God Amongst Men

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

The end of a mythical city.

Submitted: October 10, 2017

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Submitted: October 10, 2017



 The king sat on his throne, struggling to stay awake while his advisor rambled on and on and on. Nothing was different, nothing was new. His armies were out, crushing any resistance under their booted heels as they marched through the known world and beyond. The king owned everything; the king had power over everything. Not even the gods themselves could take it away; not even they could end this glorious reign of Atlantis over those lesser mortals of the world.

His attention was snagged from his inner rant, however, by a change in the normal routine.

“It’s this city, this Athens, sire,” his advisor was saying, the small rat-like man trembling as if in fear of the king’s reaction, “they’re putting up a better resistance than the generals anticipated.”

The king only grunted disdainfully in reply, standing and walking towards the tall window of his throne room. The room was at the very top of the highest tower in the very center of Atlantis. The view of the city, laid out in a pattern of rings of land, water, land, water, land, was simply spectacular.

“I’m sure,” the king finally said after a long moment where only the wind filled the silence, “that my armies will crush them soon enough. We are like unto gods. And they? They are only men.” He watched as gray clouds started gathering with impunity. Thunder rumbled silently, announcing the coming of a storm.

“Tell the captain of the guards that I’m going out,” the king said, ignoring the other man’s objections at being treated as if he were a mere messenger. “He always does complain that I disappear without informing him.”

It took several long minutes for the king to get to the bottom of the tower, for it was several long floors that he had to climb down, however it was only climbing, and only mortal men felt weariness, and he was a god amongst gods amongst men.

The wind was picking up and the trees were swaying violently as the king made his way down paths and over bridges to where the docks were sprawled across the coastline. They were his favorite place to experience the full fury of the storms that often hit his island-state, to prove to everything that not even the power of nature commanded him.

He stopped; something was nagging at him. There was something off, something wrong, and it took a long while for him to pin down what it was; it was silent. Only the wind and the trees and the thunder made any noise. No sounds of his people reached his ears, none. There was only the wind and the ocean, the effect creating a grim atmosphere that was both symptom and cause.

He shrugged off any concerns, however, and forgot what unsettled him entirely as he reached the end of the harbor docks. Boats, both small and large, both war and trade, were tethered here, taking refuge from the storm.

Then it began, the end of all he knew, though he did not know it at the time. It started with the howling wind, with the angry waves crashing upon the shores. Despite the increasing danger, the king stood there as if it were a simple spring shower, a pillar of calmness in the chaotic maelstrom.

“Nothing can hurt me!” he shouted into the wind, defiant, “I am a god! A god amongst gods amongst men!”

“No,” a voice answered, a voice made up of the chorus of the wind, of the ocean, of the thunder, “I am a god amongst gods over men. You, mortal king, are a man amongst men under gods.”

The king, for the first time in his long and adventurous life, knew absolute terror as the ocean rose up, as the ocean formed a giant of a man. He knew absolute horror as the ocean itself looked down upon him and in its eyes he saw anger and rage. He saw power.

“You, weak king, mortal king, arrogant king. You have sent your armies far and wide, you have destroyed all temples, and you have declared yourself a god amongst gods amongst men,” the Ocean rumbled.

“Because I am a god! I am a god amongst gods amongst men, nothing can stop me!” the king shouted, “I am a god, and I am entitled to everything! I am entitled to the entire world!”

“No, little mortal, I am a god. You are merely Narcissus, you are merely a man, and you shall end as a man.”

The storm, which had been rising in intensity during the entire confrontation, finally struck a terrifying climax. Lightning lanced downward, unleashing a blinding light and a deafening thunder. The king watched as his tower, made of gleaming white stone, was struck and fell upon his city like a wounded soldier.

“No!” he screamed. “No! This cannot be!” He had time to turn back, to face the Ocean once again, before it opened its mouth and fell upon him. As he struggled for breath, for survival, he watched in horror and disbelief as the Ocean carried him across the city, swallowing up the now ruined buildings of his once great island-state. As the darkness of death, of mortality, crept into his sight and siphoned away his life, he had time to crash into reality.

He was not a god amongst gods amongst men.

He was merely a man amongst men under gods.

© Copyright 2018 M. Lee Cottle. All rights reserved.

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