This is a short story that I wrote for a contest in January 2016. Though my entry didn’t win or get any special kudo’s, I feel this is one of my better narratives. I thought outside of the box on this one. The rules were:
A heavy blanket of snow illuminated the night while cold
flakes pecked at her chapped cheeks. As she took another
deep breath, her ears winced at the broken silence.
Shivering continuously now, she trudged while cold
flakes pecked at her chapped cheeks. As she took another
deep breath, her ears winced at the broken silence. drifts,
avoiding obscure stumps and black, low-hanging branches. The
item she dragged behind her left a noticeable trail but she
knew it would be deeply buried by the storm come morning…
This is a story I could’ve ran with yet; I was bound by the word count. I struggle with these because my imagination runs wild and it’s extremely difficult to keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
Please share your input. It’s impossible to improve without constructive criticism from both readers and fellow authors.
My foster family made the decision for all of us to go camping for my seventeenth birthday celebration. Upon our arrival at Deadwood Reservoir, I find the setting here in the thickest of forests textbook for our last days. Happily, I claim a spot next to the water and sunbathe most of the afternoon.
Contemplating my role in the grand scheme of things, I become lost in the translation. The notion of what’s to happen to all humans wasn’t the least bit unsettling. Now that I know what I am, fate no longer considered logic. Mother said the magnitude of my significance would someday have a great impact on the world. Would the lifeless hag be ashamed? After all, it is her biblical philosophies that will bring my plaque to this world. Stupid woman! How can one ignore the consequences of entertaining the devil?
Discussions of my absent father were brought about in a trance like state. Whenever the topic’s broached, mother would always recite the same commentary, “He was beautiful with a symphonic and raw tone in his voice. No one loved me as he did. When I told him that I was with child, he insisted on naming you Apollyon.”
Mother never cared for my given name and changed it to Polly when she discovered in the book of Revelations that Apollyon is Satan’s ruler of the Abyss, a great smoking pit in perdition. According to scripture, when the fifth angel blows his trumpet, the pit will open releasing demonic locust that will torture anyone who does not bear God’s seal. The pain will be so great, those inflicted will beg to die, but unable to do so.
When my destiny was prophesied, mother cast me into seclusion and ensured that I was educated by priests and nuns to be used as the greatest weapon against Satan and hell itself. For this, my father’s immaterial essence tormented the woman who is now beset by insanity.
For more than three years, my mom’s been locked away in a sanitarium, forever trapped within her own mind. There is no life in those eyes, nor does she respond to my presence. Because of her mental incapacity, my father’s minions guide me and my true purpose which is to reign over the evil spirits of hell and destroy heaven. My dark father wants to rewrite Revelations and become the victor of a war that’s been ongoing since before time existed. What petulant mortals call demons, I accept as my brothers and sisters.
Interrupting my reverie, the four members of my foster family chimed, “Happy birthday Polly!”
My foster parents, Mike and Gabby, their son, Uri, and a younger foster child, Zach accompanied me to a picnic blanket filled with all of my favorite goodies. After singing the typical birthday song, we ate the treats and drank raspberry iced tea.
Confused by their generosity, I couldn’t help but to politely thank them for their kindness. “I can’t believe you went through all this trouble just for me, thank you.”
If truth be told, the Morgan’s are a nice family that deeply care for my wellbeing. Mike and Gabby have been kind foster parents and are genuine when it comes to helping kids such as myself and Zach; those so lost in the system that we’ve become forgotten.
After our picnic, Uri found a hot spring for us to soak in while the others dropped from a rope swing into a swimming hole a few feet away. The radio spread a festive mood and I found that I was having the best of birthdays.
Being locked up for most of my life, I’ve never been given the opportunity to allow others to show me what it’s like to be normal. We were all laughing having a great time until the music was replaced by an automated emergency broadcast network message. Thinking it was just a test, the festivities resumed until the annoying tone switched to a panicked broadcaster’s voice.
I knew my time has come. I can feel those who dwell in the realm of hell gathering for the tasks at which they have been assigned. Mike then turned off the radio while Gabby escorted Zach and Uri to the campfire. Confused by their actions, I become anxious about what their intentions are. And why haven’t I been summoned by the command of my father?
Mike called out, “Gabriel, it’s time.”
A fire spontaneously erupted at the campsite and all four of them morphed into pure white monumental beings with massive wings. The light that emulated from their crowns was disturbing yet I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Like a moth drawn to the flame, I ignored my mission and began to walk towards the fire.
Unexpectedly in my mind I was shown what the Morgan’s really were; Archangel’s.
Zachariel leads souls to judgment and is the protector who guards humanity. Uriel is the angel of repentance and guide to God’s light and truth. Sweet Gabriel is God’s messenger and guardian of all life. And Michael, well he is their leader and the right hand of God.
They are here to personally thwart Lucifer, their brother, my father, of his plan of world domination and bring finality to the war between heaven and hell. These four are to make sure the Apocalypse happens just as it’s prophesied in Revelations and that I do my job as God instructed. With love in my heart, I quietly thank my brethren as my black wings burst open my back. The painful transformation from human to an angel of darkness ensued as I entered the fire to wait for the sound of the trumpet.
I entered this into a Short Story Contest in the summer of 2015. The topic:
The sweat vanished from her skin as she sank down into the
cool, blue swimming hole. The radio spread a festive mood to
the commune members, who were picnicking, sunbathing, and
laughing while dropping from the rope swing into the water a
few feet away. Everybody got silent, however, when the music
was replaced by an automated emergency broadcast network
message. Thinking it was just a test, the festivities
resumed until the annoying tone switched to a panicked
WORD COUNT: Must not exceed 950
This particular contest doesn’t expect a writer to quote the topic verbatim, just touch on the subject so they know it’s written on the fly.
I really enjoyed writing this story and may someday consider a novel. Yet, as I re-read the story, it does sound awfully close to a Supernatural episode (which I just started to watch in March).
Walter Fosse, the only parent I’ve known, had a way with words. Over the years he vocalized one story after another narrating what he’d deem as his adventures. Some were funny like when he scooped up a huge spoonful of butter thinking it was vanilla ice cream. Other stories came across as distressed such as the time he said goodbye to my mother for the last time. There wasn’t a detail left out and in no way could anyone else construe the amazing adventures he had embarked upon.
I’ll never forget the last story my father told me as he was dying. The one account of his life that I yearned for most, yet he avoided at all cost. Amazed at his candor, he requested that I take a seat and listen. And I did for what seemed like minutes, had taken the entire afternoon.
Though his voice was raspy and his breathing was shallow, he explicitly told his tale in perfect harmony with the universe as I listened for the last time.
“It was 1955 when I met the love of my life during a perigee full moon in the Norwegian Sea. The Mokenstraumen maelström sunk my oceanography research vessel and carried me from one breath of reality to another and I’d thought myself dead. Now please understand, as a scientist, I didn’t believe in the afterlife. However, here I was breathing underwater as if my body was in the proper place.
Of course rational thought consistently quarrelled with what my eyes were witnessing and my body was experiencing. The largest vortex in the world, in Norway, called havsvelg which means, “hole in the ocean,” brought me to a place no human is intended to visit.
You see Jordan, the phenomenon known today as the Supermoon, a full moon at the same time the moon is closest to the earth and its gravitational pull is at its peak, affects the ocean tides. This effect on gravity also creates a pathway to what you would consider another world. A world underwater, and those who live there are what we call Mermaids.”
I nearly snorted the water I was drinking, out of my nose. With the knowledge of this being his last chance to pass along this information, my father ignored my interruption and continued.
“She was beautiful. They are beautiful! Time is different in that place. It’s impossible to find the temporal length one has lingered. Kaitlyn, my beloved, assured me that it mattered not. As long as we took full advantage of the moment we’re blessed with. And there weren’t many as a true Supermoon occurs about every twenty-two years.
For years I went back. Always praying with every fiber of my being that it was the season we’d be reunited. That is until I realized why I couldn’t return until the time was right. Life’s cruel irony, allowing us to share too few moments in our lifetime.
I always said that someday I’ll be too old to return. Now as I lay decrepit in my bed and wait for death I’m uncertain about why I hang on, as if she’ll magically appear at my bedside while the good Lord puts my body to rest.”
With a loving smile, Walter passed away that night. The memory of his last day gives me great comfort as I my life moves forward with my new bride, Rachel.
Our honeymoon, in the Lofoten Islands in Norway, had been an obsession since my fathers passing. The sailboat was anchored just a few yards away and the sun had set. Tonight is an authentic Supermoon. Rachel and I decided to suit up and dive when the moon was at its biggest and brightest, in memory of Walter, my father.
With the campfire slowly dying, we descended hand in hand, into the water. We greatly underestimated the powerful current and immediately were swept away. I felt something slip around my ankle and pull. My first thought was Rachel, then I realized she was in front of me.
For what seemed like days, we drifted. Impossible as it may be, when the oxygen tanks ran out we realized we could breathe under the water. Walter’s story haunted me at that very moment.
Just then a figured approach. A young, bare-chested woman swimming like a fish smiled as she stretched out her arms to embrace me like a long-lost loved one. Her thoughts penetrated mine as she flooded my mind with her memories of Walter.
You came to me last night. It’s been so very long since such tenderness with a beautiful smile has sought me out. I saw the love in your eyes. A love promised to so very long ago swearing to be forever true for always. None-the-less, to see you once more was a welcomed distraction.
It’s been too long. Seeing you there teasing with your eyes has resurrected a hollow heart. I longed to speak with you, to touch you but the chance fate wouldn’t allow. Instead you faded into the crowd and I allowed it to be so. Perhaps I’m frightened of things that might be said. Or maybe I’ve forgotten how tender you once were.
I must apologize for that.
Here you’ve come such a long way to grant me your precious smile only to be compensated with the vulgarities of dreadful memories. Yet you appear once more before the conclusion and my souls elated,my senses quickened.
Oh my love how I miss you so. Life has been such a burden since I last saw you. Why can’t I dream of being in your arms while listening to the heartbeat that once soothed? These lucid images quickly become clouded making it difficult to focus on your angelic face. Chaos surrounds when serenity shines straight at me and yet I’m unable to bask in its glory.
If there is a next time, please take my hand. I want to feel some part of you, if only for a moment to prove your existence once graced this orb called home. You completed me and now I’m left here alone and broken into irreparable pieces imploring to be fixed. But the debris is so fragmented that is unlikely I’ll ever be a whole again.
Last night comforted a restless mind now that I know you wait for me. If truth be told, I don’t wish to hold on any longer. Life without you is torment and isn’t living at all. It’s too hard. With you, it was never hard. Contentment is pretend and it’s becoming more and more difficult with each passing hour. Soon there won’t be enough left of me to care.
You are gone, taken right before mine eyes. And life, well hard or not, life goes on.
Please visit again soon, my love. Yes, it is bittersweet but most welcome on this mundane journey. It is you that I covet. My husband. My lover. My best friend.
With all the love that I have…..
Everything is ready. There isn’t a single detail that she hasn’t thought of. From the moment of discovery to the nonchalant disregard of what she has done. Every minute detail has been outlined so that this irritating interruption won’t prevent them from going back to whatever it was they were doing.
The note will be found of her brief goodbyes with explanations and excuses as to why, like anyone cares enough to read it or give a damn. If that were the case she wouldn’t have ran away in the first place. None-the-less here she sits, alone with all the loose ends tied. Contemplating her decision, she reminds herself of many life events that has led her up to this moment.
Bound in a loveless marriage consumed by loneliness and driven to the realm of irrationality. Why trick her into forever promising of a life of endurance full of love and happiness for better or for worse? It was he who dropped down on one knee and requested her hand in marriage. How is it possible to toss someone away so easily as if they are a disgusting piece of trash when all they did was hand over what was left of their heart? Why is it that she has become this thing that is so unlovable and discarded? Questions that’ll never be answered, warranted or not and she hasn’t enough tears to mourn the love that’s been stolen from her.
A woman who desperately needs and wants that love. To be held in the morning and kissed goodnight. Getting laid is tiresome, she yearns to be made love to by a real man who would grant the courtesy to hold her and stay next to her when the act itself was over. She would give anything to listen to a strong beating heart with arms tightly wrapped around her. To feel safe and wanted, not to be cast aside and used only for servitude and pleasure, none of which is hers. This irony is the cruelest and as she sits contemplating her dead heart, she realizes that it doesn’t matter because she never mattered. There hasn’t been a soul in her lifetime that has stuck by her. They are all long gone. Hence the reason she’s here now.
She managed a home by her own hand as best she knew how, only to be told that it wasn’t good enough. Nothing she’s done nor will ever do, would be good enough. Failing those who need guidance only to be pushed back to keep her away. Well, now they won’t have anything to complain about for she will forever be gone. Again, not as if they care. It’ll be many passing hours before anyone even notices her absence and it’s already too late.
Tots come running with arms open wide because they need you and love you unconditionally. But as time passes that prerequisite is no longer and now she finds that her course has run. There isn’t a need nor do they want her any longer. Taken what they could until there was no more. So she’s decided to remove herself so that there will be no more burden of her spirit.
As for all that’s sacred and held close to her heart now belongs to others, perhaps its rightful owner. There wasn’t a lot to give away but what was given was the last little piece of her that will linger. Of course those pieces will inevitably become lost, sold, or stolen because those who are to care for them won’t. They care for nothing that doesn’t benefit them monetarily. And since the flow of her cash will stop, so will their wish to hold anything that was important to her.
Plans are set for the ritual after her body is found. It is all bought and paid for so there will be no need to piss and moan about the added expense. After all, she wouldn’t want to put them out anymore than she already has. Just one more reason for her to run far away. By the time anyone discovers what she has done, all will be disposable. The body, clothes, and the car. The old Junker is one that also isn’t wanted so there will be no quarrel about what is to be done with it. Simply get rid of it. Or perhaps the conduit of motion will be the piece that’s most upsetting. Weariness escapes with breath from her lips.
Funny how perspective is within full sight and how sad that’s it not possible share it with anyone. But that’s always how it’s been and remains so. There is no one that cares for her and it will persist if she chooses to continue this morbid existence. Born as a person who beseeches to be loved yet has drowned in a sea of loneliness. This is an ugly life and she is no longer willing to trudge through it. Only half way there and already she’s to give in. And how can she not, the pain of living is unbearable. Every breath that enters her lungs burns of acid that eats its way through and soon there will be no more to consume for she will be hollow. No longer will it be just her heart that’ll ache. The agony will inevitably devour her entire mind, body, and soul. The torture of such a life is unbearable and she’s unwilling to accept it.
The cold, heavy steel provides her with the power of death as it rests in her palms. Shouldn’t it bother her that she’s not even remotely terrified of it? There are no tears, there are no regrets, and there are no sentiments. Sober and alone she perceives this as her only way out.
The loaded firearm beckons her. The only thing left to do is what must be done. Inventing a ritual of her own, she plays the song that’s been her favorite since childhood. It loudly passes through the speakers as she brings the barrel of the gun to the bottom of her right temple just above her cheek bone. The metal is cold and a shiver surges down her spin. Fear? Sadly it’s not, it’s only a chill.
Instead of holding the pistol straight at the side of her head, she slightly angles the weapon skyward to make certain the job gets done. While the song continued to ring in her hears, she closes her eyes to indulge and reminisce of the happiest moment of her life. With the memory of those kind, sweet eyes and that gentle, beautiful smile she pulls the trigger.