Short break from The Danger Zone. This excerpt is in response to the following writing prompt:
God grants a warrior one wish. The warrior wishes for the ultimate weapon. He is given a can opener.
I opened my eyes, feeling the weight of the gift in my hands. I savored the moment of triumph, refusing to let my gaze drop from the swirling god in front of me. This was it. The ultimate weapon. I would be forever the best. Filled with anticipation, bursting with joy, overwhelmed by pride and conviction, I looked down.
“It’s… It’s smaller than I thought.”
Hmm. I flipped the item over, spun it around, trying to make sense of the curious object. It seemed quite simple; two pieces of steel, each about eight inches in length, connected at one end by a riveted joint. A couple of gears meshed together near that end. The handles were coated with rather flimsy black plastic.
I raised the weapon above my head and, with a dramatic flourish, pointed it at the far wall of the cavern. Nothing. No death beams, no pain blades, no poison-tipped killing darts. I tried spinning the gears a bit. The tool made a whirring sound, but produced no further reaction.
After a few minutes, I turned back to the swirling, ever-shifting cloud of smoke in front of me. “God, I don’t understand,” I asked, my tone plaintive. “What is this? Is it a great weapon from the future?”
“Yes, it comez from zee future,” the voice boomed out of the cloud, echoing around the cavern and making the ground shake beneath my feet. “It iz a can opener!”
“Canz! You know? For ze food holding?” The smoke somehow managed to swirl in a rather confused manner. A small metal cylinder dropped out of the fog, rolling to a stop at my feet. I picked it up. Printed on the side of the cylinder was a blue fish, wearing black glasses, a red hat, and a rather silly grin.
“This thing opens cans?” I repeated, hefting my ultimate weapon, which I was beginning to suspect was nothing of the sort. “I wanted something to smite my enemies! To destroy armies! To bring my foes crashing to their knees in their haste to grovel before me!”
“No, no,” the cloud replied. “Zis was your wish. For all canz to be open before you. And zis openz everyting!”
I made sure that my groan was loud enough for the cloud to hear me, and turned on my heel, stomping heavily as I left the cavern. Charlie, my worthless excuse of a guide, was waiting for me just outside the mouth of the cave.
“How did it go, boss?” he asked, radiating anxiety from every pore. “Get the weapon?”
I held up the can opener for him to see. “No! The stupid god gave me some sort of cooking tool! Like I’m a woman! I told you that we shouldn’t have gone to the god of- of whatever he was the god of!”
Charlie glanced down at the wrinkled and folded map he always clutched. “Bomb shelters,” he read off.
“Yeah, well, I don’t know what one of those is, but it sounds powerful. But apparently the ultimate weapon there is this thing!” Filled with disgust and impotent rage, I pulled back my arm. On the other side of the clearing outside the cave stood a tall oak, its branches gnarled with age. My throw sent the can opener flying directly into its branches.
I was thrown to the ground. Muscles crying out, I sat up, waving a hand in front of me to try and clear some of the dust that now filled the air.
Charlie and I both rose unsteadily to our feet, staring across the clearing at the remains of the oak tree. The trunk, at least three times my arm span in circumference, had been shattered into splinters. The two halves of the tree had peeled away, as if the axe of the gods themselves had descended and split it like a piece of kindling. A thin plume of white smoke rose from the stump still protruding from the ground.
“We should go find that weapon,” Charlie finally spoke, his tone unusually flat.
I could do nothing but nod. We staggered across the clearing, bits of charred wood crunching beneath our boots. The can opener was buried in the trunk, and I had to brace myself against the tortured wood with both feet in order to pull it free.
“Opens everything, huh?” I said aloud, turning the odd tool in my hands as Charlie looked on. “Maybe this wish wasn’t wasted, after all.”
The Danger Zone will continue on Wednesday!