Skip to main content

The Train from Hell to Heaven

This is but a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.


It can also be read in the book God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut. It is available digitally and in print.

I have been dead for a very long time. I wouldn’t know how long a time as here in Hell time doesn’t work as it used to up there on the surface. But whatever time we do have down here, we pass it by doing this and that. Those of us that are down here used to be very bad people. We have been cured of that. We have come to understand the error of our ways. We have been looked down upon as we used to look down upon others and we came to realize it was not a very pleasant.

Most of us have been cured, anyway. There are a few rare exceptions. Occasionally I play Whist with a few of the guys: Julius Caesar and Presidents Nixon and Reagan. I never knew Nixon on Earth, he was well after my time, but he is as vicious now as I have been told he was during his time up there. He still hates people, which I don’t understand.

I used to hate people too, but I don’t hate anyone anymore.

Before we get too far along, I ought to mention who I am. I may seem a bit off-putting to people. I was quite a notorious monster in my life upstairs and after an eternity thinking about what I had done, I have become quite ashamed of myself. Please do not judge me by who I was. Much as it pains me to tell you, the sad fact of the matter is that my name is Hitler and I ordered the deaths of many people and I ordered the out and out hatred of as many more.

I used to be proud of what I had done, but I am no longer.

I had read once, posthumously, of course, a story in which I had asked to have a statue erected of me in New York in front of the United Nations building with a plaque reading, “I beg your pardon.”

I would very much like all of that, except for the statue. I would rather the world forgot my image. That isn’t to say that I wouldn’t like the world to learn from my atrocities (read: mistakes), I would very much like the world to realize that killing their fellow humans, regardless of our differences, is never a good idea. Being in Hell, you get a broad sense of what’s going on up there, we get the daily papers and magazines and the like, and it rather surprises me that I didn’t do a better job of turning people off of war forever.

I certainly made a go of it.

Anyhow, I was going to tell you what I have decided to do. I have decided to find my way up to Heaven, or at least the pearly gates where Saint Peter guards, and apologize to as many of my victims as I can find. I will be gracious, I will hold my hat in my hands, and I will hang my head low for shame. We Germans do have pride, and I will show them what it is to see a proud German apologize.

What an apology it will be!

The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.

Comments

Anonymous said…
(wiping a tear from my eye) bryan lets make this a comic.
Anonymous said…
That was awesome, you should definately make this into a comic like Mr. Anonymous said.

Wow.
Anonymous said…
THAT WAS HORRIBLE YOU CANNOT PORTRAY A STORY TO BE SOMETHING ITS NOT. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF
Anonymous said…
i just found out today that kurt voneguet died.. i did i search for him and i found your stories. i just read the one about late abortions and noticed the subtle references to voneguets style, but i still think they're killer. its good to know someone noticed that an important person just died with all this american news crap circulating pure bs. my email is enertiaband@hotmail.com if you make sum more short stories it would be awsome if u let me know. it does kind of feel wrong that im doing this on the day of vonneguet's death, but i think this is the kind of thing that he would advocate. keep up the stories bud i think they're tight.
Teller of Tales said…
Interesting story...kept me reading till the end...

Popular posts from this blog

The Missed Opportunities of Days Gone By

“Hello?” I said into the phone, accepting the call from a number I didn’t recognize. “Hey,” the feminine voice on the other replied, as though I should know the sound of her voice. At a loss, I said, “Can I help you?” “It’s Brooke.” Her name stopped me. It couldn’t possibly be her. We hadn’t spoken in years, a decade perhaps. “Brooke?” “Yeah, Brooke Baker. This is Mark, right?” Jesus Christ. It was her. “Yeah, it is Mark. Brooke. Wow. How are you? It’s been a long time since… well… since anything.” “I know.” “So, how are you doing?” “Okay, I suppose…” Her voice belied her words, though. Something was up. “I… It’s just been so long and I guess I wanted to hear your voice.” “I don’t think I had a number for you. Ever. I offered a couple of times, but…” “I was a brat back then.” And that’s how a random phone call turned into a two-and-a-half hour catch-up session. We spoke of everything under the sun: people we still knew, how different we were, h

The End of an Era and a New Beginning

It's been a long time coming, but I think an upgrade to my web presence was long overdue. I began this blog in 2005 and it's served me well over the last 13 years. My goal in those early days was to write a short story every month. Back then, that was the only writing I was doing. This website, then called "Bryan's Short Story Corner," got me into a regular writing habit. One that I still maintain today. I hoped it would help me get eyeballs on my words and, looking back at some of those early short stories, I shouldn't have wanted any of those eyeballs looking. Today, my Patreon fills that void. There is a dedicated group of supporters there that help subsidize my ability to write short stories on the regular. After I started publishing books, this blog morphed into a place to talk about my projects and writing and it worked well enough for that for a long time. But now I have Twitter and Medium for those functions and they have much cleaner and easi

Salt Lake Comic Con 2017 Schedule

It's time for another year of Salt Lake Comic Con and another hectic schedule for me. But! that doesn't mean it's not a helluva lot of fun. I hope you're able to join me at any of these panels. Especially if you like Star Wars. And please, please, please come to my signing and visit. Get some books signed. I'd love that enormously. Here is my Thursday schedule: Everything here is a highlight. That first panel about behind the scenes of the prequels is with Pablo Hidalgo and I'll be asking him questions about what it was like to be there on set for most of the prequels. Then I'll be asking questions of Michael Biehn, who I've been a fan of since I was a little kid. Aliens and Terminator were favorites. If you want to ask him a question, please hit me up on Twitter with it. I will ask it at the panel. And you don't want to miss Fauxthentic History's Infinity Gauntlet live episode. It's going to be soooo good. Here is Friday: