Prompt 88-Guilt

Write about the last time you felt guilty.

The sea of white flowers stretched across the plain to the edge of the forest. Ali sat among them, vulnerable in the open space, but wholly at ease under the clear blue sky. The trees beckoned her to them, familiar spirits called her to join them, but she sat in the field, resolute. She was not worthy to cross that threshold.

They would come to visit her. Wolves of all colors and sizes emerged from the forest to urge her to come along. They would come to hear her story. They would share their own. Plenty had come to Paradise before she had reached maturity in the living realms, but far too many had been sent here at her hand.

That her hand had been guided by another was of no consequence to her. It amounted to the same thing. She had lived with the shame of her weakness and now sat at the edge of Paradise to atone for her sins. She apologized to every soul who came to visit with her.

Most forgave her with ease, but some were reluctant to speak with her. She did not blame them for not wanting to come forward. Paradise was a haven for sentient wolves after death. To have someone as unpleasant as her there, the harbinger who destroyed the Wolf Demon race, among the pure white flowers, was distasteful.

Unpleasantness did not last long in the afterlife, however, and after confronting their murderer the uneasy ones forgave her soon after hearing her story. They even pitied her for standing guard, awaiting those who would not come. The only descendants to welcome were her own flesh and blood. Her ancestors hoped she would not have to greet them.

It was the greatest burden of all. Waiting for her children to return. Praying they would not come quickly. Knowing that their paths would lead them to her one way or another and knowing that she had set them on this path with her sacrifice.

She had abandoned them both so young. It was not her wish, but it was the clearest path to protecting the future. They would suffer, and it was the hardest thing she could endure, further proof she did not belong in the heaven of the wolves. But she must wait here. Mika would come one day. She must be here when Mika comes. It was the only way to set things right again.

Notes: Ali has a lot of guilt. A lot of it was placed on her as a child of Prophecy but she carved enough of her own path that she had regrets. Even doing things for The Greater Good™ means making hard decisions that hurt others. Those closest to her suffered the most, deepening her guilt. Because of all these things, she doesn’t feel she belongs in Paradise. I drew a lot of inspiration from Wolf’s Rain when coming up with ideas for the realms of eternity that my fictional race might inhabit in the afterlife. There are a lot of things about my wolf demons that draw on Wolf’s Rain (their ability to deceive people into seeing them as human for one thing). I watched both shows around the same time so there’s really no helping it.

Guilt is a great concept to explore in fiction. It can lead to so many different reactions. How do your characters deal with guilt? What sorts of things are they likely to feel guilty about? It’s a powerful motivator, or it’s a great paralyzer. Explore the ideas with your characters. What are they holding onto? Should they be? Maybe they never feel guilt. That’s worth looking into too.

That’s it for me tonight! Tomorrow will be a twofer Tuesday! Have a great day!

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