Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Halloween Flash #3

OK, here is my third Halloween flash story. It's a revision of something I once posted on another blog in response to a prompt. I hope I was able to turn it into something appropriately Halloweeny. I've also reposted the links to all the other Halloween flash pieces just below my piece. We have new, additional pieces from Avery and Laughingwolf.


HEAVEN

The spaceship jarred as it landed. The computer had done its job, had brought me down safely from orbit. But I was weak, gasping for breath, mind drifting from lack of oxygen. The recycler had broken down. Even my space suit was nearly exhausted of air. But I managed to make it to the airlock.

I didn’t know this planet. Was the atmosphere breathable? I had no choice but to find out. The outer hatch opened under my hand. I staggered through, fell to hands and knees, slapped my helmet release.

A breath shuddered into my lungs. Warm. Languid. It fed me. My lungs filled with it; my body drank it like nectar. I coughed, then forced myself to my feet. The view froze me.

A low mist coiled thickly around my feet, as if I stood on a cloud. But up through the fog thrust metal trees, of copper, black iron, gleaming platinum. Their leaves chimed in a zephyr breeze. Above me, the sky was clear and golden, like melted butter.

And in the sky drifted a city of silver. I heard the belling of trumpets, and rising over the city’s needle spires came a flock of beings who swept toward me. They were white, blindingly white, with feathered wings.

For an instant I wondered if I had died aboard my ship, or if I lay dreaming with brain damaged from oxygen loss. But I’d always understood the difference between fantasy and reality, and the reality was that the creatures who dove toward me were angels.

They began to sing. My heart swelled with the beauty. I lifted my own voice to join theirs.

The angels swirled before me. Their luminous eyes were sharp, piercing. Their voices rose higher and higher.

My own voice faltered. I couldn’t match them. And I realized that their song was no song at all. No song at all.

At the sound of the angels’ laughter, my ears began to bleed.

--- the end ---
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LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

TWO NEW ONES:

Problem Child, by Avery Debow.

lady jane, by Laughingwolf.


EARLIER ONES IN CASE YOU MISSED ‘EM:


Fat Man
by Stewart Sternberg.

Twisted by Miladysa.

Having His Say by Sidney Williams.


The Empress of the Fescue
, by Avery DeBow.


flight
by Laughingwolf.
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37 comments:

laughingwolf said...

bloody angels, anyway! :O lol

laughingwolf said...

forgot... ff...III, is up now

Rick said...

Charles, on occasion like this, you are more Poe than Poe himself.

Nice work!

Heff said...

I'm diggin' these stories. They're just short enough that I don't get lost, lol !

ARCHAVIST said...

Enjoyed this. Keep them coming.

Sidney said...

I like that. Another good one. This is a great way to observe Halloween. This and the fact that I just heard "Monster Mash" on the radio.

BernardL said...

Uh oh... good one. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, cool. I'll check it out a bit later and link it on my next post, or add it to this one.

Rick, I'm just a Poe boy, my intentions are good. Oh lord please don't let me be misunderstood.

Heff, Sort of like a 2 minute song eh?

Sidney, I love that song. My favorite halloween offering on the radio.

bernardl, angels can be bad.

Avery DeBow said...

I knew heaven was a lie. They lure you in with all those fluffy clouds, then, wham!

Travis Erwin said...

This one is my favorite so far.

CrazyCath said...

This is my favourite too. Very subtle. Very clever. So well written.
Poetic, in fact.

Steve Malley said...

I'll have to do something with this. You know, with all that 'spare' time...

laughingwolf said...

i could hear your sheer, raucous laughter as you played your b'day card, charles :P lol

Aine said...

Yikes. Figured those "angel" figures were too good to be true....

I love the idea of metal flora. Interesting....

ivan said...

Killing you softly with their song?

Scott said...

Charles, this one is probably my favorite so far. I have always been fascinated by angels and devils, even though I've never been religious.

Charles Gramlich said...

Avery, I like your halloween avatar. Cool. Yeah, you can't trust angels.

Travis Erwin, glad you liked it.

Crazycath, thanks. I appreciate the good words.

Steve Malley, that would be cool, dude.

Laughingwolf, yes, very insane laughter.

Aine, thankee. Yeah, metal trees are kind of cool. I've used 'em before.

Ivan, but I'm not that vain.

Scott, I've been religious, off and on, but was very religious as a kid raised in a Catholic home.

Miladysa said...

*gulp*

Scary...

Greg Schwartz said...

creepy story! makes me a little scared of going to heaven.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Angels are such a powerful symbol. Loved it, Charles. I couldn't let all this inspiration go to waste, so I wrote my own flash :)

laughingwolf said...

figgered it'd GET to ye ;) lol

Charles Gramlich said...

Miladysa, ;)

Greg, I always figured angels were pretty scary beings.

L.A., cool. I'll check it out and link it up here with my post tomorrow.

Laughingwolf, indeed.

Sarah Hina said...

Fantastic, Charles. You captured the hellish side of Heaven.

Your language is so powerful here. I loved some of these descriptions. And the last sentence was perfect.

Merisi said...

"How by the desultory breeze caress'd,", those angels, "which better far were mute"?
;-)

Charles Gramlich said...

Sarah, thank you very much.

Merisi, great lines from Coleridge. A fantastic poet.

Scott said...

Now that I think of it, this reminds me of a japanese comic I read titled "Bastard". The heroes recently doscovered the 'evil' forces they've been fighting have been angels...it seems God wants the human race destroyed because of our inherent sins and sin potential...it's an interseting concept, especially in a comic book.

Mimi Lenox said...

I agree with Rick. That was rather Poe-ish...

Travis said...

Hmmmmm. I like how this doesn't commit the "angels" to good or evil. That makes it a bit creepier.

Lana Gramlich said...

Good one, you twisted bastard (I mean that w/the utmost respect, of course. ;)

JR's Thumbprints said...

No wax build-up here; story had a nice flow to it.

Donnetta Lee said...

Oh, you know I love these creepy ones. And I love the shorties. Enjoyed. Twas fun. D

Charles Gramlich said...

Scott, sounds interesting. Been a lot of that sort of thing going around. Have you ever seen the "Prophecy," the one about the angel war?

Mimi, thank you.

Travis, yeah, I sort of pictured the angels as indifferent and superior, not necessarily evil but simply uncaring.

Lana, no you.

JR, thanks for the compliment.

Donnetta, creepy is definitely good.

Mary Witzl said...

I loved the imagery in this -- the metallic trees, the sense of being nourished by breathing in the atmosphere -- and the end caught me entirely off guard. Very eerie and Halloween-like and I'll be looking out for those angels...

Charles Gramlich said...

Mary, glad you enjoyed. Thanks for the kind words.

X. Dell said...

They sound like Hell's Angels. They weren't riding Harleys, were they?

Vesper said...

The reality of angels.... Excellent!

Charles Gramlich said...

X-dell, maybe winged Harleys.

Vesper, glad you liked it.