Crimson Seraph - The Proposal [sci-fi; 946 words; content warning]

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  1. #1

    Crimson Seraph - The Proposal [sci-fi; 946 words; content warning]

    Disclaimer:
    This piece contains themes not suitable for children. You have been warned!


    Stand by...

    Physical integrity of subject approaching normal status; all prior internal injuries repaired and 84.4% of external injuries repaired. Estimated time until complete repairs: six hours. Analysing mental state...

    Evidence of catastrophic mental trauma detected. Symptomatic diagnosis: Re-experience. Hyperarousal. Paranoia. Abnormally high activity in amygdala and hypothalamus. Early diagnostic suggestive of posttraumatic stress disorder.

    ALERT! Consciousness of subject approaching normal status. Verbal pacification measures to be effected once subject awakens. No physical force necessary. Psychiatric measures on standby.


    ~

    "w-where am I...?"

    "You are safe now. They cannot hurt you."

    "Th-they killed Vasya... Mother! Where's my mother?! Don't let them hurt her..."

    "Don't worry about her. Nobody can hurt you any longer."

    Information regarding mother of subject redacted for pacification purposes. Divulge when mental integrity reaches optimal status. Run diagnostic on subject memory...

    "Why am I here...? Let me go... I'll kill them all..."

    "Your opportunity will come. For now though, do you recall your name?"

    Last she remembered before the blackout, she was in the forests outside of Ufa. Stripped of her clothing, legs broken, barbs of agony threatening to swallow her alive, she crawled for her survival. Even though those beasts, that vile pack of monsters had torn her to pieces, she would live.

    But the brilliant pain that ripped through her intimacies was too great. Every grunt that they uttered, every accusation of whoredom, every single rivulet of sweat shed by those vile beasts running across her flesh like acid. They bored into her and wore her down, leaving her as prey in the snow once they departed.

    Just when she could take it no longer, she saw him. A man, clad in a three-piece suit and trilby white as the clouds, and eyes glowing like amethysts in an avuncular, silver-bearded Caucasian face. A veritable angel of death, come to deliver her from hell corporeal to hell aethereal.

    "Do you remember your name?" the same Angel questioned again.

    "Yelena." Her answer was icicle-sharp.

    "Yelena ... Trotskaya, is it?" he continued. "Born in Ufa, Bashkortostan? Studied at the local Technical College?"

    "Yes," confirmed Yelena, trepidation growing by the minute.

    The Angel examined his guest as he paced through the darkness beside the gunmetal table. Most of the injuries afflicting her youthful body had been healed, only a few knife-scars along her abdomen necessitating repair. Two slanted, bottle-green eyes on a pale face stared at him with painful curiosity, disappearing behind onyx hair flowing to her shoulders.

    "You don't need to be afraid," the Angel noticed her worry.

    "Then why are you holding me here...?" Yelena asked, struggling in the restraints holding her to the table. "I need to get back to my mother! If those monsters have hurt her..."

    "I wouldn't struggle if I were you – you need to rest while your wounds heal."

    "B-but the Thieves are still out there... I won't let them hurt Mother like they did Vasy-AAAAAAAHHHH!"

    A brilliant shriek pierced the chamber as a stitch on her leg split, blood leaking from the reopened injury. A robotic arm was quick to whir into action, appending a sterilised cloth to the bleeding cut. Another bore an auto-injector to null the pain. The Angel looked on, sympathy blossoming in his violet eyes as tears welled up in those of his charge.

    "Who are you...? Why are you holding me here...?"

    A fatherly smile took hold of the Angel's countenance at that point.

    "Because, Yelena, I have a proposal for you. You're a smart, strong-willed young woman. I see potential in you for greatness that far surpasses anything that you have seen as of yet. You are devoted to the betterment of mankind. A devotion in which unfortunately many of our fellow-humans are, sad to say, sorely lacking."

    He stopped pacing, his head rotating to face Yelena on the table.

    "To force you to take your chances with the cold and the criminals who robbed you of your beloved and your virginity would be a monumental waste of those gifts. And it would be an insult to my own people if I didn't take care of the greatest among them ... would it not?"

    At that instant, Yelena realised who it was she was staring at. Her eyes grew wide with the fear of one who beheld the divine.

    "So, Yelena Imranovna Trotskaya, will you help me in my grand quest to elevate humanity to greatness?"

    A pause for Yelena to rummage through her thoughts. Her cherished boyfriend had been murdered, shot to death by human waste over a pitiful debt, before that same filth subjected her to a whole week of horrors so ineffable that she shook merely thinking about them.

    They would have forced her to the slave markets.

    But the reward for her miraculous escape – a proposal, presented to her by the most powerful being in the world. A test? An experiment? Or an opportunity for something more?

    "I ask for only one thing in return, Mir," she enunciated through tears, fiery determination on her expression. "I ask you to bestow upon me the gift of strength. To make me stronger than I could ever hope to have been before. I care not how it is done, but I ask you to do all that you can so that those who I love the most will never suffer as I or my beloved Vasya have! Only then can I help you deliver this world from the maladies that have weakened it for so long!"

    Mir's smile briefly straightened with interest.

    "I think we have ourselves an agreement, Yelena." The grin soon returned to its face, even wider than before.

    ~

    Consent from subject acquired. Protocol CRIMSON_SERAPH to be executed effective immediately.

  2. #2
    I like the opening, it gives good hints towards the setting, while holding interest. The writing is pretty clean, and flows well. I enjoyed reading it.

    Mir's speech at the end did seem to go on a bit though, like she was accepting some great accolade or something. I feel like it should be shorter and pack more punch, much like the anger she would be feeling at the time.
    “Death: "THERE ARE BETTER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN ALCOHOL, ALBERT."

    Albert: "Oh, yes, sir. But alcohol sort of compensates for not getting them.”



    ― Terry Pratchett

  3. #3
    Avuncular, great word, the meaning fits the use beautifully, but I wonder how many readers actually know what it means? It might give you a chance to break up that long descriptive sentence 'Looking at him approach she thought ...' and she can 'explain' the word. It wants something, my first thought had been to make it 'as he got closer she could see his eyes ...'

    "I see potential in you for greatness that far surpasses anything that you have seen as of yet."
    'as of yet' is a definite no-no for me, but you can choose how far you go with things like this:-
    I see potential in you for greatness that far surpasses anything that you have seen yet.
    I see potential in you for greatness that far surpasses anything that you have seen.
    I see potential in you for greatness that surpasses anything that you have seen.
    I see potential in you for greatness that surpasses anything you have seen

    They all include the elements of seeing potential, who it is in, what it is for, and how big it is. I am surprised it is 'you' have seen and not 'I' have seen and wonder if it is important to the story.


    I like the way you dealt with her 'mistreatment', I reckon you got the mix of detail and feelings about right, it is an easy situation to go into overkill.
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  4. #4
    Rape is such an ugly thing to write about. You did it well.
    I like the futuristic setting.
    My take away of this piece: a battered and abused young woman is saved by some powerful being/person/robot and offered the opportunity to, somehow, be transformed into a type of demigod-like person for the purpose of saving mankind?

    I must be simple not to understand how an 'uncle'-like figure would appear as an angel of death to take me to hell aethereal. Am I missing something?
    ...eyes glowing like amethysts in an avuncular, silver-bearded Caucasian face. A veritable angel of death, come to deliver her from hell corporeal to hell aethereal.
    This segment is a bit long winded, in my humble opinion.
    "Because, Yelena, I have a proposal for you. You're a smart, strong-willed young woman. I see potential in you for greatness that far surpasses anything that you have seen as of yet. You are devoted to the betterment of mankind. A devotion in which unfortunately many of our fellow-humans are, sad to say, sorely lacking."
    I've taken the liberty of rewriting what, I think, may be a more dynamic way to express this section:
    "Because, Yelena, I have a proposal for you." Mir smiled warmly, "you're a smart, strong-willed young woman. I see potential in you for greatness that far surpasses anything that you have seen as of yet. You are devoted to the betterment of mankind. A devotion in which unfortunately as many of our fellow-humans are, sad to say, sorely lacking."

    Am puzzled by transformation of the revered/feared 'Angel' to someone/thing on a first name basis,"Mir" ,the savior; as well as changing from 'He' to 'it'.

    -The Angel examined his guest...
    -At that instant, Yelena realised who it was she was staring at. Her eyes grew wide with the fear of one who beheld the divine."
    -"I ask for only one thing in return, Mir," she enunciated through tears, fiery determination on her expression.
    -"I think we have ourselves an agreement, Yelena." The grin soon returned to its face, even wider than before.

    No doubt, your continued story clarify this.
    I am looking forward to more.

  5. #5
    This is a very interesting read that blends supernatural themes with sci fi. The opening lines, title and indication of sci fi genre were exciting for me to read the rest and, to be honest, the most fascinating part so far in terms of the setting - someone awakens in afterlife, in a robotic-like facility.

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