1000-word Short Story Challenge fo’ Chuck

So Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds challenged his minions to write a one thousand word short, based on one of ten different titles (see his post here). I rolled a nine, so I’m doing “Heaven’s Flood.”

Couple of expletives in this one, so please tune these out if they offend.

EDIT: I fixed the ending a little, as my friend ThePaperButterfly pointed out that it was a little unclear (thanks again!)


 

HEAVEN’S FLOOD

I woke to find myself dead.

I’m a quick-witted girl, but at first I didn’t even notice my punched card.
The pain of being eaten had faded, like those purple spots behind your eyelids when you’ve tried to watch a sunset.

I started figuring it out as I watched the dragon blast-off into the sky.

First clue: someone ran straight through me.

Second clue: when I lashed out at him, my arm? Translucent.
He stumbled, but ran on.

Third clue: my severed leg, trampled in the crowd.
It was a shapely leg. I’d worked out. In hindsight, might as well have eaten more ice-cream…

I watched Roger, still alive, his stupid hat on fire (again), handling the situation. All our years together, and not an eyelid batted for me now. He’d keep my ship.

Behind me, a man’s voice.
“Hello, Kioni.”

I turned to see him, skin even darker than mine, short grey hair and beard.
Two office ladies dashed through him, without a ripple.
Fourth clue…

Shit a hairbrush.

“You’re an angel?”
“Something like that. Would you follow me, please?”
A lift door opened in the air, and he held it.

I looked back at the burning stage. The screaming. Fireworks tearing the sky, dragon whipping to avoid them. I’d come so close… I could still?

“You are free to choose, but as you are now, there are limits.”

I spin-kicked a chair, with less effect than a stiff breeze.

“Let’s say I get in. Where am I headed?”

“Going up.”

“Sure you’ve got the right person?”

“No.”

I cocked one eyebrow, and wondered what his game was.

Looking back over my shoulder, I could see my leg still sitting where it had fallen. The square was clearing of people, leaving only corpses and scattered folding seats.
What could I do now, and where had anything gotten me?

The eternal sleep can be one hell of a wake-up call.

I stepped inside, and the doors closed.
Piano music.

Ding.

Over a million people waited in the foyer. I didn’t need to count them, there was a box displaying red numbers in seven digits.

“Angel, what the hell is this?”

“I believe it’s called ‘take a ticket and wait in line.’”

“I meant-”

“You know the System War?”

“World War Three?”

He waved his arm toward the lines, snaking around marble columns as far as the eye could see.

“But that was a hundred years ago.”

“Takes a while to process seven billion applications.”

And there was the ticket machine… Aww hell no.

“Follow me,” he said.

“Pardon?”
I looked at the last-in-line: smiling children, eyes forward.
“So I’m not with them?”

He was already walking away.

By the time I caught up, we’d arrived at the desks. When I looked back, the lift was no longer in sight.

The angel leaned on the counter, one among thousands.
I didn’t hear everything, but the words “expedited” and “upstairs” were uttered.

“Alright, you wait here. Mary will sort you out.”

I nodded, giving the same cheerful expression as the children holding hands at the end of the line.
He walked away.

I moved quick, getting to the wall. I made my way, head down, back toward the elevator.

“Hey!”

I kept going.

“You, Kioni, stop!” Two angels were flying to intercept me.
One gestured and wind slapped me.

I struggled another step, then planted my feet.

The other’s eyes blazed with light, forcing me to look away.

I breathed deep. Listened.

The sound of flapping cloaks.

Now!

Spinning kick.
Hammer-fist strike.

Wind-Boy’s head rattled like a Frosties kid’s BMX.
Mister-Headlights took the blow and flew, his wings catching him.

I remained perfectly still.

He swooped, eyes brightening again…

I closed my eyes, crouched, and shot upward.

My forehead struck bone.

And I was running again, not looking back. The lines shifted to let me through, staring.

A voice. “You’re not happy here?”

I turned and aimed a kick, but the angel disappeared and reappeared on my other side. I stopped running.
“How did you-?”

“I dream of a place and then open my eyes”.
He smiled at me. I looked away.

“I’m not staying here.”

“You don’t have to.”

“This is a test, isn’t it?”

“What could we be testing? You’re already allowed upstairs.”
That sounded great. Only… the things I’d done. Had to do. My ambitions… No way was I ready to kneel before the big guy.

“Maybe heaven would be good for you.”

“Pardon? Playing harps and diddling myself on a cloud?”
But he was right. The crew were on their own now.
Wanted posters? Gone.
The prejudice every day… Christ, this guy was proof that it didn’t matter here.

Everything that had fuelled my entire being, for as long as I could remember, but it had all been for me.

Tears fell on the marble floor of heaven’s waiting room.

“Why? I’m actually a murderer. What about those kids at the end of the line? What the actual fuck are you sheet-wearing sons of bitches thinking?”

The angel smiled.
“You pass.”

“Did any part of what I’ve said make you think I want in?”

“I’m not offering heaven. I’m offering you a job.”

My eyes widened.

“Then… the heaven thing?”

“If we’d said you were heading to Hell, and asked you to work for us, you’d do it.”

I nodded.

“But the ‘why’ is important.”

I heard the sound of running. “Seize her!”

I turned to see Wind-boy, Headlights, and a dozen more running towards me…

The angel glanced between them and me.

“But you said-?

“Listen. We’re all on the same side, but not everyone is playing the same game. You understand?”

I looked at the onrushing host.

“Kinda.”

“And you trust me?”

“No.”

“Good. Final test: what did I teach you?”

He winked and was gone.

The angels circled, glowing.

I scrunched my eyes shut, trying to imagine my ship.

I heard them lunge…

But when I opened my eyes, I was home.

 


Thank you for reading.

Best regards,

D.R.Sylvester

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About D.R.Sylvester

A Clinical Research Associate by day (google it), writer by night, D.R.Sylvester lives in Sydney, Australia with his patissiere wife and Siberian Wolf. His interests include travel, music (predominantly Metal), reading, & archery.
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7 Responses to 1000-word Short Story Challenge fo’ Chuck

  1. Mark Gardner says:

    I enjoyed this. The story is self-contained, but allows you to continue it if you are so inclined.

  2. I thought this was very entertaining 😀 You definitely grabbed my attention with the beginning and you had me guessing the whole time about what was going to happen. I’m a bit confused why the angels wanted her to work for them? I liked the protagonist and found it easy to connect with her. And the ending. . . I’m horrible at interpreting things XD Was it a dream?

    • I had worried that the end wasn’t clear. Damn. Thanks for pointing it out, I’ll work on a (little bit) longer version to foreshadow it more.

      You know the bit when the angel catches up to her by teleporting around? He explains to her how to do it then. You just close your eyes, dream of a place, and open them. 😉

  3. soulandquill says:

    Awesome short story, did you use characters or settings from other works of yours or was it all improv?

    • Thank you! I actually used a character that I’ve killed off. I missed them… The world is my existing story world, but this is a side of it that won’t be in the books (not the first few at least). She was an incredibly ambitious protagonist in my book, so I wanted to explore her response to death, and give a possible redemption for her. Thanks again for reading 🙂

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