Wednesday Write-In #53

This week’s words were:

tide  ::  short-sighted  ::  reflective  ::  apocalypse  ::  gloom

This is the first week I really struggled with my Wednesday Write-In! I’d written another story altogether, but decided to scrap it at the last second. I replaced it with this one, which I’m still not sure is entirely a good idea…


Judgement Day

‘An apocalypse,’ he’d told me once, ‘is an unveiling. An uncovering. A hidden truth being brought to the surface.’

Yes, I’d thought. And then what?

The gloom in here was suffocating. All our exhalations, coming together like a tide, in and out, filling the air with gentle death. Every breath taken felt like a mountain climbed.

Someone, somewhere, was singing. Show me, O Lord, the Glory of Thy Face… Then, the voice threaded away to nothing, absorbed into the darkness as if it had never existed at all.

There had always been too many of us. We’d had to make the best of what we had, but it was never enough. Every year there’d be more women, more babies, more mouths, more filth, more work, but it was all for the glory, so I bent my back to the task. I laboured in the vineyard of the Lord, but it didn’t seem to matter.

‘I have been short-sighted in my obedience to His will,’ he’d announced one day. ‘He has provided, but I have been greedy.’ A reflective silence followed, during which we studied our hearts and explored our souls, and concluded that we were unworthy to keep living.

I can still hear the grinding click of the key in the lock. He shut us in here, and then he drove away.

‘An apocalypse,’ he’d taught us, ‘is an ending, and a beginning.’

Yes, I thought. But for whom?





15 thoughts on “Wednesday Write-In #53

  1. Pingback: RIP Elmore Leonard | patrickprinsloo

  2. Elaine McKay

    Powerful stuff. It is chilling. It is so claustrophobic. I also find the idea of there being ‘more women’ each year very disturbing. This has dreadful connotations in my reading of it. A very well written piece. The main man is a charlatan,as I read it, and this seems to be the way of these things.

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Thanks, Elaine. I’m glad all that was clear from the piece; the things you’ve picked up on are exactly the issues I wanted to express. Thanks for your comment, as always.

  3. anna3101

    Oh, how I love all that gloom and doom! Just the kind of story you want read in your bed, while sipping your tea and enjoying a cupcake. Makes you realize just how good life is 🙂

  4. highinbrixham

    Great stuff! It’s very powerfully written, and I agree with ‘claustrophobic’. The ‘click of the key’ – horrific final punctuation.
    Every sentence is so compact, and makes your reader think several sentences more of their own, which I think is the whole trick with engaging an audience.

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Oh, thank you! That’s exactly what I was hoping for – using sentences that would encourage the reader to bring their own imagination to the story. I’m really glad it had this effect on you. 🙂

  5. emmaleene

    I think this works very well. (I have lots of abandoned pieces waiting to become something- along with all the pieces I post that I’m not happy with! Keep your other story – you never know what it will become. I like the sparsity of the prose in this piece-gives a strong impact & urgent pace. For me the most powerful image was the grinding of the key in lock- it explained so much. Well done.

    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      Thanks, Emmaleene. It’s a good rule never to throw anything away, that’s for sure. I’m glad you liked this one; I haven’t written a sub-250 word flash for a while, and wanted to test myself. I’m glad the sparse prose added to the feel of the story. Thank you!


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