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  • Writer's pictureLuke Ramer

Short Fiction Launch: HE RETURNS

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

HE RETURNS

by Luke Ramer


Art by Steve Ramer



I hate night shift. Miss the daylight of my younger years. I pop a Vitamin C tablet and wash it down with gas station coffee—one cream, six sugars—holstered in my cupholder.


I’m driving to work in my rusted black Chevy S10—the gearshift still sticking—headed for another monotonous night of packing trucks. Same old darkness cascading over the highway in front of me. Same lower backaches. Same praying to God for a change and wondering if he’s listening. Sometimes, it seems like God never notices me—


Suddenly light is everywhere. Shocking. Blinding. It’s 11:40 PM, but the sky is lit up like an August afternoon. What the Hell is happening?


Brakes screech. Smashing metal. Accidents ahead and behind me. I pull off, across the rumble strips, and stop my truck. After a quick slug of coffee, I step out onto the windy highway. I watch as the sky devolves into a massive black tornado, reaching wider and wider, as far as the eye can see—I assume the whole world can see it. Lightning dances a ballet across the land, but oddly there is no thunder. Just a continuous low droning from above, like the sky is moaning in pain.

A brilliant beam of light strikes the pavement up ahead, but this isn’t lightning. It’s otherworldly. The static electricity raises my thinning hair. I think about grabbing a weapon but look ahead and figure it won’t matter and start walking towards the light. People can never seem to look away from a car crash—this is that times a thousand. The gleaming streak from the sky pulses like an electric vein to the cosmos.


People gather around, curious ants swarming around a candy dropped on the pavement. Everyone has their phones out, their cameras; no one is watching through their own eyes except me it seems. This is already viral.


There's a man inside the beam, wearing a long white robe, long white hair, long white beard. He descends slowly from the sky. Whispers in the crowd. Has He returned?


I wonder to myself, is everything I believe in true? And if I really had believed in it, why do I find myself so surprised? Regardless, the fact that I’m here to witness this historical moment has me breathless.


As He gets closer to the ground, I notice dark rings under His eyes. Sweat on His brow. His sagging skin and dejected expression. The crowd around me is in disbelief, some are cheering, everyone filming, but I stand silent, cautious. He floats to the ground like a damaged feather.


The brilliant tunnel of light up to the sky vanishes and the night cascades back into darkness and it’s jarring like a rollercoaster and my stomach bottoms out.


He looks up, not at me, but at everyone with their cameras rolling. He addresses the whole world.


“I’ve returned,” he says, glancing back up towards the sky, the tremendous lightning still streaking. There is another sound, like some distant growling. He shakes his head. “But it’s too late. I’m sorry. Things did not go as planned, I am truly sorry.” He stands up, grimacing in pain, and looks out over the crowd—beyond them. He sees His whole creation in the flesh. It breaks His heart.

“Heaven is gone,” He says, tears of blood streaming down his cheeks as the camera phones keep rolling. “Soon, They will be here. I am sorry, but…” He remembers the way They marched into Heaven on that first day of the invasion. “…We’re all fucked.”


I swallow hard as Earth begins to shake. I look up and the black sky has been ripped open by a wound of crimson and inside it I see ghastly cosmic figures approaching that dwarf the constellations. I look into their faces and can’t comprehend what I’m seeing, and I piss myself; it smells like cheap coffee.




God looks over at my piss-stained jeans, finally noticing me. He stares me in the eye. “They’ve arrived,” He says. It’s the last words I ever hear.




Artwork by Steve Ramer. Check out his art website here!



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2 Comments


Priscilla Bettis
Priscilla Bettis
Mar 07, 2022

That was grim, but it was also compelling. Good story!

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vieiramargie
Jul 25, 2021

I am glad to know that one other hears the internal voice beckoning the owner of thought to write their story, or is it mine and the other writerś story? Humm, one thinks it´s theirs but where do these stories come from? Some might say one´s imagination but what sowed the seed? Where did the story come from? So many questions yet many chalk it up to IMAGINATION. Okay, for argument´s sake, let us say it is our imagination, how will your story play out? That´s when you sit at your desk staring at the wall in front of you, watching the scenes before your eyes and hearing the characters speak to one another, as if you are there wi…

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