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“The end of the world is coming. But don’t be afraid my friends, for I am your Messiah. Follow me, and together we shall walk the path to heaven and be with Him for all eternity. Give up your precious belongings, for they will do you no good when His judgment comes. Possession and money, fame and fortune, they are all useless now. Repent, and be free of this evil sinful life. Come with me now, and you shall forever be guaranteed a place in His Kingdom. Give up this life, and we shall be together in the land of promises. His love will conquer all.”

The crowd of twenty thousand roared in amazement and belief as the Messiah delivered his powerful speech. Many were astonished at his words to the point of tears. Through the loud speakers, his voice rang all the way up to heaven. The Messiah smiled as a blue flame rose and circulated around his body and extended itself to touch the audience members. However, they were not hurt. His eyes glowed bright green as his soothing flame reached out and danced with the Believers. Their hands were lifted up towards the sky; tears filled their eyes, as they sang songs of joy and love. It even seemed as if the holy flames were going to burst out of the television set as I watched the Messiah’s weekly TV show. What else was on TV, I thought. Did I really want to know that the world was going to end any day now? Perhaps there’s an old cartoon on, I pondered to myself. I lifted up my right hand and thought of the remote. A brief moment later, the thin rectangular object flew from under the couch into my hands. Bored with the sermon, I was about to change the channel when something caught my attention. An intuition of danger reached into my mind as my finger touched the channel button. Suddenly, I realized what it was. It was my death instinct. Many were going to die tonight.

The Messiah lifted his hands to the heavens as the crowd continued their thunderous roar. “His Kingdom awaits us”, he yelled. The blue flames continued to dance around his body when a loud bang interrupted the singing and praising. Instantly, the flames evaporated, as the Messiah dropped backwards behind his podium. Blood left his forehead and started to spread itself across the stage floor. The lifeless man now lay silent, as the crowd still stared at the stage, taking a moment to realize what had happened. About a second later, screams of panic broke out from the mass. As the Messiah’s blood spread into a small pool around his head, audience members began running for the exits. This was obviously not an easy task, considering the amount of people that were packed into the sports stadium. Skulls and bones were crushed as the mass desperately fought each other to reach the outside world. Some suffocated, while others simply became surfaces and pathways for people to step on. When it was all over, two thousand bodies laid lifeless. I saw the whole thing on the TV, and at that moment, I was reminded of how sick I was of our stupidity. Maybe the end of the world was a good change.

Killed by a sniper. What an idiot. And all those people died for nothing. They believed in him and what he had to offer. Although he was completely deluded, he meant well. What a waste. He was just another religious fanatic taken out by those that feared the power of his influence. He was a Gifted though, that was for sure. The glowing of his eyes and the blue harmless flames that he radiated were not illusions or special effects. They were the true manifestations of his mind. How many is that now? I think that’s the third Messiah taken out within the past two years. There are more of us Gifted than ever now. Our power is growing, but many of us are starting to lose our minds. Some believed they were messengers from God, sent here for a higher purpose. Others believed they could control the world with their Gift. Most of the idiots in these categories have either been eliminated or enslaved by the government. Then there are those like me, who simply didn’t give a shit what we were. It didn’t really matter. The world has gone to shit anyway. The first nuclear holocaust already wiped out half the Earth’s population. Who knows what’s going to happen next. All the idiot politicians can compare dick sizes and fight all they want for all I care. Just leave me the hell out of it.

I lit a cigarette as I continued watching the television. At least they found a cure for cancer, I happily thought to myself and smiled. I switched the channels around, still searching for my cartoons. There, I had found it. I put the remote down with satisfaction, as the theme song for an old cartoon from the late twentieth century came on. X-Men, my favorite, I smirked. Who ever thought of the idea was brilliant. It was a rather entertaining cartoon about a group of people with special abilities, who were constantly trying to save the world. It amused me greatly. By the end of the show however, I was out of cigarettes. Shit. I was so lazy, but it wasn’t like I had anything better to do that night. Indulging my addiction, I decided to take a walk to the local mini-mart.

The mini-mart was about a ten-minute walk from my apartment compound. I was at the moment unemployed, so driving would have been a waste of resources. Our cars ran on nuclear energy, a technology that was controlled by the government. In other words, prices fluctuated according to the decisions of a couple of powerful fat white men in office. Besides, a walk was good for me. I needed some time to reflect on what I had seen on TV earlier. As I walked past the corner of my block, I saw a large billboard with the picture of the man who I just saw shot. It read, “The Messiah will lead the way”. He was holding his hand much like Jesus did in all those pictures I’ve seen in the museums. He had a warm smile upon his face, and at that moment I understood why so many people followed and believed in him. The man actually showed pure compassion. I had a feeling that he truly believed in what he was preaching. Of course, he was insane, but at least he was honest. I always had a talent for reading false smiles, and his was genuine. I shook my head as I thought to myself. What a poor bastard. He was innocent, yet so oblivious to what he was doing. God was dead. We killed him a long time ago. The masses will believe anything; they just want someone to depend on, somewhere to place their hope. Next to the billboard, was a large hologram-advertising projector of a popular sports game. The hologram showed two men fighting, one man had a chainsaw surgically attached to his arm while the other carried a sword and wore a light suit of armor. They fought until the man with the chainsaw got decapitated while the audience cheered in unison. “Come see and experience Gladiator 2999 for yourself!!! It’s America’s most popular sport!!!” After hearing the screechy voice of the show’s host, I had a sudden urge to vomit. What the hell were we doing to ourselves? I needed a cigarette bad. This was too much to handle. Didn’t anyone else see how ridiculous our society was? I decided to forget about the sign, and continued my walk to Kim’s.

Kim’s Groceries was a mini-mart that I’ve familiarized myself with. I’ve often walked here on lonely nights, when sleep refused me. During those nights, the walks were like cathartic remedies for my tortured mind. It wasn’t always safe to roam the streets alone at this hour, but I always seemed to manage. Besides being infested with drug addicted whores, pimps, and gang members looking for a good rape, this neighborhood wasn’t that bad. The air was still clean and the water was drinkable. They called it Utopia Lane, but its name was hardly an honest interpretation. Perhaps at one time, this place used to flourish with beautiful houses, or trees and flowers that decorated the sidewalks, making the place serene and aesthetic. But now all that was left were old apartment buildings, decorated with graffiti, inhabited by lower income people who found it hard to climb the social ladder. I guess some things never really change.

Outside of Kim’s, a child sat alone, playing with an old doll. From the looks of her, she must have been about six. The doll she held was clothed in the old Victorian fashion. Its head was missing, but the child didn’t seem to mind. I looked at her and smiled, but she stared blankly back with an expressionless face. I wondered where her parents were as I opened the glass door, walking into the mini-mart. A small chime rang when the door opened, and a middle aged Korean man looked at me and smiled.
“Hey Kim, how’s it going?” I asked.
“Alright my friend, did you hear about the nutcase on TV?” he said.
“Yea, I saw the whole damn thing. What a fucking mess.” I replied.
“Was he for real you think? He continued asking.
“What, The Messiah? I doubt it. More like a delusional nutcase. He was Gifted though. But I guess we’ll know for sure if he comes back to life in three days.” I chuckled.
“All this talk about the end of the world is making me a bit uncomfortable you know? He confessed.
At that moment, I didn’t know what to say to him. I wanted to tell him not to worry, to have faith in humanity, but I couldn’t.
“Can you please give me two packs of the usual?” I asked. He nodded and handed me the cigarettes from behind the store counter. I gladly took it from his hands, but as I was about to pay him, my heart momentarily stopped. There it was again, the death intuition. From the corner of my eyes, four men could be seen entering. They were well built, and from the matching tattoos on their arms, and the sadistic look on their faces, I could tell they were gang members from the Section A neighborhood. One of them was holding a headless Victorian doll in his hand. It was stained in blood. As they walked over to the counter, I found myself frozen with terror.

Authors note: This is my first attempt at a short story that consists of a few parts. Please let me know what you think and if it is worth continuing.

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The following comments are for "Gifted (Part 1)"
by pengster13

to pengster13
Break off more paragraphs and press hard enters often will aid in readability.

Continue, your last paragraph is absolutely intriguing.

( Posted by: Furius [Member] On: August 14, 2002 )

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