Excerpt from “The Cult of the Sun”

I recently discovered a game on steam called Elegy for a Dead World in which you explore a dead planet and write stories about it. It’s an amazing game with many writing prompts that you can use to spark your creativity. I thought I’d share a little bit of what I have so far for you guys. Consider this an excerpt of a rough draft, so it is by no means complete or polished. It’s a bit of Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Horror, which I think is appropriate given the fact that it’s finally October.

I was once here, before the surface froze and food became scarce. I grew up here, laughing and playing with the other children on the street. I trusted my neighbors and looked to our elders for guidance. I could never have imagined that they would hurt me or my family.

This was my grandfather’s house, where I was raised. Somehow, its one of the few structures still standing. Grandfather always said it was a sturdy, tough little building. The kind of building that was built to last.

As I approach it, I try to think of happier times, when the street was full of people and grandfather would call me inside for supper after a long day playing with the other children.

Grandfather’s library is covered in dust. The books we had to leave behind are still here, scattered among the shelves. I hated leaving them behind. I have always been a voracious reader, incorrigible in my quest to devour all kinds of knowledge.

This is where I learned about the other worlds, back when I was just a boy. I knew vaguely about their existence, of course, but I assumed that they were all like my own. Then, one day, I found a thick red tome entitled “The Worlds of the Galactic Union.” Reading that book filled my mind with images of far off cities and civilizations, all alien to my own experiences. I resolved to visit as many as I could. I never even imagined that when I finally got my wish, it would come at such a dreadful cost.

This was our news terminal. The holographic projector used to display the heads of our local news anchors, reporting on the goings on both in the city and throughout the Caesura System. They kept chatting all day, their voices carrying throughout the whole square, remaining audible despite the din of people going shopping in the market.

When the Cult began to take hold, it used this terminal to broadcast religious messages and propaganda. The friendly faces of our newscasters were replaced with this glowing yellow orb, a symbol of the sun that once warmed the planet. The voices that filled the square told us to repent, that we would die if we continued to live such a sinful life. The messages are gone, but the glowing orb remains.

Here, in this temple, they sacrificed my grandfather, and that’s why I ran. I remember the high priest cutting my grandfather’s throat, leading the others in a chant as he did it. I wanted to look away, but one of my neighbors forced my to watch. “It’s for the good of everyone,” she said. Desperation had driven her to religious fervor, just as it had the rest of our community.

The Cult of the Sun preached that the sun of our planet was our god, and that He was angry with us. They said He was punishing us for our sinful ways, and that if we wanted to survive, all harmful thinking must be purged from our society. We had to destroy any work deemed sinful or blashphemous and sacrifice those who did not conform to the ways of our god.

My grandfather was found guilty of keeping illegal texts of old Earth religions. He consented to be sacrificed on the condition that I was spared.