Writing Prompt: City of God
It’s been a while since I dropped some fiction on my blog. This year hasn’t been my best when it comes to writing and editing the work that I want to publish. However, while I am trying to rebuild my internal creativity, I’ll continue using writing prompts to keep my mind clear of the cobwebs.
So, without further ado, here is my latest installments from the writing prompt based simply on the featured image to this post. Enjoy!
Buddy awoke to the sound of metal crashing above his head. He jumped up, right into the wide-eyed embrace of Mr. Lewis. Though his science teacher had been with him since the start of his journey, he was disoriented, and his head hurt.
“Buddy!” Mr. Lewis scrambled to hold him still, pinning the hysterical boy’s arms to his sides. “Buddy.” At last he stilled, panting and staring back into his eyes. They stayed that way for a second or two, until Mr. Lewis knew that the boy would finally comprehend what he was about to say. “You did it.”
Buddy blinked. He had been searching, traveling so long, struggling through so much, it was sometimes hard to remember what he had done that was good, or important, or real.
Mr. Lewis smiled. He was one of those adults that 50 and 60-year adults would call young, but to Buddy he was an adult, and so he was old enough. “You did it,” he said again, and looked over his own shoulder.
Buddy looked over his shoulder, too. They were still in the alley that the horde of Goers had chased them into, but all of the demonic crones were now gone. The darkness of the night was also gone. Instead, there was nothing but light–the warm, sweet light of the morning.
But the more Buddy focused, the more he realized that the light wasn’t from the morning. Behind his own back, as he twisted to check, was the shadows of night. He could even see the headlights of cars as they honked their horns and maneuvered unforgivingly on the narrow downtown road beyond the alley in which he stood. In front of him only, beyond Mr. Lewis, the alley broke into a large doorway of sunlight. Beyond that opening, down a steep slope and spreading across the landscape as far as the eye could see, were what seemed to be a new, grander town of strange, rural buildings. Each dwelling was small but artistic and ran all the way into the distant horizons. Even further back, behind the city, majestic mountains framed the borders.
But it was what was in the center of the town and caught Buddy’s breath in his throat. Standing proud, a column of pure golden light streaking from its peak into the sky and separating the clouds, was a pyramid.
A pyramid. In the middle of Indiana.
Buddy’s eyes welled with tears that gushed down his cheeks without his needing to blink. He tried to speak, failed, tried again, and only managed a pantomime of the words he wanted to say. “House,” he squawked, and saw Mr. Lewis’s chin tremble. “The House of God.”
He could feel the spirit within the very center of the pyramid radiating to him, touching his mind and answering every question and thought before Buddy himself could let his wonders finish processing. He felt his heart drain of all negativity–the anger of being abandoned, the hatred towards the Goers, the annoyance of being hungry after traveling for so long. None of it mattered anymore. Here, there was only truth, and love.
He was walking towards the city before he realized it and stopped at the mouth of the alleyway. He felt the cool breeze on his back and turned suddenly, looking for his teacher. Mr. Lewis had remained where he had touched Buddy awake, smiling still but shaking his head.
“This is no longer my journey, Buddy Boy.” Mr. Lewis was the only other adult–aside from his father–that Buddy allowed to call him that. He had fought it for a while, but after Mr. Lewis had saved his life five or eight times, Buddy had…given up the fight.
Mr. Lewis nodded at the pyramid. “I think you know the way from here.”
But Buddy, who would be ten in a week and had pumped and paid for his dad’s gas since he was seven, hesitated. When the Goers had learned what he had discovered and tried to take him in, he had been alone and unsure of who could help him–who would believe him. He had run to his school, which had been locked and chained up tight for the summer season. But then, the science classroom’s window had been open, and Buddy had seen Mr. Lewis at a lab table. Then, Mr. Lewis had seen Buddy–and the Goers behind him.
He had not asked questions.
Now, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, and looking more like an excited new country singer than an elementary teacher, Mr. Lewis urged him away. “My job was to get you here, not walk you in. You’ll be fine.” He added, as a sort of joke, “I hear He’s nice.”
Mr. Lewis’s eyes sparkled, just for a moment. Buddy, from his distance in the light, didn’t see it. “You think you’re the only one who had an impossible wish?” He spoke low; maybe Buddy heard him, maybe not. “You don’t forfeit everything you know for a chance unless you really, really want it.” In another lifetime, he would have punctuated that statement with a flap of his light, iridescent wings. But that was decades ago, worlds away. Now, he merely ran a thumb over the smooth, worn gold of the band on his left hand. A sweet memento of the life he’d lived for nearly 20 years, the one he would be returning to once Buddy was gone.
Buddy stood, unsure, frightened, and at last Mr. Lewis said the thing he knew would help Buddy make the choice. “They’ll be proud of you, Buddy Boy!” he yelled.
The euphoria of a fantasy about to come true welled in Buddy’s chest. He spun to face the city once more; it dazzled and beckoned to him, but it did not entrance. To enter and remain in that city would always be a free choice.
Delicately, like a cat using his paw to test the depth of a puddle, Buddy called out into the dawn. “Mom? Dad?” The words hung soft and promising in the air. “Jake? Dylan?”
And in that way, Mr. Lewis watched as Buddy, the first living human ever to cross over into Heaven, shuffled his way down the steep hill straight through the city to the massive pyramid where his family awaited him.