Day 8: Introduction

My name is Ceris. I am over 200 years old, my brother is Death, my father is Lucifer, and my mother was called Persephone. I was accused of her murder when I was 70 and locked in a cage in the pits of Hell until I was finally released by my brother after my 180th birthday. He released me because he had renounced the throne of hell, and it must have a living heir. My father was furious. He had spent decades teaching Methalis how to rule, however Methalis wished to make something more of himself. So, when my father banished him in anger, thinking it would teach Methalis a lesson, he was shocked to find out that instead Methalis had joined the Reaper Core, and was now training to become the next Death.

As the only other heir my father finally had to recognise me. He made me the Gatekeeper of Hell, a lonely position on the very boarder of the kingdom. Little did he realise the power he had given me. As Gatekeeper I was charged with the protection of the lands, this gave me the chance to really look into my mothers death.

I soon discovered that a demon, named Lilith, had wormed her way into my father’s court. From her position there she had been whispering lies and tricks right into my father’s ear. She poisoned his mind, made him believe that Persephone was teaching Methalis all the duties of the Grecian goddess that she was descended from. He thought that my mother was trying to steal Methalis away for 6 months of the year, making him unfit to take Lucifer’s place and rule. His greatest fear was that Methalis would choose Persephone’s role instead of his own, but instead my father’s actions drove him further and further away until Methalis chose Death instead. Besides, my father was half right, she was teaching Methalis, but she was teaching me too.

So, he killed her, with Lilith’s help, and then he pinned the blame on his youngest child. As king no one dared question him, no one except my brother. I was locked away, alone and in the dark. There I fear that I went mad, for I saw creatures in the shadows and when I was free they followed me. They took on the shapes of dogs, red eyes and sharp teeth that glinted madly, they followed my every command. When I first met Cerberous at the gates I truly thought I had lost control, but then I found that he was the original hell-hound. Perhaps in my loneliness Hell had made me some friends? Through many trials I earned Cerberous’ trust and loyalty.

Now I stand with the hounds at my command, and all the powers of Hell behind me. My father does not have long left in this world, and once God has fallen I know that Lilith will seize her chance to try and claim the throne. That is when I will reveal myself. That is when I will finally become queen.

My brother is Death, my father is Lucifer, but I am the Devil. And Earth will bow at my command.

Day 8: Introduction

Day 7: Phone Call

She waited all night for a phone call that never came.

All day for a message that never arrived.

Her friends told her, ‘Don’t worry about it. He obviously wasn’t interested, I don’t know why you care, he wasn’t even that nice.’

She would agree and nod her head each time they told her. Maybe he wasn’t the best looking, but neither was she. At dinner he had said, ‘I’d love to get to know you better.’ When he put her into the taxi (like a gentleman) he told her, ‘I’ll call you.’

Stupid, she thought, I’ve just been really stupid.

So she moved on, or rather she forced herself to stop looking at the phone, told her friends she didn’t care anymore. Saturday nights were reserved for friends or movie nights on the couch. This was a good thing, some time to herself.

‘Hello?’

‘Hi! I’m sorry it’s been a while. You really won’t believe the story!’

Just like that she was back tot he day after the date. Then, she was at the day before the second date. Then the say of the engagement. Suddenly, without knowing how, she was lying in bed the day after the wedding.

So he didn’t phone straight away, she thought to herself, at least he bothered to ring at all. She smiled at him and decided it was better the way it happened. Now she had a story to tell.

Day 7: Phone Call

Day 6: Food

The hall was, as ever, bursting with laughter, song and the clatter of cutlery. Many of the children were running wild, adults long since passed the point of caring. Servants moved gracefully between the the chairs and tables, filling goblets and clearing plates. The king surveyed his gentry with pleasure. All of this came at the end of many months of war. Yet they had won, prevailed despite the odds. The tables groaned under the weight of heavy plates of meats and poultry, breads and spreads, puddings and wines.

If you looked closely you could see the strain of war, clothing that was patched and meats that were thin on the bone, bread made of more air than wheat. Even some of the lower class gentry were here, filling empty spots. Still, the king thought it about time that things changed, and after the toils of the war he wanted to do right by his people.

‘My lords and ladies,’ he said, standing to catch their attention, even though his booming voice had already caught it, ‘I welcome you to this most fantastic feast, even those of you no so accustomed to attending such events,’ some of the lower class squirmed uncomfortably, ‘this war we have fought has not been an easy one. Our crops have failed, our houses burnt, and our forces slain. But we are victorious!’

A cheer echoed throughout the hall. Hundred of voices yelling in triumph together. He allowed them their cheer before raising a hand to ask for silence. ‘Thank you for your support, and for everything that you have all donated to the war effort. Now, I must ask you one last thing, let us raise of goblets in a toast, to those who did not make it!’ An echo rose from the crowd, their goblets glinting in the candlelight. There was moments silence.

‘Now I ask you, join me in giving thanks to those of our forces who made it home to us!’ The great grand doors at the bottom of the hall swung open, revealing two lines of soldiers, tired and battle weary, they stood to attention for their king. ‘I have not told you why I summoned you here,’ he said to the soldiers, ‘for all you know I am sending you off to another war. Yet, you have all still come, and to honour that courage, bravery, and most of all loyalty, I give you not only my thanks but my table and my goblet. Tonight my food is yours, and tomorrow all the kingdom shall know your names and the deeds you have done. I will hold a ceremony to honour you all!’

His decree was met with a wild cheer from the gentry in the hall. More than one of the soldiers was wearing a nervous smile as they relaxed. Then they were spread out around the room, one of them even taking the kings throne (at his insistence), while the king himself sat on a stool beside him.More food was brought out, everything from full pigs to succulent beef joins, vegetable dishes, mashed, stewed, boiled. Pitchers of wine and gallons of water. Every resource the king had came to the tables in front of the soldiers. A never ending parade of pies, crumbles, tarts, cheeses, and even a sponge cake.

That night was talked about for months after and the king was never more widely respected or loved. the food had never tasted better nor wine sweeter since.

Day 6: Food

Day 5: Pet

Nicole had gotten Marcy for Christmas. She had was a tiny golden cocker spaniel, with ears too big for her head and a tail that moved a mile a minute. The moment Nicole opened the large cardboard box she had been in love. Marcy was everything you could want in a dog; intelligent, brave and playful. Nicole spent hours training her, trying to teach her to ‘Sit!’, ‘Stay!’ and ‘Play Dead!’

‘Bang!’ Nicole pretended to shoot at Marcy, who dropped to the floor and rolled onto her back, tongue lolling out. The only thing that ruined the illusion was the wagging tail.

Nicole taught her all sorts of tricks, and she wasn’t ashamed to say that Marcy was her best friend. Years later when Nicole had to move away for university she cried. Marcy cried too, her parents told her, every night for several days. Every holiday Nicole would come back and spend all her time making it up to Marcy. Sometimes, even though she wasn’t allowed, her parents would sneak Marcy into her dorm room. Her housemates would spoilt the little golden dog, feeding her biscuits when Nicole wasn’t looking. Marcy loved every second of it.

What she loved even more was when Nicole moved into her own home in second year and Marcy was finally allowed to join her. To Nicole it made all the difference, having her furry friend to help ease the stress of exams. Her classmates even encouraged her to bring Marcy to study sessions or would come around to Nicole’s house for a good long cuddle.

After university Marcy moved with Nicole again, this time to a new job with longer hours. But every night they would go for a long walk and then play or cuddle. Marcy liked this life, just the two of them together. Yet, even this didn’t last for soon she was introduced to Josh. Marcy didn’t like Josh.

To Nicole it seemed like Marcy just didn’t like the new guy in her life. Maybe it was jealousy of her time or that Josh got Marcy’s spot on the couch. Nicole just didn’t know, but when it came down to Josh or Marcy there was no choice to make. Josh left rather quickly.

Marcy liked Michael. She even came to him for snacks or to hide behind him when Nicole was telling her off. Marcy was getting old now, so more and more she was putting her trust into Michael to look after Nicole. She knew she had chosen right when Michael found a golden ring the same shade as Marcy’s fur.

Nicole knew as she watched Marcy huff as she climbed up onto Michael’s knee that Marcy had given her blessing, and that was all Nicole needed.

Day 5: Pet

Day 3: Fire

Hell was always warm. It was a fact. Just the way things were done. Demons compared it to human sayings like, ‘The sky is blue.’ or ‘Water is wet.’ One of those things that everyone notices but no one comments on. They only strange thing about Hell being warm was that there was no visible sign of how the heat was generated; no radiators or fires, no electricity or some kind of friction. In fact considering the damp stone walls that made up every room, and the deep cavernous depths that housed the condemned souls Hell should have been positively arctic (another human saying meaning very cold).

The only fire in the entirety of Hell was in Lucifer’s throne room. And boy, was it big. The fireplace itself took up the entirety of the wall on the right, there were two mantle pieces. The first one was at just the right height for Lucifer to rest his arm on it. In reality it was nothing more than a decorative shelf spanning the front of the fireplace, but no one pointed that out. He had placed a large clock in the centre and had put pictures of Persephone, his late wife, on one side and Methalis, his son on the other. Ceris, his daughter, was very carefully missing from every photo. During the festive season he decorated it with glittered twigs and stolen angel feathers.

The real mantle piece stood some 12 feet higher, only a little taller than the flames could reach. it was cared from a black marble with red veins, and had faces twisted in agony carved into it, matched with writhing bodies and demons with sharp implements and realistic flames. Lucifer liked to brag that this father had carved it himself, making it a family heirloom to passed through the generations of the rulers of Hell. However Ceris had found a receipt from a marble carver in Greece. The poor human had then checked himself into a hospital for the mentally ill and Ceris had decided it was best not to tell Lucifer, lest he get it into his head to visit the poor man.

Anyway, humans had once theorised that Hell was so warm because each level brought you closer to the centre of the Earth. They thought that the heat from the molten core rose straight through Hell, burning the souls of the damned as it passed. This was a very good theory, and indeed it was wonderfully dramatic. Methalis was very sure that should his father ever hear of this the next time he visited Hell would be lit by an eerie red light, have towering pillars of steam and random bursts of fire, all topped off with the smell of singed hair. It was, then, very understandable why Methalis and Ceris had gone to great lengths to ensure that Lucifer never even heard of the human called Dante, never mind had the opportunity to read his works.

The truth was that while Hell was very warm, it just so happened that it could get chilly too, especially when it’s half 3 in the morning and you get out of bed to go to the toilet. Simply because it is a universal rule that everywhere is cold at half 3 in the morning as by then the heating has turned off, as it does in every house. For while Hell was in it’s own special dimension and it served as a rather unique purpose to very naughty humans and their eternal souls, it was nothing more than a house. it just so happened to have a very large fireplace and a bad reputation.

Day 3: Fire

Day 4: Discovery

Discovering a new land had been an integral part of Earth’s history for centuries. It had started wars and changed lives. Many years ago, England had been known for it’s famous travellers and how it had conquered ‘new’lands (much to the dismay of the locals). In fact, it was even fabled that the USA had been created because of England, though this was widely disputed by historians.

 Jaquob had often dreamed of being one of these explorers. When he was young he used to pretend that he was captain of his ship, the S.S.Bed, and it was travelling to new unexplored regions. He used to imagime how the stars would stream by, nothing but shining glimpses as his ship sped through space, new planets awaiting. He used to dream this, but his sister lived it. 

Sureyva had loved telling him all about the lands she had visited, they were his bedtime stories when she was home for shore leave. Her ship was the S.S.Bridgeminer. It was brand new and she was it’s first captain. After several years as first leutenant under General Ruemania she had finally been promoted. He was the most renowned explorer ever, discovering over 50 new territories. Sureyva was following in his footsteps, marked to be one of the famous names in his history books. 

Then, one day his mother recieved a knock at the door. It was General Ruemania, come out of retirement with his hat in his hands. He had sat Jaquob’s mother down and told her that Sureyva’s ship had gone missing. They had lost contact with it near a dwarf star, and with no other information they could only assume the worst. The ship had crashed. At first Jaquob didn’t understand, but he quickly learnt to stop saying he would become a captain like his sister, for it always sent his mother into tears

Several years later he was in his final year of training to be a police officer. Secretly, he was investigating the dissaperance of his sister’s ship. He knew,  deep down, that she was still alive, and that if the situation was reversed she would be looking for him. 

He was pouring over the mapsof the squadron, looking for a hint of anything. There were tons of small planets around the dwarf star. The big ones, he knew, had all been searched for signs of life. Every time he asked he was rebuked. They all thought it was time he gave up.

Jaquob stared at the map, watching the planets spin, until one in particular caught his eye. Excited he checked and double checked until he was sure. Then he ran straight to General Ruemania, and he too checked and double checked. Together they ran to the new General, Almonstia, who granted them permission. They jumped on a ship and few straight to the dwarf star. To a planet that only entered its orbit onceevery seven years. 

There they discovered a small farm, the remaning crew of the Bridgeminer, and Jaquob’s sister, Sureyva. 

Day 4: Discovery

Day 2: Resolution

She had been working on it for weeks; planning, rewriting, reshaping until finally it was ready. A single piece of paper, plain white, no lines or marks except from the neat black of her pen. it was her secret wish.

With an almost reverent manner, she folded it carefully until it was a small square. then she tucked it into her money box. It was the first thing she had ever put in it. Soon, there would be a collection of notes and noisy coins. But for now, it was just the lonely square of paper.

By this time next year it would be full. this time next year she would be realising her dreams. then there would be no one to stop her, and nothing to get in her way. This was the promise she was making to herself.

That tiny piece of paper held her fondest dream. Every day she added something to the money box. Every day until one day when she didn’t come home at all.

Weeks later her mother found the money box, and she took it to the living room, and added to it every day. She thought nothing about it, had no idea about the little square of paper sitting at the bottom. To her it was nothing more than a precious reminder. Soon the money box was full, and her mother had to open it. Out fell coins, notes and a single square of white paper.

Her fondest dream, never realised.

Day 2: Resolution