Flash Fiction Challenge: Random Photo Exercise

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Photo by valsdarkroom

This week’s challenge was to hit up the Flickr Interesting Photo page, pick a photo and write a short story about it. I’ve been wanting to work on some character development for some of my non-central characters for my WIP, so you all get to be guinea pigs. The result is a bit more scene than story, although it does stand alone. I’d love to know what you think.

“You chose an…interesting meeting place.” Uriel remarked, casting a wary eye over the dilapidated cathedral as he closed the creaky, moldy door behind him. “I’m surprised you are even able to come in here.”

It was probably a charming place in its time, but now it was a ruin. The plaster, fissured in places along the stone walls, was missing on one large patch under a window. The stained glass window above the door was broken, the others cracked and coated in grime. The ceiling was nothing more than crumbling wood, a few stray boards strewn along the floor, which was coated with either moss or mold. The altar at the far end was crumbled marble, probably once white, but was now yellowed with age and neglect.

“This place has not been consecrated in decades. It is no barrier to me,” said the figure sprawled on the weathered steps of the altar. Lucifer. Although he was casually dressed in black slacks and a black, fitted wool sweater, he did not belong in this place. He made no effort to rise, waiting for Uriel to cross the room to him. “So, tell me, Brother, why have you requested a meeting with me?”

“There has been talk that you are…considering an attack on Heaven. That you wish to take over, what with Father gone…” Uriel stopped at the arch closest to the altar, leaning his leather jacketed arm against the crumbling stone. He crossed one denim-clad leg in front of the other and crossed his arms. A lock of copper hair escaped from behind his ear to cover one of his nearly-transparent blue eyes.

Father has been gone for quite some time.” Lucifer inclined his head, his own storm-blue eyes glittering with barely-contained malice. “Why would I have waited so long, if I wished to take over?”

“I will not pretend to know what your motives are, Lucifer. What I came here to say is that I might be willing to offer my assistance.”

For just a fraction of a moment, a flash that no mortal would likely detect, a look of surprise crossed Lucifer’s face. Just as quickly, it returned to its impassivity. “That is indeed an interesting development. Care to enlighten me on why you’ve turned against our brethren?”

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” Uriel retorted. Lucifer actually threw back his head and laughed out loud, a deep, rich chuckle that made Uriel smile slightly in response.

“Fair enough, Brother.” Lucifer leveraged his arm to push himself off the stairs to stand up. He brushed the dirt from the back of his pants, and then he straightened his sleeves and tugged the hem of the sweater down. “However, I will need you to do something for me. Something to demonstrate your trustworthiness. You understand, I’m sure.”

“What would you have me do?”

“I have heard…murmurings of a rogue nephalim. That perhaps he is the one from the prophesy. The one who will bring ‘the end of our world as we know it’. Do you know anything about him?”

“No. I have heard vague rumors that Raphael has found him, but he is being uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the whole thing. I do not even know if they have made contact yet.”

“I would like for you to find out anything you can.” Lucifer paced towards Uriel, his steps slow and silent. “Where he lives, what he looks like, whether he is a threat to my plans.”

“You want me to spy for you?” Uriel pushed off the archway, taking a couple steps back, away from Lucifer’s approach.

“Ugh. ‘Spy’ is such a distasteful word. I wish for you to investigate for me. I want facts, not speculation, so you will need to make sure that anything you discover is legitimate. No ‘I heard something from someone who heard something.’ If I find out that you are feeding me false information—”

“You’ll what?” Uriel threw up his hands. “Tell Michael? He will not believe you. You need someone in Heaven to help you if you wish to defeat him. You will either have to trust me to be that person or not. I will not stoop to proving my honesty.”

“Hmm, I am pleased to find one of my brethren still possesses a spine,” Lucifer replied, raising one dark eyebrow. “Very well. You have offered your services; what exactly are you prepared to do for me? And perhaps more importantly, what do you want in return?”

“I can do a great many things for you. I am still part of the Angelic Counsel. I can obtain information on their plans, feed them false rumors of your plans. As well as rally the angels who are displeased with how Michael has chosen to rule Heaven—”

“So that’s why you want to help me so badly,” Lucifer said softly. “You are not pleased with Michael taking over. Why not just oust him yourself; claim rulership on your own?”

“Because I would then be expected to defeat you when you wage your Great War.” Uriel sighed, running a hand through his thick, copper-colored hair. “There are a number of us unhappy with Michael’s rule, but we are not legion. We could not survive a battle with the other angels, let alone you and your demon army—”

“Ah, I see where this is going.” Lucifer moved until his face was inches from Uriel’s. “You want me to do the dirty work, while you stay on the sidelines. But what makes you think you will be happier with the Archangel of Hell taking over?”

“You will make me your second-in-command,” Uriel replied, lowering his gaze.

“Such ambition! The Archangel of Wisdom willing to sell out his brothers and sisters for power.”

“I’m not selling them out!” Uriel’s eyes became icy cold. “I merely think it is wise to be on the side that is victorious.”

“Ah, self-preservation. Another trait I can appreciate.” Lucifer smiled as he moved away from Uriel, a cruel, wicked smile that did not reach his eyes. “You know, I may have underestimated you, Brother. Yes, I think we can work together.”

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