hoseok, Yoongi.”
A slight incline of the head from the two proved that they acknowledged his greeting when he finally came to a halt, close enough to bask in their familiar, contrasting glow. He appeared out of place with his more extravagant clothing amongst the armor they wore, but sadly, this was the only place he truly belonged to. Eyes moved from the two bird gods and locked on the centermost, feeling his hardened stare on him, and he raised his chin defiantly. Jin stilled his gaze on the exotic flowers placed gingerly into Namjoon’s hair with a burn igniting dangerously within the shadows of his animalistic irises. “Getting attached to a mortal won’t do you any good, and you know it,” The eldest god continued through Namjoon’s all too eager scoff, one that had even Hoseok and Yoongi exchanging alarmed glances. It was unlike Namjoon to be so against something Jin had to say. “She will die eventually and there is absolutely no point in fawning over her when you’re just going to end up broken when her time comes,” He spoke with the wisdom of all those before him, powerful and in all ways just, and Namjoon knew he was right, but his better judgement was overruled by the honeyed giggles that he so desperately cherished swarming through his mind. Anger snapped through his gaze wildly, sparkling with hysterical madness, before he gestured accusingly at his senior, “That is rich coming from you. I care about a five year old girl, it’s not as if I’m the one hopelessly in love with one of my followers.” He, dissolved with merciless anger, tossed aside the realization that he had crossed a line, disregarding the shiver of pain twisting Jins gentle features. “Speaking of the people,” He carried on, gaze drifting away from the elder with a guilt that he refused to come to terms with. “She’s starving, they’re starving. Why haven’t you done anything?”
“Namjoon,” Jin warned, but the serpent god cut him off with a fury that Jin had a difficult time keeping up with, Hoseok and Yoongi turning cold shoulders to the oldest as well. “Why can’t you do anything? You can lift the disease, right?” Jin’s gentle eyes fluttered from face to face, searching, desperate for a sign that there was at least one heart that wasn’t walking away. When he came up empty, it devoured him. They weren’t able to fully understand, too far gone into their world of anger to comprehend just why he was unable to help the starving people.
“This is all we can do,” Jin sounded strained, troubled, and Namjoon sank back with a hiss, defeated, dreading, but already sickeningly aware of how things were to be. He could do nothing to prevent the fall of the village and her people. “Hoseok, Yoongi, it is time.”
He knew in only a matter of moments, Hoseok would tuck the sun down into the horizon and Yoongi would pull the moon across the stilled waves of the night, giving the enemy exactly what they wanted: the cover of darkness. It cloaked them in shadows, unrecognizable to man, but so frighteningly there. He concerned himself with one thought, and one thought alone, which finally forced him out of his own mind and to move in languid, mechanical motions. “Excuse me.” Namjoon housed a dead, quiet tone, contrasting greatly from the once numbing, rage filled tongue he used to lash out at Jin earlier. He skirted around the older god, tail rippling and spiraling heavily, and Jin let him, for he knew how it hurt to witness someone you cared deeply for fall beneath the hand of those who once cared just as much, nearly wholeheartedly.
And so he went, secluding himself from the others somewhere within the extravagant halls of Jin’s temple, to wait out the carnage. He could already hear the concerns of the people as the sky turned black far too quickly, the sun losing its glow without a trace. Families gathered in the dirt roads, sharing confusion as well as curiosity.
He was far from prepared.
Bravery was an attribute that he prided himself in, yet what he felt was not bravery, for bravery did not come masked as terror. He was terrified, though he refused to let such a thing be revealed to his fellow divinities or even himself. Fear was a foreign emotion, but he was not fearful for himself, never for himself; his people were those he was afraid for. Unlike he, who was blessed with immortality, they were mere mortals and could not withstand the weight of human life, to which Namjoon could only watch as they succumbed to the natural cycle of their short years of living. For Imani, he was fearful, as she was but a child.
He felt the subtle change in the air, the whisper of doubt hissing through the panicked streets flocked with his people. In that moment, as breathing became an erratic chore and commotion stilled to hear any sign of the horrendous truth awaiting its desperate reveal, two thousand of his warriors drew their swords for a war they would not win.
The world was simultaneously silent and in an uproar before everything began.
Battle cries sounded, as the enemy line emerged from their spots where the trees had hidden them far too well from sight. Ice crackled through his stoic visage as his features hardened, for he could only watch as disaster overran the once peaceful streets. At first, there was the numbing crash of weapons against one another, paired with the shouts that were laced with an undeniable thirst for innocent blood. Brother had turned on brother, and the fight appeared to prove a violent one. Women and small children were shoved into homes by their husbands, sons, brothers, while the masculine forms of man took up arms in a shield around the village to further protect all that they cared for.
Soon after, the once soft orange of the living sky seemed to collapse overtop the people and the village began to radiate, as though there were was sunlight burning at midnight.
Fire erupted in short, rapid bursts throughout the village, consuming homes and bodies with a vengeful chaos as it danced with boiling joy at its newfound food source. It waved and cackled menacingly into the air, hissing in delight as it thrived, all while tainting the air with a toxic vapor that twisted its way around the people, forcing them to suffocate. The village people began to weep and shriek to the sky, begging for aid from their gods as they were murdered mercilessly by the hand of the enemy and the flames that were soon licking at the darkened sky, now illuminated in the glow of the perishing village. He was not interested in the misery of the people, despite how it pained him, as he was trembling, searching for the familiar voice that he had grown far too attached to. And when he located it, a sickening weight crashed down on him, nearly forcing him to grimace at how unprepared he truly was.
What he had managed to find, which he almost regretted finding, were the screams of Imani, the little daughter of the village oracle. Her high-pitched cries shattered him, for he always remembered the soft child who taught him to dance on mortal feet, the girl who braided his hair and plucked jungle flowers from the surrounding area in order to decorate the crown of his head with their vibrant petals. His first and last backbone, and her pain suffocated him as he listened, unable to help her.
He felt the angered scream rising in his throat and when he opened his mouth, the sound spilled out in a guttural, piercing wail of utter anguish, the noise so raw it shredded his vocal chords in its wake. The temple walls rattled as his torso hunched rigidly over, trembling so viciously he was forced to remain in one solid, bowed position for fear of crumbling in on himself entirely, hands overlapped and cradled to his chest as the thought of Imani, helpless and innocent to the savagely vindictive reality of her own world, starved and slaughtered in a near genocide of the people he was absolutely powerless to save.
And, as he lost himself to a blinded rage, he took a blade to his long hair, hacking away at the silken tresses all because he couldn’t live with the constant reminder of the little village girl he grew far too attached to, the girl he could never forget.
He didn’t even stop to acknowledge the brightly colored orange of the flowers, once woven into his hair, that now lay dead and forgotten along the floor.
The carnage was unlike anything he could have expected when he descended to his own temple after a final meeting with his fellow divinities, one which he couldn’t even meet their somber gazes, the lack of belief in him already beginning to take its ever frightening toll on his godly power, mind, and body. He was fading from reality, seemingly disintegrating from the lives of those who once loved him. He still had time, due to a few stragglers still carefully holding onto their final moments in this world, to which he wished he could strengthen their ties to this place, to this village, to the looming trees and the soil that was desecrated with burnt undergrowth and ash. And so he knew where he wished to remain when there was no one left to believe, trapped without his divinity and without anything to keep him chained to his sanity. He did not leave the entrance of his once ethereal temple, which had long been closed during the assault and kept safe until the last breath of its defenders, instead, took up a stiff position atop an elegantly carved podium which originally was used as a site of worship, the coils of his serpentine tail bundled in magnificent, glittering curves about the flat top of the base. It, the podium, was placed perfectly in the center of the lavish temple, giving full view of the guardian pillars stretching through the large main room and the illustrated tapestries draped luxuriously along the walls. This was the last place he wished to see, and it was the only place he was comfortable enough in to release his emotions.
He wept atop that podium, the colors of the world smearing together messily until his eyesight was reduced to a watery, damaged version of the place he once knew, though his tears did not stay for long, as he had made a promise. His chin tilted proudly and he locked a chilled stare on the closed threshold of the temple as he recognized the cruel tendrils of reality as he was stripped of the majority of his powers, cheeks still coated in the fallen tears he had given for those precious people he had cherished and lost.
The luminous glow of his skin flickered and drained, leaving him to appear as though only mortal. He did not look to see, but felt within his body at how weighted his once radiant tail felt, now heavy with sadness and lost pride. He was no longer a figure of divinity, and he was doomed to suffer unless awakened, seeing the world through the stone eyes of his fate, unable to change anything as it would come and go.
He felt the blood in his veins run cold, more frigid than it naturally had been made. Paralyzed, his somber gaze never strayed from the door to his temple as an enchanted stone began to still the ripple of his powerful serpentine tail, working its way over each individual scale until all that was left of the once sleek emerald surface was the rough, uneven caress of rock. Feeling in his fingertips faded, replaced by an unforgiving grasp of hatred and bitterness, which he welcomed into his mind like an old friend. His arms grew rigid, resting at his sides in a regal position, still managing to appear life-like with the overwhelming edge of intimidation. Breathing became a chore for him as the stony mineral crawled up his chest, crushing the air from his lungs without regret. The fire of the village cast shadows along the walls from where it burned just beyond the doors, allowing the tapestries to dance one final time before their lovely stories and songs were sealed in his temple, which would soon become a tomb. He refused to look away from the door. Even as the rock closed over the apples of his cheeks, he hardened his stare as if it alone could defend whatever would lay in the temple beyond him.
Namjoon, don’t weep for me.
Her words clung to the ruins of his broken soul. She had known this was to happen. She had known she would die, she had known how it would ruin him, and yet, it was a promise he enforced as he stifled a whimper due to the pang of loneliness flooding his still coherent mind.
Darkness blurred his vision and the glow of his serpent irises hid beneath painted lids (he didn’t want to see), as the mineral worked to encase his once colossal size into the confines of a statue, one tailored perfectly for he alone.
If this was his fate, so be it.
He stilled with one final shudder of aching life. His time was up.
His world did not end in a bang, or a whisper, but rather, one scream at a time.
I wanted a story detailing how Namjoon lost his powers and became a statue so take this! I am extremely proud of this even though I undershot the word count by a few 100 but no big deal, I like the way it turned out. I used a few prompts because I am unoriginal and it didn't really turn out as sad as I actually wanted but nonetheless, it isn't bad. That and I am a hardcore slut for long haired, bioluminescent Nams. I hope I did him justice, so for now, Oliver, out!
[FUCK!!! FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mmmMMMMMMM THIS IS WHY UR MY HUSBAND. SON I CRIED. I C R I E D. IMANI!!!!!! IM SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UHHGFHG CAN I JUST SAY. I LOV IT WHEN U USE WORDS I DONT KNOW. LIKE SIMPER AND LANGUID?? U MADE ME EXPAND MY LEXICON WHEN I LOOKED THOSE UP UR A LEGEND. ILY OLIVER. I LOVE YOUUUUUU]