Thursday, June 3, 2010

Friday Fiction for June 4, 2010

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Vonnie, at My Back Door. Find your way there to add your link for this week, and to read the other submissions.

This week marks 100 posts on Pod Tales and Ponderings. While for those who update several times a week, or even daily, 100 posts might not seem like such a big deal, but for me, this represents almost two years of participating in Friday Fiction, with more than a few original stories written specifically for this blog.

Some of the stories I write are not overtly Christian, but even in the original, long-lost iteration of this story, it was very clear in the spiritual message. I hope if such is not your normal cup of tea, you’ll still enjoy Maelstrom’s Eye.

Incidentally, the concept of flinging inert mass at Earth from space as a weapon was used by Robert Heinlein in his story, “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” written in 1966. It was also used in the movie, “The Last Starfighter,” in 1984. The concept recurs in Science Fiction because it is a valid idea, and one that would be very difficult to defend against. I would love to claim that it was my original idea, but this is another case where I get to follow in the footsteps of many terrific Sci-Fi writers that have forged the way for this generation or writers.

Maelstrom’s Eye

Part 8

Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. ~ Psalm 139:7, 8

That we were slaves I had known all my life, and nothing could be done about it. True, we weren’t bought and sold, but as long as Authority held monopoly over what we had to have and what we could sell to buy it, we were slaves. ~ from “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein.


Carl rolled onto his back and looked at the ceiling. For having gone to bed so early, he hadn’t slept all that much, and for what had to be the hundredth time, he prompted the computer. “Time?”

“Six-nineteen A.M.,” the computer replied.

When he had slept, the nightmares had plagued him, and while he was awake, Celia’s words had haunted him. I sure could have used some of those drugs they gave me when I was in the hospital. Maelstrom could have destroyed the entire neighborhood, and I’d have slept right through it.

He got up and made his way to the kitchen, regretting the previous evening’s decision to retire without dinner. The cereal and bowls resided in the same cupboard, and he replaced the box after dispensing one serving into the plain white ceramic bowl. He carried his breakfast over to the refrigerator for some milk, and paused to read the note Celia had left for him.

I left a container of the stew in the fridge. It should be enough for both lunch and dinner if you want it, and took the rest of it home so it wouldn’t go to waste. If you change your mind about coming to church, service starts at 10, and the Lamb’s Fellowship is located at the corner of First Street and Via de La Paz. Even though it’s my day off, please don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything. ~ Celia

The stew sat at the front of the top shelf in the refrigerator, and looking at the container, he figured she had left enough for at least two lunches and dinners. He removed the milk bottle, poured a generous amount over the cereal, and replaced it in the door before closing the fridge again.

His breakfast routine included checking the network for the day’s news, and when nothing grabbed his attention, he played an on-line solitaire game while he ate. The multi-player games had quickly lost luster for him, after too many opponents either grandstanded when they won, or threw childish fits when they lost. Rather than hope for an opponent that knew how to behave, it was just easier to play by himself.

After a bit over an hour of the game, he logged off and put the empty bowl into the dishwasher, before heading into the backyard to put the water on one part of the garden. He didn’t worry about getting dressed first – unless one of his neighbors were peeking over the wall, they would not see him in the faded t-shirt and sleep-shorts we was wearing. Even if they did, he was still more covered than many of the people he saw walking the street in front of his house on hot days.

The morning warmed up quickly, and he returned to the house to cool down. Sitting at the network terminal again, he logged in and noticed that it was just a bit after ten. On a lark, he searched for Lamb’s Fellowship, and found the church’s site. A news bar informed him that the morning service was broadcasting live over the network. If I watch it from here, I can tell Celia I checked out her church, and maybe she’ll stop bugging me about it.

The screen showed a group of musicians on a raised platform, and he turned up the audio to hear what they were playing. The lively song involved a lot of percussion and clapping, and when the view changed to that of the audience, it showed most of them on their feet, joining in with the rhythmic clapping. He tuned out the words, instead searching the faces on the screen for Celia and her family.

As the song ended, the view returned to the musicians, and the clapping changed to regular applause, which died down when the next song began. The lead guitarist leaned towards his microphone and raised one hand, with the open palm facing up.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean,” the guitarist said. “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.” His hand dropped to the guitar strings, picking up on the tune with the other musicians, and everyone started to sing.

“Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” The hands in the audience were no longer clapping, but were raised up in similar fashion to how the guitarist had lifted his one hand. “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Some of the faces that had been joyful during the previous song were now streaked with tears.

Is that even possible anymore?

Celia appeared for just a moment on the screen, her eyes closed, with one hand lifted up and the other clenched over her heart.

“Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord. Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.”

What would Celia ever need to worry about in that regard?

“Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and renew a right spirit within me.”

What I would give for a right spirit!

“Create in me a clean heart, oh God.”

I want that. More than anything else in the world, I want a clean heart.

“And renew a right spirit within me.”

If it’s at all possible, then please – please.

“Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.” His mouth moved to form the words, though his voice broke before he could make the sounds. Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord.

To be continued…


Sharlyn Guthrie said...

I love these verses of Scripture, and how you wove them into your story.

Rita Garcia said...

I always enjoy the details you work into your story. You used some of my favorite scriptures, especially the ending one. Blessings!

BethL said...

Great descriptive writing that puts your reader in the scene (as usual, Hoomi). You've woven an excellent message into your story. I love the verse from Psalm 51.

BethL said...

oh, and congrats on your 100th post... that IS an accomplishment!

Bear said...

Bear loves the way you had Carl gradually drawn into the service, at first not even bothering to listen to the music, and then gradually being drawn in more and more, and then applying the song more and more to himself. That built very well, and gave a very strong message.

Yvonne Blake said...

100 posts? Congratulations!