Friday Flash Fiction: O Radiance, O Blessed Light

Two weeks on the trot – who’d have expected it from someone as slack as me. Other participants this week include Gareth Lyn Powell, Martin McGrath and Gareth D. Jones. Anyone else? Since the Velcro City Tourist Board is currently down, there’s sadly nothing from Paul Raven this week. [Edit: I’ve just found Neil Beynon.]

This week’s piece dates from early 2006, and I wrote it after reading the title (just the title) of Lydia Millet’s Oh Pure and Radiant Heart.

O Radiance, O Blessed Light

I will never forget the day I saw an angel.

It was so beautiful. And its divine origins shone through, as though its blessed essence sought to cleanse our sins in its forgiveness and love. Oh, oh – words cannot describe what I felt.

My sister, and my father – they saw it too. We were in our garden, outside the house in which we lived, when its radiance beat down upon our fragile bodies. We flung up our arms and gasped in awe as it descended to us, whispering holy words and reaching out with open palms. A single tear rolled down its cheek and there was a beatific smile upon its glorious face. There was no mistaking an emissary of God.

But it found my family undeserving of its love. Its gaze fell only upon me. And as they writhed and cried and fell to burning damnation, I watched its eyes grow larger and its halo rise and I stretched forwards to touch it.

And then it was gone.

Gone, and so was my vision, although I am sure that I heard the rush of gossamer wings fluttering before me, and heard whispers of promises from perfect lips.

I too had been found unworthy, but unlike the poor damned souls of my father and sister, I have been given the chance to make myself worthy. Although blind, now, I can feel rocks and earth beneath my hands and feet. I can hear others about me, too. They whimper and cry out, or sometimes scream. They do not know what has happened to them. My heart longs to help them, but I know that this is a path that must be walked alone. For I feel myself on a mountain, and I know that I must reach the summit. Then, with Purgatory beneath me and Heaven above me, it will take me into its arms again.

I will feel that glorious light upon me again. For that divine radiance, I will do anything.

11 Responses to “Friday Flash Fiction: O Radiance, O Blessed Light”
  1. Paul Raven says:

    And man, am I pining without the damn site up and running. Joni Mitchell was right, y’know.

    Good little story, BTW. And liking the new look of the site, also – code it yourself?

  2. Barry Hess says:

    Interesting story. Playing with the supernatural and religious is always difficult in writing. I really liked the “heard whispers of promises from perfect lips” line, although I wonder if the whispers would be promises or hints at a promised land? Those whispers appear to provide a conflicting guarantee to the rest of the story’s uncertainty.

    Keep up the flash fiction. I find it to be a very interesting form, especially in terms of idea generation.

  3. Shaun CG says:

    Thanks, Paul and Barry, for your comments! I’m remaining silent about the story itself – I’d rather see how people react than explain what I was attempting. :)

    Paul: sadly it’s not of my hand. I did try a month back to produce my own theme, but my knowledge of PHP is… well, I have no knowledge of PHP. I believe Dezzain was behind this (lovely) theme. It’s a lot cleaner and easier on the eye than the one I used for Neverscapes, and also manages to cram more in.

    Good to see VCTB is back up!

  4. GLP says:

    Nicely judged descriptions and intriguing backstory.

  5. Shaun CG says:

    Thanks, Gareth!

  6. neilbe says:

    Thanks for the link Shaun. A good job, in a short space, of touching on some of the different sides to angels.

  7. Shaun CG says:

    Cheers, Neil and Rachel. :)

  8. Barry Hess says:

    Oh, definitely. I don’t want to impact our interpretation. That’s half the fun! :)

  9. I like the story, but I love the title.

    And yes your new look site is very funky. Very 2.0!

  10. Shaun CG says:

    Cheers, Martin. I’m rather taken with the title as well – most of mine are so bad. Though this one is so obviously a rip-off of ‘Oh Pure and Radiant Heart’…