Sunday Writing Prompt “Limbo” – Lionel the Gatekeeper.


When the angel Lionel went to work each day as the gatekeeper of Limbo, he treated it as one would any other job.

There had not been many if any, applicants for the position and Lionel had accepted it, as a means to get through eternity in a manner he thought would not cause him too much grief.

After all, Limbo was a sort of halfway house between the up and the down aspects of eternity.

It was like being in a huge waiting room in which not a lot happened other than a lot of the same question being asked: “When am I going to find out?”

Lionel had no idea when a soul might be delivered from Limbo as in most cases the soul was there because they were deemed to hard to classify or the powers that be needed more time to consider them.

When souls arrived, Lionel processed them and looked at their paperwork, which often read: “Not sure”, “Not ready”, “Waiting”, “I’ll get back to you”.

So he let them in, told them to find somewhere comfortable and then ignored them, as there was not a lot he could do other than shut the gate and like them await some divine outcome.

The problem was the souls in Limbo had a direct view of the goings-on upstairs as much as the goings-on downstairs, and

both destinations had their positive and negative features. So sitting in Limbo all day, or rather, for an eternity, was not always the best of both worlds. There was nothing positive nor negative about Limbo, and in a way that was the point of the place. It wasn’t designed as somewhere you could settle in and be comfortable. Lionel had long discovered that even as the gatekeeper, he wasn’t afforded any consideration. It was impossible to have a nap as the beds were unbelievably uncomfortable and had a rather unfortunate habit of sagging irritatingly in the middle so you could never get comfortable, for after all, that was the whole point of Limbo.

It was another quiet day as Lionel sat around reading the latest “Eternity Herald” a weekly record of the events from one day to the next and which always surprised him as nothing changed in eternity. The gate bell sounded, and he headed off to open up only to be confronted by an odd orange looking man looking exceedingly irritated. The paperwork suggested he needed a ‘cooling-off period’ and Lionel had come across these souls before, they were always trouble, never believing they deserved to be where they were and always claiming they were the epitome of righteousness and had done nothing wrong.

Lionel pointed him in a certain direction and waited for him to go out of sight before sitting down to his reading once again. There was one aspect of Limbo he did like that was putting the souls ‘on the road’. The road was full of promises, and at each corner the road took you towards another promise, which meant the greedy, being what they were, always stayed focused on reaching something they thought they deserved but was always out of reach. What they failed, to realise was the road had a slight downward spiral.



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19 Responses to Sunday Writing Prompt “Limbo” – Lionel the Gatekeeper.

  1. Sadje says:

    Thought provoking story

  2. Love this short story. I loved the ending especially. Great take on the prompt!

  3. I really loved the setting which is odd to say about Limbo but it was extremely interesting!

  4. Oh dear. But so clearly written and devised. 🙂

  5. I guess where ever you go, there is paperwork that needs to be filled out. Nice story Michael.

  6. Nima Mohan says:

    Great take on the prompt . And the last line is the real twist .

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