Jacob’s Ladder – Friday Fictioneers

copyright David Stewart

copyright David Stewart

Well, darlings, I was sorely  tempted to craft a tale involving such familiar phrases as “Save the Clock Tower” and “Eighty-Eight Miles Per Hour!!!!” featuring a famous DeLorian (and no, not one of the hundreds impounded by the DEA and relieved of their excess baggage)

Instead, for some reason, I got a couple of other things stuck in my head — first, this song by an old seventies band called Klaatu (named after the alien from The Day The Earth Stood Still) from Canada — you may (or may not) remember The Carpenters did a cover of this song before poor Karen started wasting away.

Then, for some reason, this image evoked madness for me — not lunacy, but the madness of the fanatic, of the religious zealot… and so I quickly jotted down my thoughts and then re-organized them into exactly 100 words. Then I learned that this photo is from South Korea, home of the Moonies, and this seemed all the more fitting.

Genre: Humour? Tragedy? Humourous Tragedy? Tragic Comedy? Sci-Fi Sexploitation? (Well, I suppose an argument could be made…)


David sat cross-legged atop the beacon, his favourite bride by his side. A true believer – the first of many – she could barely contain her excitement. The Day of Ascension at last. The Jacob’s Ladder Church would ascend with the angels into their spaceship at exactly 3:47 EST. On the ground below, a choir sang Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft in beautiful harmonies to herald the return of their extra-terrestrial saviours.

David was prepared. He’d eaten a fistful of magic mushrooms before he’d climbed the ladder.

“Ah, good,” he mused, watching others begin the ascension, “here comes Carol with the Kool-Aid.”


This is Friday Fictioneers on a Wednesday — each Wednesday, the lovely and dedicated Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posts a photo sent in from outer space and challenges anyone and everyone (yeah, I’m talking to YOU, Stephen King — first, why aren’t you returning my calls, and second, why haven’t you contributed to Friday Fictioneers yet? Huh? You scared?) to write 100 words inspired by the photo. You can read all about it here, and you can either read and comment or else try your hand at 100 words — what have you got to lose?

I have a habit of providing feedback and sharing my favourites (I’ve started a 12 step program, darlings, but so far, I’m still offering praise and critiques — I think it may be incurable) below, so check back from time to time to see who your favourite dilettante favours this week.

Finally started reading!

Janet over at This That And The Other Thing wrote a poem called Shattered that was sad. Very sad. And beautiful.

Jen over at elmowrites wrote “Looking Up, Looking Down” –– a powerful observation on duty.

Dawn surprised me with an ironic tale of protest: Protesting for her Future

J.K. Bradley may have penned my new favourite story ever with his homage to Ray Bradbury “Carnival of Screams” – the only thing missing was a Fahrenheit 451 reference!

jwdwrites channeled the ghost of Shirley Jackson for this Winning Ticket


63 responses to “Jacob’s Ladder – Friday Fictioneers

  1. Magic mushrooms washed down with Kool-Aid. That’s quite a combination.
    I enjoyed the sort-of-out-there tinge to the story.

    • Thank you, darling — of course, the Kool-Aid is a reference to Jim Jones’ People’s Temple, who, in 1978, committed mass “suicide” by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid, which Jones generously provided.

  2. You’d have to be on the lethal stuff to join up with David and “The Jacob’s Ladder Church”–good story and most appropriate video.

  3. I think I’ll be staying here on the ground where it’s safe…

    Great piece, you certainly know how to pack a lot into 100 words. I tip my 10-gallon cowboy hat to you.

  4. Aha!! Finally someone got to the aliens coming back. Thank you. I’ve been waiting for it. But no Kool-Aid for me. (When I typed that just now, I hit the wrong key and got “Kook-Aid”, which also works.) 🙂


      • Well, you know, Joe Hill (his son) is an avid Tweeter (I follow him). We could all go over to Twitter and say “Hey, dude, some dilettante chick is calling your dad a bitch!” And see what happens.

      • Yes!!! I love it.

        PS: I am so slow – I have one of Joe Hill’s books and had no idea he was Stephen King’s son. I learned something today.

      • Knowledge is power!
        Joe Hill is slowly becoming one of my favourites. I gobbled his last book up (It’s called N0S4A2)
        If your son likes comics at all, tell him to check out Locke & Key — also written by Joe Hill, and one of the most original story ideas I’ve ever seen.

      • *Trip to the library time!*

        The kid devours books in all their forms, and I am in desperate need of new suggestions, so we’ll have to make use of the catalogue! Thank you!

      • He’s 12, but he reads anything and everything. If the story is good, then it’s allowed. We always chat about books after he’s done, so the dark and violent is analyzed until the possible negative ramification is neutralized (if there is a negative ramification!).

      • Maybe you’d better read that one first and decide. It has its moments of violence, and I’d hate to steer you wrong, darling.
        Has he read Fahrenheit 451?
        Personal fave. That and Lord of the Flies.

      • That’s a good idea – I do like to make sure I’m not scarring him for life, myself!

        Those are great suggestions, and he has not! We’re upgrading his bookshelves and those are going on the list of the used bookstore finds. He isn’t as fond as I am of wandering around the library, but if we have it in the house, he knows he can read it (and usually does).

  5. geez, do they all have to involve Kool-Aid and mushrooms? What about some crystal meth? Now THAT would guarantee some space travels 😉

    • I thought I was the only one that said that — tastes like green, tastes like purple. The only one that works is orange, and then I differentiate by asking — now, does it taste like the fruit or the colour?

  6. Dear Helena,

    This is my favorite of yours to date. You hit them all. Biting and truthful. I raise my glass of Kool-Aid in your honor. (then I pour it out.)



  7. Marvelous. I’ve decided I want to play. But I am confused – Friday Fictionaeers, posted on Wednesdays? What’s the timeline around posting these gems?

  8. I never did like kool aid. Great story. Now there will be someone somewhere who will think you are a ‘true’ believer. 😉

  9. And I thought it was only Calgon that could take me away. Enjoyed the trip back in time with Klaatu, I hadn’t thought about them in years. This was a great tale, Helena.

  10. How interesting you were looking at the “waiting for the aliens angle” too. You’re the third person I know of going this route. I loved the reference to Kool-Aid. Of course there’s the reference to the Hale-Bopp crowd. Brilliant. I loved this a lot.

  11. Extraordinary Helena. Why is it that I understood it completely? Think it’s because I enjoy some Dystopian and cult angst. How can people be so misguided??

  12. Well done Helena. The workings of the minds of the leaders of the Church of the Misguided Loonies (if they have any brain cells left) is a worry; that so many are pursuaded to follow is an even bigger one.
    You wrapped it up perfectly.

  13. i never did like kool-aid very much.. or churches for that matter. 🙂 love that this story is a little bit of everything. you always write boldly and come up with unique material.

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