Flashes of Sanity #168: Conflict of Wat

Welcome to Above Heaven, Below Hell! Previously called Flashes of Sanity. I am changeing the name because it is not flash fiction. It is a whole story with chapters!

Four times a week, a chapter of 500 words or less will be published. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Today’s entry: Conflict of War

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It was a comfy chair. The cream of the crop didn’t want anything to disturb the thinking process, I guess, Susanne Queen thought.
“Correct me if I misunderstood,” she said. “We declared war on President Sloptokov to fight Xander Bylix’s cloud monster. Which proved unnecessary as a dragon randomly showed up and destroyed both himself and Bylix. The declaration of war is still active and as we speak, Sloptokov talks to the UN about possible outcomes because our nation has proven to dangerous since the dead began walking.”
“That is correct,” Marge said. “The UN have inquired you the president of the United States to defend our position.”
“Right. What is your take on this conversation?”
“Sloptokov has been searching for reasons to turn everyone against us. As the state of the country is today, he’s got a point.”
“Is there anyway we could convince them to side with us?”
“We must try. I suggest you take the stance that we will clean up the mess and bring this whole country back on track.”
Susanne nodded. She glanced at her desk. Her thoughts puzzled with the dilemma from all possible angles. “What do we have in case Sloptokov gets his will through?”
“Our army is impaired, but we hopefully can get it back on its feet with the rouges.”
The rogue Hunters and Witches of Xander. Not that reliable when Susanne thought of it.
“Our main strategy has been to take the war to the enemy. News reports from around the globe suggests that it would be unwise in our situation.”
Susanne glanced at the muted TV, probably the only TV in the country still working. Just like her communications with the outside world probably was the only working within the country. Criminals outside of the US still died. Within the borders everyone lived.
“No, the troops we send, if anyone would agree to it, would die on the battle field.”
“And the troops Sloptokov sends to us would become immortal,” Marge continued her trail of thought.
Susanne rested her eyes on the TV-screen. A reporter gave the viewers his personal opinions on what could happen. The reporter called it analysis.
“We need to win the UN over. We will press on the fact that the war declaration was enforced and we needed military action fast when our own was down. Do you have a recording of your conversation with Sloptokov?”
“Everything is recorded and backed up, but it will probably take too long to get the recording.”
“Try anyway. Otherwise, we’ll hope the UN trusts us and not Sloptokov.”
“I will see what threads can be pulled.” Marge picked up her phone and tapped the screen with fingers quick as thoughts.
“And Marge, I find it hard to believe Gool didn’t keep track on our country. See if you can find what people he had reporting from the streets.”
“On it.” Marge sank deeper into her phone.
Susanne corrected her dress.
Now, what should I do next?

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Flashes of Sanity #161: Winged Prayer

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

Today’s entry: Winged Prayer

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”Forgive us for what we are about to do.” Mort mumbled with his hands pressed against each other. “Forgive us for disrupting what you have built.”
Mort glanced to his left and to his right. His team was there. All on their knees and all with their hands tied. All mumbling in unison. None of them believed this would make any difference.
It was a tradition, that’s all.
And when you go to war, traditions might actually be what keeps you sane.
“May you write about our victory, and the re-stabilization of what once was.” Bale continued from his place by the door. Behind the door, they could all hear the frenetic taping that was the great writer’s trademark. The sighs of pain were trademarks too.
“Oh, Great Writer, spare us in this battle. Give us your strength. Give us your mercy. Detest those ignorant enough to face us.”
A short silence came after the words followed by “Amen.”
Mort arose on his feet. He dusted his knees with his hands.
The dark fabric was ugly. Mort was a man made for white clothing. As all angels are. The dark should be a thing for the past, something they had forgotten.
The recent incidents in hell proved that as an illusion.
“Go to your groups,” Bale continued. “The plan is to send you down in the morning to scout the premises.”
Mort found his squad of five. Astu, Gron, Blan, Fulg and himself Mort.
“Are you ready?” Blan asked.
“Go fuck yourself Blan,” Mort said.

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Flashes of Sanity #159: Court of Heads

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

Today’s entry: Court of Heads

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”IT WAS FORETOLD!”
Nick sighed. ”Can you please shut it for just a minute? Just one bloody minute!” He splashed water at the head. The head swallowed the water just so it could pour out down its throat.
”I have other things on my mind right now, Tim.”
The skull floating in the sewer water slowly traveled closer to him. patches of skin was still attached to it. Nick stretched a stick after it.
”So, Gift-Box, what is your plan really?”
Nick missed the skull. He sighed again.
”My plan with what Bjoern?”
”With you criminal empire, of course.”
”Owning everything, and everyone. What else would it be?”
”FIRST THERE WAS THE WINGED BEASTS AND THEIR HORNED SLAVES. THAT WAS THE FIRST INVASION. MANKIND GAVE UP THE ECOSYSTEM OF THEIR SOULS FOR KNOWLEDGE.”
”I said, shut it, Tim!” Nick threw a boot at the head. The head didn’t notice.
”THEN THERE WAS THE GREEN! THAT WAS THE SECOND INVASION. BY MELDING WITH MANKIND IT CREATED A NEW MAN OF THE WOODS.”
Nick stretched for the skull in the waters. The stick caught it in the brain.
“THEN THERE WAS THE GREEN. ANGERED BY THE KILLING OF THEIR CHILDREN, THEY RETURNED WITH REVENGE IN THEIR HEARTS.”
Nick lifted the head so they were eye to eye. The jaw hang by strands of tissue. It moved in what once was breaths.
“Who do we have hear?”
“I will kill you all!” The skull said. “I Sam Adamson will get my revenge. I will destroy everything you love. When I am done there won’t be anything left!”
Nick giggled. “Did you hear that Bjoern? He will kill us all. You know what Sam? You will do nicely among my court. Let me introduce you to you equals.”
“THE FOURTH INVASION BEGAN WHEN THE ECOSYSTEM OF MAN’S SOULS WAS DISRUPTED,” the head of Tim shouted. “SOON, THE RED WILL COME!”
“Shut up Tim! Don’t scare out new employee on the first day!”
Nick turned the skull of Sam to each of his heads. He introduced them. Then Sam got a place next to Tim.
And they shouted gibberish all day and all night long.

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Flashes of Sanity #158: Lone Wolf

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

Today’s entry: Lone Wolf

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It took Donald a while, but he finally found an empty apartment complex where he could make his new office. He chose a room high up with a good view over the surrounding streets. The room had a coffee brewer. And after searching the kitchen, he also found the holy black powder itself.
The apartment filled with the heavenly scent as Donald sat himself on a chair by the window.
What should I do?
The question surfaced more to jug his memory than to trigger a brainstorm. The pressing question regarding Sam’s revenge was over. Now, he could take care of more personal matters.
Highest on his list was the board members that kicked him of SurgeRay. Those bastards were no saints. They probably wished they were now when they knew he was back and coming for them.
Then it was the successors of SurgeRay. Mart Adamson was finished. Gary Oliviallo was probably a saint. That left Susanne Queen.
That witch hides somewhere, Donald thought as he scanned the horizon. I will find her no matter where it is.
On the window sill lay the quarter of a crown Dale had given him.
Donald’s face still burned at the thought of Dale breaking the crown.
Such a good weapon, wasted.
At least he knew where it was. If necessary, Donald would have to track them down. Only Dale himself would be problematic in that case.
On one of the buildings, Donald still could see the aftermath of Sam’s flames against the world.
‘WHERE ARE YOU DONALD?’
“Where are you now Sam?” Donald asked and smiled. “Scattered on the street. A soul without a home?”
“Feeling confident?”
Donald turned to the man entering the room. “After this win, Carl? Who wouldn’t?”
“True, but you still owe me that suit.”
Donald laughed. “You chose to follow me because of a suit?”
“Of course, these rags are barely holding together.”
“Don’t you worry Carl. I know a place where you will find a good suit.”
The coffee brewer went silent. Donald arose and picked a cup from the sink. He filled it. In his head, he began a list of all board members that needed their head removed. And preferably crushed.
He whistled.
It was a good day to be Donald Diamond.

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Copyright © David B. Johansson 2021

Flashes of Sanity #157: An Apprentice Burden

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

Today’s entry: An Apprentice Burden

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They were only three now. Mitch, Dale and Miko. All others had gone their separate ways in three separate groups with a fourth of what once was a dark metallic crown.
Like they had agreed on.
Dale looked at his arm watch. In his left hand he still held his piece of the crown.
“We are all sinners,” he mumbled. He looked over his shoulder. “Miko, do you think you can make any of the cars here work?”
“Here?” Miko shrugged. “Probably not. But I saw a nice Porsche on the way here that looked like it had some cats left under the hood.”
“Go find that car, and if it seems to take too long. Find another one. It is about time we left this place.”
“Oh, I will get it going all right,” Miko said and walked down one of the streets. “Just you see.”
Dale looked at his arm watch again. Then over his shoulder until Miko had disappeared.
He seemed to be in a hurry, Mitch thought. How unusual.
“Okay, Mitch,” Dale continued. “I will break this piece in two. One for you and one for me. I want you to keep it secret. No one can know of your piece. Do you understand how important this is?”
Mitch flinched. He knew Dale saw it.
“Why should I have one? How can you trust me?”
“I can’t. But of everyone I know in this sinner’s world, you are the most sin-free I can think of.”
“Don’t you trust yourself?”
Dale put the piece against his knee and cracked it. “I trust me. But I also know I will be the first anyone go after if they want to re-unite the pieces. Hopefully, you will go unnoticed. At least for while.”
Mitch took the piece. It glimmered in the sunlight.
Like a night sky, he thought.
“What should I do with it?”
“Whatever you find suitable. Just don’t tell me.” Dale put his arm on Mitch’s shoulder. “I have trust in you, okay?”
I don’t know if I have trust in me, Mitch thought, but he put it in his backpack among the cutleries and water bottles. The backpack turned kilos heavier instantly.
Dale seemed to relax. He regained the control he was so synonymous with.
“Great,” he said. “Now, lets go find your family, shall we?”
From the streets an engine purred, and a Porsche came flying.
The weight against Mitch’s shoulder turned heavier. He straightened his shoulders. Dale believed in him.
“Yes,” Mitch said. “Lets save my brothers.”

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Flashes of Sanity #156: Split Responsibilities

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

Today’s entry: split responsibilities

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Cassandra weighed the piece in her hand. A quarter of a thin dark circle. It felt so heavy.
”You want us to hide it?”
”Yes,” The Reviewer said, ”wherever you find it secure from everyone’s greedy hands. I will hide one. Donald will hide one. Joe and William will hide one.”
”Donna will be part of hiding our piece,” Cat-scratch said.
Cassandra turned to the teenage girl. So, this is the one I will have to have my eyes on in the future, she thought.
”You don’t trust any of us to keep all the four pieces hidden?” Donald said and turned his piece around.
”We are all judged as sinners, Donald. I wouldn’t trust a sinner with anything.”
Donald seemed to accept that answer. Cassandra decided it was best to keep track on his actions in the future too.
”Correct me if I am wrong,” she said, ”but we are supposed to split up from this moment on. To ensure the pieces never touch again?”
”Correct Cassandra, it might be an unnecessary precaution but if anyone of us decides that they want the whole crown, they should not be able to collect it easily.”
”And someone of us probably will. Because we are sinners.”
”Yes.”
Cassandra turned to her team. They all looked determined. She trusted them with her life. It was probably someone on the other half that was not trustworthy. She glanced at Donna. That girl had something in her eyes that made her stomach growl.
”I guess I will never see you again then,” she said and turned to the Reviewer again.
”If I do my part right you won’t, and I usually do.”
”All right then!” Cassandra took The Reviewer’s hand. ”If this hell ever ends, I hope I will see you again at least. Just so I can put you behind bars.”
The Reviewer smiled. ”You are hoping for much ms. Crisis.”
Cassandra turned her back against the man that had been a menace to the force for so long. Shivers traveled down her spine.
You are wrong, she thought. We will meet again. I am sure of it.
She smiled. It was the first time she ever known of anyone thinking he could be wrong.

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Flashes of Sanity #154: Broken Crown

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

Today’s entry: Broken Crown

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It was red and white, but under the fluffy white Dale felt the heavy cold metal. Carl collapsed the moment he let go of the hat. Just as all the elves did.
I hope I made the right choices, Dale thought.
He tore the red away from the hat and broke the white apart. The dark circle came out into the light. The darkness capable of controlling an entire species of elves.
One of the elves fell to the asphalt. It didn’t react as its nose broke.
One more choice to make, Dale thought. He pushed his hands against the metallic circle. It cracked in four pieces.
“What are you doing?” Donald Diamond asked.
“I am guessing,” Dale said. He glanced at the army of elves.
Still nothing but empty bodies.
Then a head with a bleeding nose lifted from the asphalt. A hand wiped the blood away. Faces that once was empty looked at each other.
“I guess you were correct,” Cassandra Crisis said.
Dale shook his head. “We don’t know that yet.”
The faces turned towards the men and women who just crushed other men and women between bricks and asphalt. They saw the broken crown.
“Thank you,” an elf said. “You saved us. How can we ever repay you?””
“We only saved ourselves,” Dale said. “You don’t owe us anything.”
Dale felt the thousands of eyes scanning him and his friends.
Please believe us, he thought.
“Thank you,” the elf said again.
The tension in Dale’s shoulders let go. He inhaled his first breath since he broke the crown.
“What will you do now?”
“We will go home,” the elf said. “We will do the only thing that ever made us happy.”
“I want to feel them smile again as they open a present,” another elf said.
“What will you do with the crown?”
Dale looked at the crown in his hands. “We will make sure the pieces are hidden so no one can make it whole again.”
“That is good news.” The elf whistled and a horde of reindeers with sleighs came flying from the sky.
“We truly hope you keep that promise.”
Dale watched as the thousands of elves left.
“I will make sure we keep it,” he said.

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Flashes of Sanity #153: Queen

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

Today’s entry: Queen

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”I lost contact with Mart,” the soldier said as he tapped his ear piece. ”All I get is static.”
A quick look around the room confirmed that the others had the same issue.
“What does that mean?” Susanne Queen asked all though she had her suspicions.
“Mart failed, he is out of the picture.”
“And where does this put us?”
“Mart was our employer. We don’t have an employer anymore. Our relationship has not changed, Mrs. President.”
“That is ensuring, Dawson.”
The receiver crackled on the desk. “Mrs. President?”
“Yes?”
“The red cloud has changed direction.” The voice said.
“Contain it,” Susanne said. “Do not fire at it. I repeat. Contain it peacefully at all cost.”
“With all due respect, Mrs. President, but how are you thinking we should do that?”
“That’s not my place to know. Find someone who knows how to trap gases in the air and ask them instead.”
“Noted.”
The receiver went silent. Susanne glanced at Marge. The face didn’t move, but in the eyes, Susanne thought herself see approval.
“And Dawson,” Suanne continued. “You and your crew will have a job at the presidential army if you are willing to accept it.”
“If the presidential army can afford hunters like us, we are more than willing to join you.” The soldier smiled.
“Money is now problem Dawson,” Susanne said. She pulled a drawer out of the desk and found a notepad and a pen. “The problem is rather our lack of soldiers. If you have any contacts you would find suitable for our army, I would be grateful if you let me know about them.”
She passed the notepad and the pen in the soldier’s direction. The soldier shook his head and raised his hand at the sight of it.
“I will let them know of you, Mrs. President,” he said. “There are some rogue troops out there I would gladly join forces with.”
“Great!” She glanced at Marge again. The approval behind her eyes was still there.

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Flashes of Sanity #152: Harsh Decisions

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

Today’s entry: Harsh decisions

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”Take something, anything, and start crushing them.” Dale picked up a brick from the fountain. ”If anyone moves we lose. I take Mart.”
”Can’t Carl use the elves?” Mitch asked.
”We have seen what happens when one sinner is in control. I don’t want to see another one.”
Mitch picked one of the bricks. He looked at it.
I will slam this through someone’s face, he thought. I can do it.
”Hurry,” Carl said. ”Please hurry. The echoes get stronger.”
”Come on kid,” Brutal Joe took Mitch’s arm. ”We don’t have time for you to think.”
”Your lips look so tasty!”
Brutal Joe smashed a face between the asphalt and a brick. The screams of a man in fear went silent. Then Joe smashed the arms and the legs.
”Just like the good old days,” he said and looked at Cat-scratch Bill.
Cat-scratch put a knife through a neck. He nodded. ”Just like the good old days.”
Donna joined them. She shivered as she looked at a brick full of blood. Mitch shivered too. His brick was still clean.
”Come on, guys,” Cassandra Crisis picked another brick. ”Think of all those you lost, and everyone you hate.”
Who have I lost? Mitch thought. My dad, my mom. Not my brothers, not yet at least.
”Dale?”
The teacher looked at Mitch. Blood splatter traveled down his forehead.
”I would like to meet my brothers.”
”I can arrange that,” Dale said. ”And don’t you worry. We will make sure your dad can’t cause them more harm.”
”Do you think they are in danger.”
Dale lifted his brick from a face. He wiped the blood of his face with an even bloodier hand.
“Mitch, your father was no saint. That I am sure of. And I can only think of one place he would go once he got up above ground.”
The brick fell again. The crunch following was shilling.
The heaviness in Mitch’s hand turned to lead.
He has already found them, he thought. He has them.
His hesitance drowned in his brothers beaten bloodied. They all cried. They all feared. They all begged for Mitch to come for them.
A hand tightened around a brick. It his a face. The blood of a soldier stained Mitch’s suit. Mitch threw the brick into another face. They all looked the same. They all were his father.

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Flashes of Sanity #151: Mad Hatter

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

Today’s entry: Mad Hatter

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A red cloth and white fluff flew into the air. An explosion broke two bodies into fragments. And left after the shockwave stood Carl Messinger with the abomination called a hat in his hands.
”Put it on!” Dale screamed.
”Take them!” Mart ordered from his oversized, ugly armor.
The soldiers raised their rifles. The people around Carl screamed. The elves stood like sacks of potatoes. Carl put the hat up to his head. He swallowed his pride and did what the time on the force had thought him, everything that was necessary to win the war.
Sparks ignited in the rifles. Carl felt the sweat of a corpse.
Probably the sweat of a now dead Santa too, he thought.
The thought echoed back to him in thousands of voices.
”For our country,” they all said.
Thousands of bodies woke up. They looked at the soldiers. The rifles fired. The flames burned against Carl’s skin. A bullet hit him in the chest. The pain spread. Carl pushed it away, just as he did back in the day.
The elves attacked. They tore the ugliness into pieces within seconds. They went for the soldiers inside. The sound of rifles firing died of. Soldiers screaming echoed on the square.
”The clothes are even worse,” an elf said. ”How can you even want to wear something like this?”
The man was pushed to the ground so hard his ribs crunched.
”You have the right to remain silent! In your case I recommend it!”
Mart got punched to the ground twice, for everyone’s safety.
”We made it,” Donald said.
”Yes,” Dale said. ”We have made it this far. We are not done yet.”
”What do you want me to do with them?” Carl focused his echoing thoughts into one voice.
”You make me want to throw up,” an elf said. It actually threw up.
”I want you to hold the elves were they are while we make sure everyone is no threat anymore.”
”Is that all?” Carl’s wrinkles got deeper. ”Shouldn’t elves be some kind of saint.”
”Yes, when a saint rules them. But when a sinner is in control that might be one challenge too much.”
One elf licked the eyes of a soldier. ”Just as I thought. You taste like you look. Like shit.”
It laughed. Carl felt it fight inside him too.
”You mean that I have to fight my true nature.” He sighed.
”True nature,” thousands of voices echoed back.
”Come on, your only good asset is your skin. Please let someone who understands it use it.”
”Okay,” Carl said. He focused his voices on one word. A word he believed in.
Justice.
“Justice,” echoed back. Then the elves laughed as the word twisted and turned under the pressure.
”Make it quick Dale.”

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Copyright © David B. Johansson 2021