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Latest Stories

May 19, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jo Carroll

The Curl and Vampire

She was a pretty thing to be sure, the little girl with the curl. Her cheeks were as red as blood and her skin as smooth as porcelain. And yet there was something odd about her clear blue eyes—something empty and soulless. She sat atop her throne of building…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Nicole Robb

New Frontier

Still groggy from her hibernation chamber, Stacey checked the readings once again on the ship's control panel.She had read them right. "Tom! Something's wrong." "What is it?" Tom emerged from the back where he had been checking on the twelve hundred sleeping…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Laura Ellison

Remedy

The smell of death hung heavy and pungent in the air. Sickness touched the skin and covered it in a dewy glow that in any other situation could have been attractive. Castellan held a scented handkerchief over her nose as she walked through the village to the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Dylan Thomas Nichol

Forged in Shadows

Screaming was all that could be heard through the bone chilling halls of the dungeon. This was what the supposedly great nation of Hace really was. An ugly abomination lay underneath the stunning Admor Keep, and Caelin made the long journey through it, his…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Isabel Schwaak

Something Stronger

A thick grey stone wall separated the village of Telly Fenn from the wilderness. A narrow path led the way out of the village and melted into a crossroad, from which a crooked path strayed far into the dark forest. The inhabitants of Telly Fenn were content…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jade De-Terville

A Light Bulb Called Tink

“This is more than just a bloody mid life crisis,” Karen said clutching a tattered red book, until her knuckles started going white. She savagely threw the book onto the chequered dining cloth, and ran her hands through her untamed hair. “Oi, mind the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories April Winters

Area Twenty Four and a Half

I, Jim Roberts, got fired today. I didn’t realize Mr. Kerr, my boss, was standing behind me when I referred to him as Kerr-mitt. He failed to see the humor, and now I have no source of income. Looks like my journalistic aspirations are out the window. I…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jeremy Szal

Crimson Snow

16th Day of Regon, Year 455 of the First Dawn I could feel the cold as we climbed higher, the chill reaching into my bones. The wind whispered across the grassland, flapping my black hair over my face. I wanted to lie down. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories B.J.Neblett

Forever

“Segue the next couple of records with a jingle then go into a stop set. I’m gonna get some air.” Hy Lit flashed his agreeable smile, adjusted his trade mark tinted glasses and winked. “You’re a natural, kid.” Then he disappeared out the studio door. The…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories BJ Neblett

Pockets Full Of Wishes

“Don’t put your hands in the pockets!” Jimmy looked at his sister. It was just a winter coat, a used one. It was all his parents could afford. But it was his. He picked it out. Now he stood proudly before the store mirror admiring the blue denim coat with the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Laura Ellison

Consumed

Arlia knelt down on a silk cushion in the middle of the room. She took a deep breath and centred herself. Gramps always told her to do this, sometimes he jabbed her in the sides with his walking stick if he thought she rushed meditation. In front of her the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Paul Magnan

Scorned

I grasped the rough edges of the tombstone and pulled it from the strands of thick, yellowed grass upon which it lay. I set it in an upright position. The words “Dear Love” were carved along the top of the stone. I had carved those words. For a few seconds…

 

 

Harry Dunn sat with his wife, Gina, at their kitchen table.  “Gina, I spent the last week casing the bank, and I got it all figured out.  It’s a sure thing.”

“Harry, darling, I wish you’d get out of the business. Get a real job, one that won’t land you in Jail or worse.”

“Gina, I’m fifty. I admit I wasted my life trying to make a quick, easy buck and failed. Gina, what is a fifty-year-old man like me going to do? I don’t have an education. I don’t know nothing. All I can do is steal.”

“Harry, I’m afraid you’re going to end up on a slab with bullet holes in you. What would I do without you?  I love you, and I don’t want to be a widow.”

“Honey, you know I don’t take chances. You don’t have anything to worry about.”

“The next day, Harry went to the bank and carried out his plan, but didn’t count on the bank guard, who came out of a back room and shot Harry dead as he pointed his gun at a teller.

Nobody saw Harry’s bodily spirit rise from Harry’s body and hover above the scene.  “Jeez, I’m dead. Now what?” As he uttered those thoughts, in the blink of an eye, Harry appeared in the middle of a mob of people. He looked around at people as they seemed to wander around aimlessly. “What the hell is this place? Where am I?” he said as he looked around and saw what looked like an information booth. “And there’s a guy sitting there. Okay, It’s time for information,” he said as he walked through the crowd to the booth.

The man, with long, silver hair, dressed in a tuxedo, looked up when Harry reached the booth. “Yes, sir, may I help you?”

“Yes. Where am I? What is this place? I feel like I’m in a giant, black hole. There are no walls; no ceiling, just a lot of black.”

“Sir, you are in purgatory, and this is now your home away from home for a while.”

“Purgatory? You’re kidding. I thought purgatory was a place dreamed up by religious zealots.”

“I’m not kidding,” my friend. This is purgatory.”

“Who are all these people? As far as the eye can see, there are people milling around.”

“They are the once-alive.”

“You mean they’re dead people?”

“You catch on quick. Very good.”

“Then…then I’m really dead?”

“Right. Give that once-alive man a cigar.  Yes, you are. You are really dead.”

“How did I die?”
“You were shot while you were robbing a bank.”

“Oh, yeah, I remember. Gina begged me to go straight. I should have listened.”
“Anyway, why are all these once-alive people just wandering around?”

“They’re waiting, and since there aren’t any chairs in purgatory, they have to keep moving.”
“Waiting? What are they waiting for?”

“They’re waiting for me to send them to their final destination.”
“Where are they gonna go?”

“The kind of life a person lived will determine whether he or she goes ‘up’,” he said pointing, or ‘down’,” he said pointing.

“You mean there really is an ‘up’ and a ‘down’?”

“Of course. Do you think you can become once-lived without being rewarded for your deeds?”

“Tell me. What do ‘up’ and ‘down’ look like?”

“Harry, how would you like a tour?”
“Yeah. Sure. I’d love a tour.”
“Okay. Let’s take that elevator over there. I’ll show you ‘up’ first,” he said and led Harry to an elevator. “Press the ‘up there’ button, Harry.”

Harry pressed the button, and after a moment, the door opened. “That was fast.”

“Actually, Harry, the ride up took us ten years.”

“Ten years? It seemed like a couple of seconds.”

“Time is relative, Harry. Well, here we are. Follow me as I point out a few things. Over there is the country club. It’s always warm and sunny up here so a resident can play golf any time he or she wants. Next to the country club is a mall. A resident can get just about everything there. Those are the residences,” he said pointing. Each resident has a choice of a house or a condo. You’ll notice the golf carts coming and going. Each resident gets a golf cart, which is needed to go from one place to another. Theaters are over there, and restaurants are over there next to the theaters.  Nice here isn’t it? Now, let’s take the elevator ‘down there’,” he said and they returned to the elevator. Press the ‘down there’ button, Harry.”

He pressed the ‘down there’ button, and a moment later, the door opened. “I suppose that took ten years?”

“Right. Time is relative.  Now, step out and look around,” he said and Harry stepped out of the elevator.

“Wow. ‘Down there’ is nothing but a huge hot tub. It’s as big as all of purgatory. And there are people in the hot tub.”

“The once-alive, Harry.”

“Yeah. The hot tub is filled with the once-alive. Why are they red?”

“Put your hand in the water.”

“Okay,” he said, put his hand in the water, screamed, and jumped back holding his hand. “I’m burned. You let me burn my hand.”
“Yes I did, and all those once-alive souls will enjoy hot, searing water forever. How do you like that?”

“I don’t. Let’s go back to purgatory,” he said and they took the elevator up to purgatory.

“I don’t like this whole set up.  How do I get out of here? I want to go home to Gina.”

“That’s not possible, Harry, and if it were, you wouldn’t go back to Gina. You’ve been here for over a hundred years. Gina died a while back and is living in a condo ‘up there’.

“She is? Great. Send me up there so I can be with her.”

“Sorry Harry. According to your file, you’ve been bad, so you can’t be rewarded with the good stuff. Now, you have to join all the others and wait for me to summon you,” he ordered, and Harry floated into the crowd.

****

“After robbing a jewelry store, 45 year-old James Carter entered the confessional in his church. “Father, forgive me, for I have sinned. I robbed a jewelry store and shot the owner. I think I might have killed him.”

“Shouldn’t you go to the police and confess.”

“No chance. I ain’t goin’ back to jail. Jail is hell. Will you absolve me of my sins?”

“Do you mean you don’t want to be held responsible for your sins?”

“That’s right. That’s why I’m here.”

The confessional curtain was pulled open and a man in with long, silver hair wearing a tuxedo faced James, who was startled.  “You think you can steal and kill and be forgiven so you can steal and kill again?”

“Well, isn’t that what you do?” sounding as though he expected an affirmative response.

“No, it isn’t. Come with me,” he said, pulled James out of the confessional, and dragged him to an elevator that appeared, and took him ‘down there’ where he would spend eternity.

 

The End

 

BIO

While teaching speech and English at a community college, Mr. Greenblatt wrote short stories and plays, one of which won a reading at Smith College.  After retiring, he wrote short stories, novellas, and plays.  Several of his stories were published in on-line magazines, and others were published in print anthologies.

 

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