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Rated: 18+ · Book · Dark · #2189343
A collection of short tales inspired by AFI's album 'Sing the Sorrow', each track a story.
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#1010927 added June 15, 2021 at 4:28pm
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Miseria Cantare: The Beginning
Love your hate, your faith lost
You are now one of us
Love your hate, your faith lost
You are now one of us

Nothing from nowhere, I'm no one at all
Radiate, recognize one silent call
As we all form one dark flame... Incinerate

Nothing from nowhere, I'm no one at all
Radiate, recognize one silent call
As we all form one dark flame
As we all form one dark flame
As we all...

Love your hate, your faith lost
You are now one of us
Love your hate, your faith lost
You are now one, one of us


*Fire*


The sky was blackened as it stretched out over the open field ahead of us. It wasn't the normal deep blue-black of a dark night sky, no, it was a scorched and smoking crater that reflected the smoldering wasteland below like a dirty mirror. A residual fog of ash and dust still hung in the air even though it had been over a week since the last fire went out. With no plant life left to hold any of the desiccated soil down, and all of it kicked up repeatedly by the thousands of feet passing through, those massive lung-searing clouds drifted as aimlessly and endlessly as the stupefied populace wandering through them.

We stood at the edge, dampened shreds of an old t-shirt tied tightly across our faces as makeshift masks to keep the hot ash out of our lungs. That didn't stop it from stinging the eyes, but if you kept your head down and squinted it kept most of it out so you didn't go blind. Walking like that made it difficult to see where we were going though, so Mom had the idea to tie us all together using a frayed length of clothesline she pulled down from the obliterated remains of someone's backyard. I thought about how the thin rope had probably had freshly washed bedsheets hanging on it just days before, holding the linens up in the sun and the gentle afternoon breeze so they would be ready to redress the bed that evening. That might as well have been another lifetime, another planet. All of that was gone, nothing but cinders left in the wake of its passing. The death of our world.

My trembling fingers clung to the line, pulled taut in front of me where my brother had just disappeared into the swirling miasma. Somewhere out in the field there was the distant sound of crying, someone calling out a name repeatedly in a choked voice, coughing. A woman screamed nearby, making my heart jerk inside my ribcage and my thin fingers tighten on the nylon thread holding what was left of my family together. I immediately felt a sense of relief, and then shame at my relief, when I realized the scream was not in a voice I recognized. The rope tugged at my wrist where it was securely tied, drawing me forward to follow after my brother whether I wanted to go or not. I did not want to. Though I was only fourteen, I instinctively knew the sounds of dying people, of tragedy and panic, and everything in my young lizard brain told me this place was not safe. But neither was the place we had come from, nor the place before that; nowhere was safe anymore, and Mom said crossing this borderland was the only way to get back to something resembling safety. North, across the border and past the river, where there hadn't been any big cities to burn before everything was incinerated. She was sure there had to be a place left out there where we could take shelter, where we could rest and find protection.

My Mom was wrong about that. I would never get the chance to tell her just how wrong she was though, because just then I heard her voice cut through the air and cry out for my brother, his voice answering her sharply as the rope suddenly snapped forward and dragged me several feet. A strangled gasp escaped me and I struggled not to fall as I tried to keep up, my athletic brother rushing ahead me tethered helplessly to him as he continued calling out for our Mom. She answered with another shriek, this time my name and from farther away. How was she that far away when she'd been tied to my brother only fifteen feet ahead of us moments before? "Mom!" I heard myself shout, the sound dry and strangled in my parched mouth, muffled by the mask. I stumbled another few feet, blinded by the dust thick in the air and my arm feeling like it was going to be pulled from its socket if my brother didn't slow down. I shouted his name into the wind, and no sooner had I done so than I ran headlong into his solid back with such force that it knocked me off my feet.

I tried to peer up at him through the haze without letting too much ash into my eyes. He stood perfectly still even as the clouds swirled around us, holding something in his trembling hands that he stared down at wordlessly. From my angle on the ground behind him I couldn't see what it was, but there was a heavy, cold feeling expanding in my chest that I knew was fear. I'd never seen my brave big brother look scared of anything, but now he shook as he stood there, with his head bowed and his strong shoulders sagged. He looked defeated. "Cal?" I raised my voice to be heard, reaching up to pull on the edge of his dusty jacket to get his attention. No response.

"Cal! What are you doing?! Where's Mom?!" I grabbed his arm and used it as leverage to drag myself back up onto my weary feet. Standing at his elbow then, I could see what he was looking at and I knew what it meant. The cold feeling that had been sitting on top of my heart turned into a flight of icy winged wasps forcing their way up through my throat and out to form an animal sound of panic and anguish.

In his large hands he held the end of the rope, unraveled and bloodied, roughly severed where only minutes before our Mother had been anchored to us. "Someone cut it... Someone cut..." Callum muttered dazedly to himself, barely audible over the sound of my screams.


(Word Count: 980)
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