Flashes of Sanity #122: Announcement

Welcome to Flashes of Sanity! Your daily dose of flash fiction on 500 words or less.

Today’s entry: Announcement


Shoulders rubbed against each other in the break room. Somehow, Mort felt four on each shoulder and two on his back. Such was the way in the corporate world.
The bench had been way better.
“Announcement to all employees at earth’s afterlife foundation, hell 32B has declared independence from heaven and all things once living. 31A, 49C, 10C and 89B are expected to be next in line. Within a week all of hell is expected to have declared itself independent.”
This is Tarrynk all over again, Mort thought. Voices in the masses whispered it too. Every one had seen it coming in the increased grumbles down below. Most choose to ignore it. Some precautions had been taken, but the priests would probably prove pointless.
“In the ecosystem of souls,” the speaker continued, “well functioning hells are necessary. The board has decided to take action and new initiatives will be rolling out immediately.”
The speaker went silent and only the masses breathing filled the vacuum. A man climbed a table. Nyah, Mort recalled. Head of Communications.
“Hi all.” Nyah had that ability to make his smile natural in all circumstances. Today was no exception. “I have been asked to continue from here.”
That meant ordered.
“To avoid the Tarrynk circumstances, we will refocus our branches towards returning the independent hells to our balanced ecosystem.”
Nyah read a long list of sections now ‘refocusing’. In the middle, Mort heard his own section. Automation, Sales. Basically, every section except the ones necessary to maintain the saints had been refocused.
“What are we refocused to?”
Nyah turned towards the one asking. “Your managers will tell you more.”
“What happens if we don’t want to refocus?”
“If you choose that refocusing is not for you,” Nyah hesitated, Mort wondered how many others who caught it before his smile returned. “It is decided that we use the same protocol as during the previous restructuring.”
The few annoyed groans suddenly turned silent.
Everyone knew someone who disappeared that day. No one wanted to disappear.
“Any more questions? Great! Your managers will take it from here.”
Mort followed the steady flow out of the break room. Just as the downfall of Tarrynk was well known, the measures necessary to bring Tarrynk back were a common subject.
It had not been pretty.

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Copyright © David B. Johansson 2021

Flashes of Sanity #100: Riot

Welcome to Flashes of Sanity! Your weekly dose of flash fiction on 500 words or less.

We are at 100 entries! It is just amazing! I have been working towards this entry for quite some time now.

And I can promise you, the things this entry sets up will be felt in the coming 100 entries!

This week’s entry: Riot


”No,” Bellargh whined. ”No. No. No!”
The hands didn’t let him go.
“But chief,” one of his former employees said from his right. “These machines are the future, you said so yourself. You should welcome them.”
“But not like this…”
“Shut it!” Another voice said from his left. “I want to see if he can swim.”
The docks came closer. Bellargh fought to get lose, but against five pairs of hands used for hard labor, what can an office rat really do?
“It is time!” One young devil came screaming and jumping with a wrench. “Lets get this inferno started.”
He laughed and began hitting one of the tanks.
“You can go on for days without budging it,” said a woman who just came from the offices dragging a woman by the hair. “Ask Sven, he has something more explosive you can use.”
“Why are you doing this?” Bellargh asked.
“Why we are doing this? How thick are you? You took our jobs, chief. You made us miserable. Now we want revenge.”
“We were going to give you new jobs. Just look at the folder on my desk. It is named future projects.”
“Future projects? Like when we are all dead and gone, so you don’t have to care anymore? We are not falling for that!”
The woman who directed the young devil towards Sven laughed by the tanks. She had grabbed one of the extraction tubes, and held it towards the woman she pulled out of the office.
“Any final words?”
“Please,” the woman said. “Please.”
With the click of a button the tube opened and sucked the woman into the machinery. Her screams echoed through the chambers, until she reached the pitchforks and suddenly went silent.
“Now it’s you turn to suffer,” the former employee whispered in Bellargh’s ear.
They tied what was left from a broken machine around his feet.
The young devil returned to the tank. He laughed while he slammed a bomb onto the thick steel wall.
“Don’t you worry chief, where you are going running won’t be necessary.”
Another bomb was planted on the next tank, and the next until they were all waiting for their undoing.
Bellargh felt his feet move as his five capturers pushed the large pieces of metal over the docks.
“Please,” he begged one last time.
“Bye, chief.”
The heavy weight threw Bellargh over the edge. He heard the first explosion before his head broke through the surface.
The first tank crashed against the cliffs. The second broke the surface right over Bellargh, and crushed him against the bottom. And all the souls within the tank flew though the waters.
They all went home.

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Copyright © David B. Johansson 2021

Flashes of Sanity #90: Bedtime Arguments

Welcome to Flashes of Sanity! Your weekly dose of flash fiction on 500 words or less.

This week’s entry: Bedtime Arguments


”Should we take her out?” One of the voices asked. One of the women. The words faded as the mother drifted back into unconsciousness. It was an unconsciousness filled with explosions. Sparks of memories flaring up just to shrink back into the black. Screams. Pain. Red. Oh, so much red. Her own and all the anger raining down on her in fists and feet.

“Why?” One of the men asked. “She is of better use to us alive.”

All the red vanished in an instant to give room for the pleads echoing in the distant.

“Mom.” Three voices. Three cries. Uncountable tears.

“What do you mean?” The mother recognizes the voice. A man she herself had to give the bad news. His laugh explodes in a new memory along with the pain piercing through her legs.

“Just think about it, every time she enters the room will be reminder for everyone in the room of what we are capable off.” “Besides,” the man continues. “ Three lives are enough don’t you think so?”

The three bodies flashes in the mother’s memory. It focuses on each of the three children she once called her sons and her daughter. It was the last they showed her before the final hit over her head. She sobs in her sleep.

“And we have grander plans, don’t we? Hell will burn brighter than ever before.”

The five visitors leave the room where a mother mourns what she once called her life. They shake hands with the nurses.

And as soon as they leave the nurses lower her drip of pain relievers.

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Copyright © David B. Johansson 2021

Flashes of Sanity #89: The Priest

Welcome to Flashes of Sanity! Your weekly dose of flash fiction on 500 words or less.

This week’s entry: The Priest


Aaron glanced at the cross.
“Dear merciful lord,” he said. “Show me the righteous path. Show me the road to your blessed garden. Show me how my gratitude best may serve you.”
He moved his hand from his forehead to his chest, and to his two shoulders.
Believers entered and left as sun moved between the painted glass windows. Aaron never left his place on the bench.
“Thank you for saving me,” he whispered over and over again. “Thank you.”
He didn’t even move when the daylight faded or the moon replaced its shining friend.
“Thank you.”
“Your prayers won’t matter when the world turns red…”
Nightly shadows fled as a light exploded in the room. Aaron flew back in his bench and fell down behind it.
“None of your prayers will matter.”
Aaron raised his hands to cover his face from the approaching light. The light shone though his skin, muscles and bones.
“Please, lord,” he whispered. “Please, I will do anything.”
“I am not your lord.” The light leaned so close it touched Aaron’s face with its shimmering fingers. “I am just his words.”
The light felt cold against Aaron’s cheek. Aaron pushed himself closer to the floor. He shivered.
“Arise for me son,” the light said. “Stand with pride in your back. You will guide the world through a new dawn, and through a world where only devils can thrive. You will be the lords final hope when all else seems forsaken.”
“Yes,” Aaron’s tongue stumbled behind his teeth, yet he managed to get up on his feet and look into what he supposed was the saint’s eyes. “Just tell me what to do.”
“All will come clear once the first signs of a world falling shows itself, we need you to be ready when that day comes. We need you to be prepared to light the path when only darkness exists.”
The light disappeared as suddenly as it appeared. Only its final words echoed between the thick stone walls.
“Be prepared to light the path when only darkness exists,” Aaron mumbled. He looked around at the shadows who once again found their nests in the moon light. “I will guide the world through a new dawn.”
Only an angel watched him from behind the clouds. The angle sighed at the sight of his disciple’s confused mumbling.
“Idiot,” Mort whispered. “Hopefully, this idiot stands a better chance than the others.”

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Copyright © David B. Johansson 2021

Flashes of Sanity #83: Death’s teacher

Welcome to Flashes of Sanity! Your weekly (during July it is daily!) dose of flash fiction on 500 words or less.

Today’s entry: Death’s teacher


”It’s called an automatic system,” Mort sighed. ”That means it is automatic…”

”Yes,” the manager scratched her head. ”But what button do I push to start extraction?”

”Okay,” Mort rubbed his temples. God, I need a drink right now, he thought.

”Let’s take this from the start…” Mort dragged the unwilling redhead to the bay. ”The cargo ship docks above these sensors which activates the extraction process. The extraction inlet is primed to recognize the infra-red light that has been part of all ships since the sinless year.”

”Yes,” the manager looked at the big metallic rods way down in the fiery water. ”The only year we ever had that problem. Rather the opposite in recent years.”

”Exactly,” Mort continued to the tank. ”The soul extraction starts immediately, and once the cargo ship is empty the inlet let’s go. Automatically.”

”Just like that?”

”Just like that.”

”What was wrong with the old way?”

”You needed thousands of employees just to run the machinery. Now we have pushed it down to two. That is very beneficial. You know what they say, in today’s economy employees are the highest expense.”

”But it can’t be more expensive than all this?” The manager pointed downwards to all the machinery now building what was hell.

”It is much cheaper, even if the whole machinery broke down and you had to replace it all, you would still have money to spare in comparison to running it on manpower.”

”I have it very difficult to believe that.”

”Please,” Mort wanted to pull his wings off. Even Bilk would have understood the gist of it by now, Bilk was smart though. Constantly drunk or high, but smart none the less.

”Just try to understand. You don’t want to end up like the grogoran hell, don’t you?”

The manager flinched and her mouth turned into thin line. No one wanted to be replaced with boars. That was the rule among devils.

”Do you want me to explain again?”

The manager shook her head.

”Great,” Mort said. ”We are working on effectivizing the cargo ships but as of now we have some years left. How about some lunch?”

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