It had been nearly a century since the fall. He didn’t think he’d had a sense of time while his soul was being seared in its fiery crucible, but he had been aware of the passing of every day, every hour, and even the tiniest second of torture, shame, and regret.
That it had taken him so long to reach a state of correction and purification was a testament to his stubborn nature and moral weakness. All he had to do was give up his sins and make true teshuvah, but even once mortal life had departed his flesh, he continued to cling to his darkness.
Yet little by little, with the passage of time and in the company of incredible horrors, and even more horrible spirits, he progressed toward that goal which most human souls eventually achieve; a reconciliation with the Source.
Today was the day. He continued to rise through the stench and stale, smoky air of Hell, his sojourn in the realm of misery finally finished. Like a Divine spark, he flew high above the blaze, the inferno becoming a fading memory, as he soared into the fresh atmosphere of freedom and redemption. He was going home.
I wrote this for Saturday Mix – Opposing Forces, 26 May 2018 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Today, the idea is to take a pair of antithetical statements and use them in a poem, short story, or other creative work. They are:
- fresh and stale
- rise and fall
I bolded those words in the body of my story so readers could pick them out better.
I admit, the first thing I thought of was “bread” or “cake” but I decided to write something more interesting instead.
In Christianity, it is generally believed that you either go to Heaven or Hell when you die and that your stay is permanent and eternal, However, some branches of Judaism believe that except for the most evil souls (Stalin, Hitler), if your sins outweigh your merits at death, Hell is a horrible crucible wherein you may continue to confront your dark nature, and ideally, with the passage of time, make teshuvah (repentance) and eventually merit release to the Heavenly court to be reunited with the Source.
I thought I’d create a brief chronicle of my character’s “graduation.” I’m sure I’m not doing the concept justice, but after all, this is just a brief sketch.
7 thoughts on “Release”
You confused me with your introductory sentence. If your reference to the “fall” were intended to mean the literary one about the fall of humankind into sin in the ancient Garden of Eden in Genesis, I couldn’t imagine who might have been the soul in question — because Adam did not even *produce* his son Seth until 130 years after that fall. The only death reported with any certainty of being within that first century was that of Abel, but he was reported to have pleased Elohim with his offering; hence one would not expect him to fit your entrapped soul’s profile. There was one other nameless death reported, whom Lamech ben-Metushael claimed to have killed after being attacked (Gen.4:23). But that Lamech was the seventh generation in the line of Cain. If the example of the line of Seth is at all indicative, folks did not even begin to produce children within their first hundred years, because their average lifespan was closer to a thousand years. Consequently, Lamech was likely born at least eight hundred years after the fall, and his attacker who was described as a “young man” likely died no earlier than the tenth post-fall century. Even if he were the soul who needed the process you described, the timing is off by at least a millennium. I suspect most of those ancients whose souls might have needed such treatment were drowned in the Great Flood of the 16th century after the aboriginal “fall”.
Given that timely musing, it would seem that you must have envisioned some other event — something more personal to that tormented soul — as the “fall” which was followed by a perceived century of fiery correction. That, then, could have occurred, I suppose, at just about any time within the subsequent four-and-a-half millennia.
OBTW — upon further reflection — Cain probably died in about the ninth post-fall century, and his behavior definitely reflected traits of stubbornness such as you described. Hence his neshamah might have completed a century of the process you described just about a millennium after the aboriginal fall — still several centuries before the Great Flood would have flung a flock of folks into a similar Abyss.
Again, an interesting thought.
I used the word because it was one of the “required” words for the challenge, and in my mind, I imagined “fall into Hell” as in descend. You’ve provided enough details in your comment to completely rewrite my tale, but I probably won’t get the bandwidth to create it.
Great take on the prompt words. I enjoyed your response. Thanks for joining in the Saturday Mix 😊
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You’re welcome, Sarah. Thanks for having me.
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Always a pleasure
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