#MondayMenage is a 100 - 200 word challenge w/ 3 prompts
“Everyone, stay together,” Ms. Harris said to her first grade class as she attempted to herd them along the beach front art gallery. “This next sculpture is called Mysterious Ways. What could that mean?”
The sculpture presented a man, woman, and child with the man holding an arm up to the sky in a beseeching manner. Someone had written the words “cargo cult” in bright yellow under the name.
Several small hands went up.
“Yes Sally?” she said.
“It means God,” the little girl said.
“Very good, Sally.” Ms. Harris called on the next student.
“What does ‘cargo cult’ mean?”
Ms. Harris looked puzzled at first but then said, “Cargo cults developed in the south pacific after WWII. When tribes encountered Western civilization they thought the soldiers and sailors were gods because of the advanced technology they introduced, which of course wasn’t true.”
Ms. Harris next called a little girl named Anne.
“When my Daddy has been in the bathroom a long time he always says, ‘the Lord works in mysterious ways’.”
Several more hands went up.
“Oh my,” Ms. Harris said.
“Is Christianity a cargo cult?” Jimmy asked.
“Of course not, Jimmy,” Ms. Harris responded. “Now, class…”
It was a strange night at Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub. Thursday’s we have a traditional Irish session. Fiddles, flutes, whistles, box, bouzouki, and usually a bodhran. I play box. That’s accordion of the Irish variety for those of you who don’t know.
I’ve been coming to the session for years. Years upon years I guess would be more appropriate. It really is the only memorable time of the week for me. Often, when I think back, I really can’t remember much about a specific week or segment of time unless I can relate it to what happened at the session that week. What tunes were played, or who showed up. That sort of thing.
So on this night there was a new guy. As the evening went on we played sets of reels, jigs, the occasional waltz or slip-jig. At one point when all the musicians were taking a break, I asked if he’d ever been to the session before.
“Oh,” he said, “I been here often. Just like you!” Next time I looked around, there was nobody there.
Then I realized something. I hadn’t spoken to anyone else at the session in years. Years upon years.
“Genomic Holographically Oriented Spatial Telemetry,” the General said, addressing the Congressional delegates. “G.H.O.S.T. for short. It produces an extension of a person, based on fractally encoded information derived from human DNA, to a transcended state which is recognized by the angel device. Once this was accomplished we realized that the angel was broadcasting the same message repeatedly.”
“Wait a minute,” a Senator interrupted. “Why are you calling this a device? In the briefing earlier this was referred to as an Angel.”
“General, if you will allow me,” Dr. Erald interjected.
“Of course, Doctor.”
“Angels in the Bible are commonly thought to be beings, messengers. In reality there were many classifications of angels. In some instances, the texts clearly make reference to a <i>thing</i> as opposed to a <i>being</i>. A communication device if you will.”
“So it isn’t living? It’s a <i>thing</i>?”
“That is debatable,” the Doctor replied.
“Either way,” the Senator said, “the fact that it is delivering a blessing is a good thing, right?”
“Actually,” the Doctor said, “the etymology of the word ‘blessing’ has connotations suggesting ownership to a bloodline much like livestock.”
“Well what message is this <i>angel</i> broadcasting?” the Senator asked.
“ Blessed are the children.”
“So,” Rod began, “your parents are into this thing about a guy who dies and then he comes back to life, complete with wounds, right?”
“Look,” Caroline replied as she cut the air with one mitted hand. “We’ve been through this before. This is for my parents. Christmas is important to them.”
In the back seat of the car Brent Johnson remained quiet. He’d heard Caroline and Rod go through this over and over during the past few weeks and it always bothered him. Rod was an asshole.
“Hey, I’m just saying it sounds like some kind of zombie god or something,” Rod replied.
“Rod, please,” Caroline implored, drawing the words out for emphasis.
“Whatever,” Rod said under his breath. “It’s like some undead Christmas if you ask me,” he muttered.
Caroline Mathews focused on driving as snowflakes the size of her fists quietly buffeted the windshield reducing vision to about twenty feet or so. Her ’72 Beetle ran just fine in the below freezing temperatures and with the engine mounted in the rear, traction was pretty good on the snow covered roads. She leaned forward over the steering wheel as she maneuvered the car around yet another stranded vehicle.
“Man,” Brent said, “that is like the tenth car we’ve seen on the side of the road since we left the interstate.”
“My parents’ house is just ahead,” Caroline offered.
Caroline used her mitten covered hand to wipe fog from the windshield. The heater boxes in the old car had rusted through long ago so the interior heating was practically non-existent. To try to help the car warm up during the colder season, Caroline would fill a hot water bottle with the hottest water she could get out of her kitchen tap each time she was driving somewhere. Although she really couldn’t swear that it did much to warm up the car, the fact that it did cause the windshield to fog up was at least psychologically comforting.
Immediately in front of the vehicle a dark human shape lumbered into view.
“Shit!” Caroline yelled. She swerved, letting off the gas, and all three occupants could feel the tires lose their precarious grip on the road as the vehicle slid sideways with sphincter tightening slowness before stopping.
“Sorry!” Caroline called even though she was pretty sure the individual outside wouldn’t be able to hear her.
The dark shape continued across the road as if it hadn’t even noticed them. Through the windows it sounded as if he, the voice was decidedly not female, was yelling something at them.
“What did he say?” Rod asked.
“No clue,” Caroline said.
“Sounded more like a moan to me,” Brent offered.
A block later, Caroline pulled the car over to the curb and parked.
As they approached her parents’ house, they realized the lawn was strewn with deflated, blowup, Christmas decorations.
“Something is not right,” Caroline said.
Just then a man shuffled out of the house.
“Daddy, is that you?”
The man moaned in response.
“What have you got?” The security chief asked.
“Polynesian female, age mid-forties, Name: Angela deHoft,” the tech reported. “ID says she’s a member of the press corps. No indication of ordinance or weapons. Distinguishing characteristics: Slight discoloration on one leg shows she used to have some kind of tatoo. Cause of death: electric shock from defense perimeter.”
The med-tech held the data pad out to the Chief. “Not sure what she was doing down here to set off the defensive perimeter, say what you want, but it got her dead.”
The Southern Cross was the latest low Earth orbit habitat to go online and was considered the crown jewel of the Global Economic Union. Since the G40 Summit was on board, the station was on high alert. The reaction from the political fringe of Earth was risible but deadly.
Angela deHoft. tickled the chief’s thoughts.
“Apply some color filters to that discolored area and see if you get anything.” He watched as the tech went to work. After only a few seconds an image like a photo negative appeared.
Realization sizzled the Chief’s brain.
Anagram. Angel of Death.
As he hailed the bridge, men around him began choking.
This was one thing that Sarah hadn’t considered a realistic possibility. How could she have? Calculating back then the odds of her mother winning, today, a state lottery that didn’t exist would have been folly. What Sarah should have considered was how likely her state was to adopt a lottery.
Had she considered that, she may have foreseen the possibility of her mother winning something in the lottery and then wanting to install a swimming pool in the back yard.
These were the thoughts with which Sara berated herself.
Sara’s little sister was ecstatic of course. Mom would pay off a tremendous amount of debt. She was on cloud nine.
But not Sarah.
Sarah was an anomaly and she knew it. She reveled in it.
Being teen-aged, Caucasian, and female from a middle class family with divorced parents made her appear very average. Average grades, average friends, average teen-aged angst all combined to make her seem very, very average.
She wasn’t, and she loved it. She was meticulous and calculating.
In the dying light of day, Sara stared at the dust covered credenza and wondered what she was going to do about the three bodies buried in the back yard.