Our prompt for October 2018 has been:
A group of convicts is thrown into an unknown world, where they discover something new about themselves.
This was a difficult prompt, but Paula Puolakka tackled it like a pro and wrote the following interesting story.
I’m not insane, after all
By Paula Puolakka
The tornado hadn’t killed him. Caleb opened his eyes and saw a silver plane that went on around him as far as his eye could see. Dick and Bert were lying on the ground. Caleb grabbed their shoulders and the orange fabric of the prison clothes and shook them awake. “This isn’t Colorado,” said Bert and Caleb asked, how could he know. At least, Caleb had been inside for 27 years and he had no clue what the world was like these days.
The silver plane was a vast field of corn if corn was made of metal. Before getting their heads over the fact, they heard singing and saw a band of small people approaching. Their size made it possible for them to walk between the plants. It seemed that they had waited for Dick since the leader halted in front of him and asked him to join them. To Caleb and Bert’s great surprise, the black giant started crying. Inmates don’t cry and the nauseating gut feeling and fear hit the other two. They started shooting their lip and told Dick to shut up. The leader band man turned to them and said: “He has done bad things to small ones and this is he giving himself the chance to repent.” Then the small man turned to the giant and handed him a collar that reminded Caleb of those the circus bears had worn when Caleb had been young, in the 1950’s. Dick took the collar without hesitation, in fact, his eyes were shining and he had a huge baby-like smile on his face. He put the collar on and took a hat too and started blowing the trumpet the leader handed him. Without looking back, he started marching on the sound of a different drum and song. The further the band got, the smaller Caleb seemed to get and before they disappeared into the horizon, Caleb was sure that he was gazing at a boy, not a man.
Bert wanted to get the hell out of the place and walked into the metal. The stems broke before and under him and step by step he got cuts and scratches but it didn’t seem to mind him. Caleb pondered his options and followed him. He had a clear path and no harm was inflicted on him. It took, what it felt like an hour for Bert to get tired and he stopped. His body was covered with sweat and blood and his clothes had large stains. “It’s your turn,” he told Caleb but the man was not going to take even a step. “Asshole, I sacrificed my body and now it’s your turn.” Bert grabbed Caleb’s chest and they started a wrestling match. Caleb was stronger and he threw his fellow inmate on the ground. Bert hollered but Caleb didn’t stop. Instead, he started throwing and kicking him and cutting the corn in front of his path. Soon Bert was begging him to stop and Caleb would not have unless he would have heard the voice of a woman and seen a gang of young females approaching them. They had scythes and Caleb backed off. The woman who had hollered kept a close eye on Caleb. Meanwhile, her four companions pulled Bert up and let him lean on them.
“You know who you are,” the leading lady said to Caleb. “You could kill him so easily but you won’t. He will stay with us. This is his time to repent. He knows now what if felt for the women he treated so badly. He is now subjected to our mercy and it will hurt even more. He has no way to escape or hide. Go your own way. Please.” To Caleb, these words were strange. He had no idea where he was and who these slender women were but it seemed they knew him and they all, including Caleb, recognized that the five had no chance against him if he decided to go ahead and kill them all. But and maybe because of this feeling of strength and power Caleb nodded and let the six go. Now he had a clear path in front of him since the women had cut down the plants with their blades.
The sky above him turned from baby blue to tender purple and pink. For some reason, Caleb felt like he was home. He started humming “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” He kept going until he reached the end of the seemingly endless field and what he saw was a green city. “I’ll be damned,” he said and knew that this must be a crazy dream or he was, in fact, dead. He stepped on the yellow brick road and on the half way to the city, he saw a man with a top hat dancing towards him. “I’ll be damned,” he said, again, and waited until the man reached him. The wizard greeted him with a pleasant hello and Caleb returned the greeting. It felt like it was his old friend but he didn’t recognize his face.
“I’m sorry for the delay,” said the man. “It took an awfully lot of effort to create a tornado that would be strong enough to carry you here. It took many subtle whispers to the ears of those keeping the governmental posts and in charge of environmental issues. But eventually, we managed to make the bed so that the tornado had a chance of surviving.” Caleb was shocked. He blurted out that he was against all of such. He had tried to make people see that Nature was the only thing that should be cherished and if the man had deliberately taken efforts to destroy the Earth only to create a tornado that would bust him out of his cell, then he had to kill himself after he had ripped the man’s head off. The man with the top hat laughed and jumped here and there to escape Caleb who was almost 80 but had the will and power of a 40-year-old man. Soon he had to ask for a pause since his sides were aching. “Oh brother,” said the wizard and gasped for breath. “I am the Alpha and you truly are the Omega. What you did was horrendous for the people of Earth and especially in the USA and they felt that they needed to lock you up and that you were the prime violator because with their small minds they could not understand the logic that is the logic of the Omega and the way how we operate here on Oz. But now you are home. Finally, it’s my time to leave the post and let you rule.”
The words flowed through Caleb. In his heart, that had been covered under a thick shell for over 50 years, he suddenly felt the presence of peace. Yes, this was his home. He was not a mere human but he was a godly force that had been captured inside of a flesh prison and put on Earth. What he had done, bombarded the States for almost 20 years, had been the ultimate evidence that he was more than the average Joes and Janes. Who else was as powerful? No one. And he shook his brother’s hand and they hugged and patted each other’s backs. “I’m not insane, after all,” Caleb said before they started walking towards his kingdom.