Crucifixion Reloaded by PVT - HTML preview
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FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2011
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the product of the author‘s imagination or are use fictitiously, and any
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FOR INFORMATION PLEASE WRITE TO
To Jamey and all those who ever suffered from bullying, to
Györgyi Tarcali and Hannah Remmel for all their help, to Lady
Gaga for being born this way.
Sally stopped in the middle of the bustling bazaar to find out
that she had lost her way. Men and women hurried by her
heading towards their own destination without noticing her. She
walked to the palm trees growing in the corner of the square to
find refuge from the scorching southern sun. A wind awoke,
blowing sand from the desert encircling the city. All she knew was
that she was somewhere close to the equator, a word she had just
learned from her mother. She stopped in the shade of the trees
and felt much better.
She sat down and started drawing in the sand. Her parents told
her to wait wherever she was if they were to lose each other, so
Sally being a good girl, obeyed. Restlessness was awakening
inside her, but she tried not to pay attention to it. Minutes flew by
slowly sinking into boredom, so when a tiny black bug appeared,
digging itself out from beneath the sand and hurrying away
toward a side alley, Sally rejoiced. The bug scampered away with
its black armor glistening in the light. An urge awoke in her that
compelled her to follow it. As she distanced herself from the
bazaar, the voices gradually subsided behind her. Underneath the
silence, she heard a continuous high-pitched whistle, the sound of
the sun shining down onto the world.
―Wait for me, Mr. Bug. Don‘t leave me alone,‖ she said.
The bug didn‘t seem to listen and continued its fleet away from
the giant that was larger than the sun itself.
Sally looked up at the buildings lining the alley, so different
than the ones at home. It seemed to her that they were made of
the sand itself, growing out of the ground, simple cubes, differing
only in height. The alley gradually grew narrower until she
couldn‘t even spread her arms. Wooden crates blocked the way,
and the bug disappeared beneath them. Through the silence, a
voice emerged, speaking in English with a strange and somewhat
―Hiz child iz comming, bi pripered, de time haz com for hiz
return. All sinnerz show repent before itz too late…‖
There was something strange in the man‘s voice, and the
curiosity bugging Sally didn‘t leave her alone. She grabbed the top
of the bottom box and pulled herself up then climbed onto the top
one to jump down to the other side. As she approached the end of
the alley, the voice of humanity reemerged from the silence.
It was the confidence with which the man spoke that attracted
Sally, not his words. Sally stepped out of the hidden alley onto a
busy road with tourists streaming in all directions like ants in
The source of the voice appeared, a man standing on top of a
crate. The potato bag he was wearing was his sole garment. He
was bald and his skull shined as the drops of sweat reflected the
beams of the sun beating down onto the world persistently. His
beard flowed down onto the pavement and was covered with
sand. His eyeballs protruded a little, and his left one remained
still. He gesticulated wildly with his arms. His thin legs quivered
as they balanced on top of the box. As he spoke, he jumped on
and off the crate constantly pointing toward the sky and begging
the passers-by to listen.
―Bevaaaare,‖ he screamed. ―Birdz fall from the vild blue yonder,
floodz destroying whole cities, eartquakes shatter face of earth
and cause nucler pover plants to seep poison into Godz zoil! The
end is near. He vill return to destroy the sinnerz and bring the
pure onez to heaven!‖
She looked at the adults hurrying away and didn‘t understand
why they weren‘t listening to the warnings of this poor,
―Fase the sky and show ripent. You hav bin varned.‖
Sally did as she was told. She looked right into the burning sun,
and she could see something moving. The sun expanded for a
moment as an old man standing on a cloud dashed out of it. Sally
rubbed her eyes as her sight gradually returned.
Two officers stepped to the man, one of them talking to the
beggar in a language so different than her own, like magic words
of an ancient spell. Sally only understood one word, a name,
John, or at least this is what she thought she had heard.
―Offizer, I cannot remain silent. The Mezziah is comming to the
vorld. Angel told me.‖
Sally believed John. Miracles do happen, angels exist, anything
The policeman spoke, and John answered, ―The end of the
vorld is near, I varn vorld to be prepared.‖
The officer placed his hand onto John who pushed it away, but
the policeman did not give up and grabbed his arm once more,
forcing it behind his back this time, making John kneel to the
―Leave alone,‖ screamed John as he tried to break free, but the
policeman reached for his handcuffs and closed them with a click
around his wrist.
―Don‘t do this to me. Leave alone,‖ he shouted once more.
The officer pushed John down the alley. Everything slowed
down except for Sally and John whose head turned around
unnaturally. Sally could hear as his vertebral column snapped
until his face looked at Sally while his body faced the opposite
―The Mezziah is coming, Zally, be prepared,‖ said John.
Sally fell to the ground and started crying, not because she was
scared but because she knew that the beggar was right, and no
one was listening to his warnings.
Sally felt hands grab her waist and raise her into the air. She
opened her eyes and saw her father.
―Oh my God, Sally. I told you to wait for us wherever we lost
each other and not to wonder off.‖
Sally was happy to see her father, but the tears pouring down
her face were for the joy of something else.
―Sweetheart, don‘t cry. Everything will be alright. I‘m here, no
one will hurt you.‖
―I know, father…‖ she said sobbing.
―Then what‘s the matter?‖
Sally‘s father placed his daughter down, caressed her soft hair,
and hugged her one more time.
―No, everything is fine.‖
―Then why are you crying?‖ he said with a look of concern.
―I‘m just happy,‖ she said as her stream of tears dried out. She
smiled in a way that only those can who see the golden gates of
―Me too, darling, me too,‖ said her father and was glad that he
had found his daughter.
―The Mezziah is coming, father, the Mezziah is returning.‖
―The what? Where did you learn this word?‖
―He is coming, father…‖
―Of course, sweetheart,‖ said her father but didn‘t care to
understand the true meaning of her words.
―In which room?‖
―In room 101. The first one to the left,‖ said Angela looking at
the college student blush and hurry away. She sat back behind the
counter. The next donor would come in about an hour, and
Angela knew that she could take her well-deserved nap soon. The
door closed behind the student, and she was left alone. The rays
of the sun shone through the glass facade and were reflected by
the white tiles of the entrance hall.
A car sped away before the center, disrupting the stillness like a
stone falling into the pond. It took time for Angie to settle once
The door of room 101 opened a few minutes later, and the
college student appeared, placing the cup bearing his semen onto
the platter on the other side of the waiting room. A hand reached
out through the window, and the little cup disappeared. The
college student stopped by the counter, and Angie gave him the
money. The boy hurried away with a look of both embarrassment
and pride as the entrance doors closed behind him silently.
Angela sat back into her seat and lay back, enjoying the
coolness of the air-conditioner. She pushed herself away from the
desk and stopped the chair so that she could stare out one of the
huge tinted windows that covered the front of the center, the
surface facing the outside a mirror, the one facing Angela a see-
through window. The leaves of the palm trees lining the beach
moved as a gust of wind rushed away heading toward the body-
Everything was white in the center giving the place an air of
optimistic futurism, not only the tiles but the rows of plastic
chairs, her uniform, and desk too.
She closed her eyes as the rays caressed her face, just the way
her mother did every night when Angela was a child. Years after
her death Angie could still hear her mother humming, and the
tune soothed her.
Angie heard the entrance doors slide open, and her eyelids
sprung apart abruptly, pretending as if she had just rested her
eyes for a second and nothing more, but she didn‘t see anyone.
She was very good at this, imitating work. Being a single mother
is never easy and work was the only place where she could
compensate the deprived sleep caused by the midnight feedings
and diaper changes. A gust of wind blew through the open doors
bringing the whisper of the palm trees inside, words Angie could
not decipher. The entrance slid shut.
She lay back in her leather chair once more. She felt her eyelids
grow heavy, and no matter how hard she tried, she could not keep
them open. Suddenly she saw something that made her jump to
the window. This would be a memory that would haunt her until
the end of her life because she would never be able to decide
whether what she saw was real or just a daydream.
A man standing on a tiny cloud descended from the sky. His
white hair flowed in the wind just like the millions of rivers
running all around the globe, emphasizing his eyes the color of all
the oceans, and in revitalizing contrast with his nose similar to
the rugged mountains covering the face of the world. As he
grinned, his soft lips, like the pillows of the boudoir of the
fanciest, most delectable courtesan of the Moulin Rouge, enclosed
playfully his white teeth radiating like the glaciers of the north.
His beard made of clouds cascaded to the ground. As he hopped
off the tiny cloud, his white toga swayed a little, uncloaking his
dark brown leather sandals.
The door slid open, and the man entered. He opened his mouth
to speak with a voice like the thunder of an infuriated storm. ―Is
this a sperm donor center?‖
―Yes. May I help you?‖ asked Angela still thinking she was
―I believe I have an appointment.‖
―This is impossible, our next guest arrives in forty minutes, I
―Then check again,‖ he said gesturing at the list of names.
―Randy is the name.‖
Angela sat back into her leather seat, shaking her head. She
reached for the notebook, opened it, then followed her index
finger down the list of names and stopped. She couldn‘t believe
her eyes. She saw Randy, just the forename, written down on the
paper with her own handwriting. She looked back at this unlikely
citizen with bewilderment.
―But..but…this is impossible…‖
―What is it, Angela? Don‘t you believe your own eyes?‖
―There must be a logical explanation to this, there always is.‖
―In this you are absolutely right,‖ said the man looking around.
―I‘m sorry, this is my first time in a place like this. Could you
please show me around?‖
―Of course…of course,‖ she said scratching her head.
Angie stood up and showed him the way. They entered into
room 101. There was a white bed in the corner, a television on a
simple desk before it, and a bookshelf at the opposite side. As
Angela changed the sheets quickly, she continued, ―Here are our
magazines to help you concentrate. We have all sorts of
magazines and videos, heterosexual, gay, lesbian, S&M,
transvestite, foot fetish, everything. Choose whichever suits you.
No one will be watching, so have fun. Here is the cup that you
must try to fill, and that‘s it.‖
―Thank you very much,‖ said the old man.
Angela hurried back to her seat feeling as if she were losing grip
of reality, dreading that she was turning insane. She turned back
toward the window. The tiny little cloud the man had arrived with
was still hovering before the center.
She shook her head and faced the endless sea in the distance
when she noticed that the light outside was changing. Angela
looked up at the sun to see it was sparkling, its blinding surface
shimmering like glitter. The sun began to tremble, faster and
faster, until it shook out of control. The men and women passing
by seemed unaware. The sun began to whirl round and round,
then it stopped and exploded. For a second Angela went blind,
but as her sight returned, she saw glitter covering the sky. The
millions of tiny specks sank to the ground only to disappear
before scintillating on the pavement for a few seconds.
An opening door disrupted Angela‘s amazement. She turned
around and saw the old man emerge. He had the placid
expression of someone right after sex, an otherworldly calmness.
His wisps of hair rose into the sky. The cup he was holding was
filled with a fluid that twinkled like the sun a few moments
before. The man placed the cup down onto the platter and walked
by Angie giving her a wink. Ting. The doors slid open. He jumped
onto the cloud, rose to the sky, and flew towards the sun that
expanded and gobbled him up.
Angela scratched her head not knowing what to do or how to
react. She then sat back behind her desk and vowed to sleep
―You will feel something cold enter, but apart from that you
shouldn‘t feel anything unpleasant. If you do, speak up.‖
Mary lay back and tried to relax. She looked into Josephine‘s
worried hazel eyes and smiled. Even in-between the present
circumstance Mary was the stronger one. She felt the cold
instrument touch her inner thigh that caused her to hiss. The
probe slid up her vagina, and as soon as she grew accustomed it,
she didn‘t feel a thing.
A dream was coming true, and there was nothing that could
ruin this. The room decorated with pale-green tiles couldn‘t hide
the fact that this was a hospital. The touch of white leather on her
neck that felt cold before, now stuck to her skin.
The doctor disappeared under her skirt. The bright light
coming from above blinded her and made her squint, so she
closed her eyes and excluded all stimuli, trying to disembody her
spirit and sink into the cotton-like nothingness of anticipation.
Maybe this was a hospital room to others, but to her, this was
the place where she would get the gift she most relished. Mary felt
a sting that brought her back into the present, the probe slid out.
The face of the gentle doctor reemerged from under her skirt and
smiled, his moustache dancing over his upper lip as he spoke.
―We are done.‖
Mary sat up. ―Already?‖
The doctor nodded and turned to the sink to wash his hands.
―Yes. Don‘t forget to attend the control examinations.‖
―Of course not, doctor.‖
The doctor stepped to the door, and before leaving, turned
around. ―Great, see you then.‖
The doctor nodded and left. The door closed with a click, and
the silence gradually settled like specks of dust stirred up by a
breeze. She turned toward Josephine, and they smiled in a way
only those can who know that a miracle had just happened.
Mary‘s blue eyes sparkled like the calm surface of a pond
mirroring the rays of the afternoon summer sun. Josephine‘s
hazel eyes glowed like the fur of an otherworldly enchanted deer
fleeing from all eyes, not to be seen by anyone, ever. Mary raised
her arm to grab hold of Josephine‘s hand and held it as if they
were going to be petrified for eternity this way so that future
generations would see them in this exact pose until the marble
crumbles and returns back to the ground from where it came
from. Mary stood up, and they hugged turning into one, not in the
way that two people unite during sex, but in a way that two halves
of a piece reunite after centuries of loneliness and never-ending
dreadful search for the other. They didn‘t say a word because
there was nothing to say, only hope that the inception would be
As they left the hospital, the afternoon sun sank under the
horizon, and darkness embraced the world.
―You stay here, Mary. I‘ll go and get the car,‖ said Josephine
squeezing Mary‘s shoulder.
Mary nodded and watched Josephine‘s tall figure hurry away
into the night. Josephine was so different than her, she always
wore suits, and her blonde hair was primly cut short. Mary was
quite the opposite, the waves in her hazel hair tumbled onto her
shoulder freely. The dark blue dresses she usually wore was in
contrast with her full red lips.
Mary stood under a street lamp that blinked a few times then
went out. Darkness covered her like an ever-soft blanket. Fireflies
arrived from nowhere and buzzed around her like tinkling stars
before flying away into the night. The moon smiled down on the
world just like a mother watching her dormant child.
The light returned, but Mary was surprised to see that it wasn‘t
the street light that emitted this natural luminescence. She looked
down, and through her thin blue dress, something glowed like the
sun itself warming her from within. Mary knew that the light was
coming from her womb.
Josephine stopped the red convertible before Mary. She
couldn‘t believe her eyes for she too saw the sun burning inside
Mary‘s abdomen. The white light it emitted gradually turned into
darker shades of red until it set under the horizon of the uterus to
plant itself like a seed in a soil loosened by the days of rain.
―What happened, Josephine?‖ asked Mary knowing the answer
―It‘s a miracle, Mary, it‘s a miracle. There is no other
They smiled at each other for a few seconds surrounded by an
―Josephine,‖ said Mary, ―scoot over, I want to drive.‖
Josephine obeyed, and Mary jumped into the car with a
heavenly agility as if a part of her were made of the clouds of
heavens. Mary pressed down the clutch and put the car in first
gear then held down the breaks and gave some gas to the engine.
When the motor began revving high, she began releasing the
clutch, giving gas until the rear tires burnt loose, releasing white
smoke accompanied by the smell of burning rubber. She released
the clutch and brakes at the same time, permitting the car to
rocket away, giving out a deafening screech.
Mary enjoyed the cool breeze blowing against her face. The
streetlights made the road burn in a calming orange. The many
skyscrapers rose toward the sky, trying to reach the moon. Behind
the many windows distinct lives resided, like many tiny planets
orbiting around their circuits. In each window a singular world
could be found, with its own laws, habits, and points of view.
Mary caressed her stomach. She was feeling something that
one only feels when their dream comes true. It is a power that not
only gives comfort, but an immense joy, a joy to be alive. They
sped away through the city preparing itself to go to sleep, heading
home to spend the night behind a glowing window just like the
many floating away above them.
Hank dried his hands and yawned as the fatigue of the many
operations fell onto his shoulders. It was in these moments of
complete solitude that he felt the burden he bears, and only now
did he perceive the swiftness with which the years flew by. He was
old, and the constant physical and psychic concentration drained
his energies that were growing weaker each year. He stepped out
into the blinding white corridor of the hospital. The hospital was
empty, all was silent. It was afternoon, the last child had been
delivered successfully, so he returned to his room to relax.
He opened the door and sat down onto his bed covered by a
light green sheet as if he were laying down onto an operation
table to be dissected and examined like the corpses in the
pathology. He looked at the painting hanging over his glass table,
the ancient doctors leaning over and examining a body. All of
them seemed like fathers, strict but always just. One of them was
caressing his white goatee while the other looked at the wounds of
the patient over his glasses lying on the tip of his nose, the others
nodded in concordance.
As he dozed off, music entered into his brain like an unwanted
intruder. It started with the violins and trombones sinking deeper
and deeper into bitter sweetness only to be pierced by an oboe, a
singular shriek cutting through the sweet sorrow and answered by
the trumpets declaring the beginning of a new world. This perfect
harmony was followed by a pause, a pause during which the globe
turned around its axis to face the sun. The flutes and oboes tried
to emerge from the silence but were lost in the deep murmur of
the drums and cellos that suffocated their beauty to give place to
insanity. From this derangement, the flutes tried to rise, rise from
the mud that was pulling them deeper down.
―Doctor, we need your help,‖ said a nurse just barely loud
enough to be heard over the symphony.
―What is it?‖ asked the doctor a little louder, the way that one
talks when they listen to music through earphones, trying to over-
scream the music only they can hear.
―The ambulance brought a mother in. Her cervix has
disappeared. She is about to give birth any minute now.‖
―What is this music?‖ asked Hank.
―What music?‖ asked the nurse a little confused.
Hank looked at the nurse and realized that only he could hear
the tune and no one else. He hurried after the nurse through the
abandoned white hallway, and the music continued growing
stronger with every step.
The oboes emerged once more, this time backed up by the
violins pulling the melody out of the mud that was determined
not to give up. The trumpets joined the fight against the mud as
the woman in labor appeared, her face distorted by the pain. The
head of the child was already visible. The music became joyful for
a moment as if everything would be alright, swimming in a sweet
tune that became stronger and stronger. The wind raised the
melody and carried it over the swamp.
The head of the child was out, and now the shoulders were
coming as well. The music was deafening, but no one heard it,
only Hank. Black clouds floated over the melody bringing
transient rain, but the music fought against it. The wind and
black clouds battled for centuries until the wind, putting all its
energy into the last gust, blew the clouds away. The sun revealed
itself and shone down on the orchestra. Hope was born once
Through the raindrops rolling down the leaves, the light
emerged as a rainbow to pierce through the world. The child slid
out in slow motion as the trumpets returned, leading the music
higher. The globe started trembling as the child was raised to the
sky. They placed the baby onto the mother, and the music was
sweet for a second only to give place to the glorious trumpets
again that ruled over the world one last time. All the instruments
started playing, and the music grew louder and louder until the
old world cracked, and through it, the new one came to light,
destroying everything that was wrong in the previous one and
evolving into something incredible.
The music stopped, and the silence was interrupted by the cry
of the child. The doctor smiled at them and felt in his heart a
calmness that one only feels when they peek into the sun to see
heaven itself, not the place existing in the imagination of many,
but the heaven that was about to come to earth. Hank stared at
the family not caring that the child had two mothers because he
knew that this was simply another face of God.
He stepped to the mother, blew a kiss on her forehead, and left,
longing to hear that ethereal music once more, knowing that
someday everyone would.
Mary waved as Josephine drove away and disappeared behind
the curve. She took a deep breath from the frisky air and
stretched her arms toward the sky like the many oak trees lining
the road in their neighborhood. The sprinklers rose above ground
level, and water began falling just like a summer drizzle. As the
rain fell onto the rose bushes growing in the yard and lining the
path leading to their porch, each drop glittered like a diamond.
Mary looked at her garden, and even though she found it a little
kitschy, she did not mind. She never thought she would be living
the suburban dream. A few years ago she imagined she would
rather commit suicide than live in a neighborhood like this, with
the many homes painted in pastille colors, their residence a pale
apricot, telling the neighbors that the ones living in the house
were diverse, but not too unique to be freaks. The well-kept lawns
showed the many hours spent to prove to the neighborhood that
they were earnest people, prone to fit in and live the life like one
of the many ants in this anthill.
Mary did not mind because all she wished for was boredom and
normality now. She grew tired of the years of struggle against
society, trying to change it, make the world a better place,
convince others that people like Josephine and herself were
humans. Yes, Mary grew tired of fighting, and now all she wanted
was to fit in as much as possible into the Elysium yards of
Suburbia with the constant scent of wisteria embracing her,
caressing her, and soothing her. This was a sweet death, and she
was ready to lose herself in it.
Mary closed the front door painted red and marveled at the
newly renovated parquet still shining. She hurried up the stairs
leading to the upper floor, the railing freshly painted white. At the
top of the stairs, she turned right and almost tripped in a wrinkle
in the beige woven carpet decorated by ethnical patterns. She
adjusted the wrinkle and hurried into Neil‘s room. His white
cradle stood before the window, and the morning rays caressed
him with maternal providence.
Mary blew an invisible kiss onto his right shoulder. His curly
dark hair framed his translucent eyes and his cheeks the color of
the mildest rosé, just a tint mixed with light that one actually
doesn‘t see but feels it linger about. Mary knew that this child was
just like the tiny angels dancing around God‘s throne in heaven.
Mary tiptoed out of the room and hurried downstairs.
At the bottom, she grabbed the prominence of the railing and,
using the same impetus of her descent, she swung around it and
entered her kitchen to wash the dishes and make everything turn
back into its previous self, an undisturbed order one only sees in
furnishing catalogues. She washed the dishes with her habitual
She dried the last plate and placed it into the cupboard. Silence.
Mercifully, for the first time in weeks, Neil was still asleep. She
jumped onto her white sofa facing the fireplace and reached for
the eBook lying on the side table beneath the lilacs ruling over the
white room with royal posture. She opened the leather casing and
looked at the virtual screen so similar to paper.
She began reading her first sentence, tasting every word of it as
if it were a portion of golden amber sent from the gods above
when screaming trumpeted from upstairs, awakening her
Neil was up, and this meant two things, he needed to be
changed or to be fed. Marry hurried up the stairs with a heavy-
heart even though she knew these lost minutes were only an
unexpected gift that she did not actually deserve, so in all she
hadn‘t lost anything, just something that wasn‘t hers. She entered
into Neil‘s room.
She stepped to the cradle, and her blood froze in her veins. Neil
was not there. The crying went on and on, always becoming
stronger. She tried to identify its source, but there was no use
because the voice was coming from all directions. She looked
inside the wardrobe. No one. She peeked out into the corridor.
Empty. She searched for him under the hill of plush toys, but her
child was nowhere.
She searched everywhere and scratched her head in disbelief.
She closed her eyes and examined the sound realizing that it was
muffled by something. It was as if it came from their bedroom on
the other side. She hurried into their room, but no matter how
hard she searched, Neil was nowhere to be found.
She hurried back into his room to hear that the voice was
coming from inside the wall separating the two rooms. She
stepped closer and saw that the blue tapestry was peeling here
and there. She started ripping it off when the crying ceased for a
second, then it returned, this time coming from behind her. She
slowly turned around, and what she saw caused her to back
against the wall.
―Hello, mother, it‘s me. Don‘t you recognize me?‖
A huge spider was looking down onto Mary from the top corner
of the room. It stretched two of its gigantic legs toward her face.
She could feel its fur caress her cheeks. The spider filled the
room, and instead of an arachnid‘s head, it bore Neil‘s baby face.
The spider crawled down from the ceiling and walked to her.
Mary tried to break free, but the legs of the spider closed in on her
like a cell. The head was coming closer and closer until Neil
opened his mouth and gobbled her up in a bite.
Mary opened her eyes and realized she had fallen asleep. Neil
was crying upstairs, so she put the book back onto the side table.
She found her child in the cradle, and by the smell, Mary knew he
had to be changed.
As she threw the dirty diaper into the garbage, she smiled
remembering her dream. She saw the pictures as if she were
seeing them through a glass darkly. She sat down onto the white
sofa right by the cradle, unbuttoned her shirt placing her nipple
into her child‘s mouth, and looked at the wall to see the tapestry
missing in the exact place where she had ripped it off in her
―I am going to cut some wood.‖
―Go ahead, Mary.‖
The door closed leaving Josephine and Neil alone in the log
cabin. The fire was crackling in the fireplace, illuminating the
hand-woven Persian rug with its pattern spiraling deeper and
deeper, swirling into infinity. Josephine stepped to the window
and looked at the burning autumn forest, a season that seemed to
be inexistent in the city where, instead of four, there was only the
never-ending summer. The ground outside was covered by the
carpet of leaves and looked like the continuation of the one
inside. The sun shining through the branches of the trees seemed
to mirror the fireplace in the cozy room. Josephine watched
Marry vanish into the motionless fire of the woods as if she were
eaten away by the insatiable flames. The leaves fell here and
there, their precipice could be heard over the stillness created by
the absence of civilization. Even the log house seemed something
so far way, something ancient, deriving from the time of the
creation of Earth.
Neil was sitting on the carpet playing with his trains. Josephine
was glad to see that in contrary to the views of society, he was
happy and balanced. Of course some made fun of him, the ones
that were afraid of difference, the dreadful difference that is
lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to jump out
and destroy normality. If only they would have the courage to
light a candle and see what the darkness conceals. They would
find a human being that is no different than any other, lonely and
afraid like the creature craving for the one ring. They left Neil
alone after a while when they saw that he didn‘t react, not
understanding what they couldn‘t, that having two mothers was
normal, at least for him.
―Mother, can I go out and play?‖ asked Neil. Josephine looked
at her son, his angel-like face turning thinner and more
masculine, his curly hazel hair that he insisted to let grow,
tumbling down onto his shoulders.
―Of course, sweetheart, just remain in sight.‖
Josephine stepped to the opposite window facing the valley and
started doing the dishes. Neil walked to the great oak tree ruling
over the forest with the leaves the colors of all shades of red,
orange, and yellow. He sat down onto the rock at its feet.
Josephine opened the window to let the fresh morning air enter
and cleanse the place from the smell of sleep. She felt the breeze
blow on her damp hands and shivers ran up and down her body.
It was a cooling sensation that chased away the remains of sleep
still lingering around her movements like an aura pulling her
back into the world of dreams, the world separated by death only
by a thin translucent foil that shatters into smithereens by the
slightest caress. She dried the plates and placed them into the
A gentle tune entered through the window. The voice was not
human, merging the two genders, bearing a careless musicality
mixed with undisputed authority, the voice of the angels. She
walked back to the sink and looked at Neil facing the woods and
singing, motionless, deep in thought, his small body fragile in
comparison to the immense valley.
―Neil,‖ she shouted, but he did not move. He was in a different
world, in the world that resides within, and only the proprietor
can enter. The body is a prison that withholds the soul, a prison
without which the soul cannot survive.
The melody rose to the sky and washed through the woods. A
pair of little blue jays sat down onto the branch of the tree and
twittered away like new instruments of an emerging symphony.
The bushes moved, and two scoffers hurried to sit down a few feet
away, facing Neil.
Josephine could not believe her eyes and didn‘t dare move,
fearing to disrupt this harmony that one only sees in cartoons. At
the top of the slope rising to the sky, two dears galloped down to
stop behind the scoffers. In a few minutes mice were followed by
snakes, wolves, bears, and ducks. The fox was the last one to
arrive. He sneaked to the animals and waited for admission. The
animals just faced the slyest creature of the woods for a few
seconds then invited him to join the circle. All of them were
mesmerized by Neil, listening to the tune that caused the laws of
nature to be suspended for a few minutes.
Josephine heard the back door creaking. She turned around to
see Mary enter with a few logs in her hands.
―Shhh. Come quickly, you must see this.‖
Mary put the logs by the fireplace and tiptoed to the window.
She stopped and just listened to the tune, both of them thinking
that this was how the first animals were brought to life to inhabit
The tune stopped. Neil stood up and patted each creature on
his head. As he touched each animal, they fled back into the
woods. He caressed the bears for last, and when they left, he was
alone once more. He turned toward his parents and waved. The
parents waved back.
―Something is definitely different about this child,‖ said Mary
staring right into Neil‘s eyes, through the present into the past.
―What do you mean?‖ asked Josephine.
―You know what I mean.‖
Josephine looked at Mary knowing she was right, and because
of this, she felt sorry for Neil. He was different, and Josephine
blamed herself for this. She couldn‘t bear the pain caused by the
recognition and vowed not to accept the truth.
The lights are switched off in the auditorium. The suspense can
be seen, connecting the singular beings with threads, each of
them knowing that what they are about to experience will be
A spotlight‘s piercing light cuts right through the impenetrable
cloth of darkness and falls upon a semi-translucent egg withheld
by four muscular men standing at the back of the arena, wearing
clothes made of human skin. They start toward the stage in the
silence that no one dares to defy, not even with the sound of their
breathing. The egg-bearers take each step unanimously carrying
someone that is influencing the youth in their basic patterns of
thinking, even if, like many say, this is not her goal, and she is
really after fame.
The egg, as it hovers through the aisle leading to the stage,
reflects the light and shines down on radiating faces looking up at
the creature that annihilated the futileness and emptiness of pop
They place the egg onto the stage. It lies there before the
millions of eyes, perfectly still, like the egg of a dinosaur that
seems to be destined to survive all, bearing a message deriving
from the creation of the world. A black silhouette moves in the
depths of the egg, a creature born from the shadows. Through the
smooth surface, the contour of a hand appears that returns back
into the egg, not to give up but to emerge once more with much
greater power, piercing through the shell, causing it to hatch.
A woman steps out from the egg, she seems human, but she
isn‘t. The raincoat she is wearing is made of human skin. The hat
makes her look like Carmen, the villain who is pursued around
the world never to give up and only be satisfied when everything
precious is in her hands. Her shoulders are not rounded on the
corner but unite into a pointy cone. Her disfigured cheeks make
her seem like a woman who had been beaten unconscious the
moment before and came back to the living this instant.
The music emerges from the speakers. The tune washes
through the world like an unstoppable Tsunami that demands no
victims. The dancers move to the rhythm like unconscious,
defenseless corpses obeying the force of the waves. She takes her
hat off, and, mounted high on her head, the ponytail sways,
following the motion of the body. She is not a monster, but the
queen of them all.
The music stops, and she hurries up to the great organ ruling
over the arena. She starts playing, and the tune emerging brings
to mind the melodies of the churches from long ago, giving this
earthly piece of entertainment the glory of pristine
transcendence. The holy music ceases, and she starts singing,
freezing the waves as she descends the stairs. The waves tower
above her waiting for her to arrive to the bottom.
When she steps down the last stoop, the rhythm returns. The
water clashes together over her head, its unstoppable power
making the spotlights crash onto the stage around her. The song
ends, and only the buzzing and sparkling of the torn electrical
wires in the ceiling can be heard and seen.
Mary looked away staring out the window with the images still
burning freshly in her retinas. There was something not only in
her appearance but also in her words. She seemed to be a vessel
conveying a message on behalf of a greater power. Beyond the
complexity of her being and the simplicity of her music, there was
something ancient, a message that seemed so simple but until
this day incomprehensible to humanity, awakening a
subconscious notion of predestination and perseverance,
annunciating the grace that falls upon every being in the galaxy.
Mary had to say the words out loud and taste each word of
freedom, knowing that one day these words would shatter a world
and bring the land of God to Earth.
―A different lover is not a sin, believe capital H-i-m…‖
―What are you mumbling, Mary?‖ asked
walking into the living room with two cups of still ardent coffee.
She placed the cups onto the table before them and sat down onto
the white couch smiling at Mary and knowing exactly what she
―Oh, it‘s nothing,‖ said Mary caught in flagrante.
―Nothing, nothing?‖ said Josephine snickering. ―You just
quoted her words. You quoted the words of a pop song. Pop, the
music that you hate so much, the music that causes the base of
the world to crumble with its senselessness and emptiness.‖
―I know, but she seems different.‖
―Different? Oh, Mary, don‘t be so naïve. She is just a pop star
who wants to make a living and get rich by acting as if she had
just escaped from an asylum. All she does is shock people not
really conveying anything substantial, only empty gunshots of
clichés and banalities that make any intellectual puke all over the
―I don‘t know. She seems to know something that others
―How to make money with virtually no effort? Prancing around
and singing without even knowing how to?‖
Mary continued without acknowledging the scorning
Josephine. ―No. As if she knew that someone was about to arrive
to redeem the words of her songs.‖
―A messiah? She is a prophet, you mean?‖
Mary nodded, ―She has the same air of confidence pertaining to
―You are crazy, sweetheart.‖
Josephine reached for the remote and raised the volume to
continue watching the awards ceremony. Mary turned back to the
TV knowing that she was right. The messiah is coming, maybe he
is already here in this house, and he will try to change the world
for the better.
Neil was not entirely human. It was nothing distinct. It was his
whole bearing that radiated a unique certainness that humanity is
not evil and everything will turn for the better eventually. In his
manners, one could see the essence of life. It was just a notion,
nothing more, yet it was there, like words carved into stone, a
message that cannot be shattered even if the rock itself is.
―Mici! Where are you?‖
Andrew looked around from the top of the stairs of their porch
hoping that somewhere he would see his white Persian cat
hurrying to enter, being done with her morning duties. Every
morning she would arrive punctual for her breakfast, the only
time of day apart from dinner when anyone could caress her
without suffering any type of penitence whatsoever.
Andrew started worrying, dreading something horrible had
happened. He walked down the stairs and checked under the
organ bushes lining the path leading to their home the color of a
pale raspberry. Bees were buzzing away over him, flying from one
flower to the other. The sweet scent reminded Andrew of
something unpleasant, invoking the smell of putrefaction and
death he once felt when he found the corpse of their previous cat
who was hit by a car and probably thrown into the bushes by a
driver trying to hide the proof of his murder.
He stood up scratching his head and walked around the house
to the back garden. They lived in the house on the corner, which
was even more dangerous because it was surrounded by the road
on two sides.
No movement whatsoever. A breeze blew through the trees that
whispered their secrets about time and loss to each other. He
walked to the end of the yard and saw a fluffy tale in the green
grass right by the trunk of the maple tree.
―Mici, there you are.‖
Andrew headed to the tree but had to slow down because the
tail was motionless for too long. The breeze brought the scent of
iron with itself as he took each step as slowly as possible,
postponing the moment of realization a few seconds further. He
stopped as horror dashed across his face. He felt himself sinking
deeper and deeper into the darkness inside him. He only sensed
the environment that first turned fuzzy then started melting,
dribbling to the ground. The sounds of the world were muffled,
coming from farther and farther away until Andrew was standing
in perfect silence and impenetrable darkness in a virtual space
where only he and the corpse of Mici resided.
Andrew knelt down and examined Mici‘s once snow-white fur
now tinted red. Her intestines were protruding from her open
abdomen, and Andrew still felt the heat emerging from the body.
Andrew caressed her soft fur that made her resemble a beautiful
snowflake falling carelessly from the sky to survive on the
pavement for only a few seconds then melt into nothingness.
Mici was still warm, she was alive a few minutes before, she
was taking her habitual morning stroll a few minutes before, she
was thinking about the delicious breakfast a few minutes before,
but not anymore. Andrew examined the wound hoping to learn
what caused her untimely departure from this world as if the
knowledge would change anything. It could have been a car or a
dog, Zeus from next door, Zeus, Mici‘s greatest enemy who came
out victorious from their endless war. Andrew hoped that Mici
fought until the end and died with a clear conscience knowing
that she did not give up.
Andrew stared into the wound and saw a darkness so much
different than the one surrounding him. It was like a miniature
black hole that was draining life from Andrew. He thought if he
would let go, he would vanish through it into the kingdom of the
Andrew sensed someone stepping into the darkness
surrounding him that was somewhere between life and death.
That third being brought a light with itself that began its battle
with the black hole in Mici‘s abdomen. Andrew was being pulled
from two directions and feared he would be ripped apart. From
the corner of his eyes he saw the figure draw closer and closer.
The silhouette stopped by Andrew and placed its radiant hand on
his shoulder pulling Andrew away from death.
Andrew looked up at the face of the pale angel with translucent
eyes. The angel spoke, and its sweet voice echoed in the
emptiness they were standing in.
―What happened?‖ asked the presence.
―She is dead,‖ said Andrew. As he heard his own words, he
understood them, he conceived that what happened was
irrevocable. He sat down and tears started pouring down his face.
He felt the taste of salt in his mouth.
―Did you love her?‖
Andrew nodded. ―She was everything to me, my only friend.‖
The angel smiled at him and raised its arm. Millions of hair-
like strands made of the purest light emerged from the tip of his
fingers, not simply glowing but burning into the darkness. The
strands embraced the corpse and started spinning round and
round turning Mici into a shining cocoon. The motion of the wires
stopped, and the seed-like cocoon rose from the ground and
hovered in midair for a second then landed to the ground. The
cocoon collapsed within itself turning into the silhouette of a cat
that was so familiar to Andrew. The glowing cat sat down and
licked her paw then reached behind her ear.
Andrew heard a high-pitched whistle that slowly grew
deafening. The light of the glowing silhouette was growing
stronger, brighter than the sun itself until it exploded, blowing
away the realm of darkness around him. Andrew found himself in
the back yard once more.
Mici was sitting on the grass, and when she saw Andrew, she
gave out a purr and hopped into the boy‘s lap. Andrew kissed her
then turned to the angel still standing behind him. It was a boy
with skin the color of the moon and the eyes paler than the skin of
the dead. His curly hair was swaying in the breeze, and his upper
lip was decorated by a faint tint of a moustache.
―Who are you? Mici was dead…‖ said Andrew in awe.
―She wasn‘t, you were dreaming...‖ said the boy, but Andrew
knew he was lying.
―Only one person can resurrect the dead, my parents told me,
his name is…‖
A closing backdoor disrupted this conversation just before
Andrew could pronounce the name.
―What are you talking about, Andrew?‖ asked a stern but loving
―He brought back Mici from the dead,‖ said Andrew pointing
toward the boy with his little fingers.
―Don‘t be silly, Andrew, hurry back inside. Mom is searching
for you all over the place,‖ said his brother heading toward them.
Andrew stood up and hurried back inside as his brother stepped
to the boy.
―Peter…‖ he said greeting him, distending his arm.
The door closed behind Andrew, and he embraced Mici who
had enough of the love and care and wanted to be free, so the
claws came out, and she scratched Andrew‘s face.
―Oh, Mici, I love you so much,‖ said Andrew hugging her
tighter and kissing her head once more, feeling blood emerge
from the fresh wound.
Mary hurried up the stairs with a fresh cup of lemonade to
surprise her son, the menthol decorating the glass emitting an
invigorating and soothing scent. She stepped to Neil‘s door and
Neil jolted in his bed and covered himself up with his sheet. He
was nude apart from his white underwear. Mary blushed and
tried to act as if nothing had happened even if this was the most
awkward situation in both of their lives.
She hastily put the glass of lemonade onto the side table feeling
herself blush. She didn‘t look up, but as she turned around, she
saw something hidden under the sheets. She saw only its spine,
but it was enough for her to understand.
―Please, mother, knock next time…‖
―I will, Neil, believe me, I will…‖
She hurried out of the room and closed the door behind her
leaning against it trying to regain some strength. This was
impossible, how could it have come to this. Marry knew that she
was the culprit . She felt the world crumble to the ground around
her. She tried to raise him to be normal but failed. The worst part
was that there was nothing to do now.
She walked down the stairs in desperation. When she turned
into the kitchen, Josephine stood up and stepped to Mary to hug
―What is the matter, Mary? Why the long face?‖
Mary shook her head and felt a savage stream of tears trying to
escape her eyes, banging on the dam of her restraint.
―Mary, don‘t you start crying, what did you see?‖
―He is…he is…‖ she tried to say the last words, but couldn‘t.
She collected all her might to say the following words. ―He is
As she pronounced the last word, she broke out in tears and
slid to the ground, grabbing hold of Josephine‘s legs as if she were
afraid a stream would wash her away.
Magdalene hurried down the stairs with a sly smile on her face.
Her mother leaned against the kitchen‘s door frame, watching her
―You look beautiful, sweetheart.‖
―Thank you, mother,‖ said Magdalene as she stopped and
pirouetted, ending it with a courtesy. Her mother laughed as the
colors of the roses flowers decorating Magdalene‘s dress came to
a rest. They were both wearing the same dress, and this,
Magdalene thought was repulsing.
―Where are you going?‖ asked her mother.
―To the library,‖ she said forcing the sweetness of honey into
―You poor thing. When will you be back?‖
―I don‘t know. When the library closes. Around eight, I guess.
Will you still be at home?‖
―I am afraid not. The dinner is in the fridge. The opera will end
at ten. I think we will be home by half past ten,‖ said her mother
caressing Magdalene‘s head.
―Have fun, mother,‖ said Magdalene hurrying out of her home
painted the color of a pale green apple, nothing too extravagant.
The house described her life so precisely, nothing too
extravagant. She couldn‘t understand how her parents could
possibly be happy here. She knew that she wouldn‘t end up like
this. She would become a pop star.
She pranced down their perfectly mowed neon green lawn and
skipped down the road, her pink dress with the many romantic
flowers swaying in the wind, the butterflies on her hairpin
accompanying her every move. She looked back over her shoulder
and waved to her mother. She took a right, and her mother
dropped out of sight.
She reached into her heart-formed purse for a cigarette. She
placed it into her mouth and lit it, trying to inhale the smoke, but
it made her cough, so she decided not to smoke it after all. She
jumped on the arriving bus and sat down in the back, huddling
up, careful not to be seen through the window as the bus sped by
She reached into her purse for the black eyeliner and raised it
to her eyes drawing a thick line at the root of her eyelashes,
placing some glitter on her eyelids smudging the black line a bit.
She looked like an alcoholic and this pleased her, but this was not
enough. The neon green hairspray emerged from her purse, and
she blew it into her blonde hair creating a strand of green, then,
with the black hairspray, a strand of black. She ended the ritual
by blowing some hairspray into her hair and messing it up.
She was a rebel against everything her parents symbolized. She
hated the mediocrity of the suburban life, the boring afternoons
and the silent nights. She was against everything her parents
loved, but most of all she was against their frail intolerance, faint
but noticeable, the rudiment of the century before. She was afraid
she wouldn‘t stay always this sharp on the edges and life would
chisel her until she would become a tiny little pebble, docile and
playful, like her mother, the perfect housewife. She shuddered at
The bus reached the periphery of the city and stopped.
Magdalene got off at the shopping mall. The palm trees rising
before the complex of glass and concrete gave the place an air of
fake exoticism. The parking lot stood empty. It was deserted as
the customers drove a few more miles into the heart of the city for
a greater selection.
As she hurried toward the entrance, she jumped over the grass
that made way through the cracks of the concrete here and there.
The doors slid open and she entered. Everything was silent. The
shops stood abandoned, some of the windows were shattered. It
seemed to her that the rapture had come, and she was left alone,
the last human on earth. She hurried to the bathroom to change.
Magdalene closed the door and adjusted the make-up in the
fragmented mirror before her, the neon light above her flickering
now and then. She took her dress off, carefully folding it and
placing it into her bag. She reached for her dark ripped stockings
and put them on. Through the holes, her marble-white skin could
be seen. She put her skull T-shirt on, far too larger for her,
reaching the top third of her thighs.
She reached for the teddy bear flask and took a sip of the ardent
whiskey then placed it back into the heart-shaped bag and
hurried to the front of the mall to meet the others.
James and John were sitting on a bench. James was wearing a
black leather jacket with cut-offs just reaching his knees, John his
usual white blazer with a pink shirt tucked into his white pants.
The smoke of their cigarettes rose into the air the same way. They
were twins. Their curly blond hair and protruding noses made
them look like two Caesars, two rulers of ancient time sitting on a
bench before a decadent mall. They were the heirs of one of the
two local fish stores. Their family was quite wealthy selling
delicatessen, caviar, salmon, and oyster, to the aristocracy of
modern times. Of course, they were not as rich to be allowed into
the suburban ring her parents belonged to; members of the club,
playing golf two times a week and sipping gin and tonic by the
pool, but they were wealthy enough to know that the future was
open before them.
―What‘s up, boys?‖
―Nothing,‖ said John without caring to face Magdalene.
―Some whiskey?‖ she asked raising the flask. They each took a
sip then waited in silence.
―Is Neil coming?‖ She tried to pronounce these words as if Neil
meant nothing to her, but even she heard her voice quiver.
―What do you want from him, whore?‖ asked James.
―Don‘t call me that,‖ she said insulted.
―But aren‘t you one?‖
―Well maybe. Anyway, is he coming?‖
―There he is,‖ said John stepping on the butt of his cigarette.
Magdalene turned to face Neil, and she felt her heart rise. She
tried to repress the grin distorting her mouth, but her joy was too
hard to hide. Neil too was wearing a leather jacket with tight jeans
and a white T-shirt, his black boots unlaced embracing his ankle.
The waves in his dark hair bounced as he moved. A frail beard
was beginning to appear on his unshaved face.
―Wanna trash the mall?‖ asked Neil reaching them, grabbing
the flask from James and taking a long sip.
―What will Fred say?‖ asked Magdalene a little preoccupied.
―Nothing, he‘s drunk and asleep in his booth. I just checked
him out,‖ said John winking at them.
John and James hopped off the bench and ran inside to
disappear behind the sliding doors of the mall, leaving the two of
―Come here, baby.‖
Neil grabbed Magdalene by the waist, and they kissed for long
minutes. Magdalene could feel herself turn back to the girl she
truly was, afraid and lonely, scared that the world would not
accept her for who and what she was. Her ankles shivered a little
as Neil‘s arm grabbed her stronger and stronger by the waist. The
moment he let her go, she turned back into a rebel.
―Let‘s go,‖ she said pulling Neil by his hand toward the mall.
They hurried after John and James. As the doors closed behind
them, they heard the sound of glass breaking. They walked down
the abandoned main hallway, up the escalator, and found the two
of them standing before a shattered store window, holding an
empty bottle of beer. Magdalene stepped to a trashcan and kicked
it to the ground.
They began chasing each other around the building, and their
laughter echoed through this infinite space built for the sole
purpose of shopping. The afternoon sun was shining through the
windows in the roof. They jumped into the forgotten fountain and
started splashing each other as happily as one can be with the
stale water, algae growing where the water reached the light blue
tiles. Slowly the second flask of whiskey was emptied.
They stopped before the arcade, the only place they respected.
―Do you know where to switch it on?‖ asked Neil from James.
John and James hurried away snickering and pushing each
other playfully as Magdalene followed Neil into the dark room
filled with games deriving from long time ago. They kissed once
more when they heard a sound that began with a low murmur, its
tone rising high the next second, turning into the chaotic noise
one can only hear in a game room.
Neil stepped to a car game and smashed the part where the
coins were kept, the coins rolling to the ground. He threw in a
dime that rolled to the floor then threw it in again allowing
Magdalene to join the game. The race began, and she looked at
the cars that were formed of distinguishable pixels. The car
moved like a brick on ice lacking any resemblance to the dynamic
of real cars. A few years ago this game seemed cool, but now was
so primitive in comparison to the games of today where you
control the motion of the characters with your own body. The
feeling of retro mockery coming over her amused her and made
John and James returned, stepping to a zombie shooting game.
The screams of civilians rose into the air followed by the
desperate roar of the living dead, misunderstood, only wishing to
The sun went down and semidarkness fell onto the mall, its
lights only glowing here and there. As they played through the
forest of games, they heard a zombie-like scowl coming from
behind them that made their blood freeze in fear.
―Whathe uck areyu doinere?‖
Magdalene turned around.
―Oh, crap. It‘s Frank.‖
Frank sat on his little electric car facing their way, looking like a
water balloon flowing down the sides of the vehicle.
―Let‘s get out of here,‖ shouted John.
They dashed out of the arcade and ran across the fountain as
the vehicle buzzed behind them. They began to slalom through
the benches, changing direction abruptly to lose their tale, but he
was closing in on them. He was about to grab Magdalene‘s hair
when the escalator appeared in the distance, filling her with a
power that prohibited her to give up. James and John ran down
the stairs followed by Neil sliding down the rails.
She heard the buzzing grow louder behind her and felt a
tingling sensation in the stomach that made her feel alive. She
jumped down the stairs, and she could hear the breaks streaking
―Combaaaaaaa,‖ screamed Frank, drunk as always, unable to
move without the car.
Magdalene stopped a few steps down and turned around
mocking him, smiling at his distorted figure. The omega-like
wrinkles on his forehead made him look sad, a portrait of a man
whose life was filled with rejection and hate from the ones who
were not as fat as he was. Magdalene raised her hand and gave
him the middle finger then dashed down the stairs to join the
others. They left the mall laughing, powered by excitement as a
thought was born in Frank‘s head to terminate his own life.
John and James hurried home into the night as Magdalene and
Neil walked to the bus. Neil sat down on the bench and pulled her
into his lap in this motionless part of the city. Magdalene kissed
Neil much more passionately than ever before. She felt his cold
hands slide under her shirt, grabbing her breast sensually and
awakening a tingling between her legs.
She looked around and saw a few dumpsters lining the road.
―Let‘s go, Neil.‖
You know where…‖ she said winking.
―Now? But I don‘t have a condom…‖
―I do,‖ she said pulling him up from the bench to the secluded
little place. He resisted only for a second then gave in. Magdalene
lay down onto the concrete hidden by the dumpsters and the
black bags of trash. She pulled down her tights and felt him kneel
down over her. She faced the stars as his face floated into her
sight. Neil entered, and the sting pierced through her membrane
making her hiss. It was done, she was not a virgin anymore.
As Neil‘s movements were becoming faster and the sour smell
of a vinegar-like fluid embracing them grew stronger, she felt a
pleasure she would not feel for a long time. She felt light burst out
of Neil and rush through her body, it wasn‘t just pleasure, it was
its essence. She couldn‘t contain the feeling. She arched her back
and screamed in a way that the local bums thought that someone
was being murdered.
The light escaped from her body through her orifices, and the
two of them fell to the ground panting. As she listened to Neil
breathe, she looked up at the stars and knew that one day she
would join them. Magdalene searched for her cigarettes in her
purse giving one to Neil and putting one in her mouth. The reality
fell down onto her shoulders once again.
―What is the matter, Magdalene?‖
Magdalene inhaled the smoke and felt too weak to hide her
―I am sick,‖ she said at last.
Neil sat up and looked at her motionless profile. ―Is it serious?‖
―They don‘t know, we‘ve been to so many doctors, but no one
Neil bent over Magdalene and kissed her on her mouth.
―Everything will be alright, you‘ll see.‖
Magdalene nodded, smiling at the love of her life.
The sound of the bus disrupted the idyllic moment. She jumped
up pulling her tights on and hurried to the bus. She sat down in
the back and waved as Neil disappeared behind the curve. She
looked at her watch. Midnight.
She knew what was coming, but she didn‘t really care because
she was over the thing she feared most in her life. She rose into an
otherworldly mood and just floated home only to come back to
earth when she found her parents waiting for her, sitting on the
―Where were you? Why are you dressed like a filthy cunt?‖
The night was cold, too dark to see. The city was far behind
them, its polluting light unable to hide the celestial bodies so far
in the woods. Here the moon and stars ruled over the world, and
this felt right.
Peter felt the heat of his piss warm his hands. He listened to it
dribble down the rocks into the precipice beneath him. Standing
at its edge, Peter felt the fragility of life, and only now did he
understand that between life and death there is no barrier, no
safe zone, and one can step from life into death whenever they
He shook the last drips off and zipped his pants up, tucking his
checked shirt into his beige shorts and adjusting his thick-framed
glasses. He looked down but didn‘t see the bottom as if he were
standing at the side of an endless pit. Somewhere he knew if he
would jump down, he would fall right into the lap of Hades
feeding his faithful companion Cerberus with the bones of the
dead and listening to the tingling giggles of the Fates as they cut
the thread of their next victim.
As he walked back to the camp, he could feel the branches of
the bushes caress his face, not by accident he thought, but on
purpose. Alone in the woods, he felt the presence of the earth, still
caring and not renouncing her hope that humanity would notice
In the distance, past the thick curtains of trees that rose to the
sky creating a roof with its branches covering the night sky, a
flame was flickering, and he slowed down watching the figures
who were so far away from their sober selves, so different, yet
each showing their essence, not caring whether it is good or bad,
shedding the skin of the many centuries of social conventions.
The light illuminated their joyful faces, shining past them and
coloring the trunks and the leaves surrounding them with an
always moving and changing orange. Peter took a deep breath
and headed toward the clearing as their voices turned into a
distinguishable murmur gradually morphing into words and
sentences lacking any type of mundane logic. It was Neil‘s voice
that he heard first.
―You know when…um…what animal is that…um…wolf…no, no,
coyote…yes. So, you know when the coyote runs after that bird
and runs off the cliff and…you know, he doesn‘t fall right away,
but walks in the air for a few seconds without noticing…and what
was I saying? So, he walks for a few seconds in the air and doesn‘t
fall but like hovers in the air…But what did I want to say? Oh
right, I wonder what would happen to us if we wouldn‘t notice
that suddenly there is nothing beneath our feet. Could we walk in
the air a little, I wonder?‖
Everyone went silent as if instead of this non-sense, someone
had told them the secret of life.
After seconds of silence, James began to speak. He was far
away, talking in a tone without expression as if his were words
were not destined to them, but to the stars themselves.
―Actually there is something tragic in the cartoon, and I believe
that the creators knew this. They knew that everyone would cheer
for the wolf and secretly hope that he catches the roadrunner
eventually. Each time he failed, the more they wished for it to
come true. That‘s why everyone watched it even though the
episodes‘ structure was the same. Because everyone is a wolf…um
not wolf…coyote, right. Everyone runs after a dream that is about
to come true, but it never actually does, not because they can‘t
grasp it but because they don‘t want to. Only the courageous few
will seize it.
―Just think about it. What would happen to the coyote if he
would catch the roadrunner? We don‘t know, and that is what
many want to. Does life continue in a much better way? Or does it
lose its meaning? We want to know whether it is a good idea to
make our dreams come true or not. Does it make us truly happy
or do we lose the meaning of our lives.‖
Peter moved the branches, and the three jolted up in fear,
slowly turning toward him. As he stepped into the light, they all
gave out a sigh of relief.
―I thought you were a killer, thank God, Peter, thank God it is
you,‖ said James giving Peter a seductive smile.
Peter smiled back and hurried to take his seat on the fourth
empty log by the fire. John faced him and handed him the joint.
―Here, Peter, loosen up, you are always so stiff. God won‘t
punish you if you take a single shot.‖
―I won‘t, this is sin. It‘s already hard enough for me to tolerate
what you do.‖
―Bla, bla, bla. Always the same old shit.‖
Peter looked down heavy-heartedly and wished with all his
heart that he could just be like any other normal adolescent, but
he wasn‘t. He was indoctrinated with orthodox religious views of
his parents, hating sin by principle and not because it was truly
wrong. This defense is far too weak in comparison with the
knowledge of why it is wrong. Peter wanted to be normal, like the
rest of them, but he wasn‘t. There was a part of his soul that he
was taught to hate and was trying desperately to rip out not yet
realizing that he couldn‘t.
―Leave him alone, John,‖ said James and patted Peter on the
back. ―He‘s old enough to know what he wants to do.‖
Peter gave James a smile of gratitude. He looked up at James
because he knew he was so much different than what he showed
the world. It was just a notion that soon would grow into
knowledge sturdier than rock itself.
―What are you doing next year? I mean now that high school
ended?‖ asked Peter examining the others who slowly returned
back to reality from their elevated state as the fumes evaporated
through their pores. It was John who answered first.
―I don‘t know. James and I are probably taking over the fish
shop since it seems you don‘t want to.‖
Peter thought of the fish shop his parents built up with James‘
and John‘s parents. His parents insisted that he should leave the
shop to begin his theological studies and Peter, like always,
―Neil?‖ asked Peter.
―Nothing, probably. And you, Peter? Are you still going to study
Peter smiled and nodded, feeling his conviction toward religion
had decreased through the years as he grew older and began to
think for himself.
A silence fell on the group as they understood that they had
grown up, and none of them knew what to do. They were adults,
the whole world pushed down onto their shoulders now, and no
matter how hard they shrugged, they couldn‘t rid themselves
from the burden, not anymore. They knew that the carelessness
was over, but they postponed the full realization a little further as
John prepared the next joint.
―Does anybody know what happened to Magdalene? Is it true
what they say?‖ asked Peter looking into the red eyes of Neil.
―Oh yeah. She just finished her first track. In a few months
everybody will be playing her songs,‖ answered Neil and fell
―Did she really change her name?‖
―L€ne,‖ answered Neil after a few seconds.
―And why does she spell it with a euro sign? How do you
Neil just shrugged. ―Like a simple e I guess, probably
pronouncing the last e as well.‖
―Do you miss her?‖ asked Peter knowing that he was wondering
into a dangerous territory.
―Fuck off, Peter. She‘s a whore.‖
―The sun is about to rise any minute now,‖ said Neil. ―If we
hurry, we can see it from the top of the mountain.‖
The four of them stood up. Each of them took their blanket and
placed it around their shoulders. Peter‘s was red, James‘ was
blue, John‘s was a pale orange, and Neil‘s was white. As they
hurried away from the fire, they seemed apostles of ancient times.
The dark sky was turning grey, and all the colors were dull as if
the entire globe had a grey undertone. They walked up the steep
slope, grabbing the rocks to go higher and higher. Empty plastic
bags and aluminum cans decorated their path as they tried to
reach the sky.
―How far is the top?‖ asked Peter grabbing a vine that didn‘t
hold his weight, causing him to slide a few feet back. ―Shit,‖ he
screamed. When he thought this was the end, he felt James‘s
strong arm touch his behind, preventing him to fall any further.
―Are you alright, Peter?‖ asked James concerned.
―Hurry up,‖ Peter heard the others shout.
He finally arrived to the top. James patted his back and sat
down on one of the rocks. Peter absorbed the panorama around
The border between the pinewoods and the suburbs moved
higher up the mountain as humanity spread, defeating nature.
The river sparkled like a single silver thread, dams inhibiting its
flow toward the sea now and then. The lakes seemed like great
footprints of a giant. In the distance they could see the city with
two distinct areas. The periphery of the city was slowly dying as
everyone either moved to the center or to the suburbs. In the
center they saw the many skyscrapers stretching to the sky. One
building stood out from the rest, its top was decorated with silver
moons setting one on top of the other, weakly reflecting the
morning light. The sea, guarded by a lighthouse and an iron
woman, was filled with ships arriving and leaving the port. Peter
sat down on one of the lonely rocks. The nature was so much
scarcer at this height, and he could feel it was harder to breathe.
The sun rose, the horizon splitting it in two. Suddenly two
hands appeared from within the sun, grabbing its sides and
pulling it far apart. The hands were followed by the head of an old
man with hair white like snow and his beard spiraling down
toward infinity. The old man jumped out of the sun and stood up.
As he towered toward space, his feet alone were as large as half
the city. The four boys looked at this unlikely apparition and did
not dare to move.
The man roared, and his voice awoke a wind so strong that it
almost blew them away. The roar turned into a cough.
―Oh my God, I‘m sorry, it‘s just, I have a cold.‖ His voice was so
loud it caused the world to shake.
―I think I must whisper,‖ he said. ―Where are you?‖ he asked
searching for them, squinting their way. ―Oh, there you are.‖ The
figure knelt down and reached for a pair of golden glasses
residing in an invisible pocket in his toga and put them on.
The four boys were too scared to move. Neil was the first one to
stand up. ―Who are you?‖
The figure laughed and bent closer to Neil carefully examining
him as if he were a precious porcelain figure. Peter inspected the
man‘s face, and for an instant, he recognized the traits of Neil.
After the laughter ceased, the shaking world calmed down as well.
―Don‘t you recognize me? I am your father,‖ he said looking at
Neil then turned toward the others. ―This is my Son whom I love.
Listen to him.‖ Peter nodded. James and John were shaking.
Neil‘s face had an air of fury. ―I am not your son. How dare you
come here and state you are my father. Where were you all this
time? You were nowhere when I grew up. You are nothing to me.‖
―I am your father no matter what you say. You always knew you
were different, Neil, and you know what must be done.‖
―You may be my biological father, but I don‘t feel anything for
you. My real parents are at home.‖
Neil turned around and started climbing down. The man gave
out a sigh.
―You will understand that no one can run away from their fate.‖
Neil didn‘t answer. The figure turned to the three of them.
―You can speak of this only after Neil has returned from the
dead. So, shhh,‖ said the man raising his index fingers to his lips,
his spit falling on to them like rain.
―From where?‖ asked Peter with incomprehension.
―When it is time you‘ll understand.‖
Peter nodded as the figure jumped back into the sun, and
everything turned back to normal. The rosé rays of the morning
light caressed the face of the world.
―Holy shit. Did you see this? Sick trip. What was in this weed?‖
asked John at the verge of laughter,
―Shut up, John,‖ said Peter, ―what we saw was reality.‖
John looked at James as if Peter were crazy and began to laugh
lying down onto the ground.
―What a trip we had. Camping is awesome. Right?‖ asked John
not facing Neil as the taste of strawberry dissolved in his mouth.
He was enchanted by the many people hurrying in all directions,
everyone living their own life. He twirled his long blond hair
around his finger then released it, examining his white blazer and
dark blue shirt, searching for spots. He was relieved not to find
―Yeah, it was quite cool. Do you like working at the fish store?‖
―I guess. It‘s not much fun, but at least I can stand on my own
two now. Have you decided what you are going to do? You could
go and work for your mother at the furniture shop…‖
John and Neil were sitting before the ice cream parlor on iron
chairs one next to the other protected from the sun by a rainbow-
colored umbrella. They were facing the road and enjoying as the
coolness soothed them from within. Now and then, a car sped by,
other than that only the constant murmur of humanity could be
Across the street they saw the park with the fountain in the
middle spouting water high into the sky before the great white
building of the town hall. For the first time John enjoyed the
milieu of the suburbs, and this extraneous feeling surprised him a
Neil rested his head on the back of the iron seat and closed his
John faced Neil‘s ice cream and could not believe what he saw,
his surprise culminating in the following words: ―Oh, crap.‖
Neil opened his eyes and saw John‘s face distorted with terror.
Neil looked down and what he saw made him jolt up causing the
ice cream to wobble in the cone a little. Neil saved it just in time
before it fell into his lap. A face was smiling from the strawberry
ball, giving a wink to Neil. Ting.
―Hello, Neil. I understand that you‘re mad at me, but what
would have happened if you knew me before? Would you have
become a better man?‖
―Maybe not better, but maybe happier.‖
―Happier? Neil, don‘t be silly. Are you truly unhappy because
you grew up with two moms who loved you more than anyone?
Look into your soul and answer me sincerely. Is this the true
cause of your unhappiness?‖
Neil turned away with apologizing eyes not directed to the face,
rather his parents at home. ―No, it‘s not their fault.‖
―Then why are you unhappy, Neil?‖
Neil stepped to the garbage can and tossed the ice cream inside.
―Come, John,‖ said Neil waving towards him.
As they left, they heard the voice coming from the depths of the
garbage can. ―You know what you have to do, don‘t run away
from your fate, this is the only source of your unhappiness.‖
John hurried after Neil who was storming across the road into
the park. John tried to dodge the people that somehow parted
before Neil, and like waves, collided behind him, crashing against
Neil stopped, and when John caught up with him, they both
hurried into the park.
They walked through the great oak trees lining the gravel path
as the sound of the water splashing became louder and louder.
They stopped at a bench and sat down. The breeze brought with
itself the cooling spur of the fountain. John finished his ice
cream, trying to solve the puzzle of Neil‘s glance.
―What we saw in the woods was true, right?‖
Neil just nodded. John was not surprised because he always
knew, but it was so much simpler to live in self-denial. A pigeon
landed on their bench and started cleaning its wings. As it moved,
the feathers on his neck sparkled in the color of oil spills. With a
pop its head exploded, and from the neck, the cells started
proliferating into a tiny head of an old man, his white beard
―You can‘t run forever, Neil,‖ said the bird. ―You know why I
sent you to earth.‖
―Leave me alone,‖ said Neil pushing the bird off the bench. It
opened its wings to fly and landed upon John‘s head who was too
terrified to move.
―What are you scared of, my Son?‖
―Neil, everyone is scared before finding their way.‖
―They won‘t understand me, and I‘ll fail you.‖
―I didn‘t send you to Earth to convert the whole globe. All you
must do is deliver the message, the rest is up to humanity.‖
―Leave me alone, I was much better without you. Come, John.‖
They stood up and left the bird behind as black clouds gathered
over them. The old oaks started morphing into the face of the old
man, the many flowers lining the road creating elaborate patterns
morphed as well, each strand of grass and finally even the pebbles
on the path resembled the same face.
―Don‘t be scared,‖ they chanted in perfect unison. ―Fulfill your
fate, this is all I ask from you.‖
―No, No, NO,‖ said Neil starting to run. They hurried past the
fountain as Neil pressed his hands against his ears trying to
silence the words. With a clash, a lightning struck, and water
came pouring down onto the world, each drop the face of Neil‘s
―Don‘t be scared. Fulfill your fate, this is all I ask from you,‖ the
Neil fell to the floor. ―Leave me alone,‖ he screamed, and his
voice exploded from his mouth and rose to the sky, piercing the
clouds, causing them to part. The sun reappeared, and John saw
the face of Neil‘s father in the sun. He winked, ting, then faded
away. Neil‘s body fell to the ground.
The park gave out a sigh as the drops refreshed it after the days
of dryness. The green of the grass and the leaves of the trees, the
millions of colors of the flowers radiated. Through the cells
creating them, the perspiration of the Gloria could be sensed.
John grabbed Neil and pulled the unconscious body to a bench
nearby. Neil‘s face awoke something in him that was more than
friendship but less than love. John knew that he would never
leave him even if the whole world would turn away. Neil awoke
and looked at John with his translucent eyes pleading for help to
find a way not to fulfill his destiny.
Matthew lit the cigarette watching the bustling sea of people
beneath. He played on the invisible piano before him, imagining
the sounds emerging from the nonexistent keyboard. He smelled
the rice powder around him. Men and women with great white
wigs listened to him play, the king himself nodding in
recognition. His cellphone buzzed, and he quickly picked it up.
―Sell, Matthew, sell now,‖ he heard through the phone.
Matthew faced the clock hanging over the crowd like a sword.
These words were like the gun signalizing the beginning of a race.
He threw the cigarette bum to the floor, pushed himself away
from the Doric column, and jumped into the sea of people
wearing suits. It was pure chaos for the laical but not for the ones
here. Matthew dodged the people hurrying in every direction. He
dashed toward his laptop at the other side of the room. He
jumped over someone ducking to tie his shoelaces, slid across the
table, and pressed enter.
Done, he texted on his phone. Matthew heard the bell ringing.
The stock was closed. Papers flew into the air and were falling like
autumn leaves, the sighs of desperation mixed with the
exultations of glory. Matthew sat down to rest a little, realizing
that he was tired and could not do this any longer. Slowly the
room emptied, and cleaners started gathering the papers into a
pile with the help of their brooms. The room looked like the
inside of the Pantheon except for the many monitors fastened to
the columns, and the booths growing out from the marble
pavement like mushrooms here and there.
Matthew heard a whimper coming from the far end of the
room. He stood up and walked across the trading area as the
sound grew louder and louder. The cleaners were immersed in
their work, only the monotone sound of the strands of the broom
brushing on marble could be heard. He jumped up the stairs,
hurried through the hiatus between two columns, and had to stop
in the semi-dark corridor surrounding the arena.
A man was lying in the corner shaking. He grabbed his left
pectoral muscle as if he were trying to prevent his heart from
escaping the prison of the rib cage. He sighed one last time. The
shaking stopped, and the body was motionless, dead. Matthew
He heard a deep rumble, and the building started shaking. A
great crack appeared in the ceiling and then it began crumbling.
The cleaners continued with their job as if nothing had happened,
but Matthew was determined not to die this way. He dashed
down the corridor as the columns, one after the other, fell and
crashed against the wall behind him. He flung out of the two-
winged door and down the marble stairs leading into the spacey
atrium. He pushed the great entrance door open and hurried
down the stairs leading to the road in the red rays of the
afternoon sun as the building crumbled behind him with a bang.
The city was completely empty, not a single soul was to be seen.
He walked in the middle of the abandoned road with the many
skyscrapers tickling the sky. He dusted off his grey suit fitting him
so perfectly it was hard to move in it. The neck of his white shirt
was suffocating him, so he loosened his thin black tie and felt a
The world itself started shaking, and a shadow appeared,
growing wider around him accompanied by a whistle. He saw a
great slab of concrete falling right on top of him. He started
running as the slab crashed into the asphalt road behind him. The
skyscrapers before him were cracking as well, and the top parts
were sliding to collapse onto the road. He took a right not
knowing where to hide when he saw two great oak trees
signalizing the entrance to the grand park in the center of the city.
He looked up and saw a skyscraper breaking in two, plundering
right onto him, the splinters of the windows falling upon him like
rain. He felt the fragments cut his face and rip his suit. He began
dashing toward the park as the building was precipitating right
The entrance was only a few feet away, and Matthew jumped.
The building crashed to the ground with a boom, and the sound
wave thrust Matthew into the sky. He fell onto the gravel path, his
body rolling a few feet.
The booms were echoing in the distance as the city was being
destroyed, but he was safe here. He stood up, dusted his clothes
off, but stopped because he didn‘t actually care about how dirty
they were. He felt at home in the green forest and did not mind
the concrete world becoming one with the ground around him.
He staggered to a bench and lay down as the sun waltzed out of
the world, giving place to the night. Matthew fell asleep ever so
swiftly and deeply as the stars over the city were visible for the
first time in many hundreds of years.
A pleasant tune hit his ear. He opened his eyes and sat up. It
was dusk, and everything else was silent, the world still sleeping.
He searched for the source of the tune. It was coming from a
drunkard heading his way. The figure was far away, approaching
at the end of the corridor lined by trees like columns withholding
the sky. It was a man, and his strong contours were embraced by
light, a figure dancing in the fire. Matthew put his shades on, for
the light was too painful to bear. The man drew closer and took a
sip from the bottle of whisky in his hand now and then.
Even though his voice was husky, it felt as if he were singing to
him like a mermaid, seducing him and caressing his whole body.
The figure was not singing distinct words. Matthew realized that
the light embracing him emanated from his body, like millions of
strands withholding a puppet.
The man stopped and bent forward trying not to lose his
balance. He noticed Matthew staring at him, and in the same
instant, the light disintegrated into thin air. Matthew took his
shades off and waited for the man to approach him.
―May…Isit…down?‖ asked the man, his voice tripping over his
―Go ahead,‖ said Matthew.
The man sat down and lay back on the bench lighting a
cigarette and putting his hair behind his ear exposing his wild and
untamed beard. He looked like a wild man, but his translucent
eyes made him transcendental. The smoke rose into the air, and
Matthew recognized the scent of weed.
―May I have a shot?‖ asked Matthew. The man handed him a
joint, and Matthew inhaled the fume. He felt all the stress that
was building up in his veins through the years at the stock
exchange vanish in a whim.
―Nice suit,‖ said the man and snickered. Matthew examined his
suit that was now perfectly intact. He caressed his face but did not
feel the wounds caused by the raining fragments of glass.
―What is a business man like you doing here at an hour like
this?‖ asked the man.
Matthew felt an urge to confide in him. ―I saw a man die today,
not able to bear the stress anymore…‖
―Rad,‖ said the man.
―I realized that I didn‘t want to die this way…my work is not
something worth dying for, at least not for me…‖
―So?‖ asked the man facing the sky as if he were seeing
―I don‘t know, I guess then it is a waste of time then. I earn
pretty well but still can hardly find the power to wake up and do
―…and do what?‖
―Pursue your dreams…‖
Matthew was amused by his words but didn‘t want to offend
him by laughing. ―How can I call you, my dear friend?‖
―Neil, life is not Hollywood, dreams never come true.‖
―Not if you don‘t even try…maybe you‘ll find out that what you
are doing now is not what you are meant to do, and this is the
specific cause of your unhappiness…‖ Neil stopped for a second,
deep in thought, as if he understood something. When the silence
was becoming too long, he continued, ―You have some money put
apart I figure.‖
―Take a break and pursue your dream, and if you fail, at least
you‘ll have a clear conscience knowing you‘ve tried. You have the
luxury many don‘t, to go back to your previous life if the new one
doesn‘t work out…‖
Matthew inhaled the smoke. He felt himself rise into the air.
―Don‘t you have a dream?‖ asked Neil, his eyes bathing in red.
Matthew smiled to himself and said under his nose, ―To play
―Great. You are very lucky. I don‘t have any. Good luck, old
friend,‖ said Neil standing up and leaving.
Matthew stood up as well. ―Wait, where can I find you?‖ he
asked searching in his pockets. ―Here take my card and ring me
up if you need anything, not as if I can give you anything until you
yourself don‘t know what you need.‖
Matthew marveled at the words that didn‘t pertain to him,
words so strange and still said by him out loud. He handed him
his card, and Neil slid it in his rear pocket. He walked away and
left Matthew alone to ponder about the things he heard. What if
life and Hollywood sometime do coincide?
Matthew left the other way to see that the world did not
crumble, not yet, but it would if the economy would crash
definitively. He did not despise the world of finance but couldn‘t
do as if he enjoyed it either. He never forgot his dream, just
thought about it as a child‘s fantasy. He could never rid himself of
a picture living in his brain, him playing the piano merrily in a
dim bar the day when the Reaper pays him a visit.
―Ammon, the Pharaoh‘s orders are to pursue the Israelites.‖
Ammon watched the messenger hurry away, the dust slowly
settling after him in the silent side alley. A bad feeling was
overcoming him, but he didn‘t have time to care. His beautiful
wife was standing in the entrance with her hand on their boy‘s
shoulder. The boy was looking at his father and sucking his
thumb not really understanding what was happening around him.
Ammon stepped to his wife and gave her a passionate kiss with
a notion that this would be their last encounter. He shook these
troubling thoughts away. They were armed and the Israelites
were not. He knelt down to his son and caressed his face bearing
the beauty of his mother and the strong lines of his father. He was
the embodied innocence radiating all the goodness and virtue in
―Whatever happens, listen to your mother.‖
The child nodded and watched his father turn away. As Ammon
stepped out of his home, he felt two little arms clutching his legs.
He looked down and saw his child‘s deep hazel eyes sparkling as a
tear refracted the sunlight.
―Everything will go well. I‘ll be home by nightfall.‖
His wife picked the boy up, and they both watched Ammon
leave through the buildings emerging from the desert sand itself.
As he walked through the streets, he sunk deep in thought. He
tried to find the origin of these emotions of finiteness and
lassitude, trying to convince himself that nothing would happen.
He walked through the narrow streets as the sun shone down
on him through the intricate cracks created by the labyrinth of
houses. People hurried by him with great woven baskets to be
filled up in the bazaar at the other end of the city. He walked by a
snake hypnotizer and stopped for a second. The perpetually
pulsating tune rose from the brass flute into the air. The lid of the
basket slid to the right, and a dark green snake emerged, each
scale glistening like many emeralds and his eyes sparkling ruby
red. It left the golden sand behind, rising toward the lolite blue
sky. The silver bracelets of the hypnotizer glowed in the sunlight.
It was getting late, so Ammon hurried away to the stables. As
he approached the tiny building covered with reed, he heard the
neighing of the horses that were being mounted. He stepped into
the darkness of the stables and adjusted his white toga, cleaning
his chocolate brown muscles of the invisible layer of sand, then
stepped onto the carriage with the muscular black steed ready to
receive the orders.
The doors opened, and light burst into the stable. He swung the
whip, and its crack made the horse stand on its hind two feet and
gallop away through the city gates.
The others were already lined in formation before the city
walls. He was the last one to arrive only to hear the last few
syllables of the orders. The city gates closed behind them, and he
faced the never-ending ocean of sand. The horizon was lost in the
mirage of water caused by the emanating heat. He heard the
trumpets pierce the silence, and the hundreds of carriages left the
city far behind.
They rode for many hours rising and descending the many
dunes. Many miles before them, the sky was filled with
menacingly dark clouds. They weren‘t simply dark, but they were
black, draining all light from the world and beating down on the
desert with an ever so strange storm.
As they grew closer, they saw that the infuriated tempest was
composed of not water but tongues of fire. They stopped before
the impenetrable burning curtain and saw the Israelites hurry
away farther and farther into the desert.
Ammon heard the voice of the captain giving out the orders.
―Everybody rest. The moment this rain ceases we continue our
journey. They will not be able to cross the red sea. Be ready to
continue any second.‖
Ammon walked back to his carriage and lay down into the
burning sand. He closed his eyes and tried to relax. The heat was
beating down on them, and he felt the liquor embracing his brain
boil, cooking it like an egg. The day flew away quickly, but the
curtain of fire was still blocking the way. The sun set covering the
desert with the cool night. Ammon watched the army dancing as
the light from the flames fell upon them. It was growing colder,
and a gentle breeze caressed him and calmed him down causing
him to fall asleep.
―Wake up,‖ someone bellowed.
Ammon opened his eyes to see that the clouds had parted and
the curtain had dissolved into thin-air. He jumped onto the
carriage and rode away after the others as the sun reemerged over
The sea appeared, tingling amidst the arid grounds of the
desert. The wind brought a salty scent with it. The front of the
never-ending line of carriages stopped for some reason, and
Ammon drove closer to the shore to investigate. He had to stop
because he didn‘t believe his own eyes. The water was parted
creating a corridor leading through the perpetually fluent walls of
water. The captain hesitated for a second then turned toward the
―We swore to follow the orders of the Pharaoh. After me!‖
The captain swung his whip, and his carriage hurried through
the corridor with the walls of water. The army followed, and soon
Ammon was riding past the translucent sea. The fish were
swimming about as if nothing had happened. The bottom of the
sea, where the army was riding, was covered with suffocating
clams, dying sea stars, and flapping fish begging for some water.
The Israelites were already safe and sound on the other bank.
Ammon hoped for a second that they would succeed, that they
would survive, when a great bang erupted echoing around the
Ammon stopped his horse and looked up to see the walls
closing in on them. The crashing mass of water thrust him in all
directions, and his body obeyed its undeniable and undefeatable
power. As the water poured down into his lungs, he thought about
his family, his beautiful and innocent child who was condemned
to grow up alone, in constant hunger, helpless against the evil
powers of the world without his father. The world turned black,
and Ammon road away through the dark tunnel toward the light.
He soon reached its end and stopped his cart on top of the
clouds. He jumped off the carriage and headed toward the golden
gate that opened as he drew closer. Light emerged from behind
the gates, and the sound of trumpets echoed, announcing the
arrival of the greatest ruler of all. Tiny putti materialized from
nowhere with the body of infants, but the decadent wrinkled face
of ancient beings. They flew around Ammon with their tiny flutes
and blew their screeching tune into his ears. He tried to chase
them off, but they returned like irritating flies in the unbearable
heat of summer.
Soon God appeared, sitting on his golden thrown carried by
four Seraphim who, instead of having two arms and two legs, had
millions of wings emerging from all over their body. Ammon
could see how they suffered under the burden they were carrying,
but the fear reflected in their eyes suggested that they did not
dare to complain.
―Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. All the earth is filled with
his Glory. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. All the earth is
filled with his Glory. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. All the
earth is filled with his Glory,‖ they chanted over and over again,
barely being able to speak, about to crumble under the weight of
the God who grew far too fat in the laziness of the heavens.
Guarding the throne were the Cherubs. Monsters. They had
four faces, one of a man, an ox, a lion, and a griffon vulture. Their
conjoined wings covered their faces, and they were standing on
ox‘s feet. The sound they gave out as they saw Ammon, made him
tremble in fear, the roar of the devil.
Following God came the rest of the hierarchy. Hovering in mid-
air came the Thrones, beryl-colored wheels-within-wheels with
their rims covered with hundreds of eyes annunciating the godly
justice. Then came the Dominions who looked like divinely
beautiful humans with a pair of feathered wings wielding orbs of
light fastened to the heads of their scepters and on the pommel of
their swords. Then came the Virutes with their maps of space
controlling the movement of all celestial bodies, and the Powers
with their million-page-long encyclopedias guarding the history
of the world, then the Principalites, the educators and guardians,
rulers of races, nations, and people, bearing a golden crown and a
scepter, then the seven Archangels, Michaell, Gabriel, Raphael,
Uriel, Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Zadkiel. Finally the millions of
common angels appeared and took their places, all of them
gathering behind God. Ammon waited for centuries until the
entourage finally settled down.
God cleared his throat. ―You have sinned, Ammon, and I
sentence you to burn in the flames of hell until the end of time.
You may speak in your defense, but I can tell you there isn‘t the
tiniest possibility that I grant you pardon,‖ said God as a putto
placed a golden cup of coffee in his mighty hands. ―You have
sinned against my chosen people,‖ he said taking a sip.
―Who are your chosen people?‖ asked Ammon.
―Ah, good question. Now the Jews, but I decided to widen my
base. Soon anyone will be allowed to join, they will be called the
Christians. Oh,‖ he said grabbing his protruding belly, ―this coffee
is a little too strong, my bowel movements… Angels, bring me the
Four angels arrived, carrying a golden toilette booth. They
placed it before God who disappeared behind the red satin
―And what happens to those who are not part of the chosen
people?‖ asked Ammon.
―They all have sinned,‖ he said from the booth.
―Then why did you create me when you knew that I would
commit sin and pursue your chosen people? Why didn‘t you spare
them the despotic ruling of the Egyptians?‖
―I needed to make my people witness the mighty God I am. I
needed people like you. I need sinners…‖
―So, basically, you created me to make them suffer, and now
that I do as I was ordained to do, I am declared a sinner? Why
make them suffer, why create us if you could just show yourself to
them and make them see your glory?‖
―My throne is far too big to fit through the dark tunnel you
came in from, so I had to find another way. Do you see my
ingenuity and godly astuteness?‖
His entourage unanimously clapped and cheered.
―I think you are crazy,‖ said Ammon. ―I left my wife and child
behind just because you play with us like a spoiled child with his
―Silence, you impudent scum. Open the doors of hell.‖
The clouds parted before Ammon‘s feet, and great flames rose
to the sky, scorching his hair.
―Push him inside,‖ he ordered.
A putto appeared behind Ammon, but he just slapped him to
the floor. ―Don‘t bother. I am glad and willing to be consumed by
the flames. I could never serve a deluded psychopath infant like
Ammon jumped, and the warm flames embraced him. As he
fell, he heard the godly toilette flush, and golden turds fell from
the sky like rain.
Peter woke up drenched in sweat, bathing in the rays of the
afternoon sun. He rubbed his forehead as the images of his dream
came pouring in. He examined the pictures one by one, scenes
about a maniac residing in the deepest cell in an asylum where his
insanity is given birth by the mother of ignorance who constantly
copulates with the father of everything illogic.
He knew too well that what he saw was more than a dream but
much less than reality. He saw the God his parents made him
serve and shuddered. He saw an idol that was about to crack and
crumble to the ground to be forgotten forever, never to be
respected and praised again. It was a mistake that humanity must
never make again. The fog blurring his future now rose, he knew
what had to be done. He had to leave college and become one of
He felt a compulsive force that made him rise from the bed and
find Neil even though he was not picking up his phone, so he
decided to visit the playground, the place that was so important
as they grew up.
He hurried down the wooden stairs, holding the white railings.
The moss green carpet felt soft under his socks. His parents were
sitting on the light green sofa with great palms bending over
them, offering them refuge and intimacy.
―I‘ll be coming home soon,‖ he said as he tied his shoelaces.
He hurried down the cobblestone path lined by the
rhododendron bushes to jump onto the arriving bus. The suburbs
gave place to the desolating scenery of the periphery of the city.
The bus stopped, and Peter jumped off.
Stray dogs chased each other, and Peter hopped out of their
way before he was pushed over. In the distance sirens could be
heard. It was becoming a hostile neighborhood, but to them it
was more than a place of peril and danger, it was the place where
they had grown up. This blinded their sight, morphing what they
saw into a sweet and nostalgic place. He walked through a dark
alley to step out into a playground surrounded by abandoned
He heard the screeching sound of not oiled, rusty metal
grinding against each other. The red sun set behind the building.
A figure was sitting on the swings, staring down deep in thought.
Peter approached him.
Neil only nodded.
―Where were you last night? Where were you today? I‘ve been
Peter sat down and pushed himself away from the ground,
swinging back and forth. As the breeze caressed his face, he flew
back in time and felt young again. Everything he thought right
and moral was about to change drastically thanks to this boy who
was not yet able to accept his fate.
―I had a dream, Neil…‖
Neil did not listen to him and looked up as if he hadn‘t said a
word. ―I know what has to be done.‖
―You do?‖ asked Peter surprised.
―Yes. But tell me how will we convince them? We must defeat
an ideology of two-thousand years.‖
―I know, Neil, but think of your predecessor who had to the
same and still succeeded, more or less.‖
Peter fell silent then asked the question that was always on the
tip of his tongue, but he never dared to ask. ―Did you know him,
Neil? I mean Jesus.‖
―Yes and no. The body I never saw, but we share the same soul.
We are the same, just the vessel is different.‖
―Did you always know who you were?‖
Neil nodded. The moon took its place and watched as the two
children slowly faded away. A rat pushed a trashcan over and fled
―How do we start, Peter?‖
―It‘s simple, we reach out to the people.‖
Neil pushed himself away from the ground, and Peter saw a
drop of tear sparkle in his eyes like one of the many stars in the
sky. Neil searched in his pocket for a cigarette and placed it in his
The silver buttons on his black leather jacket sparkled like
many diamonds, and the gel in his hair shone like many micron
thick silver strands. Only now did Peter see how pale he was. His
beauty was not of this world. Peter felt aroused a little even
though he knew that Neil was attracted solely to women. His
translucent eyes mesmerized Peter because it bore the plasticity
of water but the sturdiness of rock. Each time he looked into them
he lost himself a little as if he were being attracted toward a
precipice on the bottom of which the infinite ocean was awaiting
him, not the raging oceans of Earth, but a docile and lovable mass
of water that gives life and takes it away in time, he only had to
Peter decided to leave the conservative religious ways and step
onto this virgin path, but he knew far too well that this was a risk
that the disciples of the past took as well and eventually were
rewarded. He saw the wonders with his own eyes and knew who
Neil‘s father was. They would be condemned and called insane,
but he didn‘t care because he knew the truth, and eventually the
rest of humanity would see it too.
―Why are you sad, Neil? You have a place in the world, you
―I know, I am happy…‖
―But then why are you frowning?‖
―It‘s hard to learn that your youth ended. We have grown up.‖
―But think about what you can achieve, what an adventure
―I know, but only now do I really understand how fragile the
barrier is between life and death. We are growing old, and the end
―Don‘t be so melodramatic, Neil. I have an idea, you won‘t like
it, I don‘t like it either, but hear me out.‖
―Not now, not yet.‖
Neil pushed himself away and Peter did the same. They swung
back and forth bathing in the moonlight. The world that existed
behind them slowly vanished.
Philipp lay back in the seat of his provisional office he occupied
every Sunday where he worked as a volunteer on the usual
bureaucratic assignments the church ran on. He smelled the tips
of his hands and still felt the smell of fish from the never-ending
hours of packing the crates from the truck into the fridge during
the week. It was the smell of work, of time spent usefully, and this
warmed Philipp‘s heart.
The pen tinted the paper blue as it moved swiftly in his agile
hands. He brushed away a stray curl from his forehead and rested
for a second. The nameplate on the reverend‘s white door on the
right sparkled gold. He faced the window before his desk, looking
down at the park. A breeze entered and brushed the leaves of the
palm tree in the vase standing by the brown sofa beneath the
window. He enjoyed the silence that one only feels when their
heart is at peace.
He bent over his desk once more and began with the booking
that poured the numbers like a spring turning into a great river,
not permitting the slightest delay because the overflow is
imminent and will flood the towns and cities in the vicinity,
destroying the lives of many.
The moment he stepped over the threshold leading back to
work, two knocks interrupted him.
―Come in,‖ said Philipp facing the door that opened.
A familiar face appeared.
―Peter…‖ said Philipp with a tone of false welcoming and
mockery. ―What brings you here, old friend?‖
―Hello, Philipp,‖ said Peter coldly greeting him and grasping
his hand a little harder than necessary.
―Come do sit down.‖
As Philipp sat back into his chair, he saw a strange young man
enter after Peter. Even though the stranger was silent, he filled
the room just like a gas and entered into his lungs to dissolve in
his blood. The man‘s wild hair and untamed beard coupled with
the placid eyes awoke in Philipp a sort of attraction lacking any
type of sexuality.
―Let me introduce to you Neil,‖ said Peter.
Philipp shook hands with Neil. Even though his soft hands
were warm and his grasp gentle, his fingers embraced Philipp‘s
hand with a strictness, not conveying brute force, rather a
As Peter and Neil sat down on the couch before the window,
Philipp asked, ―How is your fish shop going, Peter?‖
―Great, Philipp, simply great.‖
―Oh, don‘t lie, all your customers are coming to us, your once
thriving shop is about to go bankrupt any moment.‖
―This is not why we came, Philipp.‖
―Oh, Peter. Talk to your parents, we are willing to buy your
shop. Your parents can keep their jobs if they wish. I promise.‖
―It took their whole life to build up their shop, and they are not
―John‘s parents are willing to sell…‖
―Don‘t try these dirty little tricks on me. I‘m not stupid, they‘re
not willing to sell. Anyway, we‘re here for much more important
Philipp sighed and lay back in his chair. ―Alright, how can I
Peter squirmed in his seat and gave a squint to Neil who
seemed to be here against his will. Philipp looked at them not
having the slightest idea what they had come here for.
Peter‘s family had sturdy religious values and always despised
Philip and his community a little, believing them more as a sect
than the rebirth of a religion. They knew, just like Philipp, that
the wonders performed by the reverend were not real, but what
they couldn‘t accept, unlike Philipp, was that the reverend was
doing this to expand the flock of God. Moreover he fed the need of
people to escape from reality into a world where wonders do
exist, and God is so close, not only visible, but tangible as well.
The reverend was working for a good cause. These illusions
weren‘t harmful and attracted those people who were deaf to the
words of God and wanted to see actions.
―There is no easy way to put this…‖ said Peter stopping mid-
Philipp reached for the glass of water and before taking a sip
said, ―Go on, Pete, go on.‖
―…I think that Neil here is the new Messiah.‖
Philipp spat the water out like a fountain, so great was the
shock caused by this insolence. He put the glass back on the table
and wiped his mouth.
―Excuse me?‖ he asked whispering.
Philipp looked at Peter who didn‘t try to explain or correct his
words making Philipp realize that he was truly convinced of his
truth. Philipp scrutinized his face, searching for a grin, anything
that would prove that he was joking, but Peter‘s face stayed as still
as the sturdiest rock.
―Get out, Peter. You of all people, you, the child of the most
bigot believers, how could you say something so atrocious?‖
―What my parents believe in is one thing, what I believe in is
another. You know how I was raised, this is the exact reason you
should believe me. Hence my family‘s bigotry I truly believe that
he is his son.‖
―Why should I believe you?‖
―Look at him.‖
―Look? Why?‖ Philipp turned to face Neil, but couldn‘t see
anything. The sun burst through the window, blinding Philipp
and causing him to squint. Neil was bathing in light. Philipp
stood up and let the shades down then sat back into his seat.
―Prove it, Neil. Do something,‖ said Philipp.
Peter turned to Neil with anticipation, and Philipp saw that he
too did not know what was about to happen. They both watched
him in perfect silence.
Neil sat in his chair staring at the desk. Philipp looked at his
hand and only now noticed how white they were, more than pale,
almost translucent. He seemed a specter not belonging here
between the living but not even to the realm of the dead, just
hovering between the two, seeing both at once. His inert bearing
somehow hypnotized Philipp, and when Neil raised his hand,
Philip jolted a little the way one does in his sleep, waking up just
before hitting the ground.
Neil‘s hand rose through the air without any weight at all as if it
were made of the lightest cumulous. His hand floated toward
Philipp who lay back, scared what that hand would do, trying to
dissipate into the black leather seat behind him. The hand glided
to the stack of pens in a tiny mahogany box by the photo of
Philipp‘s mother. Philipp did not dare to move, not even breathe.
Neil picked up a pen with his pale fingers, returned his hand to
his lap, and started fiddling with it.
He looked up at Philipp for the first time and Philipp saw his
eyes were the color of the unpolluted, turquoise sea.
―Philipp,‖ said Neil. Philipp felt his voice embrace him, and all
he wanted to do was to lose himself in it, to be caressed by that
hand giving him unbearable pleasure until the end of time. ―I am
sorry, but I will not perform any kind of wonder.‖
Philipp didn‘t know how to evaluate what he had just heard and
witnessed. He wanted to believe them, but couldn‘t, it was a leap
of faith he couldn‘t perform. If Neil would have said, ‗Philipp, I
am the son of God,‖ Philipp would have believed him, but no one
said a word.
―Get out of my office please,‖ said Philipp in disgrace. ―Every
now and then we meet people that truly think they are the
Messiah. This is not only humorous but makes you seem like a
megalomaniac psycho. Get out. I don‘t have time for this.‖
―Philipp, please listen, you must help us,‖ said Peter begging
―Get out, get out,‖ said Philipp opening the door and showing
them the way.
Peter stood up and stormed out of the room. Neil left without a
care in the world. The moment Philipp closed the door behind
him everything went a little darker. He stepped to the window to
pull the shades back up. As he sat back behind his desk, Philipp
could not rid himself from Neil‘s aura to which he stuck to as if it
The reverend‘s door opened, and Mrs. Plumberry stepped out,
followed by the reverend. The reverend was wearing his usual
black suit. His white hair was combed backwards giving him the
air of an oil mogul grown old.
―Mrs. Plumberry, all you have to do is raise your hand when I
ask for volunteers. Philipp will push you to the stage in the wheel-
chair, and when I demand you to walk, all you have to do is stand
up and walk.‖
Philipp loved the reverend very much, but his voice, its
venomous sweetness, made his stomach turn and awakened hate
in him for this man. This he always tried to hide, even from of
himself, most of all from himself.
The door closed behind the old woman, and as the reverend
returned to his office, he asked, ―Is everything alright, Philipp?‖
―Of course, reverend.‖
The door closed behind him, and Philipp was left alone. As he
looked outside, he realized that the sun was nowhere to be seen
because the window was facing east and during this time of the
afternoon the sun was setting in the west, on the other side of the
building. It was Neil who emanated the light, not the sun.
―I really must sleep more,‖ he said returning to his desk and
bending over the papers to continue with his Sisyphusian fight
against the never-ending stream of numbers.
Neil stopped his red Mustang at the abandoned motel at the
edge of the desert. The wind awoke bringing sand from the womb
of death. Peter looked at Neil staring at the steering wheel.
―I understand you don‘t want to perform wonders, but then
how do you want to attract the attention of the people?
Neil shrugged, but Peter didn‘t give up.
―People listen to the reverend, and they would listen to you
Neil shrugged once again and remained silent.
―C‘mon, Neil, get out. Sulking won‘t do any good.‖
Neil nodded, stepped out of the car, and slammed the door
behind him. He hurried to the trunk and grabbed his skateboard
with its burning flames running across the underside. He plucked
each freshly oiled red wheel that turned without making the
slightest sound, then opened the back door, and reached for his
black bag. He dusted his black leather boots off, and his pants
swayed a little as the wind blew in through the tattered jeans. His
deeply cut XXL black T-shirt exposed his pectoral muscles with
tiny strands of hair. Neil brushed his long dark hazel hair back
and scratched his manly beard.
Neil approached the pool and stopped at its side, stepping onto
the back end of the skateboard, making the front end hover in
mid-air. He put his weight onto the front and rolled down the side
of the pool only leaving the grinding sound of wheels on cement
behind him. As Peter approached the pool, Neil reemerged from
time to time, rising into the sky. His silhouette appeared
periodically, twirling and somersaulting in the air before the
summer sun that cast its rays on this desolate place.
Peter examined the L-shaped two-story abandoned motel with
its many shattered windows looking down on the yard, then
ducked under the fence surrounding the pool, and stepped out on
the other side. He walked past the white deckchairs, some of
them broken, others flipped over. The palm trees surrounding the
pool were on the verge of death, life was only blinking in them,
ready to go out any moment. The breeze moved the dry leaves
that gave out a hissing sound, a snake ready to mar the youth and
inject the venom of revelation that everything ends eventually.
Peter stopped by the iron ladder leading into the empty pool
and sat down into one of the folding chairs. He reached for the
whiskey in Neil‘s bag and took a long sip. The fluid burned his
esophagus. Neil emerged from the pool, sat down by him, and
grabbed the bottle to take a sip.
Peter was lost, he left his old God and now was following the
new one, at least this is what Peter hoped. He started working at
the local socks factory after his parents threw him out when he
told them who he was and what he wanted to do. The work was
nothing extraordinary, but at least he could rent his own
apartment. The liquor rose into his head, and he felt light. All this
life of complete abstinence was gone now, and for the first time
he was really enjoying life, not knowing whether this was right or
They sat there in silence for a few minutes. As Neil rolled a
joint, Peter stood up, reached for a spray can, and jumped down
into the pool to start a new fresco. Peter had an artistic vein that
he had only discovered after he severed ties with his previous God
and stepped on the road of self-acceptance.
Neil lit the joint and jumped down beside him to quietly watch
him as he worked. Occasionally Peter reached for the joint. When
the smoke began to take effect, everything seemed to change. The
colors became so much more vivid. The purple seemed to be more
than what it was, it had a strong neon pink undertone. The black
contours only made the letters glow. The neon green dripped
down the letters that were emerging from a thick cloud of yellow.
When Peter was finished, he stepped back and admired his
masterpiece, his Sistine chapel.
Neil read the words, ―The dying apostles of death. Oh, Peter,
you are such a dork,‖ said Neil snickering, but patted Peter in
Peter climbed up the ladder and sat down on the chairs facing
the desert as day turned into night. He reached for his phone to
post their location. It was getting dark, and Neil walked to the car
to switch the dazzle lamps on. The strands of light illuminated
Peter‘s back, casting his shadow on the concrete yard that turned
into sand a few feet away.
Neil sat down and gave the bottle to Peter. He took a sip then
cleared his throat. He heard his own words from far away, a little
bit slower than usual.
―Why didn‘t you perform a wonder, just like Philipp asked?
Just like your predecessor did?‖
―I won‘t,‖ said Neil facing the sky, ―as you see, it didn‘t work for
Jesus, and it won‘t work for me either.‖
―But what do we do now, Neil?‖
―There is always a way. Sometimes you just gotta let things
happen, and they turn out for the better. Sometimes.‖
―I‘ll put some music on,‖ said Peter.
He walked to the car and switched the radio on. Rhythmical
music rose into the air invoking ancient tunes of aboriginal
dances conveying a prayer to the gods above for better weather,
for luck in battle, for prospering peace, for pardon and absolution
from their sins. The singer persistently chanted her wish to be the
slave of a man, willingly, without force, annulling the peace treaty
signed in Appomattox, making fun of the many victims the war
demanded, causing Grant to roll over in his grave.
It was music hated so much from the previous generations, but
Peter knew that the ones who judged them did not want to
comprehend that everything evolves from what the previous
generation started. The old is taken by the youth and morphed
into something new, something that the young generation can call
They talked into the night when another light approached
them, coming from a different angle. Peter turned around and
saw a golden Corvette dashing toward them. The car took a sharp
right, drifted for a few feet, and stopped with a deafening screech.
Two identical figures jumped out from the back of the vehicle and
headed toward them. As they stepped into the light, Peter
recognized them, John and James, but there was a third
silhouette, much more slender and feminine, someone who
moved much slower than the other two, swaying from left to right
like a snake.
The figure stepped into the light, and Peter‘s heart rejoiced. He
couldn‘t contain his happiness and hurried to hug Magdalene.
She was so different, yet she was the same rebel as all of them,
channeling the words of the abandoned youth of today. Peter let
go of Magdalene, and she walked, not walked but slid toward
Neil. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and they kissed,
bathing in the light coming from the cars, witnessed by the
―You really made it, Magdalene, or should I just call you L€ne?‖
―L€ne will be fine.‖
―You are a star…‖
―I guess,‖ said L€ne blushing.
―How did you find us?‖ asked Neil intrigued.
―Peter checked in, and we saw his location.‖
―How long are you staying?‖ asked Peter jumping up and down.
James unpacked his backpack filled with whiskey. L€ne broke
loose from Neil‘s arms and reached for a bottle without answering
and then started moving to the pulsating music. They danced
with Neil as James and John skateboarded. Peter lay down
enjoying this unexpected reunion, closing his eyes listening to the
sound of their voices, their laughter, their bodies moving, the
music, and the wind coming from the desert.
The bottles emptied one after the other, but Peter could see
that something was disturbing L€ne. Just when he thought he
would never learn its source, she pulled him away. They walked to
the motel, and L€ne kicked in one of the doors and hurried to the
toilette to bend over the seat. L€ne roared and threw up, filling
the bowl with a red paste-like liquid filled with glitter.
―Oh shit, what is that?‖
―Gliteoeoeoer.‖ She threw up once more. When she was done,
she cleaned her mouth. ―It‘s a strange disease, autoimmune or
something, my body creates a glitter-like substance to
contain…who the hell knows what.‖
―Is it dangerous?‖
―Who knows…‖ she said and sat down onto the moldy old bed
next to Peter. It was dark apart from the light of the cars coming
through the tattered shades causing their shadows to distend
onto the walls of this decaying room.
―What is the problem, L€ne?‖
―I‘m leaving, Peter, leaving for a very long time, and I just came
to say farewell.‖
―Where are you going?‖
―On tour. I will be a vagabond from now on. Everyone wants a
piece of me.‖
―Good for you, we will miss you, but I guess you made it, and
you should be happy. Does Neil know?‖
―No, and please don‘t tell him, just give us this last night.‖
Peter nodded, then L€ne hugged him, and they hurried back to
the others. The party continued until the first rays of light
appeared over the horizon. L€ne and Neil headed into one of the
many rooms, John staggered into a second one, and Peter and
James occupied a third one. Peter sat down on the bed as James
closed the door behind him. Peter looked at James‘ long blond
hair tumbling down onto his shoulders like the waves of the
―Take your pants off,‖ he commanded Peter, and he obeyed.
James pushed him onto the bed, threw his skull T-shirt to the
side, exposing his rippling upper body, and bent over Peter,
kissing him passionately. He grabbed Peter, and with a single
motion, turned him around, making him fall face down. James
spanked him, and Peter felt the propulsion sway up his body.
Peter heard James unbuckle his belt and saw him put a condom
on. He was like Michelangelo‘s David, Peter thought, the same
body except for his cock twice the size. James grabbed his waist
and raised it into the air then pierced him from behind, stabbing
him again and again until dusk turned into morning, and Peter
fell onto the bed senseless with pleasure.
The next morning Peter opened his eyes and hurried out of the
bedroom to find Neil staring into the nothingness at the edge of
the desert. He walked to him and saw that his heart was broken.
The wind blew through Philipp‘s hair, gently caressing his face,
soothing him, causing him to smile, bathing in the grace of the
world. Philipp opened his eyes and could not believe what he saw.
He was standing at the feet of a hill with an ancient city emerging
from the sand itself behind him. Patches of green decorated the
He was wearing his usual grey suit that stood out from the
surroundings that evoked ancient, long lost times.
Philipp turned around and saw Neil standing next to him. He
was different than the silent young man who sat in his office. He
was glowing, emanating light that burned through reality, and
Philipp thought he could see God peeking through it.
―You can call me that, in fact you can call me whatever you
want, but Neil will be adequate. Follow me, I want to show you
His voice was gentle, but transcended authority, a
commandment not to be defied. Neil walked up the hill calmly,
taking each step as if it were his last. Philipp hurried behind him
as a voice emerged from the silence. He could swear it was the
voice of Neil, but he was not talking.
As they reached the top, Philipp saw twelve men listening to a
man who he recognized instantly, it was Jesus. He was much
shorter than how Philipp had imagined him, so ordinary, so
human. He looked much older than his true age, and his eyes
were sad because of the cross he was bearing and the fate he knew
would come no matter what happens, like a tidal wave that
nothing could stop, not even the greatest dam ever built by man.
―I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off
every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that
does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You
are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit
by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit
unless you remain in me.
―I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I
in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do
nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is
thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown
into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words
remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
This is to my Father‘s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing
yourselves to be my disciples.
―As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain
in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father‘s commands and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy
may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have
loved you. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no
longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his
master‘s business. I do not call you victims because you must
immolate nothing, as I will not either. Instead, I have called you
friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made
known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and
appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will
last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will
give you. This is my command: Love each other.
―If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If
you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is,
you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the
world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told
you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted
me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they
will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my
name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not
come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but
now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me, hates
my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no
one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have
seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father, but this is
to fulfill what is written in their Law, they hated me without
reason and is there anything worse than hate without reason?‖
This is all Jesus said, and he headed down the hill, leaving all of
them alone. Philipp watched his contour dissolve in the setting
sun, his words still ringing in his ears. He turned back to Neil.
―These are not his exact words. I know the Bible by heart.‖
―Shhh. Just listen,‖ said Neil nodding toward the apostles.
The apostles started moving, some stood up to stretch their
limbs. Peter lay down on the grass and reread the words. Slowly
they settled in the burning rays of the setting sun, and the
meeting continued without Jesus.
Peter was the first one to speak. ―We listened to him all this
time, and all he gives us is a single commandment? To love each
―This won‘t do, people,‖ said James. ―We need to create more