The Great and Powerful. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.

I watched a couple of documentaries that were pretty good, Crips & Bloods: Made in America, Earthlings and I Know That Voice. I’m not going to lie, I covered my eyes at various bits in Earthlings, it’s pretty intense with some awful imagery but defintely worth a watch.

Looking forward to the forecasted snow here too, seems like we’re going to get lots and as a snow lover I’m really looking forward to it! Not often we get much, if any, snow.

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Janice weaved her way through the milling crowd, the speeches didn’t start for another half an hour but everyone seemed to be moving towards the stage anyway. Janice didn’t really know why, it wasn’t like seeing those on stage would make the speech any better and no matter where you stood in the large field you’d be able to hear them as though they were standing right beside you. People held large signs and placards, she didn’t bother reading them, she knew what they’d say and there was only so many times you could read a catchy rhyme calling for your death. Not her death specifically of course, people never imagined a short girl with mousy brown hair as one of the Fallen. No they thought of tall, statuesque men with rippling abs and bright blue eyes that pierced through your soul. They thought of Sanctity, standing on rubble, bodies scattered all around as his eyes glowed that strange icy-blue. Or Charity, floating above burning buildings, her blonde hair splayed around her head as people ran screaming. No, they never thought of the half-breeds, the ones like Janice. Janice was unremarkable, she wasn’t particularly pretty, but nor was she ugly, she was one of those people that always seem to be shunted off to the side, alone and unacknowledged. Behind her she saw a young boy whinging for cotton candy while his tired and angry looking mother dragged him from the stands. Janice hated it when there were kids around, it wasn’t the kids fault his parents were jackasses. Besides, what sort of irresponsible monster would bring their child to an event like this? Everyone knew that going to a rally was a risk, one of the Fallen could show up at any moment.

Janice stood in the middle of the crowd, getting jostled back and forth as the people around her shifted. A fat man in a pair of jeans and a stained t-shirt elbowed his way past, he carried a large cup of beer in each hand and by the reek of him it wasn’t his first drink. That was the thing about these rallies, they tried to paint it as exercising free speech, as just airing their grievances, but then they had stands set up selling beer and hot dogs. Most people in the crowd seemed to have already had a few drinks and there was a faint party vibe to the place, it wouldn’t take much to get them all riled up, maybe they’d go out looking for one someone to blame their problems on. Wouldn’t be the first time one of the rallies turned into a lynching, usually someone too stupid or too fresh to hide their powers. Behind her someone was shouting, “Yeah I’d just like to see them try it, if they come here I’ll kick their ass. See what happens if they try that shit here.” Janice rolled her eyes, he’d be the first one to start running if he knew what she really was. She glanced at the stage, it wouldn’t be much longer until the speeches started.

Janice listened to the speeches, allowing herself to see the crowd for what they really were. They were screaming and cheering as those making the speeches called for her kind to be imprisoned and calling for death of those deemed too powerful to live. Janice felt sick, but it was important to see it, hear what they were saying because the simple truth of the matter became clear. These people wouldn’t stop, it was kill or be killed and Janice had no intention of dying or spending the rest of her life in prison. She could feel the energy in the crowd starting to shift, it was exactly what they had told her to watch for, it was like a current moving through the crowd, infecting everyone. On stage the senator was finishing his speech, he smiled at the crowd, his white teeth gleaming, he banged his hand on the podium, punctuating each word, “Death to the Fallen!” the crowd repeated it, turning it into a chant, it wouldn’t be long until they spread out, searching for victims. Janice took a deep breath and felt the burning heat rising in her stomach then she closed her eyes and smiled. Those closest to her didn’t have time to scream, the flesh burned from their bones almost instantly. For Janice the world melted away, becoming nothing but that glorious scorching heat. When Janice opened her eyes the world slammed back into place, she could smell the burnt and burning flesh, the plastics melted to skin, hear the screams of people around her. She stumbled through the bodies, covered in scorch marks that would easily wash away. No one looked at the young girl stumbling over the bodies, no one noticed her as she slipped into the crowd of injured.

Five minutes later she was swiping the soot off her face with moist wipes, washing away the evidence as best she could. The scream of sirens filled the air, Janice got into the getaway car and started driving, a haze of smoke filled the air, she flicked on the radio and found a station playing songs. She’d watch it all later tonight on TV, when the reports were clearer, then she’d have a good idea if anyone had spotted her or not. Not that she was too concerned about that either, even if they figured her out she’d be long gone. The car would be ditched in a few miles and by the time evening rolled around she’d be a blond with a short bob rather than a brunette with long hair. She felt good, better than she expected and this was only the first stop, there were more rallies being held and there was only one clear way for her to spread the message.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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