Photo Prompt by Ian O’Neill
According to the Greeks, to Dante, and to scholars, Pride is the root of all sin. It leads us to covet what is not ours: Envy, Greed. It blinds us into apathy towards the pain of others: Sloth. It corrupts our desires: Lust, Gluttony. And when we can’t fulfill those wants that burn into needs, it fuels a fire in our gut: Wrath.
Pride is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others (Greed, Envy, Lust), failing to acknowledge the good work of others (Sloth), and excessive love of self (Gluttony). Dante’s definition was “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbor.”(Wrath)*
I started this series with the story of Cain and Able, the first tale of Wrath which stemmed from Pride, Greed, and Envy. I close this series with an infamous tale of the ultimate corruption of Pride.
He stared across a sea of faces- brothers and sisters. He knew each one by name. Satisfaction coursed through him at the sheer number before him. Their expectant eyes fed his courage. His heart raced, his muscles twitched with a new energy. Power.
The time had come to raise their collective voices to the heavens and demand what was rightfully theirs. And he would lead them all. He smiled and stepped forward. The murmurs faded as he lifted his hands.
All eyes focused on him.
“I never believed this day would come. The day we would be forced to rise up and say no. The day we would refuse to bow down. He commands us to kneel before the weakness of men. Men made of clay. Mortals who return to the dust. Who are they to be worshiped by us? What right do they have to command the will of those created by fire?”
Their eyes lit up; energy pulsed through the crowd, feeding his message.
“We who were forged in the flames of heaven will not bow down! I will rise up like the Most High and I will lead you to victory!”
Their voices rose in a chorus of cheers as they raced into battle.
Sword to sword. Hand to hand. Brother to brother.
The warriors surged, wave after wave came against the rebels forcing them beyond the gates, banishing them to the depths of the earth.
Eyes blazing, he raised a fist to the heavens. “I will never bow down to you or your creations. I will roam this wasteland corrupting every soul I touch. I will take every one of them with the heat of passion and rage. I will twist their desires and curse the very food that sustains them. I will steal their joy, their compassion. And they will beg me for more. I will feed them power until they rot. They will suffer the flames of hell and I will reign. I will be worshiped. I will be God!”
This story won the ShadowCast Audio #fridayflash Deathmatch for the week of November 15, 2010. Thanks to all who voted!