Release

sparks

Sparks from a fire rising into the night sky. Photo credit: unknown.

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.

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No More Tears in Heaven

tears in heaven

Promotional art for Eric Clapton’s 1991 chart, “Tears in Heaven.”

“I don’t care what you do with it, I just want it gone,” Alex said, pointing at the dollhouse.

Beth was on her knees, her arms around Nicole’s favorite plaything. “Oh please, Alex. We gave it to her for her seventh birthday. She loved it more than anything else. Don’t make me throw it away.”

He stood defiantly at the threshold to Nicole’s bedroom. “Then give it away, a children’s hospital, the Goodwill, whatever, but I need it gone. I’m going to work now. When I get home, the dollhouse better not be here.” Then he spun and almost ran down the hall. He seemed so furious but Beth knew he was terrified. She should have been too, but she missed Nicole so much, she’d take her back anyway she came, even as a ghost.

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Not My Heaven

amusement park

© J Hardy Carroll

The ride slowed down and Jessie thought it was over. The man running it yelled, “Free ride” and it started again. He was dressed funny like the girl next to her.

“I’m Harriet. Isn’t this fun?” It was fun and scary. The sky was a different color and the children on the ride weren’t the same.

“Where are we?”

“Heaven, silly.”

“Am I dead?”

“We are but you can get off when it stops again.”

“Why am I here, Harriet?”

“So you know being loved by a Mommy and Daddy is better than anything else, even being in Heaven.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge for 19 January 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I pondered a number of different ideas for this one, from the sappy sentimental to murderous and dark. I decided to settle on “creepy carnival” but give it a happy ending. I thought about having Jessie actually die, but then figured I’d give her a break and a moral. Even being in paradise, I imagine the souls of all the children who died way before their time would still miss the Moms and Dads who loved them.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Trailer to Heaven

rainbow

© @Any1Mark66

There’s lots of beautiful scenery in Utah as you drive down Interstate 15 but that one part of my trip didn’t have any. Just flat, dry desert and sagebrush. Sure, there’s the odd building or two, but nothing you’d want to stay in. Well, except maybe for that trailer sitting there just off the highway.

No pot of gold or leprechaun lives there, but all the same, everyday when the sun is shining, there’s a rainbow that ends right at the trailer, visible from any angle. What causes it? Beats me. No one goes near, though. Something happens if you try. It gets harder, like walking through water until it’s like walking through rock.

I drive to Southern Utah to visit Mom sometimes. She’s not doing so well. Dementia, you see. She’s the only one who knows why there’s a rainbow over that trailer, though.

“That’s the entrance to Heaven, Jimmy. That’s where your Dad went when he passed.”

I didn’t believe her but then I looked into her eyes. There were rainbows in them.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of January 16, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image at the top of the page to inspire you to author a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

That desert could easily be found in some parts of Utah and most parts of Nevada and I have made the trip to Mom’s more than a few times. I didn’t want to write about leprechauns or pots of gold, so I had to think of another treasure. Fortunately, the answer presented itself.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Return to the Mysterious Island

styx

From the 2012 film “Wrath of the Titans”

The 25th Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

“What?” Landon was surprised to still be alive. Somehow, when he heard the coin in his head say it was hungry, he thought it was hungry for him and that in some magical way, he was being eaten.

He sat up and looked around. It was darker than night. He was on an island on a plateau near the highest point.

The sky was black. The water all around the island was black. The island itself was made out of black rocks and dirt. Worst of all, he knew where he was. He’d been here before.

“The island on the River Styx, the River of Death.”

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The River Between Heaven and Hell (Part One)

styx

From the 2012 film “Wrath of the Titans”

The Seventeenth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

“My name is Yao Jin and I need to speak to your grandson. It is an urgent manner.”

The Chinese woman at the door spoke English formally, like someone who had learned it from a textbook, but her tone, facial expression, and body language told Grandpa she was terrified and desperate. On top of all that, she was dressed in a simple but full length cloak, which was odd clothing for a warm summer afternoon.

“Well of course you can come in, but why do you need to speak to my grandson?”

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Ascending Sparks

sparksThis experience, to give life, to watch it grow, to be torn apart by it, to receive pleasure from it, and to give life again—for this the soul descended from its ethereal heights.

And when it shall return to there, enveloped in these memories, it will finally know their depth. And with them travel ever higher and higher.

“Life’s Memories”
-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Based on the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory
Chabad.org

I’m so tired. I can’t remember when I didn’t feel exhausted. I wake up exhausted. I barely have the strength to lift a spoonful of soup to my mouth. My bladder only can hold on so long anymore before I either make it to a toilet or embarrass myself. I have a hard time remembering what I did last week or even yesterday.

I am so old.

But I do remember many things before yesterday and last week.

I remember watching “Gunsmoke” when I was five, and trying to outdraw Marshall Dillon with my toy six-shooter (I never could).

My Dad was in the Air Force and we lived in Spain near Seville when I was little. Instead of Santa Claus, one of the Three Kings from the Bible (well, not a real one) would ride the streets of our neighborhood in a horse-drawn wagon. I got my picture taken with him once.

My Dad pointed up to a shiny thing in the night sky and told me it was called “Sputnik”. I didn’t find out until decades later that the satellite couldn’t be seen by the unaided eye and what we were looking at was one of its rocket boosters tumbling end-over-end in low orbit.

I remember when we had vinyl 45s and to play them on a record player, you had to put this funny disk thing in the big hole in the middle so it could fit on whatever the little stem sticking up in the middle of the turntable was called.

I remember the one-eyed, one-horned blind purple people eater.

I remember my Dad growing roses in our yard when we lived in Spain.

I remember getting sick on the airplane when we flew back to America.

I remember getting lost after my first day in first grade when we lived in Omaha. My Dad came and found me. I was so scared. I was only six.

I remember always getting picked last for sports during recess at school because I couldn’t run very fast and I was lousy at throwing and catching.

I had a crush on a girl when I was in the second grade. I got teased about it a lot.

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