Hey folks. Here is another story I did a while back. As I’ve stated before, the purpose of this blog is to document my hopefully meteoric rise to published authordom.
This is, to the best of my knowledge, the third or fourth complete story I wrote, approximately four or five years ago. Now that I have three stories posted, in subsequent posts I will be comparing and critiquing them to show you the places where I failed, and hopefully some where I succeeded on at least some level.
*Warning: story contains a single use of profanity.
The chaos of light and color slowly congealed to form a blurred image. Sensation tingled and spread throughout his body like a warm bath. The world came into focus. Trees towered above him, falling into the sky as he looked heavenward. He sat up and looked around in confusion. He had no recollection of any events prior to waking. His memory was a blur, but something profound was hidden deep in the confusion.
He stood amidst the forest, clouded with amnesia, and crunching the leaves beneath his bare feet. His body ached, as if he had run for an entire day. He walked, taking a path through the trees that lead into the light, to a pasture in the distance. The sun was hanging low in the sky, a burning crimson teardrop. Shadows grew long across his path, the wind slowing to a breeze. It felt like an aftermath. The bomb had fallen, the plague had spread. The world was on pause.
A farmhouse neared in the distance. The placid façade of the building brought a feeling of emptiness rather than peace. Walking through the door, he knew the place was devoid of any life. The air was stale and a faint smell drifted through the empty rooms, though he was unable to indentify it. Rummaging through the closets he found a pair of shoes that fit his aching feet. He walked away from the house without seeing the words “suffer the little children” painted in blood on the living room wall.
From the farmhouse, he traveled a dirt-packed road, still unsure of his destination, or his past. Along the horizon, dark clouds pooled and swirled, thunder rippling out from beneath the pall of gloom.
As he walked, he wondered why the world had become so still. There were no sounds of cars, or jets. There weren’t any birds singing. Sound felt two-dimensional. The fields that lined the road were empty of cattle. He searched the sky for any sign of life, or answers.
Spires of skyscrapers loomed in the distance, reaching toward the sky to pierce the darkened heavens. The road connected to asphalt and led him directly towards the city. Just beyond the rise behind him, past his field of vision, the pastures were scattered with the corpses of once grazing cattle. Their bodies were a testament to death, a puzzle that had been solved, turned inside out.
Cars were stopped on the highway, lights on, some with engines running. He looked inside; empty. More cars followed, and the bodies of small birds dotted the landscape. It appeared they had died mid-flight and fallen to the ground broken.
Within the city, the streets were barren, trash and detritus fluttering about like feathers.
The tower, rising far above the landscape was always visible, pointing the way for him as he pondered the desolation. The alabaster walls of the tower dimly reflected the sun’s dying rays.
He found himself standing in front of the tower, a large courtyard surrounding the building on three sides. He stopped at the edge of the courtyard, staring absently at the mountain of bodies that lay before him, the corpses piled in heaps of bloody pulp. The entire area was littered with the remnants of an unearthly massacre. A smile lurked at the sides of his mouth, unnoticed by him.
Entering the building was easy enough. The doors had been destroyed, ripped from their hinges by tremendous force, shattering the concrete anchors. Bodies were strewn about the lobby, lying in crumpled heaps, discarded rag dolls. Corpses lined the stairs, each in a different state of dismemberment. Gore and offal painted the walls. He stepped gingerly over each of them, taking care not to touch their corrupted forms. After several flights of stairs he reached to apex of the tower. Opening the door to the observation deck, he walked to the edge of the balcony and was met with the grisly sight of a doomed city. He could see more piles of the dead scattered all throughout the ravaged streets. They had been collected, and piled like monuments of skin and bone, and blood.
From his left came a voice.
“Hello Jacob.” Hearing his name revealed everything that had been lost.
“Hello Michael.” Jacob walked to the edge of the lookout, not looking at the man perched atop the railing, large wings upon his back the color of storm clouds. Michael dropped to the deck, his bare feet soundless as a cat stalking a mouse. “You know they deserved it. They’re ants, just fucking ants.” Jacob lowered his head and wept. The clouds opened and it began to rain. Will it rain enough to wash away the blood, Jacob mused. He looked at Michael.
“Is he angry?” Jacob asked.
“What do you think?”
“What will happen to me?” Jacob looked desperately at Michael. Michael stood resolute, his grey eyes betraying no emotion, but seemed to emanate a sense of calm. His wings stretched, nearly touching both sides of the observation deck because of their immense size.
“That is for Him to decide. I am not your judge.”
Jacob seemed to consider this for a moment. He then stood, wiped his eyes, and turned to face Michael.
“All right,” Jacob said weakly.
Michael held out his hand to Jacob. Rain spattered Jacob’s face, blending with his tears.
“Will it hurt?”
“You know better than that.”
Jacob walked slowly, sullen, to Michael, and took his hand. Michael pulled him into an embrace. Thunder rolled across the sky, echoing in the stillness of the city. His wings closed around them. When he opened them again, Jacob was gone. Michael looked out across the horizon. The blood from the deck had been washed clean. As the last drops fell, the balcony was empty. In the distance, the sun fell beneath the horizon, casting darkness upon the city.
*Incidentally, when I wrote this, I had pictured Paul Bettany as Jacob. After seeing him in The Reckoning I thought he would make a great angel. Looks like I was right!