Unrepentant

 

Unrepentant

© J. Freels, 2008

     There is the taste of ashes, and of blood.  She feels pain throughout her entire body, but this is growing distant and cold.  She is aware of the ground beneath her, and of a plank jutting uncomfortably out from under her ribs.  The chapel is in ruins, and she realizes that she too has shared the same fate.

     Sounds fade in and out, there, drowned out by her dull and heavy slowing pulse, and back again.  She can hear the reveler responsible for the night’s atrocities.  He is a looter, a murderer, a defiler.  He is a criminal of the worse kind, and he is dancing gleefully in the wreckage of the humble monastery that had only bread and broth to offer him when he came looking for gold.  His wrath had been terrible, but the overturned oil lamp had done most of his work for him.  It was a kind of calling card with this one, and he had left his card behind in many places, too many places, over the years.  He had finally found his way here, simply another place to leave his mark.   He chortled and shot his gun into the air, and into anyone still moving.  He delighted in his task.  She listened to the ending of the place that had taken her in and given her a home so many years ago when her family had fallen to the same kind of grim visit.

     She saw then, above her in the sky great wings unfolding.  No, she thought, not wings, but a jagged rip through which a bright white light spilled.  Through this tear in the sky came a voice and it spoke to her. “It is your time” it said with the sound of a hundred voices of different pitches all speaking in unison, and with a kind of calm.

     She found she could speak, though she was aware that her lips were past moving.  Somehow she asked, “Are you an angel?”

     There was a pulsing ripple in the tear in the sky, and the multi-voice answered, “It is your time and you are to come now.”

     She felt now as if she was lighter, and sitting up,.  She looked down and saw her body, bent and broken, bleeding into the ashes.  She turned back to the rip above, “Am I going to Heaven?”

     The jagged tear seemed to bulge out a bit now, coming closer.  “You have been pure and good and true in the face of all adversity.  You are granted the reward this brings.  Come now.”

     She stood then, in her body-out-of-body, “I have studied the word of God, and the scriptures since I came to live here.  Promise me, promise me that I am going to Heaven now.”

     The light was close now, the voice of many replied, “Your place is certain, we welcome you.  You have your promise.”

     She nodded, and then turned from the light to face the defiler who was looting the wreckage for pretty trinkets.  She watched as he came to her broken body and began to adjust the gunbelt he wore.  She reached out and drew out the long-barreled revolver from its holster. He watched in drunken amazement as it seemed to float away on its own.  Then his glazed eyes showed a hint of understanding as he made out the traces of she who held the pistol, now pointed directly at his face.  It was as if she had been traced in moonlight, and she was illuminated from behind by the brightest light he had ever seen.

     He saw her lips move, this specter with his gun, and he heard her say, “An eye for an eye, amigo.” And the sound of a hundred voices shouted out as one, “No!” and the bright light was replaced by the brightness from the end of the barrel before him.

End

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In my mind this story is as perfect as they come.  I do love a story where the wicked get what’s coming to them, and where the protagonist gets to strike back for the wrongs they have suffered.

Jeff Freels is a young man who has a hard life.  His diabetes is so severe that he has to undergo dialysis several times a month to stay alive.  He is 99% blind–with only a little sight left in one eye.  He is married to a lovely woman who is even sicker than he is, but he takes care of her. He has to use a jeweler’s glass to see anything. Despite these handicaps he is a fine artist, a fine writer, and a damn good game designer.  When I met him a  couple of years ago, he was also cheerful, outgoing, and the life of the game convention. His latest effort is Bean, the D2 roleplaying game.  You can learn more about Jeff and his work at http://JFreels.com.

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