Turbo Survivor II, Challenge 8: Trial at the Gateway

Trial at the Gateway.

Your lead character is freshly dead, and is at the gates of…whatever positive afterlife you feel like writing about. However, there is a trial at the gateway that must be passed in order to earn admission.

Word Limit: 600 words
Time Limit: 50 minutes

Stan spit out a cheekful of moss and two or three jewel beetles. His right ankle was broken but the pain kept him sharp. He forced himself up off the jungle floor and stumbled to the edge of the clearing. After watching Lewis and Ahmad exploding on mines, he was his only support left.

The sun was out. More surprising was a line of thirty gook kids holding hands.. Behind them stood the enemy, weapons drawn.

He hit the deck as shots fired over his head. He grabbed the machine gun he wrestled off a dead tunnel rat. He took out fourteen kids before the last feeling ripped through him.

********

When Stan awoke he was on a translucent something. He forced himself up, though he wasn’t entirely sure what ‘up’ meant here.

“Welcome, Stanley Jane Plouman,” said a voice.

“Heaven? Hell?” he replied.

“Not yet,” said the voice. A corporeal form, also translucent, appeared before him.

Stan was annoyed.

“Normally I would detail your sins for you, but given that you just murdered innocent children, I think we can dismiss the formalities.”

“Are you offering me something?” Stan said.

The form nodded. “All humans are sinners. And all are forgiven if asked. Be humble before God and let him into your heart and you may enter His kingdom.”

Stan had left the church at fourteen after hearing this same shit from a minister back then.

“And if I don’t?”

“You will be eternally cast into Hell.”

Where all the fun people are, Stanley thought. He noticed he still was wearing his camouflage and carrying everything he had with him before he died.

“What do I do with all this shit?”

The form’s voice was annoyingly serene. “It is your choice.”

“Good,” said Stan. He pulled out his handgun and put the barrel in his mouth. Winking at the form, he pulled the trigger.

*******

When Stan awoke he was on something. He forced himself up, though he wasn’t entirely sure what ‘up’ meant here.
“God is forgiving,” the voice said. “Though you can no longer see or speak, you can still be forgiven if you let Him into your soul.”

The voice was right. Stanley no longer had a head. But he could move his hands still. He reached into his uniform and grabbed a grenade. He pulled the pin and rested it against his heart.

*******

When Stan awoke, he was…something. The voice was no longer there. He could sense nothing. He had his thoughts, though they had no context. He was alone.

K: Stan is a fairly interesting character in theory, but he seems ripe for development, and he really doesn’t manage to do anything but what we expect of him. He’s a terrible person who’s done terrible things, and the fact that he never deals with it or admits it kind of hurts the story, given the prompt.

MN – This is another clever take on things. Subsequent afterlifes is a concept I toyed with once for a Spookymilk entry, but was never able to get working, so the fact that you’ve got something along those lines here earns huge appreciation from me. I just can’t empathize with a character like Stan, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the heck out of how fun he makes this story. SILVER

I agree more with Kelly here but won’t look my gift silver in the mouth. If I had more time I definitely would have made Stan somewhat sympathetic, that way his eventual torment would have more impact.

I also won’t bemoan that Team Grandin finished in 3rd place and avoided elimination yet again. 15 players left. I’m sensing a merge happening soon.

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