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Once they were confined to the locket they were in hell.

By Cam DustingPublished 3 years ago 8 min read

Once they were confined to the locket they were in hell. There was no way out! Ahead was only the velvety red tongue of its interior; hot, roiling, endless. The party marched forth to find a dark golden intersection, a thin and perilous point slicing toward them; it was gold; to its left, a sweeping golden rounded way; to its right, a mirror-image of the same. The party, Anjelica the flighty flight attendant, Sahni the lady from the chicken shop, Jeevika the Indian cleaner, Uli the quiet Marxist, Yashica the poor mother of two, Nyra the eleven-year-old daughter of Yashica, Aarav Yashica’s scoundrel twinkle-eyed son, Nishit the big cheese government executive!, sweet Onkar singer of sweet songs, James the bouncing buffalo herder, Chanel the horse-faced bookseller, Thomas the German forensic psychologist, Andy the somewhat-acclaimed microbiologist, Henry the yellow cowboy, young Peter of failed fame, four members of the rebel gang Virskun themselves named Boris Arnold Mackintosh and Bush, Bret the white writer, Brandi the other (better) writer, Gayathri the trustworthy jeweller, Fatemah the happy Muslim farmer, Caria the beautiful dark model, Koffi the American rapper worth more in blood than those already mentioned in combined total assets!, Kodzo Koffi’s faithful younger cousin, Lizzy the sexy chef, Ama the diplomat, William the teller of times past and his sister Ella the proclaimer of those events which had not yet come to pass, Khyati leader of the free world, Lucifer the fallen angel shackled perpetually in iron chains, Ufi the spider and Maxwell the cockroach, Maha representative of assigned security personnel, tough Muntaha with her arms crossed, Vera and various bangles hanging off her, Brianna the scheming map-maker, Muhammad banging his softening head into the velvety red surface upon which all stood, Nura the fairy, Roger yelling “Roger that!”, Bob the bodybuilder (yes, the bodybuilder), Gabby the rockstar drummer, Gabriel the sad poker addict, Francesca winner of games and Carmen student of game theory, little Vishnu scampering under everyone’s feet and tiny Xavier spinning the beats, all of these members of the party and all of those unnamed divided thereupon into two camps. Virskun led the way to the left of the golden meeting-place, shouting. Ufi the spider trickled to the right, and all who had not followed the gang allowed Ufi to assume her position as their leader. Quite happy was Maxwell the cockroach with this.

The twin contingents were to quickly discover moreover that indeed there was no way out of the locket. Having heard the voices of the opposite faction emerge from sheer darkness, one group was faced with the other, here Gayathri the jeweller, there Nura the flitting fairy, so that once more all were in this respect united. Yet dissent boiled within the roomy darkened air, and murmurs became exclamations, lowered whisperings fired up into heated exhalations and curses of disagreement. Here Brianna the cartographer spread out upon the velvety red earth her belongings in their entirety; various pieces of obscure measuring equipment, a wide-brimmed hat, an incandescent halogen lamp, several vegan sandwiches, a tumbler of milk.

“Aha!” Brianna bellowed at last.

“What is it?” Anjelica, high-pitched, questioned.

“This is a locket,” Brianna declared, and mutterings burst forth from all, so that one faction became even to those most discerning indistinguishable from the other.

“We knew that didn’t we,” Gabriel moaned miserably in an Irish accent, “And it’s about time to play some slots.”

“Oh give it up Gabriel would ya you big monkey,” Ama soothed, at the attention of some at once gathering herself into her most composed professionalism, “The various countries of the big world need us to co-operate,” Ama began to nod circle-eyed across the rows of her cautious listeners, “So that peace might resume for one, just as peace might resume for all.”

“The world is finished,” Gabriel shook his drooping head solemnly, “I saw it with my own eyes, I was on my way to the old casino, it’s all I do you see, and right there and just like that everything exploded up into a big plume of red flames and I guess the next thing I do remember is, yes, waking up here... with all of you idiots... waking up here, yes—where did you say we are?”

“A locket!” screamed Brianna the cunning cartographer. “We’re in a locket and you’d all better listen to me!”

“A locket, well we all knew that,” Gabriel mourned sorrowfully.

“He’s right, we did!” Boris of Virskun began, “A heart-shaped one.”

“I have it proved,” Brianna clarified.

“A locket!” Yashica squealed.

“That’s what she said,” Lizzy whispered, nose lifting.

“So you’d better listen to me!” Brianna the cartographer exalted, “To me and only to me! None of us really know what happened, or how we ended up in someone’s golden locket, I know that much from the words I’ve already had with a few of you, now if we all listen to me I’m a cartographer, a professional, and if you place your trust in me I think that’s the smartest thing to do, doesn’t that sound sensible?”

“Don’t listen to her she’s a crafty one,” Boris the rebel warned his brethren in lowered tones. “She’s manipulating us with her greasy-slick façade, I seen this one, she’s a nasty cartographer.”

Muntaha leaned against the smooth gold, head over her left shoulder, her arms crossed. Muntaha’s main woman Maha stood besides, glasses balanced upon the tip of her invisible nose, apparently noting important matters down into her paper notebook. Many had begun to mention babbles heard beyond the golden walls; or were they emitting instead from beyond the red below? No one was quite sure.

“What are those noises?” exclaimed Anjelica, “After all I’m sure we’re all in this together, yes?, and it’s up to us and only us to get out of this heart-shaped locket and to return ourselves to the lives we all live, I work for an airline—”

“Which?” queried Bret the terrible white writer.

“—you might not’ve heard of it—”

“I’ve heard of a lot.”

“—Emirates, Emirates, and we were scheduled to fly and then I woke up here heaped up with all of you, strangers whom I trust, but why do I trust you? Not even I know. Just that I’ve felt tremendous change in the last few hours in the depths of my very soul, and I was falling in love just the other day, in love with a man who shall not here be named because I can’t be sure yet that he’s the one, I can’t be sure—of course I can’t—I don’t even know if he’s alive!” And like that the flighty flight attendant’s face crumpled and she was overcome by rivers of tears the likes of which not Bret, the creeping close-listening writer; not Brianna, watching from the velvet red; nor even Boris the bald thug with shining rings wobbling off thick earlobes, had across the timespans of the entireties of their respective lives encountered. “And those sounds!” Anjelica screamed, “Those sounds from outside—produced in the throats of humans we need to connect with—”

“The crying girl is right,” Koffi exhaled, and the rapper’s croak constituted an imagined sound of smoke. At once Kodzo’s chest lifted!, Kodzo’s pin eyes directed up at his celebrity cousin!, “I been wondering about those noises, like who’s out there right now? Who do we gotta talk to, in order us to get outta here?” Koffi’s accent was from the heart of Louisiana.

“That’s what I’m trying to say—” yelled Brianna.

“Hey!” Gabby bellowed, slamming her drummer’s fists into the hard gold. “Who’s there?”

“It’s the patrol,” Maha intoned, her accent Arabic. “Muntaha here and I have been ‘jointly assigned’ in the official terminology, assigned jointly to look after you all, that is, to keep an eye—”

Only Muntaha heard Maha however, which made things all the more difficult considering the situation—Muntaha’s tones were low, her disposition like that of her partner unassuming. “Oi!” Maha shouted; a few heads turned. “Those sounds are the patrol just outside the locket, that’s all the information we’ve been given—” Maha and Muntaha when it came down to it were good at their jobs; but the situation was dire, and few paid them true attention. Muntaha only shrugged at her partner, Muntaha’s small arms crossed like locked gates.

Anjelica continued to weep, covering her eyes with her forearms yet remaining nevertheless in her standing position. Those few sympathetic present had rushed to her with the objective of consolation; most were otherwise occupied; the inked members of Virskun had arked up and initiated against the yellow cowboy going by Henry the unsubtle signs of an imminent scrap, whilst Gabby continued to batter her fists into the golden wall and to scream, Ufi the spider flew vertically up it, Maxwell did his best to follow upward the spider he had decided was forever his leader, Chanel sobbed uselessly (the sound was of neighing), Brandi in distant blackness exchanged hushed sighs with Fatemah the farmer and with Lucifer straining against iron chains, and Vishnu sprinted in between people’s legs, leaping, laughing, high-fiving his so-far-unnamed friends and collapsing into giggles when his sister tickled him in his belly.

“Ha, hahaha, hahaha ha hahaha!”

“Get up, you stinking child!” spat Thomas the German.

“Aha, ahahaaa!”

Vishnu was oblivious.

“This man said to get up,” Vishnu’s little sister began, “But we don’t listen—”

But at that exact moment all were suddenly thrown off their feet. Chaos ensued. People of all colours and sizes ricocheted off one another, everyone screamed, heads collided with the unforgiving golden walls. The locket twisted and turned, it spun, it swung, and all of the doomed individuals who had following the chemically-induced intentional detonation of planet Earth been confined by unknown forces—nefarious or benevolent?—to its interior (for indeed that was what had happened), were now subject to its every motion. Blood streaked across golden walls, darkened bodies shot across black space, shrieks were cut off by reverberating thuds. These walls were soulless, merciless, and upon contact with skulls broke those skulls, mashed the brains within, ended the trajectories of all of these bright consciousnesses, thereby causing the tragic and immediate deaths of all present. And it was in her hysterical last moments, in which all she saw and all she knew was the ceaseless and violent perishing of apparently abstract souls, that Anjelica understood. Somewhere out there someone had worn the locket. And Anjelica’s life, it had been beautiful—sometimes painful, sometimes joyous, often inconsequential and unmemorable—but always beautiful; and now, she knew, it was almost over; it would end. These people and Ufi the spider and all of these brilliant living beings; they, too, would end; but Anjelica knew that everyone would join her on the other side! For nobody was truly separate, not really, only in life had all of these children of God who had awoken in this post-apocalyptic heart-shaped locket been in any way remote from Anjelica’s very self and from the glowing essence given forth by her own unique and blood-pulsating heart; but after life all was the same. And Anjelica the flighty flight attendant knew that, yes, there had been a graspably flashing segment of time in which she had loved jewel-toothed Yermo, of course she had loved him in that time, but was he the one? Anjelica now knew that he was. Anjelica did not understand why or how the world outside had ended, but it had, she had heard enough, seen enough, and at twenty-nine her earthly existence had come to a halt... her time was nigh... and Anjelica believed in more. She would rejoin Yermo, she would rejoin everyone else, and she would rejoin everything else. But Anjelica’s high-pitched screams came to her now, she was screaming in pain, and her head hurt so much she wanted only for it all to be over.

Sci Fi

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    CDWritten by Cam Dusting

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