100 word assignment – WEEK 40

The Devil’s Delight

The Vatican Vaults, 1510
“I hesitated to inform you, Holiness, but conscience demanded.”

Julius patted Carafa’s shoulder.
“Fret not, my friend. It concerns the artist, yes?”

The aged cardinal bowed and raised his candle to where a fresco remained unfinished. “He works on this at night.”

Pandemonium exalted before them, desolate shores charred black in a molten sea. Souls writhed, angels wept, while Satan laughed in a demon hoard, a scarlet jewel thrust mockingly towards Heaven. Beneath was written, ‘The Heart of Man’.

“Shall I dismiss him?” Carafa implored.

The Pope was still admiring the brushwork.
“No, let him continue.”

Link back to Julia’s Place.

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29 thoughts on “100 word assignment – WEEK 40

    • Thankyou, this really tested me! I worked backwards from the jewel and brainstormed some possible connotations. How could it be more significant? Then thought of Heart, Heart of Man, Fall of Man, Sistine chapel, Michael Angelo. Struggled to figure out a plot to weave in all the elements though with a punchline, which took a couple of hours this morning. Then I had to write concise and edit it during lunch. Which overran. No wonder short stories take so long!

  1. They do, don’t they!

    All your work came to an interesting end. I loved how I felt a sense of place and even proximity to your characters, as if I was there watching. I loved it.

    • I wish I could just trot them out, but writing tight forces you to slow down and carefully choose just the right word. Its still 104 but don’t tell Julia. I’m trying to get the Theatre to do just as you say and involve the audience.

    • Cheers, Anna. Thought I’d try bit harder for an aniversary. Might have to take a break now :( I hope I implied that in order to create the majesty of Heaven, MA had to somehow squeeze out all that was bad into an opposing masterpiece, like Dorian and his painting. And Julius shows his wisdom and realises this. Or it might just be MA knowing hes good enough to get away with it :) O

    • Ta Gill, its like being in a film and seeing it play out in front of you. Its amazing that a sentence can gain a certain power just by combining certain key words.

  2. Excellent piece, full of atmosphere and foreboding, with just the right turn at the end. Skilfully executed. I quite often work back from the end of a flash piece – it seems to work very well. Thanks, I enjoyed this.

  3. I like the idea of this Pope being a secret Satanist and *that’s* why he wants the work continued. Now that would be a twist. I’m gonna get struck by lightning for saying that!

    • Now THAT did cross my mind before I banished it for getting too controversial! Wouldn’t that be fascinating to follow up, though, but I can see you and me getting flamed for that sort of thinking. That ‘fresco’ might be nearer than we think for the likes of us :/

  4. I think it’s not just the brushwork. The whole idea that this is what the heart of man is like bolsters the ideas of religion. Great take on the prompt.

    • Yeah, if we didn’t have rules in religion or law that curbed our natural inclinations, what would we become? Julius would probably agree with you.

  5. Ah, brilliant – great imagery. This is definitely one of my favourites this week and could easily be extended into a much longer story.

  6. You never cease to amaze me of your writing talents Andy! Brilliant cameo of those times with all the intrigue and menace that abounded then!

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