Monday, August 10, 2009

Opening Heaven's Gate - Part 4

The following short story, titled "Opening Heaven's Gate," was written for an assignment in a narrative theory course I took during my final year in college. This was my first attempt at any type of creative writing.

This is the final post in a series of four. The divisions were not part of the original assignment, and carry no thematic or structural intent. For anyone who would like to read the original story in its entirety, without the divisions, I've posted the complete document here. Enjoy.


“It’s time for you to get up and walk around. Stretch those legs. I know you’re hurtin’. Been through it six times myself. Don’t worry, it gets better, the first time’s always the worst. You’ll find out you have muscles in places you wouldn’t a never believed. Knocked me flat out when I had Dale, thought I couldn’t walk for a week. But when I finally tried, I was so cramped up couldn’t barely stand. Don’t want that to happen to you,” Rebecca advised.

Sarah did not want to so much as roll over in bed, let alone remove the covers, pivot, swing her legs to the floor, stand up, and take a few steps around the room. There was no way her abdominal muscles could take the strain after thirty hours of intense contractions. But she knew Rebecca was right; if she failed to cope with the pain now, it would only end up much worse in a few days. Resigned to the intense discomfort, she sat up in bed, turned, swung her legs to the floor, and stood up. Certainly painful, but not nearly what she had expected. She picked Hannah up off the bed and began to take a few steps.

It was then that she looked out the window and saw the dust cloud approaching along the two mile stretch of dirt road that ran through barren scrub from the entrance to Heaven’s Gate all the way to the main compound. The sight stopped her dead still, and she clutched Hannah tightly to her chest. The cloud grew larger, advancing by the second like a gigantic tumbleweed guided by the force of a divine hand. A large, white metal insect began to emerge from its center, beetle shaped, with an insidious steel proboscis at its front. Two men (or was one a woman?) dressed in grey and black, wearing helmets and holding guns rode atop its shell, using their forearms to shield their eyes from the dust storm the vehicle created. A column of vehicles, blue and red lights flashing, trailed the insect in its dash toward the center of the compound. The insect pulled into the yard of the house, right below her window, leaving tracks on the gravel drive. The two people dressed in black jumped off the top and the insect’s belly opened, birthing six more, all identically dressed and equipped. Sarah could hear screaming and shouting in the house, and boots stomping down the hall. She tried to duck behind the bed, but was frozen in fear, unable to move. Hannah sensed her mother’s fear, and her face began to contort into a scream. She turned red, but still Sarah heard no sound. Two officers, one a woman, kicked in the door and pointed their weapons at Sarah.

“Give me the child ma’am, hand over the child now,” the woman demanded. The officer lowered her weapon, walked over to the mother, and took the child from her arms.

Tears streamed down the adolescent mother’s face. She seemed to be barricading a scream, refusing to let her horror escape.

The child was silent.

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