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 Category:  Horror and Thriller Fiction
  Posted: April 1, 2020      Views: 24

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I've had some interesting years on this big blue dot in the solar system. Syracuse area for the past twenty years. Twelve years in Texas. Married for twenty six years. Five children and two grandchildren.

Since winning a publishing contr - more...

He is an accomplished novelist and is currently at the #13 spot on the rankings.

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A drunk and homeless man finds a reason to live
"Immunity" by forestport12

Cole found himself alone in the cathedral open to the masses. It was Gotham city on a Saturday night. Outside was the sound of revelry. Crowds gathered at the local pubs. Waves of people rolled through the streets and shops in the city that never sleeps.

Cole slipped along the varnished pews where he could hide and sleep off the emptied bottle at his fingertips. No one prayed. No one there spoke to God. The world was outside. He curled up into a fetal position and dozed off to sleep.

Startled awake. Cole felt the hand of someone on his shoulder. It was the local priest.

Instead of coldness in the eyes of the priest, he saw a glow, a warmth, one that was about as close to a visit from Jesus himself. He leaned into Cole. "Son, why haven't you gone to the mission?"

Cole looked down at the bottle on the floor. He didn't have to say anything more. He looked at the priest hoping he would let him rest long enough to sleep off the bender.

The priest squeezed his shoulder. "I'd like to pray for you, son. I think...I think in God's eyes you are special. You just don't know it yet."

Cole had slept enough to know he was a loser and a loner. He was sober enough to see the cathedral ceiling was a supreme work of art, untouchable and beyond his reach, the same as he was beyond the reach of help, though the far-sighted priest saw in him some grand design.

"Yes, father. Pray for me. Pray that I would die, so I will no longer be a scourge to society."

"No son. I refuse to accept that you should simply live and die as if you had no more worth than worm has for a hole in the ground."

"Then pray away father. By all means. Have at it."
Cole watched the priest close his eyes in the empty cathedral. "Dear Lord, save this lost soul. Give him a place in this world. Use him for your glory. Amen." His voice reverberated off the ornate walls as if he were calling out from the bottom of a well.

As the priest made a sign of the cross, it was as if Cole had been seized upon. His chest tightened. His eyes shuddered close. He thought it was a heart attack. But the feeling passed quickly. And when he opened his eyes, the priest was gone. He wondered how anyone could leave so suddenly and silently in such a vast place.

The world outside was waiting for Cole. Days turned into night and season passed, and for Cole life was his purgatory where nothing changed. He struggled with the bottle, was homeless, and often slept in an alleyway. In his mind, that prayer changed nothing. Every morning we woke on cardboard, he was surprised to be alive.

Then one night everything changed. No one in the city had a clue. It was an invisible enemy carried by the wind, a virus that lingered in the air, found its way through the vents and seeped into everyone's home. Before anyone had a chance to save themselves the enemy had taken lives by the millions.

The next day, Cole found himself walking the empty streets. The sky was radiant blue, the morning crisp and clean. He looked all around him and thought to himself. Was this the end of the world.

He stood in the center of time square. Cars were abandoned, void of people. From Times Square, neon signs played, as if life was normal. But he didn't see a soul. "God, is this the end of the world?"

Cole got scared. "Lord, make yourself known. Become real to me, and I promise I will never doubt you again. Chills passed through his body and brought him to his knees.

On the quiet street, a van sped near him. Two men in a space like suits jumped out and hurried to him. One spoke into a radio. "I don't believe this. Captain this man has survived the pandemic. I'm standing here in Times Square. He's alive! I repeat, he's alive!"

Cole pleaded for his life. "Please don't kill me. Please don't kill me!" He grabbed and held on to their hazmat suits.

"We want you to live. We think you have immunity. You might just help us save the world."

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