Review of Rich Rurshell’s Short Story “Subject: Galilee”

world war 4

© James Pyles

I’m continuing my slow review of the stories in the Zombie Pirate Publishing SciFi anthology World War Four (which also features my short story “Joey,” but right now, that’s beside the point). Today, I highlight Rich Rurshell’s tale “Subject: Galilee.”

Much of the symbolism echoes Christian themes, but Rurshell’s story takes place in the far future. A war is raging between two corporate factions, Liberty West which uses robotic warriors called “Romans,” and Zhang Industries’ human combatants. In between them and a village of peaceful people as well as defected soldiers, is the mysterious armored and cloaked being known as Galilee. He came out of no where, possesses enormous, almost god-like abilities, reprogramming the Roman machines to serve him, his armor all but invulnerable, and seems to be the savior that the world needs, that is until both corporations decide to make him a target.

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Psyche Poised Against Infinity

woman at night

Found at the High Style Life website – no photo credit available

Psyche stood on the edge of the rooftop contemplating the city’s nightlife far below. If anyone saw her swaying twenty stories above the street, they might vitiate her plans and try to persuade her to go indoors, or perhaps to a hospital, but suicide wasn’t on her mind.

Privately celebrating the occurrence of her twentieth birthday, she took a single rose pedal from inside her diaphanous gown, where it had been nestled between her breasts, and released it to the wind, letting the obsidian sky receive its tribute.

She knew the monstrosity was out there somewhere between the wind and the darkness and the sky, and she, her young, lithe body wrapped only in barely tangible moonlight, poised like a pigeon at the edge of eternity, chose no longer to have feet of clay, but the talons of an eagle.

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The Future King

peabody

© Google, 2017 – Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University

Twelve-year-old David Cohen experienced a rare moment of awe standing in the George Peabody Library. He’d been accepted in the Cantate, a part of the Peabody Children’s Chorus, certainly a tremendous honor, but a secondary achievement.

He had started reading at age two, mastered algebra at four, spoke five languages by six, and written his first symphony by eight.

His goal now was to devour the contents of this library in under six months, just as he had already consumed most data sources accessible online.

His mother used her influence as the President of the National Academy of Sciences to conceal David’s “talents.” If the government found out his IQ was rated somewhere between 300 and 450, they’d turn him into a lab rat when his ambition was to cure the ills of the world.

But even he had no idea that one day, he would be called King and Messiah.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw flash fiction challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149.

Today, the Pegman takes us to the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Of course, I looked it up, but it wasn’t until I paid more attention to the image above and imagined myself standing in the middle of that library that I got my “hook, or rather part of it.”

Of course, the information about the Peabody Children’s Chorus figured into my tale, as did the ScienceTrends.com article Here Is The Highest Possible IQ And The People Who Hold The World Record.

But there was still one piece missing. What sort of goals should David have? I’d picked his last name at random, but then I realized that if one were to become the long-awaited Messiah, one would certainly have to train for it.

Unlike Christianity, in Judaism, the Messiah isn’t a supernatural being, but rather a wholly human Jewish male of the line of David and the tribe of Judah, who would grow to become both a great military leader, and a person of remarkable wisdom and piety.

150 words didn’t give me enough “space” to describe his religious training and accomplishments, so they’ll have to be assumed.

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

Praying on the Shore of Eternity

jerusalem

Image: Xinhua/Yin bogu

“Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of eternity.” –Yehuda Amichai

Ever since the Israel-Palestinian Accords of 2022, it was illegal for a Jew to even visit the Kotel, let alone ascend to the top of the Temple Mount. The Muslim Holy places, the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, and the Dome of the Chain, would be soiled if a Jew even breathed the same air, or so it was said by the Islamic Mullahs. But Ezra Koen had grown up with as many Arab friends as Jews, so he knew which of the guards could be trusted to turn a blind eye…for a price (though the price these days was greatly prohibitive).

It had been fourteen years since a Jew had prayed on the Temple Mount, and the last man to do so, Rabbi Ari Boker, was arrested by the Palestinian State Police, and was rumored to have died in prison after a long period of torture.

Ezra was a nineteen year old Yeshiva student and already was thought to have a very promising Rabbinic career ahead of him, but lately, his most defining characteristic, at least in his own mind, was that he was a dreamer.

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