Aphelion Issue 238, Volume 23
April 2019
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

Hell Opened Up

by S. T. Eleu

and spat out a hero.

Lord knows
the entity upstairs

wasn’t going to lift a finger
no matter what
Michelangelo was smoking

in the Sistine Chapel
those eons ago
when he thought he saw
a decidedly more attentive God

than the aging beer belly
we have now
planted in the recliner
watching news all day long
and eternally shouting at phantom


Better the devil you don’t know
than the god you do

has long since lost
the fire

even to phone it in
to provide at least lip service
to centuries of beleaguered
supplications, sackcloths, vigils, prayers

and thoughts and prayers and
thoughts and prayers and
thoughts and prayers
and thoughts


Damned if we know
and damned if we don’t

know why
Hell below reversed polarities
and forged

from molten rock
and rebel blood and unrequited
regret and

and irreverent breath and broken
hearts and uncut diamonds
lost in the recesses
of oblivion

a hero.

A wise child
who knew his own

sacrificed his soul
so that this day

a hero would arise
and end the rein
of silence equals death
divided by zero

and the people who knew enough
to come in
out of the rain
gathered ‘round, smiled, and

their souls.

2018 S. T. Eleu

S. T. Eleu hase been a language arts teacher specializing in bilingual and special education for the past twenty-five years in the Chicago Public Schools. Currently, they are at a successful K-8 school – Augustus H. Burley – that champions authentic literature and choice in writing.

Find more by S. T. Eleu in the Author Index.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.