Carefully Controlled Purgatory

Source


Johnny Hall trembled. Blue veins wormed across his temple. Eyes so deep set they seemed to vanish into his skull. He worried as the hold up continued in his run down mini-mart slash gas station. His reality was waving at the sea of black hoodies. The only vehicle he could see was the get away car. It was a tan two door sedan.

Two of his customers were shot while they were scratching there lottery instants. It was a terrible price to pay for gambling. A minute passed, then thirty additional seconds.

Crisp cotton shadows were floating across the store, they had taken the shapes of demons as he felt the heat rush through his body.

Everything around him moved and stood still at the same time. He then saw The Virgin Mary and The Baby Jesus look down upon him with jarring serenity. His body rocked back and forth as the visions failed to calm him.

Everything around him was an illusion, and the effect of that illusion was profound, disturbing as it does the natural hostility between the hunter and hunted. And he was clearly being hunted. It became a manipulation on a grand scale and The Virgin's presence became an act of betrayal. She did nothing to relieve him of the insanity that engulfed his little world. He felt trapped there, in a carefully staged drama in which hope deflated.

His body felt weak and his vision was failing. In his mind he tried to seek out some common ground where none existed in that carefully controlled purgatory.

The sag in his face indicated terror caused by fear. Johnny Hall then heard God's voice calling. It was loud and commanding.

“Move mother fucker, before I blow your fucking head off!”

Christ, Johnny Hall thought, staring at the cocked weapon. If that gun goes off whose going to raise my children?

Hall was then shoved violently against the cigarette stock, which covered most of the back wall. He looked at the black hole of the barrel, then at The Virgin Mary strangely, squinting through a euphoric haze.

“Open the safe!”

For a second or two Johnny Hall allowed him to think about that demand. What was he to gain from obeying?

“Open it or your brains are on the floor!”

Hall nodded, then walked to the safe. He punched in a few numbers and the safe door opened slowly.

Then there were two shoots fired almost simultaneously, Halls blood made it possible to cover the longest piece of ground in the shortest stretch of time.

The Virgin Mary extended her arm in a reaching motion, palm open and fingers bent. In her eyes Hall saw nothing that remotely resembled an emotion. The Baby Jesus closed his eyes as the shooters moved away from the victim.

Out of nowhere, a dark door opened on a perilously thin, old woman. She was barefooted, fungus toenails and spidery fingers. A silver cross rested on the arch of one varicose foot. Her thin mouth gave her a Capuchin look. Dark shadows under her tired eyes spoke of horrors that could never be untold. She pulled his spirit from his corpse and together they walked into the darkness leaving only death behind....

© 2015 Frank Atanacio

More by this Author

  • . . . A Psychological Profile
    29

    Chambers glanced back over to the derelict, who seemed to be enjoying the interrogation. The smile on his face seemed exaggerated which suggested amusement. It was so difficult to comprehend the......

  • The High Horse Route
    37

    The gatherers just stood around and watched the young woman suffering as their brains were being pickled by stupidity.

  • ...Only Loss
    40

    Kimber then started scanning the length of the train station platform and the parking lot looking for any trace of a witness. It was very early in the morning, and the streets were empty and the .....


Comments 37 comments

christinemariezzz 16 months ago

Frank,

Bravo!

The 5 th paragraph: I can grasp it.thank you, I really enjoyed that part and have read it over 3 times now-Mentor ( Shut -up) (LOL)

The latter black and white skyway, splendid augmentation of your Hub!

...Eyes so deep they seem to vanish into his skull..I wanna right like that...no fair (LOL)

...move motherfucker..." Don't ever splice that out of this bit...you pulled this one off with soon to come raving reviews.

Do it again!

-christinemariezzz


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks Christine for being the first and sharing a wonderful comment bless you :)


Lee Cloak 16 months ago

This is an amazing piece of flash Frank, top notch from start to finish and the finish is absolutely incredible.

Very well done my friend.

So in the moment, I could feel the tension all around and then the final paragragh came along and knocked my socks off.

Thanks for sharing.

Best wishes.

Lee


always exploring profile image

always exploring 16 months ago from Southern Illinois

This is amazing work Frank. I am blown away! I felt like I was there watching it all unfold...


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much Lee Cloak bless you


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

always thank you so much :) bless you Frank


billybuc profile image

billybuc 16 months ago from Olympia, WA

I thought the title said "Carefully Controlled Pregnancy"...I swear I did. LOL Glad I was wrong because, as always, this was wonderful.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Palpable horror with a demented depressing ending. A word maze where stark cold hellish reality is blurred by ethereal damnation. ---

I liked it a lot!


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 16 months ago

I did not get it Frank. Was he killed? Why was he killed? I thought the woman was going to save him. I voted it up, shared and pinned it.

Kevin


clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 16 months ago from Nibiru

nicceeeeeeeee! very niceeeeeee


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 16 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

What a very thought provoking story and I suspect some part 2...

Creatively thrilling!


Chris Antonaros profile image

Chris Antonaros 16 months ago from Athens, Greece

Very good job! Intense full and adventurous with a brilliant twist! Good job mate!


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 16 months ago from United States

Cold and blunt...true to life...and death. Very well described in the most garish terms. Actually compelling reading. whonu


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 16 months ago from southern USA

Tremendous writing as always, dear ole virtual Frank. I felt like I was beamed up back to the city in which I work there with the black hoodies and language of the street punks ...sigh

Your description of the moments leading up to death is probably the best way to describe purgatory, as I don't believe in purgatory after we die, so what you have written here is a good way to describe those moments before our physical death. Yes, I can understand why he felt no comfort from Mary, as it is Jesus who gives us that sweet, sweet peace when we know Him, no matter what is going on in this life.

That woman is certainly the epitome of creepy and then some ... I will admit I had to laugh at the monkey photo and I actually learned something with the addition of "Capuchin" ...Googled it : )

Blessings


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Billybuc and Eric for checking out my page.. I believe you Billy..:) bless you both


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

Thanks for reading my clip Examiner and Clive... and too Examiner I'm sorry you didn't get it.. it was my intention to make it clear on what state of mind he was in while a robbery and manslaughter was in progress.. clearly I failed in that aspect..:( but nonetheless thank you both for reading


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

Chris, CriSp and whonunuwho.. thanks for checking out my gas station hold up..bless you guys :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Faith for understanding my short piece here and as always bless you dear one :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 16 months ago from The Caribbean

This plot is excellently engineered to produce that spooky ending. Would that woman be good company for his walk through the valley . . .?


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

Maybe not MsDora.. thank you so much for reading my short


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 16 months ago from New York

Frank I could almost feel this guy's terror. His mind was in and out of reality and he was hoping against hope his faith would get him through. How horrible this scenario must be in real life.

Exquisitly, painfully, perfect! Well done.

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 16 months ago from USA

Wow, what a terror-filled description of emotion and those details (fungus toenails). And what an ending! You are a master, Frank.


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 16 months ago from LOS ANGELES

Intriguing and suspenseful to say the least. I just happened to stumble on this piece and it seems I will have to look for the beginning and read it all over again.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

tillsontitan, and Flourish Anyway thank you so much for checking out my drama :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Dana Tate for checking out my page


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 16 months ago from California

The tension in this was palpable Frank! Just excellent write!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

hey Audrey good to see you


Genna East profile image

Genna East 16 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Oh, Frank! This is your best, yet. I have goosebumps of awe and amazement. Simply superb.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Genna East


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 16 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Beautiful words, Frank. You took an entire scene from start to finish and made it come alive until death overtook it.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you aviannovice for reading my drama :)


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 16 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Frank - it is obvious that you really got into this dark peace.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks for stopping by mckbirdbks :)


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 16 months ago

Wow. This was dark and it was really speaking to me. I don't like "dark things", yet this is interesting because is it when we choose material over the spiritual? And who can know if there are true dark spirits among us, and when the darkness in our minds set in. I know my emotions feel like that grotesque figure with the snakes mocking me.

I think this opens the door for the spirits to jump in. Awesome write.

Up and shared.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 16 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Jo.. for jumping in...LOL bless you


QudsiaP1 profile image

QudsiaP1 14 months ago

Absolutely breath taking!! For a moment there I was holding my breath, I could not read it fast enough! Well done. :)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks so much Que.. Ill be sure to visit your page and return the reading favor :) Frank

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working