This will be an ongoing exercise on FLASHY FICTION FRIDAY'S. You will be given a topic on which to write, a main character, a key object and a setting. And then you will be asked use all the facts to improvise your flash fiction.
MAIN CHARACTER: an Evangelist
KEY OBJECT: a memo
SETTING: a Ghost town
Picked it out of my idea bag, Margo. Play the ball where it lies! ;)ReplyDelete
SUSPENDING ALL BELIEFReplyDelete
Randall Makepeace stood at the edge of the town of Craven. It was a strange hamlet, a glimpse of Armageddon long before the first volley of war. A hellish lot, Makepeace believed, not fearful of death or the wrath of God. He had plans to change all that.
There on the outskirts, his entourage set stake to ground and proceeded to raise the tents for the planned revival. It was a matter of their spiritual survival, Randall reasoned. He was sure he need to go extra heavy on the brimstone this time out. Standing at the top of Harding Avenue looking down the center of the town, he readied himself for the service.
The lack of curiosity of the town folk bothered Makepeace. Usually the looky-loos come out of the woodwork and he could "grease" the crowd; get a feel for their needs as he saw it. He wondered how to get into their heads. Randall decided to venture into town.
It seemed deserted. He could faintly hear the sounds of a radio broadcast coming from the General Store. Peering into the front window, he saw no signs of life. Strolling further up the main thoroughfare, he felt the uneasy feeling of being watched. It was starting to spook him out. In his head Randall searched for the words of Psalm 23. He couldn't remember the passage; he just repeated "The Lord is My Shepherd..., The Lord is My..."
There, nailed to the telegraph pole he saw it. A handbill of sorts... a memo to the townsfolk(?). The memo was yellowed and faded, some letters stood out from the other as if highlighted for visibility.The entire text read:
THe town has ISsued a restriction on unwelcomed vISitors HEre. Leave us aLone!
Makepeace read the message and searched over his shoulder for a sign of some life. He found none. He heard a thumping sound emanating from his chest. His heartbeat was loud and rapid. Sweat beaded on his forehead. Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of the memo again. Now all he read was:
THIS IS HELL
"In the name of all that is Holy, come out and be seen!" Randal demanded.
The sound of sinister laughter echoed from vacant doorways. Unseen eyes peered at him, seeing into his soul to view the hypocrite Makepeace truly was.
A thunderclap of a voice reverberated.
"I CAN SHOW YOU THE LIGHT!" Randall Makepeace defied loudly! "IF HIS WORD DOES NOT SOOTHE YOUR HEARTS, MAY I BE STRUCK DEAD!"
The voice was silenced. The laughter resumed. Randall Makepeace should surely have made peace with his maker. His distorted body lay sprawled on the dirt, eyes wide and heavenward. His mouth grotesque and misshapen; a look of pure terror on his face, as if he had seen the devil himself.
Brother Jeppison came searching for his pastor. Strolling further up the main thoroughfare, he felt the uneasy feeling of being watched. The sound of laughter was horrifically familiar. Jeppison had heard it before. It was surely Makepeace.
"Pastor Randall?" he called.
The thunderclap of a voice resounded again.
It was the pastor. Jeppison turned tail and ran for the tents.
"THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, THE LORD..."
Sometimes it is better to listen with our two ears than to attempt speech! A tad 'Twilight Zone' -ish. Like the old guy getting all the books he could ever want and then his glasses break...Delete
Renee was sitting in the back of the office. She had not met her quota.
That is what the memo in her hand said. In order to see how well she
could do they were sending her out west to a very small town. While
there was a mix of elementals there all she had to do was convert one.
Just one. How hard could that be?
After a plane, train, and a bus, Renee thought it a tad awkward to have
to take a stagecoach to her location. Crimson Holler was her destination.
And it seemed the only rooms available were above the tavern. Shelma’s
boarding house, was in fact, boarded up. The coachman took her trunk
to the half hanging doors of the saloon and barely said, “Good Day Ma’am”
before filling up his coach and head back west into the sunset.
Morris the barkeep wore a silver star on his white shirt above his apron.
“This way, Ma’am” he said soberly. After settling in her room, Renee
proclaimed to herself, ‘Well that was one live body...’ Looking up while
holding her tatter prayer book to her chest she closed her eyes...’Seems
I may be here longer than I thought.’
At first Renee was scared that there wasn’t any cell phone reception. That
the few cattle she saw looked like they were barely breathing. She had
counted more tumbleweeds than horses. The only washroom was a shared
one down the hall... Then a feeling of relief overwhelmed her. Maybe she
was free of ‘Them’ ...at last.
A good tale well told, Jules. Thanks for bringing you voice here!Delete
Amid the singing voices rising above the lights and the smoke, the Reverend could still hear her screams; he reveled in the memory. Just a week ago, this place was a ghost town; the kind of place where dirt, once inhaled, took up residence. A memo from an old acquaintance led his congregate here. His friend was right. It was perfect.
Once word spread of his coming, people traveled from every nook and cranny of the county and beyond. With them, they brought the last of their savings, valuables, and even treasured family heirlooms as offerings. They were ripe for the picking. Poor, hopeless, and isolated, he could prey on their fears, tap into their desperation. They wanted something to believe in; some sign that there was more to this life, and the one after.
Well, he knew something about life—and death. He was a true follower. His believers understood the sacrifices he made. Last night offered a rare opportunity. God had given him certain gifts; charisma, charm, and good-looks in abundance. He did not waste these. He saw her sacrifice as a gift. Once he realized that she was not enlightened, he had no other choice. When she finally gave in to the pain, her screams were his salvation. He felt her life-force join his. Now they would be connected forever; a bond stronger than any human could create. Certain sacrifices were necessary for him to continue his work.
On the other side of the curtain, their voices lifted; chanted his name. They already loved him. His chest swelled with pride. As he stepped onstage, he raised his hands above his head, and shouted, “Hallejulah, He has risen!”
Love the build up for this Chi. The desperation is palpable. Very well done!Delete
I am really enjoying reading your well written articles. It looks like you spend a lot of effort and time on your blog.ReplyDelete
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