Man’s Salvation

Written by Rob

Popular wisdom says one should never discuss religion or politics with a friend. Jed and Mark were definitely not friends and threw insults at each other, across the office, all day, every day. It had all started as a theological discussion but no one could remember when. Little Mark was a devout Catholic, and incapable of allowing any opportunity to profess his faith pass unfulfilled. Jed Smith, built like a brick house, loathed all things religious with a burning passion. These were two minds that could never meet, nor indeed agree to disagree. So the status quo was protracted jibes at each other’s beliefs, whilst their colleagues laughed and pointed. No one seemed to mind as this sideshow eased the dreary days of accounting practice.

When Arthur – the company secretary – retired, they all went out for a beer. A dozen employees commandeered an alcove of the pub and swapped anecdotes of Arthur’s peccadilloes from forty years’ service; all good-natured banter. It was getting late when Mark overheard two lads outside their circle discussing crucifixion in a not too reverent manner. Off like a lurcher, Mark was out of his chair, citing blasphemy laws, quoting gospel chapter and verse, wagging his finger. The lads were clearly taken aback. Mark returned to the group, looking smug, but saying it was probably time to “call it a night”.

Mark said his goodbyes, shook Arthur’s hand and ambled out of the front door. Jed noticed one of the lads nudge the other and follow. Jed couldn’t have told you why, but something in their demeanour had the hairs on his neck erect. On instinct, he followed, too.

Outside, Jed looked up and down the High Street: no sign of Mark or the lads. Then a noise, maybe a muffled voice, drew him to the alley at the side of the pub. Pinned against the wall, little Mark looked up terrified into the faces of his tormentors.
It was all over in seconds. The lads looked up at Jed’s challenge, saw his huge frame nigh-on blocking the light from the High Street, and took to their heels.

Monday morning, to an outsider in the accounts office, nothing had changed. Jed and Mark still belittled each other’s beliefs at every opportunity. But the passion and hurtful edge had gone, replaced by a “this is just a game” undercurrent, a performance for the benefit of the onlookers.

Inspired and written on behalf of May’s half hour challenge theme ‘Salvation’, Rob’s flash fiction hits the point hard. Though religion may come between many people, sometimes it’s refreshing to get a different opinion and have an open mind. And sometimes it can make the difference between a friend and a foe. If you enjoyed Rob’s HHC, make sure to view his other great pieces such as, “Ending at the Start” and “Coach”. 

Featured Image CC // Fusky

The Locked Room

Written by Bobartles


The grand double doors of the Oviatt Building in Los Angeles, California. These majestic works of art could very well reside with Gabe and Lucifer’s dad.
Image Courtesy of

Peter took the steps three at a time, bounding towards the top floor at a speed a good deal greater than his wizened frame and long brown robes would seem to allow. He pushed through a small choir of residents on the landing, sending at least one priceless lyre crashing to the ground and knocking a small cherub over the banister, where it vanished into the gloom with a muffled curse.

“Sorry!” he called back, without stopping or turning to meet the indignant glares of the residents. Sandals slipping on the polished marble tiles, he turned the last corner and saw his quarry pacing back and forth outside a pair of very bright, very intricate and very heavy-looking golden doors.

“Gabe. What’s wrong?”

The man by the doorway winced a little and turned to face him. At nearly seven feet tall, he loomed over Peter like a strikingly blonde and particularly well-dressed oak. As he turned, his hand fell away from the slight bulge in his immaculate white suit jacket; the only indication of the concealed holster Peter knew lay beneath.

“Peter,” the man’s voice was deep and calm, but trembled slightly with hidden concern, “We’ve got a problem. He’s locked himself in again.”

“Again?” Peter glanced up at the ominous double doors. He raised an eyebrow and turned to his friend.

“Before you ask, I’ve tried knocking,” the white-clad man murmured, “I’ve called through, too. Hell,” he winced again, “I’ve even tried leaving him a message the old-fashioned way. That’s why I called you. It didn’t work. Not from me, and not from anyone else.”

“You mean…” Peter’s voice trailed off as he saw the panicked expression on the suited man’s face.

“Your kind were always his preferred children,” Gabe whispered, “Above us, above any others. He once said he’d do anything for you. And now he’s ignoring them.”

Peter muttered something foul under his breath. Gabe twitched.

“How long?” he asked. The man in white shrugged.

“I don’t come up here very often anymore. Nobody does. Could be hours, could be decades. But you just have to look down to see that something’s wrong. He’s lost interest.”

“Well…” Peter looked up at the doors, “Have you tried forcing your way in? Surely he’d understand that you were worried…” His voice trailed off as he saw the look on Gabe’s face.

“No. The last time that happened…” he closed his eyes and grimaced for a moment, before his expression changed suddenly to one of hope. “Wait. We can’t open it; trust me, you don’t want to know what he’s like when he’s angry. But…” he glanced up at the doors, to a slight bend in the upper right corner, “… there’s someone who’s done it before.”

Gabe flipped a slim mobile phone from his pocket; opened it with a snick of steel.

“John. It’s Gabriel. Get me the Morningstar.”


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