We’re not so different.

Submitted into Contest #202 in response to: Write about two people striking up an unlikely friendship.... view prompt


Fantasy Fiction Funny

An asteroid sailed through the cosmos with a faint tail trailing behind it. It shimmered and dissipated as the mass of rock lumbered and weaved around gravity fields towards its destination.

This destination planet spun stoically; as it had done since its inception. The surface was pock-marked, like a face with poor complexion. Dimples and divots scored the barren world, caused by eons of planetary golf. The spectators watched in mild amusement as the huge space rock hit its mark.

The minor god Xeras smiled and pumped his fist. The impact spewed debris high into its stratosphere.

“Hoo yeah! I am Xeras, god of mountains and, apparently, asteroid golf! Ha-HA!”

He looked at his friends and their healthy mix of impressed and exasperated expressions. They clapped in faux politeness as he flexed and smiled on the platform. He gazed and saw only the admirers before looking at the next player up with a cocky smirk. 

“Good luck Xylia, you’re gonna need it.”, he said.

He shoulder-bumped her on the way down the casting platform. She rolled her eyes as she walked up and took her place.

“Alright, god of humility.” she spat under her breath.

Everyone’s eyes were on her. She was small for her caste, even among the smaller-statured minor deities. Not only was she little, but homely when compared to the other gods. To the high expectation and perfection-obsessed gods, even the smallest blemish was enough to write someone off.

The platform lit up around its borders. It was her turn to cast. She scanned the heavens until her eyes flashed with excitement. This meteor was at least twice as big as Xeras’s! She gathered her strength and concentration and extended her arm. A translucent ray bolted through space and struck its target. Golden star-studded chains of magic sprawled across its surface like an impossibly wide fishnet.

The hourglass next to her flipped on its own. She eyed it carefully and pulled with all she had. She felt determined to put this braggart in his place. Sweat beaded her brow and her muscles strained all over. As the last grain of sand hit the bottom, the beam escaped her grasp. All that was left to do was to wait and see if she too would strike the goal planet. Everyone was scanning the sky, trying to find the meteor in play. The pride on her face turned to deathly disbelief.

“No... No! No no no no no no!” she repeatedly stammered as she desperately tried to cast another line.

She extended her arm, just like before, but the platform refused to cooperate. Frustrated, she kept trying in vain. Her friends followed her gaze and saw that her asteroid beelined to the garden planet Theraxus. They all looked at each other nervously; some putting their hands over their mouths. If it had been any other planet, even one with life, it could’ve been written off as a mistake... But this was Theraxus. And everyone knew who owned that verdant planet. 

“Oh...Oh no... where is Xane?!” one of them asked.

“Wait, that’s Xane’s Garden?” another inquired in shock.

“Yes... That’s his baby, and if something happens to it…”, they shuddered.

Xylia heard them speaking. Their acknowledgement only made the situation more dire. She was shouting now while trying to cast; hoping that through sheer will, she could get the platform to cooperate again.

“I’ve heard that tending to his garden is the only way he calms down… If he loses that…” one of them whispered to each other. It was clear they were all enraptured now. This everyday game of planetary golf just became something for the ages.

They could only watch in fidgety anticipation as it approached Theraxus. The cute little creatures on the surface saw the clouds part. Those that looked up knew that their final moments were nigh. The atmosphere caught fire as it plowed into the surface before it exploded into millions of chunks.

Xylia sunk to her knees. She messed up and she knew it. It was dead silent on the field. Then, from outer space came a small flash; a glimmer that got closer by the second until it was a blinding glare. The glare dimmed as Xane slowed and descended. This large orcish god; easily twelve feet tall, was so perfectly muscular that it defies definition. Every aspect of his form was declared by the universe to be intimidating.

“Hello.” he said, eerily and calmly, as he landed gently on his feet. Everyone was silent. Too scared to hide. They knew there was no escaping a greater god when they meant to find you. His eyes were locked on Xylia. It was clear he knew.

“This ugly wench is the one who just ruined my planet?”

“Hey! It was an accident! I didn’t even know there was a garden planet nearby, If I had I would never of- “

“Quiet.” He spoke, not too softly. His voice commanded silence when he spoke.

“Really, sir she- “, Xeras interjected. He was abruptly cut off by a look that turned him to stone. Xeras saw hate in the deep red pools of his eyes.

Xane stepped closer to Xylia and gripped her by the head. He lifted her up to look at her, their faces uncomfortably close.

“Well, I suppose you know what comes next?” He said.

“I... I die?”

He smirked and said, ”Oh. No. Much worse.”

Xane gripped her by the face, his big meaty hands easily covering the whole of it. She couldn’t breathe.

He stood on the casting platform with rage building and engulfing the atmosphere of this small sporting planet. The skies turned a dark red hue. He flexed his muscles. She felt her skull flexing like a grape between two fingers.

He shouted and the planet tore apart underneath him, down to the core. He launched her skyward. She heard his voice for only a split second as she rocketed into the void. She tried to slow down by her own power, but it was clear that it wouldn’t be enough. She felt her godhood being drained from her the farther she got from her followers. She feared that she’d lose contact with them and consequently, her divinity.

In mere moments she was far from the solar systems she was born to as she passed planets and stars to her left and right at every second. A planet came into view, one with green continents with poignant peaks and a deep blue ocean that covered a majority of its surface.

Xylia screamed, though no sound was heard. She used every ounce of the power that remained in her to slow her descent.

She broke through the atmosphere and her skin burned from air friction. She felt the heat sap her bones as her divine immunity diminished.

She sailed through the cloud cover. It would have been peaceful if she had felt in control, but no; these were no sneaking romps on the garden planets of the elder gods.

She approached land at an angle, feet first. She didn’t have time to think. She glimpsed the lamplight of a city beneath her, fast approaching. Every muscle in her body ached as she drew on the last of her powers to slow her fall. It was working, but just barely.

The rooftops below rushed up at her. All manner of colors of cobblestone were below. One roof caught her eye – mainly because she was heading right towards it. It was shaped like two pleading hands reaching towards the sky, from her perspective, it looked like it meant to catch her. She winced in anticipation and wished that it were made of feathers rather than marble.

She smashed through it and sheared off the fingers as she went. Stone plummeted and dented the roof of the cathedral and showered the streets in pebble-rain. She feared for her life for the first time of her existence. She crashed through the building, leaving behind her two massive holes where timber and stone used to be. All the glass panes in the building shattered on impact.

She was shot into the river Temerity. Its sickly green water swallowed her. The last thing she remembered were the sounds of screaming and shouting above, and the shower of rock making droplets in the water. The last thing she would remember seeing was the rest of the steeple-hand plummeting towards her.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

An eternity, or what felt like it, passed in her unconscious state. Darkness, nothingness, peace, and everything, all at once with no room for air. She felt as if she were thinking and not thinking at the same time. Only in brief moments in this space was she interrupted by muffled voices.

“I swear, she was like this when I found her…” This voice sounded nervous, almost fragile.

“Well, she’s still alive… for now at least…” This one sounded cold... A woman.

“It’s not every day a naked half-dead tart comes floatin’ down the bloody Temerity! We’ve got to get her out of here! The gods only know what our neighbors will think if they find her here!” This one was male. A gruff and angry one at that.

Again, she slipped into the infinite time-less void.

 A few hours passed. The couple sent for a doctor to take her away, but apparently, a fire had sprung up in Old Holy, so he was busy, but promised to come as soon as he was able. Both man and woman were eager to get her out, as they assumed she had been the victim of a crime that ‘honest folk’ don’t get involved with. There was something about having someone on the verge between life and death in your household that becomes a constant reminder of the scarcity of time we all possess. It made all of them antsy.

Xylia’s eyes flitted open slowly, like door hinges rusted by time. A young man sat by her, looking at her with a generally worried expression. He didn’t seem to notice her staring through the slits of her eyes.

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know how you ended up here. But I do hope the best for you. I don’t know if you can hear me in there, I’m guessing not, but I hope you don’t mind if I keep you company. I know you can’t speak, so please forgive me for rambling on if you’d prefer I leave. My hope is that it provides some sense of comfort to you.” She watched him look off into the distant nothingness on the wall, where he searched for his own thoughts. He laughed quietly.

“Don’t worry, I’m not laughing at you. I just recalled that my parents were praying for you earlier. Someone they don’t even know. It hardly seemed genuine. I’m sorry if that offends you. Sometimes I feel like no one really believes in that stuff anyway; like they’re just pretending something about it works so they can feel better about living in a universe that seems to fruit so much awful stuff; like an apple tree that grows only produces rotten fruit.”

He looked down at her again in reverence. She noticed he wouldn’t look at her eyes, only near them.

“It makes me awfully sad, sometimes, to think that we live in a cold and remorseless…thing…a whatever-it-is. I guess that’s why I feel like I need to sit here with you. Even if my parents would rather me leave you to die. I guess I believe that, even in the end, we should have someone there with us who can sympathize with you. I guess I believe that you deserve better than a lonely demise.”

He seemed lost in thought for a moment than had a look of horrible realization.

“Uh, not that I’m saying you’re going to die! Aww Geeze… Wait, are you dead? Oh no, what if the last things she heard was that nonsensical…nonsense! Ah! I don’t think I could bear it. Wait, no, your chest is still moving…I think?”

She smiled slightly. Whoever this was seemed genuine. She felt his warmth radiating through her. He had the heart of compassion that deities like her loved the most; both in a practical and emotional sort of way. They seemed to provide them with the most power and held the potential for true faith and worship.

How lucky am I to be rescued by someone with a heart of compassion… she thought. Even the voice in her consciousness was weak.

“Hey…” her voice sounded a million miles away. The man jumped and nearly toppled back out of his chair. He gasped and covered his mouth.

“It’s okay… I’ll be okay… I just need to lay down for a while… And please, keep talking to me; It’s helping…” She coughed.

His voice trembled and he swallowed nothing before sitting back down again.

“Oh...” He could scarcely believe she was talking in the state she was in. Mother said she found no wounds to wrap, but that she looked so beaten up that she must be seriously fractured internally. There was also no telling how long she had been in the water either. To hear a voice from a fresh cadaver was almost more than he could bear. “Well…Uh… what would you like me to say…err… what would you like to talk about?”

She raised a shaky finger and pointed squarely at him.


She nodded softly.

“Of all the subjects you could choose; that’s probably the one I know the least about, I’m afraid…” He chuckled slightly.

She went to raise her hand to point again, but he stopped her.

“No, no. Rest! You need it, seriously. I’ll do my best.”

He collected himself and sat up straight.

“Well… My name is Alryan… I don’t know how your vision is in your state, but, I’m a human – like yourself. I’m an apprentice alchemist… Let’s see… I don’t have many friends… I find it hard to agree with some of the beliefs the general populace holds, but I’ve always found solace in books and study. Er…Is this really the kind of stuff you want to hear? I’m rather boring…”

She felt herself recovering slowly with him nearby.

“Why no friends? You seem kind, Alryan… My name is Xylia, by the way…”

“That’s a rather odd name. Err, Excuse me, that was rude. I’m not adept at socializing. As you can plainly tell. That’s sort of part of the problem, I guess. Also, I make no apologies for being an atheist, which doesn’t play well in this particular town I’m afraid.”

Xylia laughed as hard as her state permitted her.

“You too, huh…” Alryan said, as his downtrodden face looked toward the floor.

“No, no!” she cried with as much strength as she could muster. “I respect your beliefs, I promise.” She smiled at him.

“Well, they aren’t beliefs. I leave mere belief to the pew-polishers. No – “

His lecture was cut short by another burst of laughter.

“Why do you laugh?”

“If I told you, you wouldn’t get it.”

“Oh yeah? Try me.” He replied, smiling at her peculiarly.

“Alryan, I am a goddess.” She said with a sweet smile.

He looked at her quizzically for a moment and scoffed before he put the back of his hand on her forehead.

“You must be running a terrible fever…” he said. “Don’t worry, the doctor will be here soon. I must be away and let my parents know your state. I’ll fetch you a wet rag for your head, and some water. Perhaps mother has some old clothes for you, too.” He grew fidgety and paced around the room as he talked. He thrusted the door open in a flustered way. He turned around before he left and said, “Xylia, was it? A pleasure to meet you.” He admired her for a moment, she really was a pretty woman. She sat up in bed slowly. The covers slipped down and exposed her chest. His face turned beet-like and he closed the door swiftly.

“Mother! We need clothes and…,” She heard his muffled voice trail off with his quick steps.

Xylia looked around the room. It was full of vials and beakers of all sorts with many of them unlabeled. A mess of ingredients were sprawled all over the place. So many books as well; some ‘well-loved’ ones with their pages slightly ripped in the bottom edge by the binding; suggesting he was a frenetic page-turner.

Of all the people to believe in me in this new place…An atheist. Oh, how deliciously ironic. She thought. She felt a fraction of her previous power hanging on after their interaction. Like the last piece of ember being blown carefully by someone who needed fire for survival.

Still, it hurt to move. Pain was a strange sensation, she thought, and could finally understand why mortals seemed to avoid it so much. She thought of the life she had literally been thrown from. The friends and family she’d likely not see for decades at the very least, maybe centuries. If she had to guess, she had been thrown from one outskirt ring of this galactic cluster clear to the other end. She would need to build a new following here if she were ever to return.

She knew that the gravity of the situation seemed so impossible that it was escaping her; otherwise, she’d be in full blown panic. She made a deal with herself to panic when she could instead of stuffing it down. As she drifted back to sleep, she had one final thought before the infinite embraced her yet again:

Oh, Mother Universe… you’re rather funny. Sometimes I wonder if you plan these things out, or if it’s just one big cosmic fluke… Either way, I hate to love you, but I do; and I love to hate you, but I don’t.

June 17, 2023 02:18

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Jennifer Trimble
04:44 Jun 23, 2023

I really like your style. This seems like it could be the beginning of a longer story. Good luck in the contest! Congrats on being recommended.


Reece York
12:54 Jun 23, 2023

Thank you so much for reading! I feel I'm in the process of getting comfortable writing genuinely, so It's very heartening to hear that you dig my style, thank you. Cheers!


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