Category Archives: Short Stories

In The Beginning

In The Beginning

‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’

Gabriel stopped writing and looked up at God. ‘That’s a bit brief, isn’t it? Aren’t you going to go into any detail?’

‘Of course I’m going to go into detail. That’s just the opening line. It sets the scene for the rest of the chapter.’

‘Oh, OK. I’ll shut up and write.’

‘If you would. You’re interrupting my flow. Right, have you got that down?’

‘Yep, got that.’

‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.’
‘Sorry, was that a new sentence, or a continuation?’
‘A new sentence.’
‘You’re starting a sentence with “and”?’
‘Yes. Is that wrong?’
‘I think so, yes. But you’re God, so knock yourself out. I don’t suppose anyone will notice.’
‘Good. Because I’ve got a few sentences that start with ‘and’. I like the way it sounds. It gives it a certain tone that I’m looking for.’
‘Right. Fire away. I won’t interrupt again.’
‘That would be appreciated.’
God continued with his explanation of how he ‘created’ the Earth and Heaven. Gabriel just took the dictation without comment, until he got to Chapter Two.
‘Just a minute. You’ve already made Man and Woman on the previous page. Now you’re making Man again, and then taking a rib to make Woman? Why can’t you make her from dust as well?’
‘It makes it sound better. Like Woman is part of Man. It kind of justifies why men rule the world, and women do the washing up. This book is all about giving some order and purpose to humans. They’re getting a bit out of order, and I feel I should be whipping them into shape a little. Once I’ve got this down on paper, I can then start talking with a few of them, and giving them some rules to live by.’
‘And what about the repeating yourself bit? You’ve made Man twice.’
‘True. We’ll go back and edit that later. Or maybe we’ll leave it in. It’ll give the scholars something to fret about in years to come.’
‘Ooh, I like the sound of that. OK. We’ll leave it as it is.’
God paced up and down, while Gabriel studiously took the dictation, biting his lip at the unlikely events that were being described for as long as he could. It didn’t last long.
‘Hold on a minute. Are you seriously expecting people to believe that Adam lived for nine hundred years? What’s all that about?’
‘Why, does that sound a bit too long?’
‘Just a bit, yes. Anything over a hundred is stretching it rather. I just don’t see what you’re trying to achieve here. I get all the Creation stuff, and the serpent and all that. Although, to be honest, I don’t know why you don’t just tell it like it really happened. But why would you want to tell people that years ago they could live for nearly a thousand years, when now they are lucky to see out their fiftieth birthday?’
‘Look. You know what happened. I know what happened. I want humans to respect and worship me. They’re hardly going to do that if all I say is that I made an amoeba, and then spent the next two billion years playing lightening games with Thor while life just evolved. I need to give it some gravitas. So I’ve embellished it just a little.’
‘This is your idea of just a little, is it? OK. You’re the boss. What’s next?’
‘I don’t know. What do you think about a massive flood?’
Gabriel rolled his eyes, picked up his pen, and said ‘Whatever. I’m just not sure how we’re going to get this published, let alone get anyone to read it.’

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Model Making

Another 100 word story.

Ross was holding the tube of cement, ready for when Dad needed it. The model kit had been waiting since Christmas Day, and every day he had asked Dad if they could do it now. Until now Dad had just said “OK, let’s do it after my nap.” He knew Dad would do most of it. That didn’t matter – they were doing something together.

 

Ross loved it when they did stuff together, and Dad had always loved doing model aeroplanes. This was the first one since his 90th birthday, six months ago. Ross wanted to hang on to every moment.

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Stonehenge

The king stood on the hill, and took in what he could see.

‘OK. So, it’s finished, is it?’

‘Yes, your majesty. All finished. I hope you are going to like it. It’s taken many many summers to complete.’

‘Yes, it has taken rather a long time, hasn’t it? And now, after all this time, can you please tell me what it is? Because from where I’m standing, it looks like a ring of stones around another ring of stones.’

‘That’s it exactly, your Majesty. We’ve dragged these stones from a place far away, and brought them here for your pleasure.’

‘Why?’

‘Sorry, your Majesty?’

‘It’s a simple enough question. Why have you dragged these stones all the way from who knows where, stood them on their ends and placed some more on top? What possible benefit can there be to me or any of my people?’

‘It’s a holy place, your Majesty. It is somewhere to go to worship the Sun, and maybe offer up a sacrifice. It should please him immensely.’

‘And you know this for certain, do you? That this huge ring of stones will please the Sun so much that he won’t burn us to death?’

‘Well, obviously, I can’t say for certain, but I’ve got a pretty good idea about what makes him tick, your Majesty. Most of the time after a sacrifice we get a nice, sunny day. It must work.’

‘Most of the time. But not always. I have to feel sorry for the families of those virgins we’ve sacrificed, in the hope of a bit of sunshine, and all we’ve had is more rain. It must be very upsetting for them.’

‘Which is why this should make things better. We have built a temple, where we can pay homage to the mighty Sun.’

‘Well, I hope you’re right. It will all seem like a massive waste of time if it doesn’t work.’

‘Yes, but that’s not all, your Majesty. The stones are set up so that on the day the Sun is in the sky for the longest time, it will line up with two of the standing stones. That way, we will know when it is the middle of the year.’

‘OK. Let me get this straight. You have spent a huge amount of time, and used countless men to assist in bringing these stones here, just so that once a year you know what day it is. And on other days, we can use it to sacrifice virgins, or maybe the odd sheep, in the hope that we might get a little sunshine the next day.’

‘That’s about it, your Majesty, yes. What do you think?’

‘Honestly? I’m wondering why I didn’t question the whole operation summer’s ago. What a complete and utter waste of time. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember you telling me that you’re a virgin. Only I could do with some sunshine tomorrow. I’m sure the Sun won’t mind that you’re not female.’

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The Cake

At my last job, when the days got dull and the boss was out, I would ask one of the others to give me three words which I then had to include in a 100 word story.

The three words for this one were egg timer, miscellaneous, and perpendicular.

 

Tom sat on the kitchen stool, watching his mum. He could barely contain his excitement. ‘What happens now, Mum?’

‘Well, I’ve carved the boat. Now I need to ice it, and put the sail, rudder and other miscellaneous bits on. Then it should look like a proper sailing dingy.’

Tom played with an egg timer while she placed a wooden dowel perpendicular to the ‘deck’ of the cake. Other boys had football cakes. He wanted to be different. His dad had loved sailing. Now the cake would bring back his memory at least. He missed his dad so very much.

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Thanks Dad

God was feeling content. The ambrosia had been particularly fine today, and with his belt loosened, an afternoon nap was just what the doctor ordered.

He’d already sent the angels away, and had settled in to his armchair, with his feet up and a blanket over his lap, and eyelids that were getting heavier by the second. His brain was in that half way point between consciousness and sleep.

He was in the Garden of Eden, in the days when Adam and Eve were still walking around naked, and he could happily chat to them and come and go as he pleased, before that damned serpent went and ruined everything. A gentle breeze rustled the leaves in the trees, birds were singing and the rivers were flowing with pure, crystal clear water. Paradise indeed.

It was his happy place, somewhere to go to when he was feeling down. Not that he was down at the moment. It was just his subconscious taking over as he drifted off into quiet slumber. The peace and quiet of the room was soon replaced by the sound of a gentle snore.

“Hi, Dad.”

He jolted awake, bleary eyed and not quite sure where he was. It didn’t take long for him to focus on his son, standing in the doorway looking a little embarrassed and rather dishevelled. There was dried blood all over his hands and feet, and a nasty looking gash in his side.

“Jesus, what are you doing here? You’re not due back for a few years yet. You look dreadful. What on Earth happened?”

“Did you not get my messages? What’s the point of praying, if you aren’t going to listen?”

“Sorry. I’ve been a bit distracted lately, what with Gabriel being all upset about the incident with the sixteen year old girl. Mary, that’s her name.”

“You mean Mum? The one you knocked up, and then left on her own to face her father, her fiancé, and the rest of the community? What in God’s name were you thinking?”

“Yes, well, a bit of a cock up there, to be honest. I got a bit carried away, and then didn’t know what to do. Dear old Gabriel said he’d sort it for me, but then he went all emotional, and refused to come out of his bedroom. I’ve been trying to get him to talk to me for the past thirty years. Maybe you could have a word with him.”

“Sorry, Dad. That’s your business. It’s bad enough that you abandoned me down there. I don’t see why I should have to sort out your problems for you. I think I’ve had enough to deal with, thank you very much.”

“Fair point. So, how was it?”

Jesus sat down in a chair next to God, to his right. “This feels nice. I could get used to sitting here.”

“Well, it is reserved for you. But not yet. You’re supposed to be down there saving Humanity.”

“Yes, well, I never really did understand that bit. I go down to Earth, tell everyone what a great guy you are, I die, and somehow they’re all saved. Doesn’t make any sense to me.”

“I’ll explain it someday, when we’ve got more time. In the meantime, tell me everything.” He clapped his hands, and an angel appeared in the doorway. “Ah, Julian. Can you get us a tray of ambrosia, and a jug of nectar? Thanks ever so much.”

Over drinks and nibbles, Jesus explained to his father what had happened in the thirty odd years he had been a human, walking and talking with people, convincing a few that he wasn’t mad, and thoroughly upsetting the majority who thought he was.

“And then it all came to a head when that backstabbing Judas kissed me on the cheek. There I was, minding my own business, doing a bit of praying, and the next thing I know, I’m being dragged through the mud, nailed to a cross, and poor Mum is crying her eyes out. And not one of my friends did anything to rescue me. The only chap who tried to help was Pilate, but his hands were tied. I don’t think he wanted the mob to start rioting. I can’t say I blame him, to be honest.”

God took a drink, and shifted nervously in his seat, while he thought of what to say. He’d been silent all the way through, but knew he should say something now.
“OK. This is not how it was meant to be. Yes, you were supposed to die, but it could just as easily have been through old age. I don’t think I ever specified the method. I can’t remember, to be honest.”

“What do you mean, you can’t remember? I’ve been stoned, spat at, denied and eventually crucified. And you can’t remember? Well, thanks very much, Dad.”

“OK. Let’s have a think about what we should do. I can understand the Romans not being happy, what with all their gods to worship and everything. But the Jews? They’re supposed to be on my side. I did this for them. I guess there’s no pleasing some people.”

“Some people? Just about all of them, I’d say.” Jesus took another piece of ambrosia. Death had given him an appetite. “Haven’t got any wine, have you? I got quite a taste for it while I was away.”

God ignored the wine comment. “Right, it’s Saturday tomorrow. They’ll all be worshipping me, and won’t be very receptive to anything else. You go and shower, and put some clean clothes on. Let me sleep on it, and I’ll let you know in the morning what I’ve decided to do. Actually, you don’t fancy popping back down for a few weeks, do you?  I think I’ve just come up with a solution.”

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The Pyramids Part 2

The Pharoah stood and admired the view.

‘Have they gone?’

‘Yes, Your Majesty. Their chariot has left to return to their home land.’

‘Thank heavens for that. I thought they’d never leave.’

‘Indeed, Your Majesty. They did rather over stay their welcome.’

‘Where did they say they were from?’

‘From beyond the stars, Your Majesty. I never did understand what they meant by that.’

‘No, me neither. It all seems very strange, really. They turn up here unannounced, convince us to build these things, and then leave before they’ve explained what they are and indeed what they are for.’

From where they were standing, they could see the entire complex: a selection of pyramids of different sizes, and a statue of a sphinx.

‘Well, Hemon, I must say it all looks very impressive. There’s a certain pleasing symmetry to it all. I’m not sure why they got us to build the sphinx, but still, it’s all rather fun to see.’

‘Thank you, Your Majesty. I am honoured that you approve.’

‘Yes, well, don’t get carried away with taking all the credit, will you. I think our visitors had a little more to do with the construction that you did, wouldn’t you agree?’

‘As you wish, sir. They certainly were a big help.’

‘A big help? That’s a bit of an understatement, isn’t it? They came up with the idea, helped bring the rocks here, and then organised the thousands of men and got these things built. What was it you did, exactly?’

‘Well, Your Majesty, I was the one who had to liaise between the visitors and our men. It was quite a hard task at times.’

‘’Mmm, well, it didn’t look too hard from where I was sitting, but we won’t dwell on it. I’m sure you’ll let everyone know who was behind it all.’

‘I don’t think that would be a good idea, Your Majesty. I think it would look better if we said it was all your idea, and that I was the architect who made it happen.’

‘Why? That seems a little dishonest, don’t you think? I didn’t want to build the bloody things. As impressive as they look, they did take a little longer than I would have liked. And a few more men than they first said, as well. Thousands of them. Gods know what we’re going to do with them all now. I think we might have a bit of an unemployment problem. What we need is a good war.’

‘All valid points, Your Majesty. However, there are very few people who know about our visitors. We shall probably never see them again, as they have a long way to travel home. Who’s going to know if we lie a little? We can go down in history as the builders of something great.’

‘Something great, or something pointless? Did they give any indication to you as to their purpose?’

‘Not really, no sir. There are various chambers inside. Perhaps you could use the largest one as a palace, or maybe offices for your staff.’

‘But there aren’t any windows, man. Why would I want to live a palace that is completely cut off from sunlight?’

‘True. How about you use it as a cold store? In the heat of the day, it is very cool inside. You could store milk, cheese, and keep your wine chilled.’

‘Look, Hemon. I know I am the pharaoh, and I can do pretty much whatever I like. Actually, I can do anything I like, there’s no “pretty much” involved. But even I draw the line at making tens of thousands of men toil for all these years, many of them dying in the process, just so that I can enjoy a chilled glass of rosé on a warm summer’s eve. There must be something else we can do with these buildings.’

‘True, sir. It would look a little extravagant.’

‘Ooo, I’ve had an idea. What about using it as a prison? Lock the bastards up, keep them in the dark, feed them bread and water for a few years. What do you think of that?’

‘That is indeed a most excellent suggestion, Your Majesty, although I feel that may be a little too cruel, even for the most hardened criminals.’

‘Fair point. It would get a rather unpleasant in there, what with no ventilation. Why on Earth did they not put any windows in? A serious lack of foresight on their behalf, wouldn’t you say, Hemon?’

‘Indeed, sir. They didn’t think it through, did they?’

‘Just as a matter of interest, did you ever ask them why they were here? Or what they hoped to achieve?’

‘I am afraid I didn’t, Your Majesty. I thought they might have told us before they left.’

‘Ah well, we’re stuck with them now. Tell you what, while we’re thinking about it, go and pop a few bottles of wine in one of them, will you? They should be chilled in time for dinner.’

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The Pyramids – Part One

The Pyramids

As they looked down on the planet below them, the Captain was trying to remember the last time they’d been here.

‘So, this is Earth, is it? I seem to recall they were a bit primitive. Any news on whether they’ve developed at all?’

The First Mate stood next to him, with a clipboard in his hand.

‘Reports suggest they have moved on a little, sir. The population has increased to seven billion, with around two hundred separate nations. They now have electricity, indoor plumbing and nuclear fusion. A small amount of space travel, but they haven’t reached any further than their own moon.’

‘Ah well, it’s a start. I remember we built them those pyramid things last time. Completely pointless, but they liked them. I wonder what they used them for. And seven billion people all living together must mean they all get along well.’

***

‘OK. Run that past me again. What exactly is a hamburger?’ asked the Captain.

They were back on board the spacecraft, after a week of touring the planet in disguise.

‘They take the flesh of a cow, grind it up into small pieces, then stick it back together again, cook it and place it between two slices of bread.’

‘And the Big Mac is the finest example of this, is it?’

‘Judging by the numbers that are sold, I would say yes, sir. Although I did try some much finer versions.’

‘And did they all have that strange, round green thing in them?’

‘The “pickle” or “gherkin”? Not all, no, sir.’

‘Does anyone actually eat those things? I saw most people take them out and leave them on the side. A most strange flavour, I must say.’

‘Opinion seems to be divided, sir.’

‘Anyway, there were much better things to eat. And I must say, the “Internet” was a fun thing to see. It’s just a shame that the main use for it is looking at photos and videos of people performing acts of sexual reproduction.’

‘Indeed, sir. There seems to have been some great advances since we were last there, but their base instincts are still very much to the fore.’

‘A good observation, Number One. I couldn’t help noticing that they have mastered nuclear fusion, and as soon as they do, they use it as a weapon for mass-destruction. It’s all very sad, really. And tell me, please, what on Earth happened to the pyramids we helped them to build? All that time and effort and what do they do? Use them as tombs. Why? I thought they were going to use them for storage, or maybe a nice palace. Even a shopping mall would have been preferable to sealing them up for thousands of years. What a waste of time that was. I wish we’d never bothered.’

‘I understand, sir. It does seem a little pointless. Perhaps if we’d put some windows in, that might have helped. Do you think maybe we should have left them something more useful, like the internal combustion engine, or calculus?’

‘No, I don’t think so. It’s quite clear that whatever technology or intelligence we might have left them at the time would have been wasted. They can hardly cope with what they’ve got now.’

‘Indeed, sir.’

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