“The New Ramtha” – a Short Story by JL Wilson – read and vote (please!)

“THE WAIT IS OVER! You may now read the short story People Mag calls “a story by JL Wilson” & EW raves “has characters & a story”

After you read my story  (below) and recover from how awesome it is, go here – https://shortfictionbreak.com/spring-18/ scroll to the bottom and click on the green “blah blah blah VOTE blah blah” button (I forgot what it said, the important stuff= it’s green and it has the word “vote” on it). Drop the tick box thing down and scroll to the very bottom and vote for “The New Ramtha” by J.L. Wilson (fancy huh?). Next, share this and tell your friends to vote for my story.

 

 

“You’ve captured me,” the oversized sleeves of his purple robe billowed as he spread his arms and presented himself to a waifish youth pacing the floor opposite. “What now?” he asked, bemused.

The youth muttered incoherently and upped the tempo of his pacing. His mind was a tempest of doubt and insecurity. What now The words bounced around the inside of the young man’s head, his head ached from all the intrigue.

“Oh, I see…” the robed man put up a long, grey finger. “…you didn’t expect to get this far.” The taut ashen skin on his face became a landscape of sharp hills and furrows as a sinister smile transformed his face. He risked a few chuckles; enough to patronize, but not incense his captors.

The youth abruptly halted. His head snapped to face the old man. “Even now, the Ramtha, the murderous tyrant, bane of the people, laughs? You laugh knowing that I can have you killed where you stand?” The deep, penetrating baritone voice belonged to an adolescent boy in the throes of puberty.

The old man cackled exuberantly.

At length, he composed himself and in a velvety smooth voice said, “If you were standing where I am standing, which someday, you probably will, you’d laugh too, dear boy.” His eyes flashed knowingly as he spoke.

The young man clenched a fist and lunged at the Ramtha. The moment his fist would have connected with the man’s greying temple, he pulled up short.

“Tell me why I shouldn’t order your death right now?” asked the lanky young man harshly.

The Ramtha, unfazed by the sudden maneuver, calmly replied “If you wish to take my place as ruler of Lemuria, you’ll need more tactful methods of enforcement than a gang of thugs.” he gestured to the cadre of soldiers around the room.

“Ruler of Lemuria?” muttered the youth, perplexed. “How…” he trailed off, stifled by another effervescent display.

The Ramtha recovered from his latest outburst. He placed his hands on the youth’s shoulders and bored an austere gaze into the young, naïve eyes.

“Kareb? May I call you Kareb?”

Kareb nodded.

The man leaned into Kareb’s ear, causing a few of the soldiers present to produce pistols and lurch anxiously.

“I fear one of your men might make a grievous mistake, shaky as they are, and we have some high-minded talk they need not be privy to.” he whispered.

Kareb pulled back from the grey head and stared intently into its dark eyes, looking for deceit.

After a long moment, Kareb raised his arms, palms down and signaled the men to stand down and said they needn’t be concerned – the old man was harmless without a unit of his legion behind him.

Reluctantly, the men stowed their weapons and exited. All except one. Gerald, a childhood playmate of Kareb’s, still had his pistol leveled at the old man. Visibly shaking and breathing rapidly, he plainly was no warrior.

Still, he was gripped by a courage rooted in a life of downtrodden poverty and abject abuse at the hands of the Ramtha’s regime.

Kareb held out a hand gloved in the same hide leather of his tunic and kilt. “It’s fine, Gerald. I’ll be fine. Join the others.”

Gerald stood for a long moment, “You sure? Remember Olaf’s?” His voice trembled with a volatile mixture of fear, repressed fury, and teenage angst.

“Definitely, my friend. He will gain nothing by killing me, where will he go? We have this entire complex.”

The Ramtha faced Gerald, “Heed your friend, boy. You’ve done well to get him this far, but only he can continue…”

Gerald spat on the floor and left the office without lowering his weapon or looking away from the Ramtha.

The door shut, they were alone.

The Ramtha put his hands behind his back and started to amble around the room. “Well, here we are. Rather, here YOU are…”

“I don’t want a recap. I want answers.” Blurted Kareb forcefully.

The Ramtha stopped, “Answers? What questions?” he queried.

“What did you mean by I’d someday stand where you are standing?”

The Ramtha turned to face Kareb, his face scrunched with suspicious curiosity. “You really don’t know?”

Kareb stared blankly.

“YEE!” The Ramtha stomped a foot and clapped enthusiastically. “I had my doubts about the boys at the Bureau of History and Enli…”

“Know what?” asked Kareb.

“…ghtenment. But Heinrich’s Jugend Programm has…”

“KNOW WHAT, DAMMIT?” Kareb snapped, his furious eyes burned into the Ramtha.

A baleful smile returned to the Ramtha’s face.

He ambled back to Kareb.

“You’ve got a fire burning inside you, m’boy. It’s critical that you learn what I’m about to tell you at this point in your ascension…” he trailed off leadingly.

“Ascension?”

“You can’t be this clueless and be the leader the people need, lad.” said the Ramtha.

“I once stood where you now stand, having the same conversation with the then Ramtha…”

“… the then Ramtha? But you…”

“… are the eleventh Ramtha since Ramtha emerged 300 years ago.” the Ramtha interjected.

Incredulous, Kareb’s eyes narrowed at the Ramtha, trying to pierce the smokescreen of the old man’s body to his soul to find truth.

“I’m A Ramtha, THE Ramtha is a concept fed to the populous. The Ramtha is not a man, it’s an office; a grand part played on a rotting stage in a melancholy production.

“Don’t you see? Lemurians can’t rule themselves. The revolution occurs when a new Ramtha takes control – the people won’t know and they don’t need to. As far as they know, the Ramtha is divine, an immortal god king. They simply can’t know the truth.

“The results of past attempted coups were disastrous. Lemuria was a wasteland ravaged by war before the Ramtha.

“You have two choices. You can remain the proud messiah, free Lemuria from the tyranny of the Ramtha; then watch Lemuria destroy itself, or take up the mantle of the Ramtha and guide Lemuria into the future. Therefore, you’ll need me alive, to serve as an advisor.”

Kareb stared at the Ramtha in disbelief as he struggled to rebuild a shattered worldview. Kareb clamped his eyes shut and went to that horrible night at Olaf’s bistro. Five inquisitors from the Bureau of History and Enlightenment broke into the Olaf’s, a local haunt for the youth in Kareb’s small borough, to thwart a “rebel co-op”, it was really a welcome home party . Kareb knew this because Gerald’s sister was there, the gathering was for her and her newborn daughter, Gerald’s niece. All present were beaten and the women raped, then flayed and burned alive. Is that the price for our security? The thought made him shudder.

The Ramtha continued, “You are here to play your part in this production, now you must choose – be the savior who destroys the world or the tyrant who saves it.”

The office door creaked open. Gerald entered, “Excuse me, I left my…”. By this time, he was arm’s length from the Ramtha. In one fluid movement he halted. He withdrew his gun and shot the Ramtha in the head. The Ramtha’s body crumpled to the ground, the stump that was his head gushed blood.

Kareb lurched back, face twisted in shocked disbelief.

“Whuh…???” was all that Kareb could say.

He watched as Gerald scurried haphazardly across the room to the desk and snatch up a fountain pen. Then, without looking up, he hurled himself at Kareb and buried the pen in Kareb’s neck.

Attempting to speak, Kareb could only gurgle through the blood in his throat.

He fell to his knees, blood covered the left half of his body, pooled on the marble floor. “I heard everything.”

Gerald, his voice starting to crack, held his friend under the arms so he didn’t topple. He looked down at him, “I won’t live through another Ramtha, even if he is my closest friend.” His eyes welled up with tears. “You were wavering, so I’ve decided for you.” Gerald’s lower lip began to quiver. “Remember when we were kids? After weeks of planning we were going to get back at Sigurd and his thugs on the playground? One look at him and you turned white and walked away. Like then, you’re turning white. Take heart, friend. Your death will redeem us all.”

He put a finger on his com, and in a panicked voice yelled, “COME QUICKLY! BRING A MEDIC! The Ramtha stabbed Kareb with his fountain pen. PLEASE HURRY! HE’S FADING FAST!” —

Gerald looked upon the bloody mess that was his best friend; stared tearfully at his glassy, lifeless green eyes and closed them for the last time while What now? What now? What now? reverberated inside his head.

Sh*t Happens, Part One

Don’t forget that I don’t curse, so the title is pronounced “Shasteriskit Happens”. I’ve mentioned before that I fancy myself a writer, and do so enjoy writing. I would like to share some of my fiction writing with you. The following is a short story I wrote for a short story contest (that I somehow did not win, I blame Satan). It’s pretty long ( fast what she said!), so I dare not post the entire thing. I’ll put up the first part today, this third part tomorrow, and the second part the day after that (approximately).

The inspiration for this story comes from Kurt Vonnegut and the way he trivializes major events. ENJOY!

“PEE-PEE!” Shouted Rob in the highest octave he could muster.
Sandy buzzed with excitement at those words. Rob bent down to clip the leash onto his dog’s collar, but the dog was so spastic with excitement, he couldn’t secure the clip.
“Sandy, help me help you!”
After a few more minutes, Rob had the leash clipped on, potty treats in his breast pocket and a baggie for poop in a back pocket, with that they were out the door.
Sandy led Rob on their usual morning walk – on the sidewalk in front of his apartment, then around the corner into the courtyard of his complex. She went pee, Rob gave her a treat. They continued to the other side of the complex, Sandy scrunched over and pooped on a patch of grass close to a window. Rob decided that, since he was in a hurry and it was dark with no one around, he’d leave the poop there. No one’ll walk there, he assured himself. Rob and Sandy started walking back to the apartment. Sandy was leading Rob through a grassy field. The walk was going speedily until *squish*. Rob slipped a little as warm poo spread onto the bottom of his workboot.
Rob composed himself and used the rest of the walk to scrape his shoe against the grass in hopes that it would remove all traces of poo.
Rob lifted his boot to see the damage, the sole still had a heaping glaze of feces, with a few ambitious clumps that, in an outright “up yours” to gravity, were crawling up his ankle.
Rob thought back to the last tenants meeting. Patio ornament lady brought up the issue of dog owners not picking up their dog’s “excrement” – she refused to say or respond to any slang word for shit. The tenants at the meeting all agreed that they’d do a better job of picking up their dog’s “excrement”.
All the same, Rob’s foot found a very stinky, sticky and gooey pile of “excrement”. Rob didn’t want to show up smelling like poop, so he started scrubbing off his shoe, choosing to be late instead.
Rob woke at six, extra early that day because the central office called him late in the evening on the previous day to assign him the job. Rob, an AC repairman, already had a job lined up for that day; but Mrs. Sanderson, his boss’s sister in law needed a technician right away, she said her AC wasn’t cold enough. She gave strict instructions that he was to be there no later than 7:15.
He arrived about 7:40. Mrs. Sanderson was pacing back and forth on the steps of her porch, yelling into her phone; no doubt at Rob’s boss.
She noticed the van pull up, abruptly ended her phone conversation and stormed down the steps. “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?” She shrieked.
“Well you see, there was this grizzly bear chasing after some orphans…”
“OH, CAN IT! Do you know how much Zumba classes cost?”
“Eleven dollars?” Rob said sarcastically. “What’s a Zumba, anyway?” He asked with mock sincerity.
“I don’t have time to answer your bullshit questions, you’ve already made me late. Air conditioner is in the attic. I’ll be back in an hour, try to be outta here by then!” Before Rob could respond, she was halfway to her Jetta.
She sat down and turned the car on. Neil Diamond blasted through the speakers. She mouthed the line, “Hurting runs off my shoulders. How can I hurt when holding you?” She took her iPhone from her purse, she stopped to examine the new pink and white checkered case she just got for it, “Sorry, Neil. It’s Steve’s turn.” She said apologetically to her stereo. She plugged her phone into the cord coming from her car’s auxiliary port, pecked at her phone and Journey flooded the inside of the car. Mrs. Sanderson always listened to Journey before working out.
She usually leaves at 7:30 sharp. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the gym, ten minutes to check in and get situated. For a minute, she thought that being a few minutes late would be ok; then she thought about catching her husband staring salaciously at the waitress’s butt at Olive Garden last week. The young girl’s tight ass whirled in her mind’s eye – she floored the accelerator.

End of part one. Tune in tomorrow to find out if Mrs. Sanderson was able to work the jiggle out of her bottom…

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