And Rapture, fiction by Sheldon Lee Compton

There was this time I thought Gabriel was blow­ing his horn and dive-bomb­ing me into Hell.  Turned out it was a Mack coal truck across the road at Dale Trivette’s Truck­ing pulling onto Route 610.

I was in bed and think­ing about what Moth­er told me while we had a snack that evening.

Don’t wor­ry if you’re a sin­ner and the time comes and Jesus returns,” she said. “The Bible says Gabriel will sound his horn to sig­nal the Lord com­ing.”  She leaned down to me and put her soap­sud­dy hand against my face.  “When you hear that horn sound­ing out, just ask the Lord to for­give your sins and you can go to paradise.”

She smiled so big when she went back to eat­ing her straw­ber­ry Jell‑O.

So when that Mack honked to pull onto Route 610, I start­ed pray­ing.  It wasn’t much of a prayer, you know.  Not the real­ly prac­ticed kinds of prayers you hear in church.  What I was say­ing was most­ly out of fear and it all ran togeth­er and maybe I was whim­per­ing a lit­tle, too.

A few days after I start­ed vaca­tion bible school I was at mom’s house for the week­end.  My real mom, not my grand­moth­er who I called Moth­er.  I told her I was going to get saved.  She had just had my baby sis­ter, whose dad was mean but gone most of the time.  She looked tired and hurt before I said any­thing.  When I told her, she stared for a long time at the floor and then went into the bathroom.

I bent down and talked under the door.

I said, “I know I’m just a lit­tle boy, but I want to walk with Jesus Christ.”  I pushed my mouth close to the open­ing between the bot­tom of the door and the floor.  “You can, too, Mom.  If you hear Gabriel blow­ing his horn, all you have to do is ask Jesus to for­give you and you can go to par­adise, too.”

Vaca­tion bible school end­ed not too long after that and I start­ed think­ing more about play­ing base­ball than I did about Jesus and sin and Gabriel.  But when win­ter came back around, I stood in Mother’s kitchen and start­ed imag­in­ing again what Gabriel would sound like blow­ing his horn.

Out­side the kitchen win­dow, the grass in the front yard, the porch rails, the hum­ming­bird feed­ers, were cov­ered in ice.  Even whis­pers seemed to bounce off the frozen things and go on for­ev­er.  They bounced and bounced and made such a loud sound when they did.

Shel­don Lee Comp­ton is the author of the col­lec­tion The Same Ter­ri­ble Storm, which was nom­i­nat­ed for the Chaf­fin Award in 2013, and the upcom­ing col­lec­tion Where Alli­ga­tors Sleep. His writ­ing has been wide­ly pub­lished and anthol­o­gized, most recent­ly in Degrees of Ele­va­tion: Short Sto­ries of Con­tem­po­rary Appalachia. He was a judge's selec­tion win­ner in 2012 for the Still: Jour­nal Fic­tion Award and a final­ist in 2013 for the Gertrude Stein Award. He sur­vives in East­ern Ken­tucky. Vis­it him at bent​coun​try​.blogspot​.com.

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2 Responses to And Rapture, fiction by Sheldon Lee Compton

  1. I just saw your com­ment here Bar­rett. Thanks so much man. I'm glad you liked it, some­thing which makes me feel all that much bet­ter about the story.

  2. Barrett Warner says:

    This is how it's done. A neat tidy sto­ry with an end­ing of lim­it­less possibilities.

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