Cosmic Tales 1: ResurrectionRichard C. Parr / Humor / Actions & Adventure / Science Fiction
COSMIC TALES 1: RESURRECTION
Richard C. Parr
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Cosmic Tales 1: Resurrection
Copyright (C) 2015 by Richard C. Parr
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This particular copy of the eBook series Cosmic Tales is licensed for the enjoyment of everyone. It may be freely distributed to others without conditions. Thank you for supporting the author by downloading and reading this story.
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The priest donned his robe and glasses, gathered his erotica novel, quickly realised what he had done, replaced it with the Holy book and stepped into the church to greet the mourners. A sea of Galactic Military (GM) personnel lined the pews - young, intelligent men and women attending a place of worship for the first time in their lives, expecting a movie trailer before the opening sermon. The priest knelt before the altar, mouthed a short prayer and proceeded to the font. Below him was a coffin decorated with a swathe of white flowers, accompanied by a photograph of a pleasantly surprised young man in his smart GM uniform, sporting a lopsided grin while firing a two fingered pistol into the camera. His name: Captain Phoenix Wingclipper.
The priest cleared his throat and began to read:
"The deceased requested that no sermon be read nor any hymns be sung. Instead, he wanted General Dreadener to say a few words in tribute. General, if you would be so kind."
General Dreadener rose uneasily from his seat, patted down his perfectly ironed uniform and made his way begrudgingly to the font. He took a few seconds to gaze out and assess his audience, the neatness of their presentation and their slightly out of place medals. The sight made his eye twitch.
"Comrades, I know some of you have a superiority complex and you think we're on the same level. But today, we have no ranks. We mourn the regrettable passing of, dare I say it, a loved Captain. He was a husband as well as a brother, which turned out to be a nasty surprise for him and resulted in a hasty divorce. He was the biggest, brightest, luckiest, smartest cheapskate and pain in the arse I've ever had the misfortune of dealing with. I used to think a lot about how he chose to live his life, and like a low budget indie movie, I knew it was going to end badly. Comrades, each of us is limited only by the power and creativity of our imagination, which is why we ended up in the military. I see some of you sitting at the back are swapping seats. How sweet. Come sit at the front so I can play whack-a-mole. Some of us are born destined to achieve greatness and to change the world. Not this world, it's too far gone. Sorry, father."
"Some of us have the capability to work hard, get married, have children and take on many responsibilities, but for some of us, these options never come about. The Captain was an example of being one of these lucky people. I despised him for that. I remember one party where the Captain was up to his usual antics. He used to perform magic tricks. I asked him if he would show me one, and he made my wife disappear for an hour. An alcoholic once said that we don't remember days, we remember moments. What I remember most is his inability to take off or land, though he was a master at flying once in the air. Sometimes I wonder if he was trained by Al-Qaeda. My main regret is that, having chased him for several years, I never caught him alive. I got so close, but he kept slipping from my fingertips. Well, the chase is over now, Captain. I won. Here's to the memory of this former pilot. Father, is it all right to toast with Holy water?"
The priest returned to the font, removing the chalice from Dreadener's hand and placing a sheet of paper in front of him.
"Captain Wingclipper wrote his own eulogy and requested that I read it to you."
Dreadener and his aide Secretary Capnee exchanged a surprised look and a few mutters came from the mourners. Then the priest began to read from the sheet:
"Dearly beloved. I would like to thank all fifty thousand of you for coming. We are here to celebrate my awesome life, the kind of life even your dreams fantasised about. Please shed a tear, for my snow white cadaver, the sports car of my soul, resides in this coffin. It is symbolic of my death. Yes, dearly beloved. Your well respected and much looked up to Captain Wingclipper has collapsed and rolled off the treadmill of life, hitting the back wall and crashing through into the ladies' changing room of heaven. As a result, a hat will be passed around for you to make a donation for my VIP entry into the City of God. Holy priest guy, please take this opportunity to double check that I am not being buried in my running shoes."
A monkey wandered from pew to pew with a hat in her outstretched arm.
"I remember the day my cat died. His soul left his body, and instead of going straight to heaven, it got stuck in a tree. My circumstances are different. I am currently standing in a queue of many thousands of people, so to pass the time, would those of you who have not attended a funeral before please stand for the traditional eleven minute silence."
A handful of mourners in the small crowd stood up, clasped their hands and bowed their heads, much to the confusion of the others.
"As you now know, I had been suffering from Holy guy please insert name of illness here and make it sound heartbreaking. I kept it to myself for so long, then I gave it to someone else and died."
"To General Dreadener, my best friend and closest ally: please consider all debts against my name repaid and all crimes against my name acquitted. Forgiveness is a virtue. Before I go Holy guy, the monkey will make another circuit with my hat. Give her a gentle push towards Dreadener's administrators, especially the tight-fisted Secretary Capnee. Watch exactly how much he puts in the first time around and try to encourage him to pay out double -"
Suddenly, the priest was thrown out of the way by Dreadener who had stormed to the font. He snatched the eulogy, screwed it up and threw it into the crowd. Then he attacked the coffin, hurling the flowers across the nave, fisting the portrait sideways and smashing the glass. He raised the coffin lid with brute force, sending a shuddering creak echoing around the church. The watching military uttered a unanimous gasp, and even those who stood for the eleven minute silence were drawn out of their trance.
Dreadener rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating at the sight before him, then one of his high ranking officials rose from his seat, cried, "Oh, bad luck! Bad luck is upon us!" and dived out of the nearest exit.
Capnee stood by Dreadener who put a malevolent arm around him, gripping his shoulder blade a little tighter than usual. Capnee felt a prodding pain creeping through his muscle. He felt the General's respect for him decreasing every second they stood looking into the coffin without speaking.
"Capnee, apart from your imminent demotion before you, what else do you see inside this coffin, or should I say, sarcophagus?"
"Sir, I see a cushioned lining, circular padding that gives a softened fluffy effect, and a tag that says 'Property of The Museum of Cultural History', sir."
"And what don't you see inside this coffin, or should I say, sarcophagus, with cushioned lining and circular padding that gives a soft fluffy effect?"
"A snow white cadaver, sir."
"That belongs to..."
"That belongs to the soil now, sir. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Money to relatives."
"Capnee, you have the mind of a snail turd."
"Oh, I've got it! We're at the wrong funeral!"
"Captain Wingclipper isn't dead, you dimwit!"
"But sir, that's impossible. Captain Wingclipper told me he was on his last legs and bedridden when I saw him at the gym a couple of weeks ago."
With bloodshot eyes and veins about to pop out and issue an immediate termination of employment, Dreadener hissed like a venomous flutey punctured snake and gave out a short note in D minor, turned to face the startled and impatient mourners, and shouted as if standing at a high remote position, "You, stop right there!"
The monkey collecting cash in a hat froze to the spot. Dreadener barged the priest out of the way and stormed down the aisle towards the alarmed creature, who responded by bungling towards the two giant entrance doors.
"Don't let her out!" cried Dreadener. A private from the seat rearranging back row stepped out to block the creature's path.
"Sir, it's only a monkey," Capnee called out.
"She's not a real monkey," replied Dreadener, watching his foe leap up the private's arm, onto his head and along the stone work to perch on a ledge below a stained glass window. The mourners, stunned and fixated, then witnessed something very unusual. The monkey doubled, tripled, quadrupled in size, became as tall as an adult human, then started to change shape, adopting new features. In seconds it had transformed from a monkey into a female reptilian with blue skin, purple spots, a white gemstone forming between two yellow eyes, enhanced feminine characteristics - wide hips and a narrow waist - and a six-foot long dinosaur-like tail. With one leap, the reptilian crashed through the window, causing the lower half of an angel to vanish in smashed shards of glass, and for the priest to make the sign of the plus symbol several times.
"Father, give me your gun," said Dreadener.