I've been writing a long, long time and I wanted to share with you a free short story entitled "Such Sinners We Are." This little gem holds a special place in my heart. I grew up in the Catholic faith and this story is a complicated one as I wanted to explore what self-sacrifice and love is all about. I had a lot of fun writing this story and hope you enjoy it!
Such Sinners We Are
You're probably wondering what the hell is going on and how you're hearing my voice in your head. Trust me, you're not crazy. Most likely you've just come home from work and want to get ready to go out for a New Year's Eve party and you've found my sunglasses on the floor by your door. When you touched them, wham! You heard me.
I guess it's kind of like the time you put on Nan's old winter coat after she died and started to remember all the good times we had with her. Well, I've kind of done the same thing with my sunglasses except I added this message to them. It's not like I planned it this way or anything but as your older brother I had to do something to help you. Sera, time is running out. If you don't hurry, soon it's not going to matter.
You may not believe what I'm going to tell you, but I need to say it anyway. Maybe I am a bit crazy but I still need you to listen to me. Please, just try to relax and hear me. I know this is whacked out but afterwards you can judge for yourself if I'm nuts. You've trusted me before and I know you've no reason to now, but a lot of people need your help. It's up to you.
Soon the clock will strike midnight and another year is supposed to start. Then it will all begin. It's the end of the millennium stuff everyone's been talking about.
But this time it's on a big scale. See my sunglasses you've found? Guard them with your life! If you take them, you'll be fine. Just remember to give them to the big guy in charge after midnight. I think you'll know what I mean.
Why are they so special? Well, two days ago I got out of work and was walking home like I normally do. There was ice on the ground and it was cold. So I kept going my way and I started thinking about you. Yeah, my little sister Sera. See, you're never going to get a chance to shut me up when I talk all mushy like this so I can say it. I was thinking about how good you are and how nice it is to have a sister like you. Being the black sheep in the family, I realized it must be tough having a brother like me.
I was thinking about all of this when I felt this sound. Not like that system I had in that car where you could feel the bass about a block away. It was different.
This sound went through me so I turned around and saw something nuts.
This tall black guy was wrestling with this other dude. I thought I was watching a ninja movie or something. You know the kind with everyone doing flips and kicks. I don't know how else I can describe it. The black guy was naked as could be and taller than any basketball player I'd ever seen. But he had these huge set of wings attached to his back that made him look like an angel. I couldn't believe it. The other guy was naked too but his skin was drained of all color. It was like he was made out of clear plastic except his wings were all black and leathery looking. After I had stared at them for a bit, the black guy turned and saw me. He tried to run and hide but the evil looking colorless dude held him back. And as he did this, I noticed the colorless guy's insides were all moving around like pudding.
For some reason I got really angry that the colorless dude was hurting the black guy so I snapped. At the time, I wasn't really sure why I rushed in to help the black guy, but it all makes sense now. Don't worry, I'll explain everything in a bit. So I grabbed a metal trash can lid and rushed forward like a knight in shining armor.
You would have been proud of me. I took a swing at the colorless guy and went through him.
No, I didn't cut him in half. It was like he wasn't there. I hit the brick wall and fell to the ground. Then I realized I screwed up. The colorless dude turned on me and I wet myself. He had long, pointed teeth and eyes like burning charcoal. They were simmering. I thought he was going to do something to me but he opened his mouth and roared. I couldn't hear any noise but it knocked me back to the wall. My ears began to ring and my head ached really bad. The colorless dude turned back around and took a swing at the black guy and hit him square in the face. Then it was over. The black guy fell forward onto me and I could see this love in his eyes. His eyes were bright like the sun but they were dimming and I knew he was dying. Somehow I could tell he was happy that I had tried to help him. He didn't say anything to me but I could tell from the way he looked at me. I just kept peeing and crouched myself into a ball in that little corner of the alley. And then the black guy reached out and touched my glasses. A surge of warmth went through me and my sunglasses changed. I don't know how but the good angel passed his power into them. I tried pulling away as the colorless dude let out another of his soundless roars but it was too late.
There was a bright flash of light that swept over me. It came from the ground below me. It came out of the walls. At that moment, I promised I'd never get stoned again. Then it stopped. I felt the glasses on my nose and started to breathe again. Somehow my glasses felt different. Not heavier or anything but they were more real somehow. I got up and went back into the street and then I saw it. For that first time, I wish you could have been there with me. An old man came up to me and asked if I was okay. I didn't answer but just stared at him. A strange symbol glowed on his forehead. Like someone had branded him or something. I was about to tell him about it but he walked off. He must have thought I was piss drunk.
I still couldn't believe he had a glowing tongue of fire stuck to his forehead. At first, I figured it was a new fad I hadn't heard about. You know: branding, piercing and neon symbols on your forehead. But then as I got closer to my apartment, I realized everyone had a symbol. Some people had a tongue of fire and others had this weird cross-like shape with a loop at the top. The man at the FBI (more on him in a bit) told me it was an Ankh. The symbol of immortality. Bet you never thought I'd be throwing big words like that at you now did you?
So I went home and thought of who I should call. I didn't really know what to do. I was tired from working all day. My clothes smelled like fried food and piss so I took a shower and figured I'd chill. When I was done fate must have called some people for me, because there were these two men in suits waiting for me in my living room. I was too tired to run so I asked them what they wanted.
They said that they were the FBI and wanted me to come with them. Maybe if you were there you would have come up with something witty to say like, "Go get a warrant and get out of my house!" I didn't think of anything like that at the time so I got dressed while they waited for me. But I'm not stupid. On our way out, I dropped my sunglasses into my coat pocket and went with them.
They didn't say much to me while we were in the car. Actually, I had never been in one of their cars before. They're not all old and big like they show on TV. This one was rather nice. The seats were soft and it was a smooth ride. So anyway we went to this building downtown and I was brought upstairs. They didn't cuff me or anything.
I just knew they meant business. They could have messed me up pretty easy if they wanted to.
Once I sat down, those FBI men asked me a zillion questions. They wanted to know if I saw anything weird go on that night. Some people had made some complaints about a fight in an alley and they suspected it had to do with a big drug bust that was going down. I told them that I just walked home from work and didn't see anything.
I knew they didn't believe me but they were lying too, so we were even. They asked me all sorts of questions and I just lied through my teeth. But this time I felt that when I was lying, it was for something good. And I was right. I put my sunglasses on because all the bright lights were really bothering me and told them about my eye condition (another lie). They said it was okay for me to put the glasses on. Then they brought this guy out to see me and I nearly freaked. It was a cousin to the big colorless dude I had seen fighting with the black angel. But it was like he had a colorless dude rowing on his inside. Outside he looked normal, but with my sunglasses I could see him as he was going to be. He had a neon red flame on his forehead as big as day.
In fact, all the guys around me had the same flame on their heads. But this new guy wasn't all human. He was only pretending to be. He came up to me and sat down. He talked with me like we were old chums or something.
"Listen," he said, "there's a big bust going to happen on the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. You're going to need to pick a side. There's no middle path. It's either you side with Him or with us."
I pretended I didn't know what he meant but he reached out and touched me. "I know what you saw. I just don't know what happened. Everyone here would much rather you join us instead of us having to tag along and watch everything you do."
His words were like butter. I couldn't get enough of it. I wanted it like I put butter on my bagel in the morning. Here was a chance for me to make something of myself. I knew the glasses had some great power and that they were mine. No one would ever make fun of me again. I would be the one in charge. For a moment, I wanted so much to give in and tell him all I knew. It would've been so easy! But I couldn't stop and give in. You know I just couldn't. It's just something that I knew I had to do. I remember when dad kicked me out of the house that time. You came to check on me before and after school. And it was you who helped me get my first job through your friend's father. You have done so much for me without asking for anything in return. I just knew that you would be in big trouble if the end was coming and I couldn't allow you to get hurt. No matter what.
For a long time, I told him that I didn't see anything. I said that I had heard something in the alley but when I went to look nothing was there. At first he didn't believe me, but after a while he let me go. They all realized that they couldn't hold me on anything. Before I could leave, the wanna-be colorless dude put his hands on my shoulders and crouched down in front of me. He looked me in the eye and said, "We'll see each other again. But it will be after the trumpet has been blown and the end is near. Then you might wish you had helped us now."
He started getting all technical with me and said a lot I didn't understand. It was like he was speaking in tongues or something. He went off and all I could make out of it was that there are people marked with the Ankh of immortality. Others have the tongue of fire. On the last day, the two will fight and those with the Ankh will be on the big guy's side and those with the tongues of fire will fight for the right to remain in Pandemonium.
He spoke to me for a good while but I only made out those things. And he could see from my expression that I couldn't understand him. I think that's why they let me go. He had thought that the black angel had touched me and given me his power. But he didn't do that. Instead he gave his powers to my sunglasses. It's rather funny if you stop to think about it. My cheap pair of sunglasses can help save the world.
After they let me go, I headed home. And that's when I decided to go find you. What was that, two days ago? So much has happened since then. The power within the glasses has taught me a thing or two. Now I know that even the FBI colorless dude can't see who is branded with a tongue of fire or an Ankh. I also learned that the colorless dudes planned to use the power of the black angel to erase all the Ankh symbols off of everyone's head and then burn on a tongue of fire. That way there would be a huge commotion at the Last Judgment. The evil colorless dudes would rise up and start to revolt. I don't know what the big guy upstairs would do but there would be some serious fighting going on. All this sounds jumbled up, but from what the power within the glasses told me that was the plan.
I didn't tell you any of this when I saw you because I hadn't made up my mind on what to say. I wasn't sure myself if maybe I was crazy. Do you remember my face when I saw you the other day? I came up to you with my sunglasses on and gave you a big hug. You had asked me why I was so happy and what could I say? That I've met some angels and I have these sunglasses of power. I didn't think that would go over too well. But I remember smiling at seeing your forehead. Your Ankh showed bright. I was glad to see that on your forehead. Sera, you will be saved. You have the glasses now. Use them for good.
The FBI shouldn't have time to come after you because I've given them the slip. At least for now. But after seeing you that day, I went to my apartment. They had trashed my place looking for something I didn't have there so I ran. They chased after me but I got away. With my sunglasses, I could sense when they were near so I just kept running. Those FBI agents were tough to lose. But I went into the park and ran through the sewer tunnels. I've been living off of food I scrounged around from trash cans. And I used to say the food at work was bad! Well, I roamed around a bit and did some serious thinking. For a long time, I wanted to give up and turn myself in, but I kept remembering you.
I still wasn't sure what I should do and who I would go to for help. Then this morning something happened that made me decide what to do. When I was washing my face in the creek, I saw my reflection. A tongue of fire was on my forehead. Scrubbing it off didn't work. It was in me and part of me. There wasn't anything I could do about it. All this time I was working to help the big guy upstairs by not giving the sunglasses up and here I'm not one of the chosen! At the end, I'll fight alongside the colorless dudes. Sera, I got so angry and scared. I don't want to die. I want to be with you and joke around like we did when we were young. I wanted everything to stop and work out like it used to.
Then I realized that I had begun to change. Maybe seeing the fire rune on my head got things started within me. I don't know. But I was changing into one of those colorless dudes. When I would look at my reflection in the water, I could see it. And the more time that passed, the more I changed. That's when I realized that I didn't have much time left. I am damned but you aren't. I have a chance to help you. If I kept the sunglasses and gave them to the colorless dudes, then I'd be bringing you down with me. To be honest, I did think about doing it. I thought about hurting you and then we'd be together but I just couldn't go through with it. If you were in my situation, I know you would still help me.
Sara, please don't question why I'm helping you out. I do it because I love you and want you to live. You always stood up for me and believed in me. Now I want to repay you. But I'm scared. If there's a way for you to help me, I pray you can in time. But if not, give the glasses to the man upstairs and tell Him that they're from me. From your brother who will miss you.
Tonight when the last trumpet blows, I will no longer be me. The drums will call me and I must follow. And then, I'll fight against Him. Together the FBI agents and me will be against you. But in the meantime, I've done my best to help you. Now I need for you to do the rest and save yourself. What would have happened if I would have kept the sunglasses? The battle later tonight would've been much worse. The colorless dudes might have won. With the power to switch the runes on everyone's head, things would not have been pretty. Maybe they could've erased what was written in the sacred book. I don't know.
Damn, I just looked at my watch and it's getting late. Soon you'll be at your place and you'll find my sunglasses. I need to finish this message to you and drop them into your mail slot before midnight. I don't have much time. You will have more than me. When the battle and the horns start to sound, you'll be safe. Don't let them find my glasses. Promise me. If you'd do anything for me like you said that time when I was out on the streets, then please don't give the glasses up. I give them to you Sera. Only to you. They will protect you. No one knows about them except me and you.
Soon I will hear the drums beating and I'll go to them. You'll think me crazy for saying this but I can't wait until it's all over. I'm tired of running around trying to figure out what to do. Take the glasses and help save everyone. Please. Do it for your little brother Tommy who needs your help one last time. Don't worry about me.
They can't destroy me because you've already saved me. Now I must go. I love you and I know that you'll make it through this. Then I will smile up at you from the darkness. Forever.
Did you like this story and want to read more? Download a free copy of my novel Lost (Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries).