Inquisition

Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 25

Challenge #11: Write a work of interactive fiction beginning with a knock on a door.

A fully interactive version of this story can be found through this link.

1

You knock on the door.

There is no answer.

Knock again: 2

Shout: 3

2

You knock again.

“Who’s there?” calls a voice from inside.

Shout: 3

Kick down the door: 4

3

“This is Inquisitor Kostov of the Empress’ Hand!” you bellow through the wood. “Open the door immediately!”

“A moment, please!” calls the voice from inside.

Senator Vye is a prominent figure in the City, and a crowd is beginning to form.

Grant him this mercy: 5

Kick down the door: 4

4

With practiced ease, you drive the heel of your boot into the wood just beside the handle.

The jamb splinters. The door crashes open.

Step inside: 6

5

A moment – no more – and the door opens.

Your gesture draws no respect from the crowd: they know only fear.

Step inside: 6

6

Your party makes its way silently inside.

The eyes of the crowd are wide as Syndergaard sets a chair in the centre of the room, and Creegen slowly shuts the door. It takes all your will to meet their gaze.

Sooner or later, your old commander said, you will become as terrible as the things you are sent to destroy.

You like to think you haven’t yet.

“Sit,” says Syndergaard.

Senator Vye obeys.

Read him the charges: 7

Speak to him honestly: 8

7

“Anaiah Vye,” you read from the Empress’ writ. “You are charged with these crimes: practicing witchcraft, conjuring miasmas, summoning profane creatures…”

“It’s not true.”

Creegen begins to swing the cherub’s horn on its cord, the instrument producing an unsettling roar.

“…and the harbouring of maleficent spirits.”

Senator Vye stares at you with tearful eyes. “I haven’t done anything!”

Reassure him: 9

Read him his sentence: 10

8

“I know better than anyone that not every accusation is true. I understand–”

Creegen begins to swing the cherub’s horn on its cord. Wincing at the noise, you raise a hand for him to stop.

“I understand that this may all be for political gain. But you must understand that a charge of necromancy cannot go ignored.”

“And yet even if I am found innocent, my place in the Senate will never be restored.” Vye fixes his eyes on yours.

You see that there are tears in them.

Comfort him: 11

Read him his sentence: 10

9

“You will have a chance to make your case,” you say, approaching Vye’s chair.

“I didn’t do it,” whimpers Vye. “I didn’t! I didn’t!”

You move to place a hand on his shoulder. With inhuman speed, he places his hands on your throat.

A different voice escapes his mouth: “I did.”

Senator Vye hurls you into Creegen, and the sound of the horn stops.

Draw your sword: 12

Flee: 14

10

“You are to accompany us to the Empress’ court, and from there to exile in the badlands. If you feel death would be more merciful, that sentence will be carried out h–”

Vye makes an unexpected sweep with his arm, flinging something across the room.

Syndergaard places a hand on the hilt of her sword.

Creegen places a hand on his neck. The handle of a knife protrudes from it.

The cherub’s horn falls still.

Grab the horn: 15

Attack Vye: 13

11

“This doesn’t have to be the end,” you say, placing a hand on Vye’s arm.

“Oh, but it does…”

It is not until you catch the infernal timbre of his voice that you see how Vye’s tears scald his cheeks. He vomits forth a gout of hellfire that consumes your senses and your flesh.

Sooner or later, you will become as bad as the things you are sent to destroy…or they will destroy you first.

12

Whatever demon has laid claim to Senator Vye, it was only the cherub’s horn that bound it to his flesh.

By the time your sword escapes its scabbard, the hellspawn has escaped its host. Unfathomably evil and mercilessly strong, it slays you and Creegen in the same strike.

13

Vye hangs suspended in midair, mouth stretched in agony: it is the hellspawn that has emerged from him you must face.

The creature is not only hideous: it is difficult to comprehend. Its head is an amorphous mass of twisted horn, featureless and faceless. And yet there is a mouth, and eyes, and screams of malice.

Seek salt: 16

Trust steel: 17

14

Something – for “thing” is all that can describe it – tears free of Vye’s form. As it makes its leap, you roll to one side and onto your feet.

Creegen doesn’t have a chance: his skull shatters beneath a taloned foot.

Attack Vye: 13

Grab the horn: 15

15

You snatch the cherub’s horn from Creegen’s corpse and whirl it around your head.

Its very foothold in the world torn asunder by the sound, the hellspawn leaps for she shelter of Vye’s flesh.

Syndergaard strikes, and Vye falls.

Stab his heart: 19

Stand and watch: 18

16

You turn make a dash for Senator Vye’s kitchen.

Behind you, the creature simply hurls the chair. It strikes with enough force to shatter your spine.

17

The creature grasps your sword with its bare hands, easily tearing the blade from your grasp. However, the struggle gives Syndergaard just enough time to drive her own into the beast’s back.

Grab the horn: 15

18

Something is amiss.

“Forgive me…” breathes Vye, his blood pooling on the floor.

Syndergaard and the hellspawn turn to you as one. “Your tinwhistle holds me to this mortal form.” It is her face, but not her sneer. “End it if you can.”

Kill Syndergaard: 20

Let the demon leave: 21

19

You drive your sword through Vye’s heart.

Syndergaard drives hers through yours.

20

If there is any consolation, it is that the look of horror is not hers either.

Sooner or later, your old commander said, you will become as terrible as the things you are sent to destroy.

Perhaps that’s the only way.

21

As Syndergaard steps through the doorway, you can only hope the demon will abandon her before too long.

Sooner or later, your old commander said, you will become as terrible as the things you are sent to destroy.

You only hope that it was not today.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

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