JUNE WEATHER 106 – Short Story Contest

TOPIC: UNUSUAL WEATHER

THEME: Atmosphere

SETTING: The climate goes from one kind to another. You decide if the climate goes from dry to humid, sunny to cloudy, hidden to revealed, calm to sudden disaster, non-habitable to habitable, etc. Throughout your story, your character experiences a race against time.

SUBMISSIONS: Post your story in the comment section below.

3 HIGHLIGHTS (include): a race against time, a wise person, something falls from the sky

WORD COUNT: 750-1,500

DEADLINE: The deadline is always the 25th of the month – Friday, June 25, 2021

PRIZE: Winner receives a book!

AWARDS: Each story will receive an award!

SUBMISSIONS: Post your story below in the section provided while the contest is open.

3 PROMPTS TO GET YOU STARTED:

1.) Your character lives in a secluded, desolate area called the Hanging Gardens where only ten people can live. A wise teacher has taught your character how to read and write, and how to survive harsh conditions of regular derechos (fast moving windstorms) far away from civilization. Trouble sets in when an eleventh person is added, due to a love relationship. Your character is chosen to leave or die. You decide if your character leaves or if your character make the new person leave or some other ending.

2.) Your character is a wise engineer who must save a historical monument from getting destroyed, perhaps it might be destroyed by a powerful time bomb or a group of rioters. A villain might be seeking revenge against an organization. You decide which monument is at risk. You decide which organization is being terrorized. You decide if a tornado wipes out the criminals or if a thunderstorm strikes one of the criminals. You decide if a flood or a firestorm stops the criminal from carrying out his criminal activity.

3.) Your character speaks to a wise person who tells him the worst blizzard in history is going to hit their town. Your character must hurry to the story before the blizzard hits. Three or four people get in his or her way. An angry neighbor does not like your character. Another person is selling something. Another person needs help which slows your character down. You decide if your character ever makes it to the store.

WINNER(S) and AWARDS will be announced on July 1, 2021.

OPTIONAL RESOURCES:

You can find additional optional conflicts in “Writers 750 Emerald Workbook” written by H.M. Schuldt

ITEMS THAT MUST BE INCLUDED

1.) A race against time

2.) A wise person

3.) Something falls from the sky

Creating Atmosphere

Explore the five senses. Use better verbs and adjectives. Use personification such as “scratching his brain.” Use topical terms from a category of your choosing

Figures of Speech

Analogies compare two things in order to show a similarity between something known and something more unknown. Include similes and metaphors. Explore onomatopoeia, puns, hyperbole, and assonance.

A wise person

Wise people include a scholar in a particular field, philosophers, scientists, writers, political critics, artist, theologian, humanist, mathematician, physicist, astronomer, botanist, geologist, and novelist.

CONTEST GUIDELINES – Skip over this section if you are familiar with the Writers 750 Program.

GENRE: Fantasy, Thriller, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Crime, Comedy, Romance, or a mixture (No erotica)

PURPOSE –
The main purpose of this contest is to practice the skill of writing fiction, explore conflict and character development, write a new short stories, and receive good feedback.

RULES & DIRECTIONS –
• Type in English – a minimum of 750 words; a maximum of 1,500 words

• Post your title and word count total in the first line of your story posting.

• Writers are responsible for their own copyright. Authors keep all rights. PRIVACY POLICY IS ENFORCED. COPYRIGHTS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS BELONG TO INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. THIS CONTEST DOES NOT GRANT ANY PERSON THE RIGHT OR LICENSE TO COPY OR USE OTHER STORIES. EACH STORY IS PROTECTED BY THE COPYRIGHT OF THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR.

• ONE entry per person, must be the writer’s original work, a final revision, and a new piece of writing. Please do not delete and re-post since this becomes confusing to the readers. Make sure to post your final revision.

Post your story in the comment section below.

8 replies on “JUNE WEATHER 106 – Short Story Contest”

Thank you Heather and to everyone who voted for my story. I really enjoy reading and voting each month. These last 3 months have been the most fun I have had writing in a long time.

Awards and winning story for “June Weather”

Guidance of the Wise One by F. F. Burwick
Best Rebuilding

Running From Veronica by Paul Ahnert
Best Survival

The Way of the Wisers by Toi Thomas
Best Rain World

God is Good by Glenda Reynolds
Best Mercy

CHEERS by T. Turner
Best Near Death Experience

True Genesis by Arthur Chappell
Best Fallen Angels

Winning story for June Weather was Running From Veronica by Paul Ahnert – Congratulations! We can all identify with Veronicas in our life for sure!

Guidance of the Wise One by F. F. Burwick 1372 words

Billy came to the Bengen he used to know as his grandpa. He had learned a great deal about how to bring people together, and how to speak to persons in power with persuasive speech. There were approaches for dealing with issues to humanity in the world that he had learned. But with all this learned, this young man had to return to the Bengen after one of his travels with a mission to meet with a leader in a powerful position. He knew where to find the Bengen, still in a structure much like a stall in outward appearance and size, not far from the home he grew up in with his sprightly elfin mother. Within that structure the Bengen would be found in, it was still with very comfortable accommodations.

Billy found him, and he said, “Sir, after all I have been doing, with a following now, reaching people in positions of power as I have learned to do, I know now it is too late. Nothing is going to save them. It has all gone too far.”

The Bengen agreed, “It has gone too far. But would that mean it is too late, for anything? Even if everything collapses, all you still would do will still contribute to some more being saved. That is still worthwhile, do you see?”

“But the changes are going to be extreme, right?”

“Yes, the temperatures during this summer are going up much higher than they have previously in the lifetimes of these people.”

“So there is no more time to stop that!”

“There is time, though there is urgency to deal with it before that time runs out, to keep future years from being even much worse. What is needed then is for you to gather people from those you already have following you for the activism to gather what all among you can, and move from your homes in the urban areas, and farm what you can have growing, in fertile places that you can acquire further inland and in some higher elevation, away from those urban areas. Use your communication skills and make your efforts a model for more among other people to do similar things with others who they know. There is indeed not much time for this. Certainly crises are coming to the urban areas. But more people changing to that farming way you would model will lessen the effect of the coming changes in weather and climates.”

Billy could tell the weather had started warming in ways above how it had been in previous years, now that summer was quickly approaching. He took the Bengen’s words seriously, and went to homes and institutions where he knew various followers he had would be found. He told them that all that they had done in speaking to the public and in their activism meant that now time had come that they must quickly model the way they and many others should go live, while crises with the weather changes were coming very soon to the urban areas.

Most of them believed Billy’s assessment, and they made arrangements they could, along with helping to spread the communication to others they could reach, for groups of them to form for moving to land further inland and higher in elevation, where they would grow and farm things they needed. Billy could not have started all that himself, but his life was with preparing for such possibilities with reaching people to start with and gaining a following for things he said, and having contacts in important places. This resulted in more than a dozen separate small communities where the people grew things and farmed, for what was needed, and diminished what they were acquiring from urban areas.

That summer was terrible. There were cities in a lot of places where temperatures shot up much higher and with drier conditions, water was becoming unavailable while fires raged in the surrounding countryside. There were other places where rain fell, but now much heavier, and there were more places seriously impacted by hurricanes, or tornados. Seastorms brought in more flooding, and waters then were not awaiting. By the end of the summer, there were many cities in ruins. People that could fled to places outside of cities where they could find or make shelters for themselves, but these were too inadequate, and in most places with the circumstances many were starving.

The small communities that had already separated in further locations from dependence on any cities or transported goods, with having enough growing, from Billy’s leading, fared better. They were far out of the way, fewer people that fled the nearest cities by the end of that summer found any one of those new farming communities. These small communities, which had at the start one, two, or several dozen individuals, did not turn those others who came to them now away, or heard things from them. Those now fleeing to them were taken in, and were shown how they must live, among them, from now on. There was farmwork, and there were prepping, cooking, cleaning, and constructing chores.

The crises among the rest in the world was not over, but now continuing on. Only those living in this farming way, away from where more flooding was going on, and the places that were now deserts, fared better, with ways that they could always continue.

Billy had settled in with the way things were now in the small farming community he was staying at, where it had been further inland, but now the shoreline of the intense raging sea was not far from there. He was on cleanup duty for the evening, when he saw there was an unexpected stranger coming up the way from the community gate to this small farmhouse. Billy went to the door to permit him entry, expecting he would willingly go through the admission process. When Billy saw the newcomer more closely, he was surprised to see it was the Bengen, who had been his guide.

“You found me here! I never found out what happened to you, when the crises of the summer hit.”

The Bengen answered, “I knew to be safe, with the crises coming from all that was neglected, I went to the Bengen tower, and your mother went there with me, away in the mountains. There we are in communication with the equipment there with other Bengens, and your mother’s elven relatives. We had worked at saving a great many of humanity from the disasters coming from their civilization, your farming community and all those others that started thanks to your leading, which your education from me was for, are the major part of that work from us. Many were saved that way, though we as well as all of you wish it had been more. Because of the leaders you convinced to make needed changes, the disasters were not much worse, and there is real hope for the world’s recovery now, there would not be that otherwise. I need to still guide you in ways for having the people rebuild with you, while I am yet here, and you should rebuild guiding others not come to such mistakes that lead to further worsening, still, but having ways for the world to recover, which will still take a long time.”

Billy asked, “Where would you go then?”

“As a Bengen, I will join with other Bengens in going to another reality of existence we have access to where we live in the Bengen way, with stewardship over our homeland there that is needed. There is a passage into a place of elves where your mother will go to be with relatives she has been in contact with.”

Billy said, “So, then, I will not see you then after that. And my mother will be gone then too.”

The Bengen said, “Because of your important role in our work for this world, and your connection by descent, after seeing this and other new communities developing as they should in the slowly recovering world, you will be visited and guided then to the way of passage to that place of elves where your mother goes before you. You will see her again.”

Running From Veronica
Paul Ahnert
1403 words

RUNNING FROM VERONICA

“Well, It’s Hurricane season again, and this time, I am not going to watch my life blow away!” Arthur was busy packing up what little he had left and what little he managed to replace from his loss the previous year. He was happy he had beaten the calendar and was getting away before the first hurricane of the season formed. Templeton, his Pit-Shepherd mix, looked up at him curiously as he spoke. Templeton had a very expressive face and a knack for appearing as if he understood everything Arthur said. Arthur only wished Templeton could speak back.

It was almost a full year ago when Hurricane Veronica blasted through. Arthur knew it would be a life changing storm as soon as he heard the name on the news. Veronica had been the name of his ex-wife who, six years earlier, had inexplicably, burned all his clothes, packed up her stuff and left without so much as a note of goodbye. A month after Veronica left, divorce papers arrived in the mail with a return envelope and a note requesting his signature. When Arthur sealed the envelope, he sealed a chapter of his life and never heard from Veronica again.
Well, he never heard from that Veronica again, the next Veronica to enter his life had been equally devastating.

When Hurricane Veronica (the storm, not his ex) approached his small island home, Arthur knew it would be bad, like you know a root canal is going to be bad. Only imagine five root canals and no pain medicine before or after. He prepared the best he could, the best anyone could, having never experienced a Category Five hurricane, but, he soon realized his preparations were far less than adequate!

Arthur’s first clue he was ill prepared was when the dead limbs from the tree in his front yard broke free and slammed against his house, one coming right through his window. He managed to drag the mattress from his bed over to the window and prop it up with a table.

Templeton whined and watched from the corner so Arthur moved him to the bedroom closet for safekeeping. No sooner than hearing the click of the closet door, Arthur heard a great crash in his kitchen. Running in to investigate, he discovered a bathtub, who knows from where, had crashed through the back door into his kitchen, smashing into and destroying his refrigerator. His mind spinning as chaotically as the storm outside, Arthur randomly considered finding the owner of the bathtub and working out an arrangement, the stranger could use his bathtub and he could store things in the tub owner’s refrigerator.

His thoughts were interrupted when he heard the great crunching sound of wood being torn loose from his living room. Arthur ran through the kitchen doorway in time to watch as a large section of the roof over his living room was wrenched off and disappeared into the angry black clouds devilishly churning in the sky above his now compromised home. Wind and rain poured into his living room creating what looked like a mini vortex. The little tornado swirled around his living room and Arthur watched helplessly as his compact disc collection was sucked up and spun around the room. Over five hundred CDs swirled like dervishes breaking and being broken as they clacked and smacked against furniture and glass. As the CDs wreaked havoc and destruction, wind howled through the broken kitchen door, causing the kitchen cabinets to open and close slamming out of sync with one another creating a terrible cacophony to join the horrific roaring wind and sound of breaking plastic and glass in the living room.

Feeling as if he were in some crazed funhouse designed by maniacs and paralyzed by fear, Arthur crouched low in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room holding his ears thinking his life was about to end when he heard a great whoosh and watched his entire CD collection shoot up through his roof as the indoor tornado retracted back into the sky. Rain continued to pour in through his broken roof, but at least the wind began to subside and the maddening racket in the kitchen stopped as well.

Torrential rain continued to pour through the hole in his roof and Arthur realized his house was becoming flooded, very quickly. His red velvet couch, lifted by the flood water, floated across the room and slammed into the front door, splintering the door from its hinges. The flood water inside the house coursed through the broken doorway joining the floodwaters outside sweeping the couch out the door, down the driveway and into the street which flowed like a small river. The last Arthur ever saw his couch was when it floated to the end of the street and around the bend.

Then, just as if someone had thrown a switch, the wind and rain stopped, the sky was clear and the sun shined down into the demolished living room like a spotlight. Amid all the destruction and chaos, a very curious thing happened. Arthur watched, bewildered, as a single compact disc jewel case fell through the hole where his roof used to be and clattered to the wet floor. Retrieving the CD, he saw it was Crystavox, an 80’s hair metal band who only released two albums. Over five hundred CDs flew up into the sky and only one came back down. Arthur was happy to get it back.

Feeling shell shocked, Arthur walked, almost zombie-like, to his bedroom to check on Templeton. Opening the closet door, Arthur discovered his best friend had passed the time chewing up every pair of shoes he owned. Only two shoes remained uneaten, unfortunately the shoes were not a matched pair. The only consolation was one uneaten shoe was a left shoe and the other a right. Arthur was a pitiful sight when he arrived at the emergency shelter, disheveled, soaked and wearing one brown loafer and one white tennis shoe.

Now, about a year later, after having battled with the insurance company, overseeing repairs and putting the house on the market, Arthur and Templeton were packing up the last of his modest possessions ready to close on the sale of the house. The furniture and larger items had been boxed up and shipped to the mainland and Arthur stuffed the last of his clothes and personal items into a shoulder duffel, the last item to go in, the Crystavox CD.

Arthur made his way to the charter plane, looking forward to a new chapter of life when he heard his name. “Arthur, how are you?” He turned and saw Pastor Mike from the shelter he stayed at the previous year while his house affairs were sorted out. “Pastor Mike, how are you? Long time no see”, Arthur exclaimed as he reached out to shake the minister’s hand. Pastor Mike had been a source of great comfort and wisdom during the dark days after Veronica (the hurricane, not his ex). “Looks like we will be sharing the flight,” Pastor Mike said happily. Mike looked down at Arthur’s shoes and remarked, “nice to see you have matching shoes on today, I trust everything has worked out for you then?” Arthur recounted his plans for the future to which Pastor Mike said, “You know, Arthur, there will always be Veronica’s in your life, whether they be horrible ex-wives, devastating hurricanes or any variety of calamity that befalls us. The main thing is knowing you are not facing the Veronicas of life alone.” Arthur remembered how much he had enjoyed late night conversations with Pastor Mike at the shelter and actually looked forward to the two hour plane ride and the opportunity to share in the man’s wisdom at least one more time.

Pastor Mike said a little silent prayer asking for just the right words to share with Arthur, knowing this would probably be his last opportunity to share the Gospel with him. The men climbed the airstair together, with Templeton leading the way, catching up on the last eight months or so when they reached the top of the steps and both men stopped suddenly. Much to the bewilderment of the pilot standing just inside the plane greeting her few passengers, both men burst out laughing as they noticed the name tag on the pretty pilot’s uniform – it read “Veronica”.

The Way of the Wisers
by Toi Thomas
1268- word count.

The rains had started three months prior. They were warm and calm. They were peaceful rains, the kind you could dance and splash in, at least that’s what I was told. Celebrations broke out across the globe. The Deserting was coming to an end, albeit not soon enough for all the lost lives, crops, and livestock. But then, we all thought, was a chance for things to start over- to begin anew.

At first, the rains were so slow and so new to us all, that we immediately began to collect it in barrels, pools, and even jars if we had any to spare. It was Old Man who told us, our efforts were futile. He began to chant the Wisers legend and warn the people of the dangers the rain would bring, but everyone was too happy to listen. We were all too busy drinking and bathing ourselves into a stupor. And then, the rains kept coming.

Old Man once told me that in certain parts of the world, kids went to school. Special buildings set up just for the purpose of education. There were teachers, and professors, and tutors, and all sorts of smart people just lining up to share their knowledge with the youth. Apparently, because they weren’t paid well, these scholarly (that’s a word I’d learned that means not only smart but educated) people were dismissed or ignored when they warned the world that The Deserting would come.

They all got together and held grand speeches called lectures and wrote special papers called essays and articles. They predicted the flood would come first. Guess there used to be ice (solid water) near the global polls. From what I understand, most of that ice melted and almost half the population was wiped out. Only then did the others start listening to the Wisers, but it was too late. Ten years after the floods, the rains and snows (wasn’t even sure what that was then) stopped, and everything began to dry up.

Old Man told me if more of us had schooling the way he had as a kid, we wouldn’t have been celebrating when the rain started. We’d have been preparing. He said the land had been too dry for too long and could not take in the water and when the rain didn’t stop the New Flood came.

Old Man, like many, didn’t make it past the first month of the New Flood, but he had started me on a new path before he passed away. He had been rushing- trying to prepare his ship for a long voyage but died just after completing it. He left me a note and told me that the answer to our survival was near the poles. I and a few other scraggly survivors started manning his ship, which I decided to call Old Man in his memory. We set out in search of the Wisers, who supposedly hid in safety away from everyone else just after the Last Rain.

We didn’t know what else was going to fall from the sky. There had been rumors of electricity that shoots down from the clouds in a snap and boils the waters below. I was hoping that was people just being imaginative. We didn’t know if or when the rains would stop, but whatever happened, we hoped the Wisers would be able to help us. According to Old Man, we only had another few weeks before there was no turning back. If we didn’t find the Wisers before the next full moon, we may not have been able to save what was left of this world.

Our mission was to find the Wisers and see if they really had developed some way to cultivate and manage usable land and drinkable water, all while, apparently, living underground or in the ocean. The truth was no one really knew what we were looking for. The Wisers were a myth for as long as I could remember, but one thing about their myth reined true then. The rains had returned with a vengeance and the Wisers were our only hope.

I had no idea how cold cold could get but sailing closer and closer to one of the poles was worse than dealing with intense heat. We had grown up used to intense heat, but this (what I later learned was called frigid) cold was something new. On our way there (wherever there ended up being), we discovered ice and I recalled more of Old Man’s teachings. He told me we would reach a point where the water would be liquid and solid at the same time, but I didn’t really believe it until I saw it. Old Man said it used to get cold enough for miles of ocean to freeze to the point where you could walk on it, but now the globe is just too warm for that. I guess my idea of warmth and the globe’s idea of warmth were very different.

As the full moon approached, sailing through the almost frozen ocean became too much for our inadequate ship to bear. Old Man’s efforts had gotten us pretty far, but then we were stuck, inching along in whatever direction the slush would take us. For days we waited, and counted, staring at the night sky to see when the point of no return would arrive. Then something fell out of the sky and landed on the deck of our ship.

It was a message attached to an arrow. I picked it up and read it to the remainder of the Old Man crew. “We are coming to help you. We’ve been waiting for you.” Shortly after, a ship like none I’d ever seen rose up from the icy water, and people, as normal as anyone I’d ever met, popped up from metal chambers and greeted us with food and water and welcomed us into their ship.

The Wisers were more than any of us could have ever imagined. They were an entire civilization, generations of people, born and raised and educated on what to do when the rains returned. For decades, almost a century, they had studied the interior of the globe and tested methods for bringing back balance. They build huge digging machines that created tunnels from one end of the globe to another, joining all landmasses.

Once the Wisers had secured all of us Old Man survivors; plus, other surface survivors from around the globe who’d taken on a similar journey, they put their restoration plan into effect. They set off explosives in strategic locations allowing the surface waters to fill in and flood the great tunnel system they’d created. For weeks, we all remained underground while special groups went out to set up water capturing systems or used special tools to break up the land for cultivation. The New Flood came and went, and the world wasn’t destroyed.

The rains did eventually level out. Coming and going in what the Wisers called a normal pattern. The surface survivors and Wisers began to mingle and live together peacefully, some choosing to remain underground while others rebuilt the surface. When the first snows returned, we held a great celebration that has become a yearly tradition. Some people have even begun to celebrate lightning- which I’m still dismayed to know is a real thing. It’s funny looking back on how it all played out. I recently started giving tours of the Old Man and telling my story as part of a history exhibit in a museum. And get this; the young ones now call me, Old Lander.

God is Good
By Glenda Reynolds
1,024 words

God is good. I believed that until today. Now an innocent man, stripped, beaten, bloodied, and bruised, hung on a cross while Roman soldiers gambled for his robe. If only he would call down angels from heaven to rescue him and to avenge him, but he would not. What greater purpose did his life serve other than healing and preaching? Why did he even bother rescuing me from being stoned to death when I still face a cruel world? What hope was there for me if even this innocent prophet and great teacher faced a tragic end?

*****
When I was born, my parents named me Netanya meaning “gift from God”. I would grow up to even question that myself. I even overheard my mother whisper to my father that they should’ve named me Machla which means “affliction”. I never tried to honor my parents after that. I did as I pleased.

As I grew into a young adult, my life was filled with drink and wild abandon. I was frequently invited to Herod Antipas’s palace. The guests had their fill of food and wine while music played the whole night long. There were some young men that took an interest in me. I was too drunk and gullible not to fall for their trap. They dragged me away to a private corner to rape me. The guests were too intoxicated and too busy laughing and partying to even notice what was happening. There was little I could do to fend off my attackers. A tall young man grabbed the shoulders of my attackers and struck them in their faces with his fist. They would be out for the rest of the evening. I came face to face with my rescuer whose name was Lantz. He was more of a quiet person who didn’t draw attention to himself. But it turns out, he came to my aid for selfish reasons. You see, he observed me the entire evening. He wanted me all to himself.

And now he had me.

There was a new prophet Jesus who preached to the crowds. I took the time to be amongst the masses under the sweltering sun to listen to his words. It was as if someone were knocking on the door to my heart. Many people traveled a long way to be healed. He even fed them from a few loaves and fishes which was a miracle in itself! All this happened under the watchful eyes of the Jewish temple leaders. It made them furious. They wanted him dead just because he showed compassion to a man and healed his withered hand on the Sabbath.

While I sat amongst the listeners who came to hear Jesus, I remembered that I had agreed to meet with Lantz. He had promised me a romantic time of wining and dining. I wanted to be there to show not only my gratitude for his protection but also to show him my affection for him. As I stood to go, I could feel the eyes of people on me but no more than Jesus. There was an odd feeling inside of me that it wouldn’t be the last time I’d see him today.

Once I entered Lantz’s house, I quickly realized there was no special preparations at all for a quiet romantic time around the table. I found Lantz in a strange mood, somewhere far from me in his mind. That quickly changed. He showered me with kisses; his hands were on me everywhere. We made love then afterward spent time quietly lying side by side. All was perfect until some men burst through the door. I threw my clothes on the best I could. The men took hold of me to force me out of the house. I screamed for Lantz to help me. I turned to look at him as he sat there untouched and alone. There was a blank stare on his face, so unfeeling.

He never cared for me at all.

It was a setup: he was the bait, I was the victim. I continued to scream his name until a fist hit my face to shut me up. I was driven down the street like a lamb surrounded by snarling wolves. I knew that time was running out for me. The crowd of angry men stopped near the temple. I noticed that every single one of them had large rocks to stone me with for the sin of adultery. Jesus happened to be there. The men said that I had been taken in adultery; according to the Law of Moses, I should be stoned. They kept demanding an answer while Jesus wrote things on the ground.

“All right, hurl your stones at her,” replied Jesus. “But he who has never sinned may cast the first stone.”One by one my attackers dropped their stones and walked away.

“Where are your accusers?” he asked me. “Didn’t any of them condemn you?”

“No, sir,” I said after looking all around.

“I don’t condemn you either. Go. Sin no more.”

He helped me to my feet. I looked into his eyes. He looked into my soul. I was at peace
.
Until now.

My world was collapsing at the site of the crucifixion. Jesus quoted scriptures and forgave the people who had him crucified all while he was suffering a criminal’s punishment. When he dismissed his spirit, the sky quickly turned from sunny to stormy, as if the very sins of the world were being laid on him, he was absorbing it all. The ground quaked beneath our feet. Lightning struck multiple times on the hill of Golgotha where blood mingled with the rain.

My world was dark with despair at seeing the great prophet die. But I later learned he was more than a prophet. It was God’s plan all along that he would come to live among us and to die for the sins of the world. He rose from the dead, although guards that guarded his tomb were bribed to spread a rumor that his body was stolen by his disciples.

He lives. And his Spirit lives within me.

CHEERS
by tturner 1073 words

Michael reclined on the sofa with a cheap bottle of scotch on the coffee table in front of him. He was oblivious to the howling wind outside pelting the window panes with tiny pieces of debris as he stared at the flickering flames of the two candles burning on the table. He had finished a second glass and was working on a third when his mind sailed away to another place, to a parallel world, if you will. It was a place where he felt warm and safe since she left him on that cold stormy night which seemed liked years ago. Although, it had been only two days since that fateful night. Why did she have to go, he repeatedly asked himself, to God, and to anyone who would listen?

Then, he heard the door open and when he turned to look, there she stood. Her clothes were wet and rainwater dripped from her long brown hair puddling on the hardwood floor. He couldn’t believe his eyes. She had come back after all this time.

“You alright,” she asked in that familiar sexy voice he was so used to. That was one of the things about her he loved.

A bright bolt of lightning flashed outside behind her as she stood in the doorway giving her a ghostly appearance. Then she closed the door and walked toward him as he stood up to greet her.

“No. Don’t get up, Michael. I don’t know how long I will be here. Time is moving fast and we have much to talk about.

He sat back down slowly, brushing tears off his unshaven cheeks.

“At least have a drink with me,” he said, reaching for a clean glass.

“That would be nice,” she said.

He poured a glass of her favorite wine and passed it to her as he searched her dark brown eyes for answers, grasping to understand what had happened.

Their glasses clinked together. “Cheers!”

The sound of glasses clinking was music to his ears. It was like old times but somewhere deep inside he knew it would never be the same again.

“If I had not been drinking that night, the accident would not have happened,” Michael said, covering his face with his hands as he began to cry. “It’s all my fault. I am so sorry, Dana.”

“It might have happened anyway, Michael. We should have known better than to go out in the bad weather. There were warnings of strong cyclonic winds and I think it was a combination of the slippery surface of the road and wind that sent us over the side of the hill and into that ravine.

“Yes, but if I had not been going so fast………………”

“Stop!. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Let go of this life and me. Go outside and look around. Only then will you understand and be able to move on to where you are meant to be. In time you will come to understand what has happened and then, and only then will you find peace and reconciliation.”

Reconciliation. He didn’t like that word. It meant to accept something that is not desired.

“I love you so much, Dana. I don’t want to reconcile. I want us to be together again like it used to be.”

“Please do as I say, Michael. You are not to blame. I need to go now. Know that I love you with all my heart. Be strong. Everything will come right in time.”

She stood and walked to the door.

“Where are you going, Dana?”

“I am being called back. I told you I didn’t know how long I would be here,” she replied.

Another bolt of lightning flashed brightly through the room. Michael was blinded momentarily then, she was gone. He felt a sudden ache in his heart and a sense of loneliness.

He rushed and opened the door in time to see her silhouette passing through a dense mass of swirling grey mist.

____________________________

Dana had no sense of feeling. She could only perceive herself floating near the ceiling of the hospital room. From that suspended position, she could see her body lying on the bed with an IV in her arm and a tube inserted up her nose. Her head was wrapped in a white cloth and her arm was in a cast. A nurse was attending a machine that was monitoring her vital signs and a doctor had just finished using a defibrillator to restart her heartbeat. The nurse looked at the doctor and the doctor raised his hands as if to say, ‘that’s all I can do for her,’ and turned to leave.

Dana began to descend but stopped when a loud beep emitted from the monitor.

“Her heart has slowed and is very weak,” the nurse said to the doctor.

Dana began to travel, outside of time and space, floating through a tunnel, faster and faster, toward a bright light. She passed through sunny landscapes with songbirds, brightly colored flowers, and butterflies which then changed rapidly to chaos, violent storms, then desert followed by a black leafless forest. Finally, she arrived somewhere else that had no surface or walls, only translucent light. Her body glowed as though it was made of sheer energy.

A beautiful presence appeared near her. She felt she knew him but no. She perceived he was very wise and was the essence of pure love.

“Dana,” the man said. Yet, he spoke no words. He was communicating with her spirit. “Michael is suspended in time but he will realize, after I sent you to him, that you are not going back. He will soon continue his journey. So, you must return to resume your life without Michael. It is not your time to be here.”

The man then rose like a vapor and disappeared into a golden light above as thousands of shimmering particles showered down around her.

Instantly, Dana was again suspended above the hospital bed. The nurse was adjusting the IV. The doctor was standing by with the defibrillator in his hands ready on a moment’s notice.

In a flash, Dana became one with her body and she could hear the nurse talking to the doctor.

“Her heartbeat is stronger now, doctor. It has returned to normal,” the nurse said excitedly.

Dana slowly opened her eyes. The doctor bent down close to her face and smiled.

“Welcome back, Dana Sherwood.”

My entry for the June Contest True Genesis – 1496 words Also added on the Goodreads page

True Genesis

To those stealthfully watching, concealed by the trees, despite the howling, worsening tempest, they looked like lightning that flared on but failed to flicker out. For the daring few creeping closer to inspect the scene in better detail, they appeared to be beautiful fair-haired people, mainly women.

Their dresses were not simple beast-fur fashioned into raiment, but some silky white gossamer threads, as though spider webbing had been spun into cloth. It seemed as impossible as the little wings that kept the strange-people from touching the mud with their feet.

The dark hued, hairy-faced, slightly stooped observers kept moving to stop themselves from getting stuck in the quagmire that had been a dry trail only that morning. Their legs were caked in filth. Bizarrely, the winged people were not wet, though the
rain touched them just as it hit the cold, saturated audience for who the trees offered no weather protection whatsoever

“They see us,” Abitha said, in her own language, which sounded like sweet bird song to any listeners other than her own kind.

“I know. We are safe though. It is the ones whose lower jaws slope backwards; not those tall, arrogant and brutal cowards who slew Magdus. These forest dwellers fear us, respect us, and won’t come closer.”

Abitha sighed. “Eresha, the tall ones plan to attack us, and they also have bloody plans for their distant cousins here. They covet their lands. Now we know their daggers can harm us, we must do something about the situation soon.”

“Lord Oberon already knows of the problem,” Eresha observed. “He proposes starting a war between the two races of man. He thinks their mutual destruction is our best protection“

“We don’t know that for sure, sister. It is mere rumour, and such talk is not permitted. You know that. Oberon wants us all to meet here shortly for his official announcement of intention.”
“Is that why you brought me here?”

“Yes, Sister. Look, the rest of our friends approach. Lord Oberon comes too. We are about to find out what must soon be.”

More living lightning bolts flashed on, illuminating the leaves and branches of several trees. They formed a circle around a single figure, an organic amphitheatre for his presentation. The mortal watchers shielded their eyes and retreated a little, continuing to watch, unaware that their presence was easily detected.

Unlike the rest of the Fairie, Oberon wore gold leaf. He too was unaffected by the incessant rain. “Children,” he said, in a dark mournful song, “I have taken my deep reflective council and reached my conclusions. Many of you have slandered me with desire to cause a war between the two species that are rising up before our eyes from their common ape ancestors. I forgive you such thoughts, for I did consider such avenues, only to reject them in favour of action I will now divulge to you.

Already, the mortals of both species have forgotten how they found the secret of fire, and a few already experiment with wheel power. Each has people who see us and people who do not see us. The swarthy ones fear us, and hide from us. They venerate us and lay flowers at shrines in our honour. They would bond with us as more than distant allies if they could. We know that dare not come to pass, for our kisses can poison their hearts too much with love. They are not ready to fully unite with us.

The others fear us but do not venerate us. They see us as a threat, aiming to eradicate us. The death of Magdus at their hands will make them bold. They know that they can hurt us. We are too few to hold out in straight battle and our magic alone can now save us.

I propose a radical change in our World, in which we and the race we call Neanderthal shall survive unharmed but largely unseen. The others will largely perish. Their survivors shall see us only as mythological, and a fantasy story at best. A few who will get to know of us and dare try to talk of us to others shall be dismissed as lunatics.“

“Forgive my questioning, my Lord, but how shall this change be achieved?”

“Dear Abitha, you ask what I am about to relate anyway. I propose what I have already started to unleash upon the new sapiens. This unseasonal and un-natural rain is my doing, as you know, and it will get much worse. The mortals live by necessity close the mighty rivers, like here, by the Jordan, and around their globe they live in villages close by other rivers. Their need for water means they set up cities close to such resources and rarely move more than twenty miles from home and fresh water. The water will be made to flood by the rains. They will face floods like they never experienced before. Most will perish. Some will find high ground or boats. “

Abitha cut in, and her tears made it look as if the rain had soaked her face despite her charms. “What of the dear animals also needing the waters of life? Surely they cannot be allowed to drown too?”

Oberon smiled. “Most won’t. Many will come with us to the hidden realms. Others will be saved by the humans we allow to survive

“Who are the survivors to be, my lord?” asked Abitha

“A very good question, child. I have studied the mortals, and they are a superstitious lot. They struggle with extremely limited science to grasp how they came to be. Their shamans peddle folklore about how they were generated. I intend to present them with evidence to fuel such notions. I have developed several religious visions and prophesies, to inspire them to create a whole industry of belief. It will help take their minds off us as they seek out what isn’t really there at all. It begins with a human near here, by the name of Noah. I will appear to him as a servant of a god, perhaps for him, the only God, and tell him of the flood to come. I will give him time to build a boat to round up the animals of the vicinity and take them with him. He can have the goats, cats, dogs, mice, rats, etc. In time, in relating the story set down about him his descendants will probably imagine a greater menagerie than he is capable of carrying, After all, he is not likely to catch tigers or bears at short notice, and he knows nothing of Kangaroos or other marsupials. It could be centuries before they discover the lands we travelled round mere hours ago.

Nevertheless the stories we will feed Noah’s mind will hide us and the people in the woods right now from harm. The fact that their religions are false will punish them for the death of Magdus too. Within a few generations we will be forgotten in favour of greater entities who have no real being. Only after death will the murderers and their descendants learn of their foolishness, an instant before their oblivions. That is my plan. It seems better than slaughtering the mortals this very night for their crimes.”

“A lovely plan, Lord”, Eresha said, smiling. “But please don’t let Noah have the unicorns. I want them to come with us.”

“As you wish, child. The new sapiens will not get any of the unicorns.”

As the people in the rain watched, the lightning finally flickered out, though a few bolts now flickered on close to them. A smiling lady reached out a hand and the men found themselves bone dry despite the increasing rain. yes” The lady spoke, and not in birdsong, but in a voice they understood, though it stayed as sweet as birdsong. “I have important news for you. The rain will not stop. In fact, it will get much worse. These plains will soon be deep underwater. You must move away for your own safety. Come to shelter with us for a while, by a fire that never goes out, and where mammoth and unicorn roam aplenty.”

After negotiation, the men followed the lady in spider-web dress and were never seen in the land of the rains again, except by a very privileged and gifted few.

The thunder made itself known to the terrified Noah as he tried to shelter from the storm in a narrow cave. Its baritone voice boomed out, “I am making an end of all flesh, for the Earth is filled with violence through the flesh. Behold, I will destroy the peoples of the Earth. You and your family are alone to be spared. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood…”

The instructions continued for a while. Noah listened and fled in fear, awe and faith to start work on the tasks ordained to him.

Oberon rejoined his own people, laughing. “That’ll teach them…”

Arthur Chappell