Please vote for the piece that you feel is most deserving:

Poll closed Jan 16, 2011.
  1. TheTomStrange - Our New Prophet!

    3 vote(s)
  2. semiscenic - The Modern False Prophet

    2 vote(s)
  3. JohnathanRS - The Tales of Uncle Cracker: False Prophet

    0 vote(s)
  4. FrankABlissett - The Tallyman Cometh

    0 vote(s)
  5. solosilver - Dream on Black Wings

    5 vote(s)
  6. yellow&M - Hercules

    2 vote(s)
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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Voting Short Story Contest 83: False Prophet

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Jan 4, 2011.

    Voting Short Story Contest (83) Theme: False Prophet

    Thank you for all your entries. The winner will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned. No more entries are allowed in this contest.

    Voting will end Sunday 16th January 2011 to give you all a chance to read the entries.

    It is possible to vote for yourself, but I would hope in the name of good sportsmanship that you would only do so if you have read all the other stories and given them your honest evaluation. You gain nothing if you base your vote solely on how you feel about the author or whether you have personally invested time and effort in the story. In the end, your conscience is your only judge.

    Any entries under or over the suggested word limit will be flagged as such - they are still entered in to the contest. It is for you to decide whether they are still worthy of your vote.

    Any entry not in accordance with the theme will be dealt with on a case by case basis to determine eligibility. Consider how the author has responded to the theme in making your decision.

    Good luck to everyone.
  2. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    TheTomStrange - Our New Prophet!

    ‘Hello little girl, my name is Mr Aids. Is your mother in?’

    Apple looked up at the greasy haired stranger in her doorway. She wasn’t sure if she should trust a man who called himself Mr Aids, but then her name was Apple Pip, so who was she to judge? Apple decided to let him in, even if he did turn out to be a crazy murderer who would destroy the whole family. That would teach her mother not to call a child ‘Apple Pip’.

    She moved away from the door and Mr Aids offered her a slimy grin, rushing into the hall. Before Apple knew it, Mr Aids was already sat down in the living room, enjoying a sandwich he had presumably taken from his briefcase.

    ‘Uh… I think my mummy might be asleep right now’ said Apple

    ‘Oh I don’t really care where she is Apple’ shrugged Mr Aids, throwing his sandwich crusts out of a conveniently open window. ‘I actually need to talk to you’.

    ‘You- you do?’ said Apple nervously. She had never been good at talking to strangers.

    ‘I represent a magical place called the Church of England. Do you know what that is?’


    Mr Aids smile slipped somewhat, but within a millisecond it was brighter and beamier than ever before.

    ‘Well… basically a while ago a man came down and told us that if we did everything he told us to do we would go to a heavenly paradise. Oh, and if you did anything bad at all he didn’t want you to do, you would burn for all eternity in a place called hell. Anyway, he died, and we at the Church of England our his representatives’

    ‘Uh… huh’ said Apple, trying to look interested.

    ‘This man was a prophet, Apple. Before he died he told us that one day, he would return in the form of another human being’

    ‘OK’ said Apple, wondering how fast she could reach the phone and dial 999.

    ‘And we believe, that you, Apple, are the reincarnation of our Prophet’

    Mr Aids fell to his knees, bowing at Apples feet.

    ‘I see’ said Apple ‘Well you’re wrong. I’m an eleven year old girl, I still wet the bed sometimes, I like Hello Kitty and Twilight, and I’m not a prophet’.

    Mr Aids looked up, tears flooding from his eyes, no longer smiling.

    ‘You’re not?’



    Mr Aids got back to his feet. He felt a bit stupid.

    ‘Maybe you should go now’ said Apple.

    ‘Yeah… OK… thanks for your time’.

    Mr Aids left Apple’s house, his head hung in misery. Apple watched him disappear into the horizon, then shut the door. Sighing, she went down to the basement, typed in the key code, and went to talk to the man sitting inside.

    ‘Thanks Apple’ said Jesus, relieved.

    ‘How long are you going to be staying here? This is getting ridiculous. I have homework to finish’

    ‘Sorry’ said Jesus, ashamed. ‘Just until they stop looking for me. ****ing nutjobs’.
  3. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    semiscenic - The Modern False Prophet

    I would not consider myself a devout believer. A convinced believer, maybe; not a superficial one either, but definitely not devout.

    My faith began like everyone else's did: with great determination and an inkling of curiosity. Before I had been initiated into the fraternity of avid believers, I would never have dreamt that there were so many amongst us. Then again, it should have been so blatantly obvious to me, what with the true believers being entirely conspicuous and all.

    Everybody makes the exact same mistake at first though. Being ignorant, that is.

    I remember, before I had unsuspectingly been introduced to the prophet who opened my eyes to a brave new reality, being just like any other normal – in other words boring – teenager with problems that seemed like they were bigger than everyone else's, a life that seemed so epically pointless, mediocre grades and even a slight skin condition.

    In spite of all that mediocrity, I had the first taste of my considerably glitzy, new-found faith back then. It had crept into my life silently, like a snake moving beneath the shadow of a great oak tree at twilight. At first, it was the late nights spent lazily in bed, with the tiny box of glass, circuitry and commercial, black thermoplastic playing continuously in front of me. I would watch it intently, hoping that I could glean something of interest off the various celebrities and messengers that appeared and then disappeared in front of me.

    I never really did glean anything of value at the time; but I kept at it anyway.

    Slowly, I began to spend other pockets of my free time scrutinizing that black box which tempted with glamorous promises of both household ('DIAL 01800-222-5439 NOW FOR YOUR FREE SAMPLE OF WONDERCLEAN – THE WONDER SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR STUBBORN STAINS') and financial freedom ('Do you have extra cash but don't know what to do with it? Together with InvestWyze, we can make your fortunes grow!').

    Granted, the latter did indeed sound marginally enticing for a cash-strapped teenager financially dependent on his parents for those occasional trips to the mall or the movies, albeit a little unbelievable. The former, however, seemed so completely irrelevant I never did give it another thought. At least until much later, at any rate.

    A familiar jingle interrupted my train of thought as I focused my vision on the images on the curved glass screen of my ancient, cathode ray tube television. Time for me to get a new one, this is almost sacrilegious. As the jingle faded out and the screen turned from the deep velvet red of the show curtains to a bright parquet stage, I found myself wishing intently that it would be Him. He was the only one who could captivate and move me, the one who first helped me to see the truth, the only one who cared. I could see it in his glassy, sapphire eyes, the concern for me. Compared to Him, the rest of them were non-existent.

    'Good morning, all you loyal folks sitting at home and watching me don this stuffy suit day after day presenting you with all these amazing products you would never believe were real! Today we have a really special treat for you, all the way from the Germany...'

    It did not matter what he was presenting today. Deep down I already knew that it was the truth, even if I did not understand it. My index finger hovered over the buttons of my cordless house phone, fervently poised to punch in the numbers that would soon be emblazoned across the screen in a stark whiteness.

    'All this and more can be yours for the low, low, insanely low price of just $99.95! That's right, just $99.95! You better believe it, folks. And if you order immediately we'll even throw in an extra set just for that special someone, so dial 01800-526-7770 now!'

    And that was the truth. A woman's voice on the other end of the line asked a few questions, the usual ones, about how old I was, if I indeed wanted it, what my mailing address was, and finally wished me a good day before hanging up. I had answered each question with zealous conviction, and I smiled softly to myself at the knowledge that I had once again wholeheartedly supported my beliefs.

    Nonetheless, as I had said before I knew that I would be a fool to assume that I was the most devout believer around. I still had a long way to go. There were still so many things left for me to discover, and each new day He brought with him new revelations and discoveries for me to build my faith with. He was the prophet of something greater, and every time I picked up that phone and dialled those numbers was a step closer to that greatness.

    A flurry of motion caught my eye and I turned my attention momentarily towards the doorway to my bedroom. She stood just barely a foot inside my room, as she always did, a look of disgust mixed with disappointment adorned on her wrinkled face.

    'Don't you have school today?' asked my mother. Her tone was even; no trace of irritation in it, perhaps it was resignation instead. I gave her a blank look, and carefully placed the cordless house phone back at my bedside. She threw a quick glance at it, and asked if I had purchased another one of those useless products they were advertising on television.

    I mumbled something that meant yes, and she heaved an exasperated sigh. Several more words about removing the television from my room, then she walked out briskly. I grinned in relief, and turned back towards the glass and plastic altar anxiously.

    'Thank you for your time and your support, folks! I'm sure that was only a small sacrifice for such fulfilment wasn't it?'

    Yes, I thought.
  4. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    JohnathanRS - The Tales of Uncle Cracker: False Prophet

    NOTE: (""") <---Pretains to a basic quote that deals with the MC main story.

    ************************************************** **********************

    “Tell us another story grandpa!” the children were happy to see me.

    “Now, Now children, calm your britches” I told them.

    “Aint it time for bed?”

    “No, No, we got time.” One of them said.

    “Well alright then, hmm, another story huh?”

    “Well, I got something for ya.”

    The children all hurdled around me as I began my story.

    """Long ago, this was a time when even your papas weren't around. I was walking alongside a road one day, just a normal day—nothing strange about. I was on my way to see Mr. Taylor, to get me one of them fancy hair dos. I remember some fine tobacco, boy I miss that pipe. Well anyway, I was walking along and passed this strange woman. She beckoned, I dunno why, I don’t even know why I went, but I did. I looked down at the strange woman, she told she was a fortune teller—one of them gypsies ya know? I remember hearing about them from movies, so it excited me. She asked for some money, I don’t remember how much, but I gave it to her. She asked for my palm, so I gave it. She did all the hocus pocus mumbo jumbo, and then she told me that a great man would come and solve all my problems. Well, at first I didn’t know what to think about it, a great man I thought, like a prophet? She nodded at me and smiled. I tipped the woman and went about my business for the day, not really thinkin about what she said.

    One day I heard a knockin. I walked to the door, there a man stood before me. He held a book in his hand, nothing strange there. He wore some normal clothes, nothing strange there either. He had a nice slick haircut, now that was damn strange, but I didn’t dwell on it—boy I wish I had.

    “Who are you?” I asked,

    The man replied with a twinkle in his eye, “I’ve come to save ya sir.”

    Boy, I was about to send my boot up this man’s behind, but then I remembered, that gypsy and the prophecy she gave me about a great man who would solve all my problems. Boy I was stoked, “Come in, Come in” I told the man. He walked in and immediately looked about. He handed me some thick book, I wondered what the hell it was. I looked down it said holy bible. The man went on to tell me about a great story regarding some hippie who smoked too much pot."""

    “Wow Grandpa, ya never heard of the bible” one the boys interrupted me.

    “What?! What?! You got frog in them ears? What the hell I just say boy? Pay attention!”

    “Where the hell was I? Oh yeah. Anyway”

    """This man story was about some superhero that got people drunk with his blood. What the hell I thought, how does some dead hippie help me? Then he told me how great of a man I was, nothing strange there. I reckon I like this man now. He asked me for a contribution, I didn’t what the hell that word was, but I said okay. Later I found out it meant money, boy I was pissed. But I remembered what the gypsy said so I wrote the man a check, he cashed it and I awaited my miracle. Aint shi* happen.

    Another day came about, I heard a knockin. I went and answered it, there that man stood once again, bible in hand. I let him in, wanted to beat the man, but I didn’t. I got some water for the two of us, and we talked some more. He went on about some stories regarding a fishing trip or something. I didn’t really care to listen; I only wanted to know where the hell my miracle was. The man finished and smiled. And boy here I thought, this was it—ids get my miracle this time."""

    "Hold on little ones, let me get my pipe." I reached down and got my pipe, lighting it up, smoke blew from the tip.

    “But you know what happen?” I said to the boys.

    “What happened?” One of them replied.

    “This man asked for more money.”


    “He sure did, I swear ith before my tobacco that he did.”

    """I looked at that man, didn’t say a word. Got up, told him to wait a second. Called the sheriff, told him I was being robbed. Few minutes passed, heard the sheriff siren. I went and opened the door the sheriff and deputy came on in. Told him what was going on, pointed to the thief, and they arrested the man on sight. I waved to him as he took a gander at me, tied and shackled."""

    “Wow grandpa you got the priest arrested?” The boy interrupted me again.

    “Sure did aint no damn priest, just another word for thief!” I exclaimed.

    “Wasn’t he a prophet sent by god?”

    “What the hell boy?! You still believe in the tooth fairy too?”

    “Now get to bed!”

    "All of ya!"

    They whined as they got up running out the door. I just sat and smoked my pipe. "Damn I miss that pipe."
  5. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    FrankABlissett - The Tallyman Cometh

    Will had first noticed the street preacher the week before. What had caught his attention was not the shabby sport coat or tangled afro, but the sign - “REPAY YOUR DEBTS LEST YE BE JUDGED”. Being a cube-dweller in a financial firm had made him especially attuned to certain words.

    The preacher had been talking to a young woman, dressed in a dull grey blazer and skirt, and handed her a business card. He then looked up, straight into Will's eyes, and held the gaze. Will cleared his throat, lowered his eyes, and continued on his way.

    A few of his friends had worked at the financial desks of big firms when the whole house of cards collapsed. The market had passed its judgment, and wide swaths of Will’s industry had been found wanting. For his part, Will was an accounts receivable clerk, recently promoted from a third shift lock-box clerk. Not glamorous, by any means, but it allowed him to get a good apartment, a new car, and to finally begin paying down his student loans.

    But that was it. Work for money to pay the bills that allow him to live a decent life near work.

    Of course, there was always the scramble for the next promotion. However, Will couldn’t really see an end point. And now the words stuck in his head: “lest ye be judged”. Would he come up wanting?

    Will went to bed early that night.

    Two days later, the preacher was back. Same shabby coat, salt and pepper stubble, and his afro, if anything, more unkempt. His sign read “THE TALLYMAN COMETH”. Will hurried past, but glanced at the preacher long enough to see that he was watching Will walk by.

    That day, shortly before lunch, Will's office found itself the subject of an unannounced audit.

    “Hello, Mister Tallyman,” Will said under his breath.

    The auditors were congenial, efficient and thorough. They came, they took notes. For liability reasons, they could not give any indication of their findings. At most, Will knew, in a month or so they may provide a couple suggestions for following standard procedures better.

    They left, and the staff chittered a little while before getting back to their jobs. Thus ended the only break in Will’s monotony since the last federal holiday.

    That evening, Will took an improvised scenic route home, passing through the old downtown and taking a slow drive past a block of renovated Victorians. He ordered take-out from a new-to-him Chinese restaurant, parked by the river, and skipped around the left side of the radio dial for the first time since college.

    Will also bought a pair of philosophy books, written for the masses, over the weekend. He thumbed through them, skimming over bits and pieces. Mostly, he daydreamed. By Monday, his thoughts were racing.

    Walking from the parking garage that morning, William could feel a buzzing behind his eyes. A chill beneath his sternum felt ready to explode with a great comprehension.

    Will could see the preacher down the block. This day, his placard read “TIME IS SHORT TO BE BEYOND YOUR MEANS”. This is the moment, Will thought, as his stomach quivered. With long, stiff steps and straight back, he strode to the preacher and offered his hand.

    “Well, hello,” the preacher said, smiling. He took Will’s hand firmly, slapping it into an embrace with his left hand. “I’ve seen you walk past a few times. My name’s Larry and I’m here to help you - I’m sure of it.”

    Will was immediately at ease. He grasped for words, but could think of nothing better to say than “Your slogans have really meant a lot to me. I mean, they really got me thinking.”

    “That’s good. It’s when we stop thinking that we get into trouble. That’s when we buy more house than we need - when we get the new sports car - when we decide our lives would be so much better with a big boat...”

    “I know, I know what you mean.” Will started stammering - the words were coming through his mind fast. “That’s me! But I was thinking right, right. I was thinking that, you know, that there’s gotta be a better way.”

    “Oh, there is. Trust ole Larry on that. Anybody can take the first step. It takes discipline to see it through, though.”

    Will had regained his composure. “Listen, Larry. I know I’ve been living a life that I can’t sustain. I didn’t realize that, exactly, till the other day. Something felt off, for sure, but I never knew what.”

    “And then it came to you. You’re spread too thin.”

    “Yea. And I feel like I’m ready for a new start.”

    “I hear ya. We all need a second chance at some point. That’s why I’m here.”

    “So, you can help me then? I mean, really help me to get back on track.”

    “Well, a lot depends on you. Like Dave Ramsey says, it’s ‘beans and rice, and rice and beans’...”

    “Right. That’s what I as thinking. Cut out everything that doesn’t matter.”

    “It starts here though.” Larry reached under his suit jacket and pulled out a business card.

    Will’s tingling excitement deflated when he read “Zephyr Debt Consolidation.”

    “Yes - it starts with you taking control of your finances instead of them controlling you. And when you talk to the guys at Zephyr, be sure to let them know that Larry sent you.”
  6. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    solosilver - Dream on Black Wings

    "God, please grace us with rain. Even a flood would be welcome in this drought. I'd appreciate a tidal wave, but that's just me,” whispered Jeremy as he knelt in the dirt beside his withered crops. Tears rolled down his face from beneath his closed eyelids. He pictured himself on the deck of a ship. He tilted his face up and could almost feel the water splashing it. He could see the waves, great beautiful waves crowned with white like young brides. He opened his eyes. The pale blue sky stretched above him. It was empty except for the sun. His tongue darted out in an attempt to wet his lips. It came back into his dry mouth wet, and tasting like blood.

    Jeremy winced at the stinging and wiped the sweat from his forehead. He rose slowly and tottered into the shanty he shared with his wife and son. His poor baby son was so weak it could no longer cry. His wife raised her head when he entered. It trembled an inch above the pillow for a moment, then fell back. Her tiny body shivered beneath the tattered blanket. Her lips moved as though she was trying to speak despite her dried throat.

    Jeremy walked to his wife, kissed her dusty forehead, and stroked her hair. She looked up at him, pleading for a drop of water.

    “I’m sorry, dear. There is no water left. The jugs are empty. The well is dry. And in town they are charging twenty dollars for half a gallon.”

    “Neighbors?” she whispered.

    “Tomas just lopped off his mule’s ears to give his family something to drink. And I wouldn’t put it past Brad to kill me to get something to drink for his son. He lost his youngest yesterday.”

    She looked up at him hopelessly and hugged the baby she was holding even closer to her.

    Jeremy turned away. He could not look at them. He picked up the only book he owned from the table and walked outside.

    The cover was faded, but when Jeremy looked closely he could read Moby, and, at the bottom, Melvi. He opened the book and looked at the picture his father had always kept there. A giant blue wave crested in the center of the frame. Beyond it the sky stretched endlessly over the water. A massive white bird soared above the wave on black wings. Its wickedly hooked beak was stretched open in what must have been some sort of caw. A line, almost like an eyebrow, gave the bird’s eyes an exotic appearance. He had studied the picture so many times that he knew it by heart.

    “If only the town was by the sea. What I wouldn’t give to be a sailor,” Jeremy whispered.

    A bird flew out of nowhere and landed gracefully at Jeremy’s feet.

    “You’re the bird in the picture!” cried Jeremy.

    “I am God.” replied the bird. After seeing Jeremy’s shock it added, “I take whatever form you need.”

    “I have always dreamed of seeing you. But I never thought I would.”

    “You must always have faith. Your prayers have been answered. There will be rain. You will have tidal waves. You will be a sailor. Do you believe in me?”

    “Oh, yes, Almighty God. Yes, I do.”

    “You are a prophet, Jeremy. And I need you to tell these desert people that they need to welcome change into their hearts. They must learn to swim.”

    “Almighty God, I will do as you say. But please help my wife and child.”

    “I cannot. It is not part of the plan. You must sacrifice them. Before rain can wet this soil their blood must.”

    “But, God-” Jeremy couldn’t think. He felt sick. He wrapped an arm shakily around his distended stomach.

    “You said you believed in me. I need you to have faith and spill their blood on the fields for the sake of all men. If you cannot show your selfless devotion to me, I cannot have faith in these lost people of dust.”

    “But, God-”

    “Silence, mortal! Do as I command!” The bird screamed in a high pitched whistle. Heat lighting flashed. Jeremy jumped to his feet and ran inside the house. The book flopped into the dust, followed by the picture, which fluttered down to land gracefully on top of it.

    “God has come! He is going to make it rain! Come outside and see!” Jeremy cheered, but the words did not seem to be his. They came from his mouth, but he did not think them.

    His wife groaned.

    “Come on. Let’s show the baby what rain is! What God is!” Jeremy was shouting passionately and tugging his wife out of bed. He carried her and the baby through the door and to the withered crops. Jeremy set her down and supported the small of her back with one hand. His wife cradled the baby. With his other hand Jeremy reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocket knife.

    He glanced at the bird sitting on a nearby fence post. God was watching him with his beady eyes. God opened his beak and let out a call that sounded like thunder. Jeremy flicked his knife open.

    “I hear the thunder!” Jeremy cried.

    “I don’t hear-” His wife started to whisper, but her words were cut off as Jeremy slashed her throat.

    God whistled.

    Jeremy grabbed the baby as his wife fell, blood watering the dying crops. He slit the baby from throat to groin, spilling its blood and guts into the starved soil. The baby whose mother’s milk had dried up fed the soil and pleased the cruel god on the fence post.

    Jeremy came back to himself. “My God! What have I done!” he wailed, looking at the knife he could not remember taking out of his pocket. He looked at the fence post. The bird was gone. The strength that had kept him standing disappeared. The world spun before his eyes. He collapsed from dehydration in the dust beside his wife and child.

    A cloud of dust rose along the road into town. It turned toward the Tomas farm, then the Brad farm. After it passed smaller clouds of dust emerged from the farms and began to disappear toward town. The Relief Corps had come with gallons of bottled water. The cloud of dust approached Jeremy’s farm.

    The sheriff rode slowly up to the house, dismounted, walked to the door, then knocked. He turned away from the door to survey the depressing landscape. He saw the bodies. “Jeremy!” He yelled as he ran, hand on gun, toward the three figures.

    The sheriff could tell right away that the wife and baby were dead. “Jeremy,” he said, shaking him.

    Jeremy came to at once.

    “What happened! Who did it? Don’t worry, we’ll get them.”

    “I killed my wife. I gutted my son. I am God’s prophet and the rain will come. I will have tidal waves!” He started in a flat voice and finished in a shout.

    The sheriff drew his gun.

    “I am a prophet! Do not shoot! I am a prophet! God says I will have tidal waves! I will be a sailor!”

    The sheriff backed away from the screaming man. Dust caked Jeremy’s face. White paste flecked his lips and collected, like polluted sea foam, in the corners of his mouth.

    “I am a prophet! God told me I must tell the people to welcome change into their hearts! I must tell them to swim! We must learn to swim and I will be a sailor! I will hunt the white whale! I will see the white froth on the waves! I am a prophet!”

    The bird flew overhead, whistling and clicking at Jeremy’s shouted speech. Jeremy looked up at the bird. “God! I will tell them! I preach your words!”

    The sheriff backed away from Jeremy. “Jeremy, son, that’s not God. That’s a vulture. The dehydration is getting to you. Now, come quietly into town, and we’ll get you a drink. We can sort all this out. It’s alright, son.”

    “No, no. He’s God, He’s God.”

    The bird whistled.

    “Stop this nonsense!” The sheriff shot at the vulture and missed.

    “How dare you shoot at God! You devil worshipper!” Jeremy charged at the sheriff. The sheriff fired his gun deftly. Jeremy fell with blood leaking from his heart into the soil. He stared toward the house where the book and picture lay in the dust. In his last moment Jeremy saw the great white bird with black wings fly away from the dying land toward the bountiful ocean.

    The sheriff looked sadly down at Jeremy. “Poor fellow. He was always so full of dreams. Always talking about water that stretched beyond the horizon.” The sheriff shook his head. “Water stretching beyond the horizon. There sure are some strange ideas out there.”

    The sheriff looked up at the vulture and shook his head again. “You aren’t going to just let your ‘prophet’ rest in peace, are you?” He took careful aim at the vulture still circling above Jeremy’s body. He pulled the trigger and the mass of black feathers plummeted into the dust.

    “Well, come on, we better get some men out here to bury these folks,” said the sheriff as he mounted his horse and rode slowly back toward town.

    The merciless sun beat down on the blood-drenched wife, gutted baby, broken-hearted man, twisted vulture, and picture of the wave and albatross that had been Jeremy’s dream. The picture faded into whiteness.
  7. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    yellowm&M - Hercules

    The man sits in the corner of a dark room. A dim shaft of light streams through a tiny window, illuminating the words scratched into the walls that serve as the only remainders of past prisoners, broken promises, and false prophecies. The man does not move, he just sits and stares at the tall grey wall opposite him, with his arms wrapped around his knees and a tattered, dirty blanket around his shoulders. He looks broken, beaten, haunted.

    Quietly a knock sounds at the door causing the man’s eyes to flick towards it and for a moment surprise replaces the haunted expression, but then his expression becomes dead again and his face turns away. The knock sounds again, but this time he doesn’t react. It comes for a third time, but again he does not respond.

    “Etan?” The voice is soft and gentle but the man’s head snaps up as if the woman had yelled. A myriad of emotions cross his features: shock, joy, grief, elation, fury, and hate. “Etan? Please answer me.”

    “Why are you here?” his voice is cracked and weak, but there is no mistaking the ice and menace laced within his words. On the other side of the door the woman cringes away from them. “I said why are you here, Delila?”

    “I…I’m worried about you.” Etan lets out a bitter laugh.

    “You lying bit of filth.” She recoils from the words he hurls through the door at her, “You actually expect me to believe that you care what happens to me?”

    “It’s true.” Her voice is even quieter and he snorts in disdain “I…I…”

    “You what?” The menace in his voice becomes even more pronounced.

    “I never, ever wanted this to happen, Etan! I am so sorry! I was so weak…so weak. Everything….all of it…it’s all my fault…Etan I….I’m-“

    “Sorry?” he interrupts. Suddenly he stands up. The blanket falls from his shoulders to reveal a powerfully built body with muscles wrapping around his arms and torso. “You’re just sorry?!” his voice climbs slightly and his eyes flash furiously, “You think you can just walk up here and say sorry and everything will just be perfect again?!”

    “No…I just…I want you to give me just the smallest bit of forgiveness. I don’t deserve it, I know, but-“

    “Then why are you asking?!”

    “Because I can’t sleep; I can’t eat. It tortures me every second of every day!” Her voice gives way to soft sobs.

    “YOU can’t sleep?! YOU can’t eat?! What about ME?! I am stuck in this cell with NOTHING and NO ONE! And it’s all because of YOU!”

    “I know! And I hate myself for it!” She chokes out between sobs.
    “Not anymore that I hate you!” He’s now pacing around the room, his voice just barely short of a yell. Outside the door Delila sinks to the floor, her hand against the door and her head bent to the ground sobs raking her body.

    “That’s the worst part.” She whispers as her tears fall to the floor.

    “THE WORST PART?!” His fury explodes out of him, reverberating around the room. Hs eyes darken and his face contorts into a mask of rage. “THE WORST PART IS THAT?! I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE HERO! I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE ONE TO DEFEAT HIM! AND YOU? YOU TOOK THAT AWAY FROM ME!” He picks up the rickety chair that serves as the only furnishing for the room, and throws it against the wall, where it shatters, clattering to the floor. Outside Delila cries even harder.

    “I’m sorry…so sorry.”

    “I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE HERO! I WAS THE HERO! I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HERCULES! I WAS THE ANSWER TO THE PROPHECY! ME!” His voice cracks and he sinks down next to the floor, his head in his hands, “Me! It was supposed to be me. And you?” he whispers, “You, you told me you loved me. You tricked me into loving you. You were a fake and a fraud and you sold me to him first chance you got.” His head rises up again and his eyes are red, “you stole EVERYTHING from me! You made the prophets of the ages false! You turned their words to lies! You stole my chance to be the one whose name is chanted in the streets! You stole my chance to be the hero! I hate you!” His head is now leaning against the door, angry tears trickling down his face. On the other side of the door she continues to sob uncontrollably.

    “I…I’m sorry…so…so…sorry.” She waits in agonizing silence for him to speak, but he remains silent.

    “I hate you.” He finally speaks his voice low with raw fury, “I will never forgive you.”

    “I know…but I still love you”

    “And I hate myself for still loving you.” They both whisper their words at the same time, so quietly that neither of them hears the purity of the other. Instead all they hear is the hate and selfishness that proved the prophets wrong.
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