A day of meditation had not calmed his feelings, nor provided an answer to the questions he’d carried with him since he’d had his vision in the mountains.
The only tangible remains of that day are his scared hands and his charred notebook.
Sounds like Moses!
Smoke the color of chalk drifted upward from the embers. He held his hands to the coals feeling their heat. The cold he brought back from his journey would not abate. It wrapped each muscle in barbed wire fear. The fear he could handle. It was the remorse he couldn’t deal with. He pushed himself from the ground and shed his clothing. First his knit cap; his boots; trousers; shirt, until all was gone leaving him as God made him. At least on the outside. A toothy whistle summoned his dog who followed him up the slope, toward the mountain. If the dog could see it too, then they would not return.
What on Earth, or off-Earth, could make you shed your clothes in the cold and whistle for a dog?
I love it.
Walter – you know how it goes when you have these visions. Right? You DO know, don’t you?
If I could only tell you… Wait. Where’s My Clothes!
“If the dog could see it too, then they would not return.” You must know how much I like this!
I read a short creative piece the other day from a 70 year old woman who hadn’t written much before. She wrote perhaps the most devastating 500 words I’ve read in a long time. I asked her where she got her idea. She said, “I don’t know. It just came to me, and I wrote it down.”
I get that feeling about this piece too. Where do such ideas come from? Maybe you know. But this is one of those ideas. Sounds like it comes from out of nowhere. And now, here it is.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
“I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” He said to His followers during their getting together at the Last Supper.
After finishing their dinner, He went alone and climbed to the top of to the Mount of Olives to find a quite place to meditate.
There He had the vision of his imminent death on the cross.
He accepted his coming fate and in His prayers He asked for the strength to endure all the suffering and the pain that was to come.
A night of meditation had not calmed His feelings, nor provided and answer to the questions he carried with him for He knew that the people will not understand how a man who claims to be the Son of God can allowed himself to be crucified.
What happened next was that. once He came down from the Mount of Olives, He was identified as the Son of God by the traitor, was taken prisoner by the Roman soldiers and finally crucified.
PS: since this is not an original work of mine, I took the liberty of copying some phrases and words from the Bible.
In my mind, Ann’s prompt was so similar to the story that made me take it as the lead of my piece.
I’m not very religious, but the concept of sacrificing one’s life so brutally and deliberately for the good of others has always been so powerful.
100 Words. No humor.
The vision had left his mind exposed to the elements. Elements that, like acid, undo order in favor of happenstance, a Disney word for chaos. He had spent a day trying to breathe. In, then out, in measured rhythms. Know, but don’t count. Then, “Damned be the angst of the damned!” The Monk called that “wrong thinking.” Focus. Yes, but the questions. Answers, are the mind’s pitiful attempt to cover acid with lye. Seek order, be one with the vision. Again, he had counted, as he always did. Begin once more. Questions unanswered become fears, and fears, he knew, kill.
I really like the line: “Answers, are the mind’s pitiful attempt to cover acid with lye.”
Hi Gary. I hope you enjoyed writing it as much as I enjoyed reading it, which was a lot. Welcome to the dark side, grasshopper.
I believe this is your first posting without humor. It’s always good to stretch. Here you work hard to describe something nearly indescribable. What I like about this piece is how circular it is. He begins with chaos. He tries to find at least rhythm. No counting. Focus, but don’t seek answers. Find order, so do count. Only questions apparently leads back to chaos.
I have a novel (unpublished) that has a holy man in it who sees visions that leave “his mind exposed to the elements.” Well put.
Thanks everyone. I had decided to take meditation literally, as in Zen. I figured I might get some good imagery from that. As for the “exposed to the elements” line, our neighbor’s house recently caught fire. It was saved, but their living room, I told my wife, was now…
I have been away a bit. Writing my novel. Well an attempt at one anyway. So, I have up for it by writing a longer post. Muhahaha.
George had become accustomed to visions in his past job. His ability to forecast sales of the latest hand held device for the Wiggedly-Widget Corporation was akin to magic. And in his industry, George Fellowes was the David Copperfield, Criss Angel, and Harry Houdini all rolled into one. After cashing in big on that last venture, George decided to retire.
He stood on the front porch of a little cabin propped on a short peak of the Cumberland Mountains. The first two days he spent cleaning the cabin from top to bottom. The third day brought a new, different vision.
While cleaning the tool shed behind the cabin he found a twisted horn. He could only guess at the animal able to wear this large of a horn on its head. It was at least three feet long with a small brass mouthpiece lashed to the tapered end. It looked similar to a shofar. George was not religious in any traditional sense. However, he had seen a shofar used in a Rosh Hashanah event. This was similar. The horn of a greater Kudu.
The gilded exterior of the horn gleamed. The intricate patterns walked their way from the tapered end to the gaping bell of the horn. The exquisite craftsmanship of the etching must have taken a person a very long time to complete. He turned the horn over in his hand many times. The interior was polished and painted a matte black, giving the illusion that the horn had an infinite depth.
George walked back to the house with the horn in his left hand carefully looking it over in the light of the day. When inside he took a dusting cloth and ran over the outside to remove the dust from the shed. The artwork on the horn was alive in its detail. He took the cloth and wiped out the mouthpiece. Place the horn to his lips and blew a note.
Forty years earlier in his life, he had played trumpet in high school. This would have been the first since his last performance as a senior. It rang. The glassware on the table vibrated and clinked together. The panes in the windows strained to hold their place. His ears continued to ring after he quit blowing the note. His eyes clouded with the intensity of the vibration. Blackness enveloped George’s vision like a sudden fog might roll in from a coastal water.
In his mind played a picture show of a young girl running along a dirt road. Her hair trailed back slightly with the wind. He knew she was running from something. His vision was fixed on her hair. Black as night against her pale skin. He panned around to the front of the running girl. Her face trailed with dirty paths of tears. He took his visionary gaze off of her face and saw her pursuer.
A mouth, so large it could swallow the girl with maybe two bites, chomped at the air behind her. It was not a creature he had ever seen before. The yellowed teeth had only one purpose. Ripping and tearing flesh. The skin around its mouth was moldy-green. Red eyes pierced the air between them. Two twisty horns protruded from its head. In the vision he felt the monster’s hunger for the young girl. It consumed its thoughts.
He awoke the next morning. A day of meditation had not calmed his feelings, nor provided an answer to the questions he’d carried with him since he’d had his vision in the mountains. When he finished his diner he brushed his yellowing teeth and combed his hair that now parted around two excrescences from his head.
“Blackness enveloped George’s vision like a sudden fog might roll in from a coastal water.” I like the possibility that he may have simply passed out while blowing the horn, OR that the horn may have had some sort of power or purpose. Nice.
I love to write so that the reader can draw a few different conclusions or interpretations along the way. I am glad that you found this one. I like that for the end as well. Was he the monster (now or later)? Metaphoric/Realistic/Prophetic
I love that kind thing!
He wanted to be a better person. Change the negative perception others had of him. It wasn’t his fault. Depression sunk him to lows he never imagined. Making him appear unfriendly, cold to touch, in mind and body. While his heart beat warmth. Longed for interaction. Be loved. Understood.
He didn’t know how to achieve his goal. Took to the mountains. Hiked in solitude. Felt gratification wrap its spiritual aura round his soul. Until the day a vision descended upon him. Disturbed the little gain of confidence he achieved. Pulled him back to the bowels of the earth.
He didn’t understand what he saw or what it meant. The image: an elderly man gathering necessities, his faithful prepared to start a journey with him.
He looked at the calendar he had in a pocket. Mid-July. He rested his weary muscles on the summit. Perplexed by the winter scene that flashed before him. Descended the mountain. Feeling worse than when he climbed.
He meditated for the whole of one day. Uneasiness seeped into every thought. The vision held me. Suffocated him. And then, a light shone. Giving him hope. Perhaps it was meant to direct him. Not to dwell on himself. To reach out, help others. In turn, help self. Rid depression.
He phoned ‘Santas Anonymous’ in his city, asked how he could volunteer. To make December a better time for desolate families. Put smiles on children’s faces.
He told the director about his vision. They agreed that the bearded old man in a red suit and his reindeer would have cheered him on.
Ah, boo-boos. I find it ironic that I can read a piece (even a 100 word piece) ten times without fault, and find a mistake the first time I read it after I post. I guess if readers want absolutely perfect stories, they should expect to pay a little more.
Whoops, boo-boo alert: should be “The vision held him”.
I love boo-boo’s. I stopped counting at five with the ones I left in my post. 🙂 They are like a “Where’s Waldo” in the literary sense.
My favourite Boo-boo is the one tagging along with Yogi bear.
Today I had a story accepted at 50wordstories. Anyone can submit. If the idea of really short fiction appeals to you, why not give it a try? Jeff
Already tried. Have several published there.
Let’s see the rest try.
Now he faced another night of no-sleep, of aimless wandering around the house, of digesting a pound of chocolate. Why couldn’t he shake this vision? Why does it appear perfectly clear every time he closes his eyes?
So he decided to give into the vision. He picked up the phone and dialed.
One ring, two, three, just as he was about to disconnect he heard the line clicked. Arrangements were made and put into action. He had to hurry, as time was fast approaching.
His mind now clear, but his heart was still racing, as he sat across from his vision and her long silky hair, her perfect teeth, her pale blue eyes and her snow-capped mountains.
A day of meditation had not calmed his feelings, nor provided an answer to the questions he’d carried with him since he’d had his vision in the mountains. These were the same questions that he had been asking for years. Was there really life after death? Now he had seen a vision of his mother who had been dead fifty years. The year was 1963 the same year John F Kennedy was killed. A neighbor boy murdered his mom. The headlines screamed, ”Boys 12 years old stabs neighbor 50 times.” He was now living through this experience all over again.
Now fifty years later his mom had come to him in a vision to tell him that he should not worry that there was life after death. But his feelings were still mixed and unsettled.
He had just studied many articles about people who had near death experiences or NDE and now this happens. What did it mean? Did it mean that he was going to die soon? Or did it just mean that his mom was always watching over him and trying to comfort him? He wanted to go back to that mountain and see if she would come back to talk to him, but he also didn’t want to relive that horrific day in July 1963.
Another place I post stories is SHORTBREAD STORIES in the UK. If you have excess creativity and need another outlet give it a try. Also good place for getting some exposure to some pretty good writers as well as newer.
I have a recent story posted, take a look if curious. Krys plays around there as well.
Plays around there, Jeff? I take Shortbread seriously.
Now where’s that Leprechaun? Promised me coins of gold.
I apologize. I didn’t intend to impune the seriousness of your participation there. Jeff
Apology accepted. Perhaps you need a vacation in Crete. Did you read my poem? Had glowing comments, as bright as the buckle on a Leprechaun’s belt. Oh, got notification of more of my FF published.
Today is a lucky day!
On the trail of green beer,
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by Ann Linquist
Available in paperback or on Kindle