Words By Sophie Thompson, Art By Hailey Renee
The day we climbed out of the pit, the stars flickered and died, relinquishing their throne to our thirst for vengeance. This was a convoy of hallowed punishment. It was our right to exact justice.
We were evil, evil, evil—bandits and thieves, traitors and whores, oath-breakers and heart-renders. We preached the shattering of skulls and the tearing of tendons, singing psalms of slaughter, bestowing a benediction of bloodshed. Murderers, monsters, assassins, plunderers, outlaws, bastards—we were all the same. It didn’t matter what you called us. No one wanted us then, and no one wanted us now. But we were here, the enduring, and we knew how to take.
We descended on all seven worlds in a flurry of spiked tails and poisoned claws, obliterating everything in our path. We gorged ourselves on the scent of fear, roaring our triumph as life cracked under our fingertips. We tossed strands of lava over our scaled shoulders, wearing their nightmares like sacred jewels, and smeared mercury on our cheeks, silver warpaint that glimmered in the heady zone that wavered between darkness and dawn. We let them know we were coming. Let them hear us blasting the litany of their sins. Let them quake and wail and tremor for the end.
We hunted those who would have had us slain.
Too long we sat in the abyss. We were abominations—the experiments-gone-wrong, the avert-your-eyes and the get-them-out-of-heres. They tried to stifle us like a forbidden secret, leaving us in the fog of a life never fully lived. But our hearts have always been wreathed in thorns. What did we care that they put us away for a while? We would always come back. We would make them beg.
Have you no mercy, they cry now, crawling away from us on all fours, wings in tatters, feathers plucked, horns torn asunder.
No, we say gleefully, citrine blood dribbling down our chins. No, we do not.
The moon crows, then ceases.
The world is as it should be—a ballad of howls from the dying, a sonnet of retribution to us who have already died.