Here is another sneak peak at one of my various and different Valkyrie short stories wrote for orginally for the Huddersfield Literature Festival competition (sadly didn't get very far with it) but I am now going to share it with you, my readers (I hope) and as part of a Writers Carnival being held courtesy of James T at his The Four Part Land website http://thefourpartland.com/blog/?p=197 - follow link for more details on how to take part. Flash Fiction entries closes on Wednesday 26th May!
Now to those of you who are more familiar with my writing involving Valkyries and perhaps those of you have even sampled the adventures taking place in my WIP 'Soul Chaser' chapters available to read here, some of this short story may be familiar but believe when I say it is using the same characters and location but the events that unfold are different. As always I greatly encourage anyone reading this to please spare me two minutes at the end to let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reading.
I Am No Angel - Short Story
“Isn’t it a beautiful day?” Kate asked finally joining me at Starbucks for our lunch break.
“It’s pleasant. Have you started filling your quota yet?”
“Yes, half way through already, how about you?”
I nodded, draining the last of my coffee and took out my list of fifty names. “I have a few to visit at the hospital and an old people’s home.”
“Ugh old people. We weren’t created to watch their inglorious death. We need warriors. Men of honour, courage and strength. Men who died by the sword. Not killed by disease, old age and accidents.”
“If we didn’t make exceptions you know our numbers would dwindle into non-existence. There are too many faiths and so few believers.”
“Oh I do miss the old days and our old ways.” She sighed. “Well I have a child to visit in the hospital so why don’t we go together?”
“Fine by me.” We left our seats in the shade and made our way through the throbbing streets of York.
Once at the hospital car park, we casually walked to a quiet corner, away from curious eyes, where we prepared and equipped ourselves for the job.
“Mine is on the second floor where is yours?” Kate asked, checking her own quota.
“Fourth floor. Wait for me here when you are done.”
With a final nod to each other we strode purposefully back round the corner across the car park and into the building. No one gave us a glance and no one got in our way.
I found the man I sought in a room at the end of the ward. He lay still in his bed, his drips and monitor leads hung loose on the floor. The woman who sat beside him was milk white with red eyes from tears.
“Mr Garret?” I said softly, sitting at the end of his bed, watching his eyes flutter open.
“Huh? Yes?” He became wary once he noticed me. “Who are you? What do you want?”
“There’s no easy way of saying this Mr Garret, but you have just died.” It was inevitable that he wouldn’t believe me. After all, a woman in a white feathered cloak against a skirt and blouse and holding a tall spear, promote the signs of a deluded mind.
“Preposterous! I’m sat here talking to you aren’t I? Tell her Laura, you can see I’m quite alive can’t you?” He turned to the pale faced woman sat beside him. She didn’t blink. She didn’t say a word.
“I’m afraid you are, Mr Garret. But if you are alive, give your daughter a hug. Prove me wrong.”
He shot me an angry glare and got out of his bed, unaware yet that his pain had vanished and leaned in towards his daughter. He passed straight through her, landing on all fours on the floor. Panic in his eyes, his breath quickening with fear, disbelief freezing his heart. I stepped towards him and offered him my hand.
“It’s ok, you can touch me. You can even hit me if it makes you feel any better.”
“But how? Why? I...I...was sleeping...only sleeping...I felt so tired...I...”
“I know it’s hard to accept. I went through the same thing. Now can I talk to you about what happens next?”
“Next?” The puzzlement and possible curiosity seemed to calm him down a bit as I walked him slowly towards the window.
“Yes, the small matter of life after death.”
“Oh, I never really believed in that kind of thing.”
“Yes, I know that David. Now, as you are not a follower of any faith for that matter, my Boss has decided to lay claim on your soul.”
“Yes, the deity I work for.”
“Are you an Angel?”
I laughed. “My job is similar to that of Angels but I am not one of them. My Boss is of an older faith. He has many names but you may refer to him as Odin. His followers once ruled this place when it was known as Jorvik, but you know of them as Vikings. Before you begin your afterlife there is a test you must do first.”
“Am I being judged?”
“In a way, it tests the person you have become, not the way you lived.” I gave a comforting smile, opening up a window that looked out across a still and silent city. I pointed my spear downwards and engraved runes onto the floor with its silver tip. A rainbow bridge appeared linking our window to the ground below.
“What do I have to do?” he asked, staring suspiciously at my runes and the rainbow.
“You must simply walk along this bridge. If you are worthy you will reach the other end and live happily in Asgard, if not, well....”
He knew what my silence meant. “Will it hold me?” he asked, shaking as I urged him forward.
“It’s perfectly safe. Trust me, that’s it... steady ...see its fine.” Watching him stand for the first time on his own upon the colours. “Now face forward and walk, reach the end and all will be well. I hope to see you at the other side.”
He was doing well at first, five steps in and it seemed he might make it, but then the true test of his soul began. Visions of those he had wronged in life appeared before him asking for answers, explanations and apologies. All asking for one thing before he departed. David was too set on self preservation to care about appeasing these spirits. He waved them away, pushed past their pleading faces and ignored their words. When he finally got through them the bridge opened up and he fell into the abyss, screaming.
I scratched out my runes with my spear and concealed my spiritual cloak and spear with more magic. I brought out my quota, noting at least twenty souls still to visit.
I sighed. “A Valkyrie’s work is never done.”