#writephoto — Welcome to Purgatory

C32E9638-7188-462B-89A1-1DD256BFD3A3I was one of a group of half a dozen rather unworldly-looking beings, almost ghostly in our appearance and seeming to be without material substance. I had no memory of how I got here and no knowledge where I was. But I knew that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

It was very dark and I could see nothing other than a blueish glow emanating from my companions and me. They all seemed to be as confused and disoriented as I was. I tried to speak but, I could produce no sound.

Without warning, an apparition appeared before us, emerging from the darkness and literally gliding into view. She had the appearance of a woman with long, flowing red hair and she was carrying some sort of bowl in her hand, in a fashion as one might when making an offering. She possessed an ethereal look, translucent and pulsating in such a matter that made it seem as if she was, at the same time, both there and not there.

In a voice that was soft and delicate, yet lilting, she said, “Welcome to Purgatory, my friends. Each of you has died in God’s grace, but you are still imperfect and must undergo the process of purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.”

“Damn,” I thought to myself, since I was unable to vocalize. “It seems that I bet on the wrong horse when I was alive. I believed neither in God nor in the afterlife.”

The apparition floated over to me, took the bowl she was holding, lifted it over what once would have been my head, turned it upside down, and emptied the contents of the bowl over me, causing me to experience a pressing sensation on my chest. “No,” she said, “you are right where you belong.”

Then I heard what sounded like a cat’s purring and as I slowly returned to consciousness, I discovered that I was in my bed and the pressing sensation on my chest was from my cat sitting on my chest and kneading me.


Written for the Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent. Image credit: unattributed.

#writephoto — The Perfect Tree

2B5433D4-9F88-4FF7-9F71-C0ABFC709848”Dad, let’s go. I’m cold,” Doug said.

“Yeah, me too, Dad,” Dana said, echoing her older brother.

“Steve please,” Arlene said. “We’ve been out here for hours and you still haven’t found your ‘perfect’ tree. It’s going to be dark soon, the kids are tired and, quite frankly, so am I.”

“Just a little while longer, hon,” Craig said. “I don’t want to have to come all the way back out here again. I’ll know it when I see it.”

Arlene looked at her watch. “Kids, let’s give Dad another 15 minutes,” she said. “If he hasn’t found his perfect tree by then, we’ll go.”

“Aw Mom!” the kids said in unison.

After about five minutes of walking deeper into the woods, Steve stopped abruptly. “Look,” he said excitedly. “Look at the way the late afternoon sun is shining directly through the branches of that tree and down upon us. It’s a sign from the heavens that this tree, this perfect tree, was meant to be our family’s Christmas tree this year.”

Steve took his portable, gas-powered chain saw out of its sack, and went to work on the base of the tree. It was almost dark by the time he had the tree down and was able to maneuver it onto the large sled. He hauled the tree-laden sled back to where they had parked the family’s pickup truck.

The drive back to town would take a few hours, and both of kids and Arlene had fallen asleep shortly after Steve started driving. Despite having poured himself a cup of lukewarm coffee from the thermos he almost always had with him, Steve, himself, was struggling to keep his eyes open.

*****
It wasn’t until mid-morning the next day when the park rangers discovered the overturned pickup truck at the bottom of the steep ravine.


Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Sorry about the dark turn this story took. I didn’t expect it to go in that direction, but that’s where it went.

Highway to Heaven

D53439D1-B279-4A3A-A765-9A41E7FD2915The high priest stood at the podium in front of his adoring audience of faithful followers in the large auditorium. He held his hands high above his head and said in a booming voice, “The historic and glorious saga of our species is about to come to an end. God is speaking to us. He’s testing us. He’s flooding our lands, creating massive storms, spreading devastating fires, and causing the earth to shake beneath us and swallow us up.”

The parishioners sat in quiet awe, collectively nodding their heads in agreement, a few scattered “amens” being spoken.

The priest continued his lofty speech. “You are at a crossroad and it’s time for each of you to choose your path. Do you stay behind and face the wrath of our Lord and maker for your sinful ways? Or do you escape this wicked, material world for an eternity in His presence?”

You could hear a pin drop as the people in the audience awaited the priest’s next words. They didn’t have to wait too long. “Leave behind all of your worldly goods, give up your material possessions. Get in your vehicles for the very last time, as you won’t need them where we are going. Follow me as I lead you on our journey to eternal paradise. Join me on the Highway to Heaven.


Written for this week’s Photo Challenge from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Photo credit: sound-dream @ tumblr.

Aldo for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (priest), Your Daily Word Prompt (saga), Word of the Day Challenge (quiet), Ragtag Daily Prompt (lofty), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (escape).

Share Your World — Heaven Can Wait

Melanie, at Sparks From a Combustible Mind, brings us another episode of Share Your World. Here are her questions and my answers for this week’s sharing.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?  If you don’t think Heaven nor God exists, you might want answer by saying something outrageous, just for fun!

I’m in the heaven and God don’t exist camp. That said, if I did come in contact with God after I died, I’d love to hear him say to me, “Yes, I know I’m supposed to be infallible, but me dammit, I made a mistake. It’s not your time yet, so I’m sending you back.”

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Having Donald Trump as president.

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

I’m rarely alone in my car anymore except when I have to run errands where I can’t walk or take a bus. So when I am alone in my car, I’m typically thinking about the fastest or shortest route to get where I’m going.

How would you rate your memory? 

I can’t recall.

And lastly:

What’s one song that always cheers you up, no matter how blue you’re feeling?

I’m going to reach way back into the vault and drift on up to the roof.