Short Stories

The Road

The Road is a short allegory based on Matthew 7:13-14.  It was very strange.  Our Senior Pastor had been working his way through the book of Matthew.  On that Sunday as I listened to the sermon, I got a picture in my head and it would not go away.  I call it an itch inside my brain.  And it wouldn't go away until I sat down to write it out and The Road is the result. 

The Road is almost 2700 words and the First 2 pages are I posted here.  To read the entire story, click the link in the right hand bar and you will be taken to my SmashWords page where you will be  able to download the story into whatever ebook format you'd like. 

Feel free to send comments.

Jerry


The Road

By Jerry Thompson

This short story is a work of fiction.
The people’s names and places are not known to be real.

********

“Let me he’p ya up, Laddie,” said the stranger. Two strong hands grabbed me on each side of my bicep and yanked me to my feet. I took a step and stumbled again. The strong hands pulled me up a second time.

“C’mon, we’ve got to kep movin’ or we’ll both goners.”

Dazed, I mumbled, “Thanks.”

“Quite the bump ya got there.”

My head ached. I reach up gingerly touching the growing knot on my forehead. “Did you see what happened?”

“Aye, a ‘ole opened at your feet. You dinnat see it an’ you almost fell in, but you trip’d on the edge. If you fell in, you’d be gone fer good. Instead, you fell on’da Road, bump’n yore ‘ead and about to be trampled. I ‘ad a chance so I nab’ dya. Many fall, but few he’p them up.”

“Thanks for grabbing me.”

I stuck out my hand, “My name is Chris.”

“I’m Fingal,” he said shaking my hand. “‘Ave you been on the Road long?”

“Eighteen years. I turned eighteen two months ago, but I lost my parents when the flow slowed and everybody jammed together about a month ago. In all the jostling and pushing, we got separated. I’ve been looking for them since.”

“I’ve been on it for some twenny-eight years. An’ being sep’rated from loved ones on the Road tis common. But fear not Lad, we shall walk together for a bit and he’p each other.”

The Road.

I think a lot about the Road. Why is it here? Why are we on it?

The Road is wide. When I stand at one edge of it, I can just make out the far edge. Everybody walks it. It’s smooth and asphalt gray with a bit of loose debris swirling about. Side to side, front to back the Road is flat as a level.

The Road is comfortable. I like the bright Sun that warms my face and gentle breeze that cools my brow.

The Road offers companionship. I’ve have had some great friends and we traveled together until the ebb and flow of the people separated us.

The Road is full of people all traveling the same direction. The mass of humanity is like a stream. Sometimes it is slow and calm and sometimes there are rapids. Periodically, everybody bunches together and other times there’s breathing space between groups or individuals. Most folks treat each other well except when someone falls. The human river cannot stop. Standing against the flow of humanity to help someone up is difficult and dangerous. The odds of the Good Samaritan also being trampled are high. I’m fortunate that Fingal grabbed me.

I’ve often wondered about the Road. Who made it? You can see a long way. It is straight as an arrow. Trees or thickets obscure what lies beyond the edges and you can see mountains soar above each side of it. Sometimes there would be a break between the trunks and I could peer beyond the road for a moment before the mass of humanity pushed me on.

My eyes are drawn to the mountains. But I think: only an idiot would leave the comfort and relative safety of the Road. I’ve seen a few people strike off into the tangle of bushes. Once in a while I’ll spot small groups high up in the mountains. They look impossible to climb. Still, I wondered what’s up there.

I turned to my companion. “Fingal, what’s in the wilds and the mountains that line the Road?”

“I dunno’ laddie. Some say there are animals tha’ eat ya’, others say monsters live innit. I don’t unner’stand the attraction to go ‘n find out.”

His answer didn’t quench my curiosity. I sidled towards the wall of green along the edge of the Road. What lies beyond? I reached for the delicate leaves when a hand grabbed my shoulder and spun me around.

“Wha’ ja dooin’ Laddie. Some say its death just to touch them leaves. Why take the chance?”

 “I don’t know. It’s strange, the mountains, the wilds, they call to me.”

“C’mon, we best be movin’ or be trampled.”

I kept glancing sideways at the thicket along the Road and the mountains that rose beyond. Fingal’s right, it’s stupid to leave the ease of the Road.

A few days later, I spied someone by the edge of the Road. Is that a break in the thicket?  A woman called to the passing crowd. As we approached, her voice got louder.

“At the end of the Road is Destruction and pain! Leave it while you can! There’s life in the wilds! Come join me. Save yourselves.”

“Fingal, what do you make of her?”

“Nut job. I’ve seen a few. Stan’in, sit’in or dart’in into the Road try’n to grab or convince youto run off into the wild wit’ them. Claim’in Destruction, whate’er that is, is at the Road’s end.”

“Could they be right?”

“Laddie, the Road ‘tis way easier than the wilds. Seems you’d be swallow’d up out there faster than here. Besides, who’d put Destruction at the end o’ the Road? Makes no sense.”

The woman’s voice faded as we passed. I stole one last look over my shoulder. She had a hold of someone’s arm. The man pushed and she fell back into the thicket. Crazy, yet I still had an itch in my brain.

Click here to download the full version from my  smashwords page.