Prompt 16: The Onion King – 501 Prompts

501 Prompts is my attempt at being creative and productive at the same time. Here’s how it works: prepare an idea, write for 20 minutes, edit, upload it and move on to the next. It’s open to all genres, topics, and experiments with storytelling.

Now fueled without coffee since 1 month.

Illustration by slightly_overwhelmed

Let’s get into this week’s prompt!

The Prompt

3 Noun Prompt
luck onion apartment

My Story

“What is THAT?”

Kira pointed at the strange construction on top of a shelf in the corner of the living room. On a throne of dirty dishes sat something that might have been an onion at some point in time. It had started to sprout but mold and the warm air of the apartment had collapsed its structure almost entirely. A circle of lit candles and burning incense gave it a strangely religious atmosphere.

She was sure it hadn’t been there when she came by to interview for the room. Now she wondered how she had missed it when she moved in the day before.

“Oh that,” responded Chris nonchalantly. “That’s an offering to the Onion King.”
“The what?”
“The Onion King,” he repeated, acting like it was the most ordinary answer he could have given. “You have never heard of him?”

Kira shook her head. Chris and Anna had seemed to be kind and supportive people at first. She was so excited when they called her to tell her that she could move in with them. But hearing about some Onion King made her question her decision. Had she stretched her luck too far?

“It’s a long story,” he said and pointed to the sofa. Kira followed the hint and sat down, for now. Chris pulled up a chair and sat down opposite her. He folded his hands in his lap and took a deep breath as if he needed to figure out where to start.

“You probably know that every culture has come up with its own mythology and beliefs, right?”

She nodded. As a student of older literature, Kira was more familiar with the topic than Chris seemed to assume, judging by his lecturing voice. But she had to admit to herself that she was curious to hear where he was going with this.

“Some elements and themes keep repeating across cultures, even without them ever having contact. Most of that is because they tried to answer our basic need to find certain answers.” Chris took a small pause to emphasize his next point. “But some figures and details are so specific that they might end up being true, you know?”

Kira raised an eyebrow as if she wasn’t sure if she was looking at a giant red flag. Before she could point out that his introduction was basically a bunch of unrelated nonsense that didn’t answer the makeshift altar, he continued his story.

“The Onion King is some kind of hero figure that shows up across all ages. Scientists found proof for his existence in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. But some experts say there is a reference hidden in the original text of the Gilgamesh epic.”

Chris spoke with the vigor and seriousness of someone who really believed what he was saying. Kira couldn’t tell if he was messing with her. But the story seemed innocent enough to play along.

“And what made this king so special?”

“Well, first, he is a giant living onion. But he isn’t a king per se. More like a noble hero figure. He always shows up in times of need and helps those who can’t protect themselves. During all major historical events, there are at least one or two reports of eyewitnesses who saw him saving the day. Medieval warfare, the big revolutions, the World Wars, the many conflicts of the Cold War period… Without him, history may not be as we know it today!”

Kira could hear the front door close. Anna must have come home from work. Her inner voice told her to jump up and ask her what all of that was about. But it felt wrong to be that rude. So she tried to challenge his story with another question.

“Then where is he now? It seems like we could need a hero.” When Kira asked the question, Chris’s face lightened up.

“After helping tearing down the Berlin Wall, he went into hibernation to come back once humankind needs him again. His devout followers build these altars around the globe to offer him a way back into our plane of existence.” Chris leaned back in his chair, a satisfied smile on his face. “You could say I’m helping to save the world.”

Before Kira could react, Anna burst into the living room. Quickly she glanced at the proclaimed altar before focusing on Chris.

“You’re trying to pull that shit again, Chris? Spare us your stupid story and clean up your damn mess, or I’ll swear I’ll make you eat that disgusting onion!”

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