Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/07/08

I stared at the stack of strange objects on the raised board. “What the hell is that, Muddy?”

Muddy held his hands before himself, and made a cross with his fingers. “I don’t know. But it can’t hurt to be safe, right?” He started mumbling the safety prayer. “Dear Father, protect us from the things which can cause us harm, and keep us safe, so we can continue to do your work in this life.”

I held up my hands and made a cross too, just to be safe.

“They don’t look dangerous, do they?”

Muddy kept his fingers crossed, and pointed at the stack. “Isn’t everything dangerous if we don’t know what it is?”

I pointed at the board. “And that board, balanced on four talk, skinny boards. What is that? And how does it work?”

Muddy slowly approached the stack, and crouched down. “The skinny boards seem to be attached to the big one somehow, making a flat surface up in the air.” I crouched down to see for myself, as Muddy moved around the stack and studied it. “There are some strange silver colored things that seem to hold the skinny boards in place, and the big board to the skinny ones.”

I stuck my hand into the opening under the raised board. “Empty space. Nothing there. Why would anyone make a board float in the air, and then pile stuff on it?”

Muddy had the perfect answer, of course, “Why would anyone live in a cave under the ground?”

It was a cave. What else could it be. It was under the ground. “We’d have never found it if the board over the opening hadn’t blown away. Or whatever it did.”

Muddy nodded. “Yeah. It would have been invisible.”

We’d found the opening, after a big storm, with lots of wind. I got up with the sun, and headed to the fields. And there, on the side of the small hill I’d rested on many times, was a gaping hole. I’d called Muddy. “What the hell is that?”

We’d prayed about what to do, and asked God. Then, we stared into the dark hold. “Muddy. You stay here. I’m going to get a candle.” I’d come back a few minutes later. Muddy was still there, praying. I’d lit the candle, and we’d started into the hole. It was some kind of path. Strange for a cave, really. Almost like a big rectangle had been cut out of the ground. And it went down, into the ground.

We’d taken that path. And that lead us to the cave.

“Yeah. This is one strange cave.” I touched one of the cave walls. “The walls are smooth, and they don’t feel like dirt, or brick, or wood, or even rock.”

“Yeah. And it’s like the path. Like something cut a big box into the ground, with smooth walls. Almost like a room in the barn.”

I nodded. “It’s like it’s not natural.” That’s when we panicked. Not natural meant one thing. The Devil and his minions had made the cave.

“We need to get the hell out of here. Now.” Muddy was already running toward the path, to escape the cave. I followed him, as fast as my legs would run. We didn’t stop running when we escaped the cave.

“We need to get to Poppa. He’ll be able to call in the Church. They’ll know what to do. They’ll be able to save us from the Devil’s work in the hill.”

583 words
@mysoulstears


This is written for Week 62 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. Not certain if I’m able to write much these days. We’ll have to see. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

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Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2018/02/11 (A Second Entry)

November stood, half naked, in the pentagram inside the circle on her apartment floor. “Judgement day.” That’s what she called it. The day she set old fashioned, biblical demons free, so they could, and hopefully would, destroy the world of humans. Her world.

A world of money. Of power. Of greed. A world where no one believed in peace, and cooperation, and working with each other. Where it was always, “I’m gonna be the best!” No matter who you had to step on. A world where no matter what you did, you were always forgiven on Sunday, when you went to church.

She took the knife, and drew its blade across her wrist, as she thought the words she’d learned over so many years. Words in a language long lost to civilized people. A language from before the days of one God.

“One God my ass,” she thought again, “If there’s only one, how come all the religions that worship that one God are at war with each other? How come they hate each other’s guts?”

She remembered the headlines of the past few days. “73 Dead and over 400 Injured in Mass Shooting in Des Moines.” Iowa, of all places. “Temperatures Set New Record Highs,” For the 20th straight year. “Robots in Saudi Arabia Failing From The Heat, Oil Prices Going Up Again!”

“It never ends. Men, and money. That’s all that matters. Men and money.” She had watched her best friend, Josie, waste away in her apartment. Neither of them had the money for the medicine that would have kept her alive. They hadn’t been able to raise enough on the crowdfunding sites either. Josie slowly died. It started as the flu, and grew from there. Until she coughed up blood. And more blood. And her lungs slowly filled with that blood. And she died.

Because. Medicine was for real people. People who had jobs. People who contributed to society. Not freeloaders. Not lazy, good-for-nothing people. Didn’t matter that Josie worked 39 hours a week at the office, until she fell over, and blood leaked from her mouth onto her desk. And they sent her home. With a pink slip. She’d been part time. It was a “right to work” place. They could fire her for no reason. And they did.

And with no insurance, the prescriptions ate up all the money. All of it.

November still cried when she thought of Josie. “I’ll see you soon, love. I’ll see you soon.”

She watched her blood drip onto the brooch on her necklace. Her thoughts kept echoing the words she’d learned. Their plea to the gods of old to return, and save Mother Earth, Gaia, from humankind, and it’s never ending destruction. To burn the water, and the sky, with cleansing fire. To melt the ground, and watch it sink into the oceans, so new ground could be made. New, clean ground, unspoiled by humankind.

She remembered the time her father. Yes, her father, had come into her room one night. She was just a girl. Just twelve. How her father forced himself on her. Shoved himself between her legs. How that was just the start of years of hell, as she tried to find a way, any way, to escape him. Until she finally started walking one day. And kept walking. So he couldn’t find her.

She remembered her nights on the street. Cold. Hungry. And the men. God, the men. “Come here, little girl. I’ll keep you warm.” How she’d thought of fighting them. Of telling them no. Of running away. Until she saw the two naked girls, hanging from a street light. “This is what we do to those who fight back.” That’s what they told her. That’s what they said.

So, there she was, calling forth the old gods. They’d kill her, of course. She knew that. She was human, after all. But it didn’t matter. She’d be free from the world of men. A world that killed everything.

As she finished the words in her mind, and her blood dripped on the brooch, the brooch began to glow. She moved it behind her back. Pressed it to her skin. It burned. But it worked. The room began to fill with water. The door to her apartment burned to dust, the frame caught fire. And beyond, the darkness, filled with black clouds, was growing.

“May there be peace on Gaia once again. After the stain of humanity has been burned away.” That was the last thing she remembered, as the world caught fire, and the sky began to burn.

762 words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 41st week. The picture was so good, I had to write for it a second time. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Never felt the need to write a second entry before. But this week, with that picture, I had more than one story to set free. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/06/18

I studied the group of eight keys. “Antiques?”

Darien shook his head. “Nope.”

I picked up one of the keys. “What are these for?”

Darien smiled, “Those are the keys to souls.” He could tell by the way I fell silent and stared at the keys, I didn’t know what that meant. “You’re not in the physical world now. Stop thinking like you are.”

I put the key back, carefully. “The keys to souls?”

“Surprised?”

All I could do was nod.

“We all have them.” He reached in his pocket. “Here’s mine.” He pulled out a silver key. It looked like it belonged to the same set as the eight on the table. “Eventually, you’ll find yours.”

“There’s a key to my soul?”

Darien nodded. “There’s only one who doesn’t have a key.” I had a good idea who that could be. Darien could tell. He only smiled, and nodded.

“I have to ask, you know.”

“Go ahead. Ask. It’s the same question I asked millennia ago.” He nodded again.

“Why do we all have keys?”

Darien rested his hand on my shoulder. “Well. Now. There are some questions, it seems. For which there are no answers.”

He pulled me away from the table, and we continued walking through the garden. He’d called it, “The Garden of Eden.” I remembered his words, “It’s all true. All of it. Heaven. Hell. God, Satan. Jesus. The Resurrection.”

“So, the Christians had it right?”

I thought he’d been going to fall over from laughter when I said that. “I said it’s ALL true. ALL of it. That includes Mohamed, The Pope. The Imams.”

I’d kind of stood there, confused. “See. He,” Darien waved his arm in a big sweeping arch, “made it all. So, it’s all true.”

“So the Christians, and the Muslims?” I was still stuck on that concept.

“And the Pagans, and the Atheists, and the Jews…” Darien had listed more religions than I’d ever heard of. “… And all the others. All true.”

“But… “ I had been exceedingly confused.

“I know. Some of them are opposites. That’s because He changed His mind.”

As I thought of the words Darien had said that day, I found myself thinking out loud, “Perhaps He made the keys so he could turn off mistakes? You know. If He changes His mind.”

Darien paused. “You never really know, with Him.”

“Is that why Him and Satan went to war? Fighting over who controls the keys?”

Darien laughed again, “See? You’re still thinking like you’re in the physical world. Throw out the entire concept of good and evil, just and unjust, right and wrong. All of it.”

“How can I do that? There’s always good and evil, darkness and light.”

“If that’s true, tell me how many days and nights you’ve been here.”

I couldn’t.

“Tell me how long a day is.”

I couldn’t.

“Tell me which way is up, and which way is down.” Just for emphasis, he started walking upward, and instinctively, so did I. “And what is hot, and what is cold.”

“I get it, I get it.”

“No. You don’t get it. You understand the words, but it doesn’t make sense to you yet.” He grinned. “Give it time, and it will.”

“How long?”

“You ask me that here?”

Since then, I’ve learned more about the keys to souls. And while I haven’t found my key yet, I have encountered a few who have found theirs. And twice, I’ve seen a key used.

Have you ever seen an unlocked soul?

Until you have, you will never understand anything.

#FlashMobWrites 1×04 : Here Comes The Rapture

“We always looked to the stars for redemption.” Blue shook her head. “For someone to save us from the daily fires.” I could tell she cried. “And one day, new stars appeared.” That was us. My humans, from my Earth. “They grew brighter each day.”

“It was us. I’m sorry.”

Blue rested her hand on my shoulder. “It was not you. It is not your fault. It is the fault of others.” She continued her story.

…….

The stars grew brighter, and closer. We rejoiced. God the Father had sent his angels, his people, to rescue us. To take us to heaven. Where we would live in peace. Where we would love each other. Help each other. Where we would build a new world.

We gathered, thousands of us, as we watched the stars grow, watched them become ships, sailing through the vacuüm of space. Angels from Heaven. We watched the ships grow closer each day.

On the day they arrived, thousands of us gathered to watch the first ship land. We watched purifying fire from it scorch the earth where it would land. We waited. Until doors opened. Until a strange bipedal being, so very tall, walked out, with a flag, and a book. A dozen more like him surrounded him. They guarded him. Protected him.

We heard his words, in a language we did not know. “In the name of God, the Father, and his son, Jesus the Christ, we establish this foothold on another lost world. We commence the process of bringing another world from darkness into the light.”

He shoved the post holding the flag into the ground. He waved at the other angels around him. They faced us. They drew strange sticks from their clothing. They waved them at us. Beams of light slaughtered hundreds that day. And the man who planted the flag proclaimed, “Here comes the rapture, to yet another lost world. We shall cleanse this world, and bring it into your holy fold, our Father. Amen.”

……

I knew the truth. They were Christians, from my world, my Earth. Spreading through the galaxy. Hell bent on rescuing the planets everywhere from the hands of the devil. Cleansing one planet at a time, bringing it into the fold of Christianity.

“It’s why we’ve come, Blue.” I place my hand on her shoulder. “It’s why I’ve come.”

She looked at me. Her eyes filled with so many deaths. So much loss.

“We’re going to stop them.”

412 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this in response to the prompts and song for this weeks #FlashMobWrites Flash Fiction challenge. The weekly challenge is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in this week’s challenge.

#FlashMobWrites 1×01 : What Kind Of Man

Friday night, and here I am, alone, sitting in my reclining chair, a bottle of Jack Black on the table next to me, and the remote in my hand. She’s been gone five years now. She didn’t even say goodbye. I came home from work and she was gone.

I talk to God, the universe, life, whatever it is that’s there, “Hope she found what she was looking for.” I grab the Jack, turn the bottle up, and drink until it burns so much I can’t feel anything else. I put the bottle down, and try to breathe. “What to watch tonight?”

I pretend to surf the channels, looking for something to watch. A movie, the news, a documentary, I even check the religious stations. “Nope,” I quickly skip through the channels with people praying, “Not drunk enough to deal with it.”

She left me, ‘cause she had to. I didn’t really give her much choice. Kinda hard to live with a dead man, with a stone frozen heart. Between work, and the kids, and the bills, and the yard, and church every Sunday, I kinda went numb, and stopped feeling anything.

I still don’t really feel anything.

I grab the bottle again, and drink ‘till the fire in my throat makes me stop. “No tears, you wimp. No tears.” I find the sports channels, it’s Friday night, I know there’s a fight on somewhere. I settle on a channel airing UFC matches. Men, beating the shit out of each other. Good. I pretend I’m the winner in each match. Pretend I’m the tough guy, beating everyone else up. “Take that, you bitch!” I cheer when someone gets knocked out.

Cathartic release of stress.

I take another long chug of the Jack. After five or six matches, I’ve had enough. They all become the same. So, I go back to surfing the channels, until I find one of those shows about car chases and crashes. Watching stupid people be stupid. That’s always fun. “And after his joy ride, he spent 8 years as Bubba’s bitch in prison.” I laugh every time someone survives a horrendous wreck, and the narrator says, “He returned to the track three months later, only to crash again.”

“More Jack!” I chug more down as I look through more channels. I find the movie channels. Friday night boobs flash on the screen. “Boobs are good.” I watch a curvy blonde sitting on top some generic male, her boobs keeping time with her rocking motion. Too soon, the scene ends, and I change channels again. “There’s gotta be more of that somewhere.”

I end up on pay per view, where I buy, “Hot Navy Wives, And He’s At Sea”. Absolutely no plot. But by that time, I’m drunk enough to deal with it. And I don’t care I’m alone. And I don’t care there’s no one to hold.

By that time, I don’t feel anything.

And that’s how I want it.

WordCount : 493
@LurchMunster


I wrote this in response to the prompts and song for this weeks #FlashMobWrites Flash Fiction challenge. The weekly challenge is hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in this week’s challenge.

Another Lie

I have grown tired of trying to understand people sitting in judgement of those around them. People declaring, “You are evil. You are a spawn of Satan. You are going to burn in eternity with him.”

My psychologist told me, “Don’t touch religion, Marcus. For religion is irrational, nonsensical, and something people only see the way they want to see it. They don’t understand anything else about it.”

But I am angry. I am angry from having lived within a lie for over 40 years. The lie that religion, the church, is tolerant, and forgiving, and welcomes all. The lie that religion seeks to save people from Satan, and themselves.

Religion destroys families. It drives children away from their parents. It drives husbands and wives apart. It drives brother and sister apart. Oh, I know. I know. I can hear people screaming the words now. “Jesus said those who follow him will have to leave behind their families!”

You know. I don’t even care where it says that in the four Gospels of the Holy Bible, King James Version anymore. Because it’s been taken out of context so long it has no meaning anymore. It has become an excuse. A reason. Something people use to justify being unforgiving, intolerant, and judgmental.

Too many parts of the Bible have become the same thing. An excuse.

What about the part of the Gospel where Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan? Remember that story? The story every child learns in church. About the Samaritan that helped the man by the roadside, when the Jewish people, including the pharisees, and priests, ignored him, and walked by. Because he wasn’t one of them. Remember that story?

What about the parts of the Gospel where Jesus worked on the Sabbath. Picking grain in the fields, so he and his disciples could eat. Remember that story?

What about Jesus eating with the evil, heartless tax collector, hated by everyone. Remember that story?

Why am I wasting my breath? Why am I beating my head against the concrete wall again? Why am I pointing out things, stories, and tales, everyone knows, and many can recite by heart? I already know no one that needs to hear, no one that needs to listen, no one that needs to read, will.

Every word I say will fall on two types of ears. Ears that already know. That already understand. That already see how things are. How the church has become. And those that won’t hear. Those that will declare me a demon, trying to divide God’s people. Trying to separate them from God. They will not accept, in any way, the words of a heathen sinner such as me.

This is why I have walked away from the church.

This is why I shall never return to the church.

To me, the church has lost its way. It has become what it was in the time of Jesus, and his disciples. So wrapped up in its traditions, its own ways, its own beliefs, it no longer functions. It has become a club for those with the same beliefs. The same understanding of the words of the Bible. It has become isolated from the world, because the people of the church have decided it must isolate itself from the world.

The church no longer functions at God intended.

So, I have walked away. I have sought people who understand how the church no longer functions. That see it, and its people, for the judgemental, isolated, frightened, biased, and closed-minded people they are.

And I find it hilarious how the people of the church believe they are the victims of prosecution at the hands of the people they declare are Satan’s children. How they cry “We are persecuted!” when they persecute everyone not belonging to their religion. How they scream, “We are not allowed to follow our beliefs publicly!” when they raise their hands, and scream, “They’re practicing their religion in public! And it’s infringing my rights!”

I have grown tired of the double standards the religion of my youth has embraced.

I would say I feel disappointed and saddened, that I have had to walk away. But the reality is I’m angry. For I see this same double standard embraced by every religion. Every social group. Every cultural group. I see the same hatred everywhere I look. The Christians hate the Gays. The Gays return the favor. The Republicans hate the Democrats. The Democrats, in turn, hate the Republicans. Men declare there is no war on women, and women declare there is no war on men. And vice versa. It never ends.

So I have walked away from the church. Not because I have given up on God. Not because I don’t believe Jesus died to forgive me for the sins I have committed in this life. No. I have walked away from the church to find the truth. A truth I know is no longer in the church.

I seek the path of Jesus. Not the path of the church. Not the path of politics. Not the path of money. Not the path of success. Not the path of fame, or glory. I see the path of Jesus.

And I can no longer find that in the church.

I have to find that by walking alone. Seeking the guidance of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost. And finding others who have learned the same thing I have learned. That we have all forgotten the truth. That we are all lost. And need to find the grace, and forgiveness of God.