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Bioshock Infinite Creative Writing Contest

Fallen From Grace Crouched in an air vent of a city-section floating nearby the park where Father Comstock was about to give a sermon on the necessity and holiness of a "pure" Columbia a man quietly popped the cork on a dusty, warm bottle of red wine and took a slug. His large hands, calloused and dark from the kind of work that only years of wrenching greasy gears could stain into a man's skin, tightened around the neck of the bottle. Comstock's neck. If only it were Comstock's neck he had hold of right now. Quick and private, he'd choke the life out of that xenophobic, self-proclaimed "Father", and no one else would have to be involved. The man took another slug of wine and smacked his palette. It wasn't his first choice for a last drink, far too sweet. It burned in his chest and curled misty tendrils of calm around his frantic thoughts. Should have grabbed the scotch. It was only a few feet away from the wine. The Founders were so close though... they'd have seen him. Doesn't matter. The drink was only to steady his nerves. He needed to be steady. This needed to be done. He shook his head and ran fingers through his short brown hair with a guttural sigh. He reached for the zipper on his tattered overalls, just under the embroidered name "Oscar", and removed a photograph. It was wrinkled from the hundreds of dozens of times he'd held it in those dirty gear-master's hands, but the memories it kept were just as beautiful as the day he'd snapped the photo. A slender woman wrapped in deep red veils woven decoratively around her body smiled brightly. Her dark hair cascaded over a crimson head-wrap, and curled in braids around intricate beadwork. Beads and simple polished stones engraved with the markings of her nomadic heritage dangled from her wrists and neck. By her side a small girl clung to her hand, the spitting image of her lovely mother. He fought back the hot flush of tears that threatened to well up in his eyes and tried to recall the sound of their voices. Try as he might though, he could not fight away the images of his beloved wife Lyuba being dragged from their home by Comstock's Founders as they sang accusations of conspiracy against Columbia's holy purity. She had "fallen from grace." Comstock's words. The words of a racist serpent that hides behind prophecies and propaganda. Lyuba was a scholar, an accomplished engineer... a loving wife and mother. Had her birth-blood not been of Romani descent she would surely have been welcomed with open arms into the Founders. They killed her in the street. They killed her along with the little girl too terrified to unclench her mother's hand. They killed his family as Oscar watched, frantically fighting his way through a sea of zealots and sheep as they cheered or turned away in horror from the abomination taking place. If only he hadn't worked late that night. If only he had persuaded Lyuba to let go of a little more of her ancestral traditions. If only he'd been there. A single tear escaped his efforts and rolled down a flushed cheek. A piercing crack jarred Oscar from his depression as the sound system below screamed to life. His blood ran hot with rage as his thoughts returned to his purpose here. "Follow as I lead, my children! Let us not fall from the grace that is our birthright!" The speakers down below blasted Comstock's voice at Oscar's hiding place like a twisted delinquent taunting a dog chained to a tree. Oscar took one last slug of wine and chucked the bottle down the vent shaft. It shattered with a loud pop as it hit a circulation fan. He whirled around and flipped open a small wooden case with the engraving SKYHOOK burned into its cover. He removed a sleek arm-gear from the box and quickly tightened the latches around his left forearm. With the flick of a few fingers the contraption sprang to life, snapping out a large hook that clanked open, clamped shut, and whirred menacingly as he cycled through its functions. He nodded to himself in satisfaction and reached back into the case. A metallic click and pang echoed off the vent walls as he cocked the hammer of a polished broadsider pistol. He checked the sight. It was accurate. He'd fired it so many times preparing for this day; he knew, but the familiar motion gave him a small sense of ease. In the case only a small bottle with the image of a fiery kiss printed on its label remained. He took a deep breath and tucked the bottle into his breast pocket. He breathed a silent prayer for forgiveness, and crouch-walked a short way down the vent to the slatted air-intake cover that overlooked Comstock's speech grounds. Showtime. He bashed the intake cover open with his heel and leapt headlong into the cloud-filled sky. The wind cut at his face and burned his eyes. Comstock's little gathering was at least 50 yards away, and Oscar was no eagle. He thrust his left fist forward and twitched his control-fingers. The Skyhook hummed to life as its powerful magnet locked onto the nearest Skyline and drew him through the air. He'd used the Skyhook before, but that sudden jarring as hook met line always shook him. He coiled through the air towards Comstock's landing and steadied his aim at his target's head. His finger constricted around the trigger. His breathing slowed. His focus was crisp. This was the moment Oscar had been waiting for ever since that day. Steady. Steady. There! The moment came... and faded. Why hadn't he pulled the trigger? The howling wind in his ears as he flew along the Skyline had deafened Oscar to the screams of the onlookers below. He'd been spotted straight out of the vent. Only now did he notice the masses below pointing at the crazed assassin on the Skyline. Only now did he realize the numbness creeping its way down his arm from the gunshot in his shoulder, and the guards around Comstock lining up with their rifles to finish him off. Oscar's hate boiled away the numbing pain of the wound, and he fired frantically at the man that had stolen away all that was dear to him in the name of his own twisted ideals. Two men caught bullets in their chest. One in the head. Another four were wounded as they piled their own bodies atop Comstock to shield him from the assassin's lead rain. Oscar spat curses into the wind as he sprung from one Skyline and soared through the air towards another. He'd have to run, hide. This was not over. He would not stop until Comstock's insanity was put down. He cursed himself as he sailed away along the Skyline toward his home district. He cursed more as he felt two bullets rip into his back and thigh. It was not long after the attempted assassination of Father Comstock that the door to Oscar's house was bashed in. A dozen armed men filed in shouting orders as they encircled Oscar. None of the men seemed rattled in the least by the fact that this brazen assassin, who not nearly a half hour ago flung himself through the skies and rained hell down upon a holy sermon, now sat quietly at his own dinner table with an empty bottle of scotch beside him; his hands folded passively beneath the table. It hadn't been hard to track the madman down, the trail of blood was so thick in the streets he might as well have left them a note marked with the address. It had just been another fallen fool's attempt to corrupt what the venerable Father Comstock sought to defend. Oscar was no fool though. He had one last surprise ready. "Get your hands where I can see them! Get 'em up!!" One of the men bellowed and thrust a gun barrel into Oscar's face. Oscar smiled weakly and slowly drew his hands from beneath the table. They were cracked, smoldering, and blistered with fiery pustules. Before the man with the gun in his face could scream, Oscar thrust his hands forward. The air sizzled and popped, exploding in a blinding flash of burning embers. Oscar stumbled out the back door, the stench of smoke and burnt flesh wafting out into the alley behind his home. The bleeding from his leg and back would not stop. His face was pale and growing colder. No matter. He may have lost his shot at Comstock today, but at least he could thin the flock. Sputtering globs of burning fluid oozed from his palms and pooled into firm glowing rocks that he placed around the outside of the house. "Oscar Sidney." Cold rage and terror crept up Oscar's spine as he turned to face the man calling his name. "Accomplished mechanical engineer with what I had hoped was a bright future... Tsk tsk tsk." Before he could focus his blurring vision, Oscar was pinned to the ground by four burly Founders. When he finally blinked away the haze, he found himself staring up at the smug face of his family's murderer. Comstock... "And now it seems that you've taken it upon yourself to train in some less-than-savory vocations as well." Comstock paced around to Oscar's side and knelt down to look into his eyes. "You've become quite a handy man haven't you Mr. Sidney. Arms training, Vigor mixology, military strategy." Comstock leaned in closer. I'll kill you. I'll burn your black heart out with my bare hands you bastard. Oscar raged in his own mind, but the blood loss had sapped his strength such that he could not force a word past the crushing weight of the men kneeling atop his chest. "Shh shh shh son. I know you've had a trying time. But I always knew you to be a good man of God. You may have fallen my son, but yours is still a pure American heart. I truly believe that." Comstock patted Oscar's chest, rose to his feet, and backed away from his would-be assassin. Oscar tried to fight, but his vision was fading, and his body was heavy and numb. "And Columbia will always be a welcoming home for true American hearts Mr. Sidney. Especially one as handy as yours." Comstock smiled wide with self-righteousness and turned to the men with him. "His heart still has a place with us gentlemen." The men nodded in understanding as Comstock strode away. "Yes indeed Mr. Sidney... always room for a good Handyman in Columbia." Those would be the last words Oscar heard before the quiet closed in. His last sight, a man propping open a shimmering surgeon's kit as his captors tore open his shirt and began to draw outlines on his chest. With his last breath Oscar cursed Comstock's name; with his last thought he drew upon the memory of his beloved wife and daughter; with his last ounce of strength, he pulsed a small incendiary globule from his palm, and slipped away into the breathless hereafter. He would not be subjected to the pain of his heart being torn from his chest for use in one of Comstock's mechanical monsters. He would not see the shifting of the great floating city of Columbia roll that last incendiary globule toward his home, igniting the dozens of others he'd laid as traps. He would not see the resulting explosion tear his home from the very streets of Columbia, and cast it out into the clouded skies. In the darkness of whatever may come after our lives live their last moments, however, he would see the fate of the devil Comstock... and he would smile. (Bioshock Infinite Create Writing Entry)