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Short Stories.
Short Stories.
Thought it'd be neat to start a short story thread. Post your favorite short stories here for my enjoyment please.[Image: pimp.gif]

An atheist on Judgment Day.

- The line seemed to stretch back forever. Hundreds of millions of souls, waiting patiently for their turn before the throne. The date... Well, the day is Judgment Day, so you won't find it on any calendar. The queue of people winds its way down the mountain, through the valley and off into the far distance. Everybody in the queue can see the final destination at the mountain peak. A hundred miles away, they can see it perfectly clearly. And they wait, moving forward a couple of steps at a time. Towards God, and the Decision.

At the head of the we find a young Christian, wearing an expression of awe and joy. Behind him, an atheist, looking slightly astonished, examining a leaf she has picked from a nearby bush, trying to decide if it is real or not. Heaven, she thinks, should be whiter, with more dry ice swirling about; not look like a Welsh hillside on a hot day.

The Christian steps forward for judgment.

"Hello Martin". God's voice is calm and gentle as He speaks.

"Erm.. Hello. Lord". Martin's voice is nervous, as a dozen emotions fight for room in his mind at once.

"This is it. This is where I decide what shall happen to you, Martin. In life, you were a Christian". It was a statement, not a question.

"I was, Lord. I still am. I have been all my life. I have dedicated myself to your service."

"Tell me, Martin. Why were you a Christian? Why did you believe in me?"

"Why? Well... Because you are God! I've always believed in you."

"That is not what I want to know. Why did you believe?"

"Because I knew it was true. You were always there for me. You helped me through the bad times. You answered my prayers. You gave me the strength and courage to get through life. I could feel your presence with me all the time."


"Pardon, Lord?"

"I said no, Martin. I have never helped you. You seemed to be doing perfectly alright by yourself. I heard your prayers, but never answered a single one. Your belief in me definitely helped you on occasion, but I have never intervened in your life. Certainly, you gave me credit for all the good times, but they were your own doing, not mine. You did not feel my presence, because it cannot be felt. The only actual proof you have that I exist at all is here and now. Again, tell me why you believed."

"I.. I had faith, Lord. Since I was a child I have been to church, prayed and sang every Sunday. My faith in you never wavered. Even when my mother died, I had faith that it was your will, that it was a blessing from you that she passed peacefully. I was raised to believe in you, and as I grew I read the Bible for myself, and learnt of your miracles, and all the saints and martyrs, and the good done in your name. I read the works of great philosophers and they merely strengthened my faith. I knew it was true. "

"No, Martin. Your mother died of natural causes, and she died peacefully because of the actions of the hospital. I watched and saw, but that is all. As for the rest - the saints, martyrs and philosophers had similar reasons for their belief in me, just as dictators and murderers have had. People have done great good and great harm in my name, and in the names of a thousand false gods. The Bible was written about me, not by me, and was written by people who had similar reasons as you for their belief, just as a thousand other Holy Books have been written about the false gods, or different versions of myself. I ask for the third and final time. Why did you believe in me?"

Martin looked shocked and ashen, but pulled himself together. His Lord was testing him, and he had lived his entire life for this moment.

"I believed because I could feel in my heart it was true. You sent your son to die for us, and I gladly accepted Him as my saviour. I.. I just knew it was true, and now that I see you, my faith has been vindicated. I no longer need to believe - I can see for myself the truth and majesty of my religion."

Quietly, God spoke again. "Martin, you have impressed me". He paused.

"But... not enough. You believe because you were taught to believe. You believe because you mistakenly attribute to me anything positive that has happened in your life, and discount anything negative. You believe because it is comforting to believe, and because you are frightened of the consequences of my not existing. You believe because... you believe. I'm sorry, Martin, but there is no place for you here."

God gestured briefly with his fingers, and Martin vanished. His shadow lingered where he had stood, fading rapidly to nothingness.

The atheist, somewhat shaken by what she had just seen, stepped forward.

"Hello Eve. I like that name."

"Ah. Hello, God. Thanks", said Eve, not entirely sure how to address a being she had, until now, considered fictional.

"Yes, you may call me God. Eve, in life you were an atheist. You doubted my existence, even objecting to the very concept". Again, a statement, not a question.

"Yes, I did. Clearly, I was mistaken."

"Clearly. Tell me, are you still an atheist?"

"I suppose not. I'm not a Christian, Jew or anything else. I guess I'd have to be called an involuntary theist. Ah ha ha", Eve laughed nervously, hoping the very real and solid-looking deity before her had a good sense of humour.

"Mmm... Tell me, Eve. Why did you not believe in me?". God's voice was kind and gentle once more.

"At one point I did. I was raised as a Christian, and often went to church, and prayed every night before bed. When I was feeling down I would read the Bible. The act of reading it seemed to comfort me, even though the words themselves didn't seem much help. I think, like Martin, I believed because I believed."

"And then you lost your faith? You decided I did not exist, and you knew better than those around you? You knew better than your pastor and family?" The voice was losing its kindly edge a little.

"That is one way of looking at it, yes. What I believed did not seem to fit with other things I knew. The Bible clearly could not be literally true, word for word. I knew from biology and paleontology that humans had evolved like all other life, and were not special creations. How life or the universe began, I still don't know, but could not just merely accept 'God did it' as an explanation. I learned about other religions, and how they all claimed a monopoly on truth, happiness and morality. I saw the good done in your name, but I also saw the oppression, genocide and wars. I saw that if people were in need, it was up to us to deal with it, not to rely on heavenly aid.". Eve felt a little braver, but was expecting the traditional thunderbolt any moment. The people behind her, now at the head of the queue, were slowly moving backwards, trying not to draw attention to themselves.

"Yet here you are, before your God, on the final Day of Judgment. Why should I allow you in - a heretic, a disbeliever, an infidel - when your predecessor, devout and faithful, full of love for me, was consigned to Oblivion? Tell me why. Justify your entry to my Paradise."

Eve straightened up, looking God in the face. "Why should you let me in? Because I am better person than you."

If Eve had looked round, she would have seen the entire line of souls, perfectly still and wide-eyed, staring at her in shock.

"What did you say?", enquired God. His voice, though barely audible, caused tremors in the mountain.

Surprised at still being alive, her mouth dry, Eve continued. "I said, because I am a better person. You have shown it yourself already. You told Martin that you watched as his mother became ill and died. You destroyed him for believing for no good reason, when his whole life had been shaped by that belief. Your preachers on Earth encourage unquestioning faith, yet you do not tell us whether that is what you want. You give people no rational basis for belief, and then when they make up their own that is not good enough for you. You listen to our prayers, yet do not answer, leaving people to rationalise events for themselves. People kill and slaughter over trivial differences in doctrine, and you look on. In the churches and temples raised in your glory, children are mentally and physically abused - in your so-called House! All over the world, throughout history, people have murdered each other for believing the wrong thing about God, for believing in the wrong God, or for not believing in any God. The poorest and most helpless people are relentlessly targeted, being told to give what little they have now, for the promise of eternal bliss later. When a person is at his lowest ebb, that is when the smiling missionaries appear, knowing that his life will probably get better naturally and they can give you the credit. In your name, the ends justify the means as long as souls are saved". Eve paused for breath, and continued.

"And you? All-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing? You just sit here and you watch it all... Any person in this line, had they your power, would show greater compassion and morality. You may be God, but you are far from Godliness."

God smiled. "Are you finished? Good. Eve, you have impressed me". He paused. Eve held her breath, shoulders tensing.

"You have impressed me a great deal. You may have believed in me for all the wrong reasons, but you disbelieved for the right reasons. You led a good life, and used the intelligence I give to everybody in the correct way. Even though you came to a conclusion about me that was hopelessly wrong, you came to it in a way that cannot be faulted. You may pass into paradise, Eve, with my blessing."

Eve did not step forward. Instead, she spoke once more. "No, I will not".

"No? You refuse Heaven? You defy my will?" The smile had left God's face again.

"Do you think I would want to spend one more minute, let alone eternity, in your company? You allow people to suffer, sometimes for their entire lives, for no purpose, and then judge them on their reaction. You hide yourself from the world and allow your creations to persecute each other over differing interpretations of the lack of evidence. You see all the pain and ignorance caused in your name, and just sit there as this queue grows daily? And then you have the audacity to punish good people for believing in you 'for the wrong reasons'?"

"Eve. Enough of this. The gates to Paradise are open to you. Be silent now, and enter."

"No. If it is a choice between oblivion and an eternity with a monster like you, I gladly choose oblivion. I ask only one thing, before you destroy me."

"And what is that?" asked God, getting impatient.

"That, if you can, you look me in the eyes as you do it."

Shortly afterwards, the next person in the queue stepped towards the top of the mountain, and Judgment.
I used to tell a lot of religious jokes. Not any more, I'm a registered sects offender.
...the least christian thing a person can do is to become a christian. ~Chuck
[Image: attemptingtogiveadamnc.gif]
RE: Short Stories.
Nice story, with a good twist at the end Tongue
RE: Short Stories.
Hmmm.. 19 views and only one response. Ok, tough crowd.

Here's one that may appeal to more of ya. It's got spaceships, drama, some action.
A long long time ago in a galaxy far, far away blah blah empire blah blah blah rebels blah blah blah princess blah blah

Unwelcome Contact
In space, no-one can hear you preach

The stars reappeared as the explorer ship Sisyphus dropped back into normal space near a binary yellow dwarf star system, the Hawking Distortion Engines loosening their grip on the space-time continuum. The ship maneuvered between the fourth planet of the system and its moon, and proceeded to scan the local volume for any signs of its assailant. It seemed that they might have finally escaped. Repair teams began to work on the damage the hull had suffered, and Counselors started prioritising the traumatised crewmembers. Non-essential systems were shut down as the crew attempted to minimise the chances of detection. The Sisyphus hung in space, dark and silent. The next few weeks looked to be quite busy.
Eight hours later, the automatic alarms sounded. An anomaly had been detected towards the edge of the solar system, and the Sisyphus went back to Full Alert.
"Is it them?", asked Captain Morgan.
"They have not yet come through, but in all likelihood, it is them.", replied Fahar, directing the long-range sensors to the source of the disturbance.
"Shields to maximum, secure bulkheads, power up the Wide Spectrum Cannon and the defense grids.", Morgan said, trying to keep the despair in her voice at a minimum.
Beyond the orbit of the outermost gas-giant, the stars briefly whirlpooled, and a single point at the centre expanded rapidly to form the familiar, geometric shape of the enemy ship. Formed from six distinct cubes, it was a three-by-two rectangle almost a mile long. Each section appeared to be intricately carved from a solid block of dull grey metal, with no apparent outer hull. The occupants were more concerned with function than form. Their mission had little time for aesthetics. Almost impossibly quickly, the ship altered direction and headed towards the fourth planet.
"Captain, they're coming." called Fahar, stating the obvious. Of course they were coming - that's what they did. That's all they did.
There was no sense in trying to hide now, and the ship's systems were powered up once more. The repair teams finished what they were doing, and the Sick Bay prepared for casualties.
"Hail them.", said Morgan, "I know it's probably pointless, but we can try to reason with them again."
"Opening channels... They are responding, Captain. Putting it on-screen now.". This was Jackson, at the comms station. He was sweating. Seeing the adversary again so soon was something he did not relish.
The screen switched from a view of the gently swirling clouds of the planet below to the face of the enemy.
"Captain Morgan. My designation is Proselytiser Eight Of Ten. Drop your shields. Do not resist us. We bring good news." Morgan looked into the visage of horror that was the face of her pursuer. The shiny, pasty white skin; the slicked-back hair; the suit with creases so sharp you could shave with it; the fixed smile, strangely warm and yet somehow also contemptuous and pitying. The Christ-Borg had found them once more.
"Proselytiser Eight. How good to see you again.", spoke Morgan. "Our position remains the same. We will not join you. We have no need of your beliefs. We will resist you to our last breath. I suggest you turn around and leave now."
"Humans. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. We are Christ-Borg.", droned Eight through his gleaming smile. "We will reach you within five minutes, at which time you will become one with us. Your vessel is damaged and you cannot outrun us."
"We do not want to fight you, Eight. We are heading back to Federation Space and wish to have no conflict with you. We believe what we believe, and you believe what you believe. Can't we be reasonable about this?". Morgan was trying to remain calm. The Captain losing her temper was the last thing the Sisyphus needed. She knew the Christ-Borg would probably see that as an example of inferior morality, and attack immediately.
"Reason is irrelevant. You will be assimilated. Every knee shall bow. You are sentient beings, therefore it is required that you accept Christ Jesus as your saviour. This will happen. Do not resist.", commanded the Proselytiser. Morgan had heard this speech before. Many times.
Muting the connection, Morgan spoke to the bridge crew. "Are the shields at full strength? Good. People, we are still a long way from home. We've escaped the Christ-Borg before, and we can do it again. They might have strength of numbers, and a superhuman faith in their own righteousness, but we have one thing they don't. Independent thought. Remember, they are a hive-mind. They cannot be considered to be individuals. The entire ship is a colony of one, and to join them is to become part of their collective consciousness. We think freely, they do not. We can outwit them, even if we can't outrun them. We escaped from the Islamic Jihad Fleet, when everyone thought they were an unstoppable Hegemonising Swarm. We passed undetected through Mormon Space, and we can escape from the Christ-Borg also. So, let's do it! Fahar, what's their status?"
"Captain, they are currently traveling at relativistic speed, and seem to be charging up their Dogma Weapons.", replied Fahar. The Vulcan did not appear to be worried, but then, they rarely did. The Vulcans were one of the few species that appeared to be naturally immune to the pleadings of the various religious Crusade Empires.
* * * *
The Empires had come into being shortly after Earth had mastered faster-than-light travel. With the development of Hawking Distortion Engines, Warp Drives, Energy Grid Grippers and Abyss-Gates, humanity quickly spread through the local spiral arm of the galaxy. Many neighbouring solar systems were colonised simply to ease the burden on the overcrowded home-world. Science stations were set up on exotic planets, or in orbit around those worlds where various interesting forms of life had evolved. Many of the larger organised religions headed off on their own, to create entire worlds devoted to the worship of their particular Gods. Many still traded regularly with the (relatively) secular worlds, and occasionally sent Mission Ships to the more backward planets on the edge of Federation Space, or into uncharted regions, hoping to spread their beliefs to as yet undiscovered alien intelligences. Few came back. Vatican VI, the sixth world of the Vatican System, was home to the Roman Catholic Universal Church (commonly referred to as Pope-World). The other large church-worlds included Planet Of Islam, Sri Baba's World, and the Religious Conglomeration World (a mixed-faith planet, consisting of those religions that could co-exist peacefully; a prime target for missionary expeditions from the fundamentalist worlds).
As has happened throughout history, the larger religions produced extremists. Whilst most followers were content with their life within the churches, and often spent a good deal of time on the secular worlds, others were not content. Numerous factions felt that the teachings of the mainstream church had become too liberal in an attempt to accommodate everyone, and had lost their focus on the True Faith. Fundamentalist prophets rose at the fringes of the religions, and if they became too large or powerful the main church would often provide them with transportation and supplies so that they could start their own church-worlds, preferably a long way away. The best way to deal with doomsday cults seemed to be to get them away as quickly as possible. Often, these factions would eventually trickle back to the main churches, or simply never be heard from again. Travellers would bring rumours of planet-wide suicides or natural catastrophes, but many church-worlds simply cut off all communication with the outside. (The Amish, for example, bought passage to a planet on the edge of Federation space, and have lived in total isolation since. No radio transmissions have been heard from them for decades now, and no-one knows if they are happily surviving with no technology or have suffered some terrible disaster. Their request for absolute isolation is being respected, although there are still a handful of listening-probes on the edge of Amish Space, in case they ever do need outside help.)
Occasionally, these sects would become Crusaders, building fleets of vast starships and traveling from system to system spreading their Good News, by force if necessary. Of these, the most feared are the Christ-Borg. Originally a minor sect on Robertson's World, they began altering their bodies, attempting to use technology to achieve communion with their god. With the realisation that independent thought was unnecessary, even hazardous, to their beliefs, they merged their beings into one hive-mind. There could only be One Truth, and there was no need for anyone to think differently. They would all believe as one, and all be Saved as one. Soon after this, they started Crusading. Theirs was the Truth, and all others must be made to realise that.
* * * *
The Sisyphus' shields flickered briefly, as they absorbed a stream of energetic particles from the larger of the local binary stars, and then restored themselves to a mirrored ellipsoid around the ship, perfectly reflecting the planet, moon, stars and rapidly closing Christ-Borg vessel. As it slowed, the structure of the vessel altered. The intricate cubes slid past each other in a carefully co-ordinated ballet of tractor beams, until they were in the standard Christ-Borg attack formation. A crucifix, over a mile long. The twin suns cast a double shadow of the ancient instrument of execution, passing slowly over the cratered surface of the moon below as the ship powered up it's Gospel Beams and opened the gun-ports of the powerful Testament Cannons.
"Proselytiser Eight! There is no need for this. We understand your beliefs, but we simply cannot adopt them. To you, they are the total truth, but we cannot follow the logic behind them."
"Logic is irrelevant. You will have faith. You will be assimilated. Every knee shall bow. Every tongue shall praise His name."
"Maybe if you give us time, we will come to accept your beliefs. You must let us think them through by ourselves. Return to your Church-World and leave us in peace."
"Thought is futile. There is nothing to consider when presented with the Truth. The collective will think for you. You will think like us, you will dress like us, you will act like us, you will worship with us. There is no alternative. Repent your sins. We are Christ-Borg. You will serve God through the collective."
"Never! You might consider difference of belief a sin, but we do not. We are humans, and the freedom of our minds is supremely important to us. Why would you take that away?"
"Your mind exists only to serve Him through the collective. We love you. Jesus loves you. You will become one with us and sing His praises with one voice to all the heathen worlds, that they may see the error of their ways. You have been presented with the Revealed Truth, and to deny it is now a sin." Eight's eyes seemed to be glazing over, and his smile was becoming more fixed. Morgan recognised the warning signs, and changed her tactics before the Proselytiser started reading the Bible at her.
"Listen to me. Many members of my crew already believe in your God, but choose to worship in their own way. We even have a multi-faith Chapel on deck nine. They do this and can still think for themselves. There are followers of eighteen different religions in my crew, as well as atheists and agnostics. Most of us simply don't share your beliefs. Can you understand that? Power down your weapons."
"You lie. Those you speak of are not Christ-Borg, therefore they are false Christians. Those followers of false gods are Deceived, and will be Enlightened. The unbelievers amongst you, including you Captain, will witness the Glory of His Truth. You have no need for thought, only belief. Your false Humanist religion will not save you, it will only cast you into the Pit. Your minds and bodies will be altered, the blood of Christ will flow in your veins, and the words of the Good Book will fill your every thought. Every knee shall bow. Your knees will bow, or you will be utterly destroyed, that you may spread your lies and hatred no more. God is merciful."
"Eight. For the last time, I do not share your beliefs. We respect your right to those beliefs, but do not try to force them on the crew of this ship. If we want to join you, we know where to find you, but leave us alone until that time."
"Why do you deny the sovereignty of the Lord? What has He done unto you that causes you such hatred? You will be assimi-"
Morgan cut the transmission. "It's no use. They appear to leave us no choice. Ensign Kuvel, bring the Logic Probe online. Drop the rear shields to twenty percent and route all available power to the WS Cannon. Reason is irrelevant, eh? Let's see how relevant they think this reasoning is."
The crucifix-ship lowered it shields as it prepared to attack. The Sisyphus' battle computers expected this, and instantly a window irised open in the mirror-field around the ship. The Wide Spectrum Cannon discharged, visible as a pencil-beam of pulsating rainbow radiation. It flashed across the intricate surface of the Christ-Borg cubes and penetrated all the information systems, flooding the electronic thought processors of the collective with information, rational ideas, critical thought functions and volumes of scientific facts. The collected works of a thousand freethinkers were transmitted in a nanosecond. Each member of the collective was forcibly made aware of the entire four-thousand year history of their religion; all the people it had helped, and all those it had destroyed; all known arguments for their beliefs were shown to be incoherent or unsupportable; their inbuilt double-think was stretched to breaking point with demonstrations of all the inconsistencies and contradictions of their faith, pumped into the hive-mind too quickly to be rationalised away. The collective intelligence suffered the distress of cognitive dissonance. The Automatic Faith Enhancers were overloaded, the Emergency Heresy Dampers sprang into life, and the main Prayer Reactor shut down. The cruciform starship hung in space, dark and lifeless, twisting imperceptibly in the solar wind.
"Captain, the ship appears to be disabled. Its shields are lowered and the Gospel Beams are powering down. Do you wish to attack?"
"No, Kuvel. I think we've already done plenty of harm. Anyway, there will be more of them on the way now. These ones will either be re-indoctrinated or expelled from the Empire, depending on how much damage we've inflicted. Either of those are punishment enough." Captain Morgan sat back in her chair. "Shields down. Bring the Distortion Engines up, and get us home."
The ship slid out of orbit, and once it was at a safe distance from the planet, Kuvel engaged the Hawking Distortion engines once more. Six hemispherical pods along the spine of the ship split open and slid noiselessly back down into the hull, and the fractal branches of the Distortion Engine emerged, growing almost organically to their full height as they wove into the stuff of space-time and took hold. The space around the Sisyphus appeared to twist into a knot as the ship punched through into Hawking Space, and emitted a shell of violet light as it re-aligned itself afterwards.
Undetected by either the Sisyphus or the Christ-Borg vessel, the Jehovah's Witness Preacher-Class cruiser, the WatchTower XII, gracefully lifted from the surface of the moon. Electrostatic charges dispersed the dust that had settled onto the hull, and formed a faint trail as it increased its velocity. Ignoring the Christ-Borg ship, it tracked the Sisyphus' progress and plotted an intercept course. These were the Last Days, and there were souls to be saved.
I used to tell a lot of religious jokes. Not any more, I'm a registered sects offender.
...the least christian thing a person can do is to become a christian. ~Chuck
[Image: attemptingtogiveadamnc.gif]
RE: Short Stories.
Dotard, forgive me for saying that your first story, although it started off promisingly enough, was very very silly. Tongue
"The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility"

Albert Einstein
RE: Short Stories.
(December 19, 2008 at 6:17 pm)CoxRox Wrote: Dotard, forgive me for saying that your first story, although it started off promisingly enough, was very very silly. Tongue
What made it silly?
RE: Short Stories.
Define "silly". Silly that one would have the gumption or juevos to tell this God exactly what they think of him? Gimme 5 minutes with this God and I shall pepper my rant to him with plenty o' profanity. Really, what's he gonna do? Send me to hell? HA! I'd be heading thataway anyways.

Please elaborate on what you considered "silly".
Funny how no comment of sillyness was leveled at the second story which had "Testament Cannons" and "Logic Probes" and "Christ-Borg".

Ehh.. go figure.
I used to tell a lot of religious jokes. Not any more, I'm a registered sects offender.
...the least christian thing a person can do is to become a christian. ~Chuck
[Image: attemptingtogiveadamnc.gif]
RE: Short Stories.
Cool stories. I want a picture of Christ-Borg. Tongue

I wrote a little story, imagining some people who have never heard or conceived of any religion, and how they react under stress. I haven't come up with a title as yet.


Grim death approached, and none of us doubted that. The danger was always lurking, and none could escape it, even the children. We were just over two dozen altogether, trapped here in this place after our long journey. We had enough provisions to tide us over till we could raise a crop, if we were careful, but in the dark there was a creature that carried off one of our number from time to time, and mangled them unto death, sparing neither woman nor child.

I write these words in dark secrecy, in the hope that someone from the outside might one day recover them, and know of us.

We were in a large valley, surrounded by an immense and hostile desert. The valley had a stream in it, and was somewhat hospitable, but the walls were so thick and steep, and the place so deep and unknown, that no one had even a faint hope of an escape--apart from Mr. Perry, that is, and he was clearly mad.

Still, I could not blame Mr. Perry. The pressure on all of us was enormous. We tried not to think of it most times, and at least we mostly kept the horrid truth from the children. We pasted on our best smiles for them, and I daresay it did us some good, as we were able to forget for a little while the inexorable approach of that dark and nameless monster.

Mrs. Forrest had the hardest time, I suppose. She would try to play along in comforting the children, but would inevitably break down into a chilling sort of insane laughter, which distressed everyone, most particularly her son David. He would ask her what was the matter, and she would cry, and he would go to comfort her. I could see how she hated herself for failing to keep her terror from him, but no one could really blame her.

Mr. Perry seemed to be going along with the idea at first, but as time went on it became clear that he had lost his grip. He began to talk of magic and such, insisting that some great wizard would come and rescue us. We all sadly smiled at first, thinking it another story to calm the children, and really I think that is what he meant to accomplish at the start. But he became increasingly agitated about it, offering up spurious and fantastic proofs, claiming even to have spoken to this wizard of his through some arcane means.

Mr. Cromwell was especially annoyed by this, and told Mr. Perry to stop his nonsense. Mr. Perry flew into a rage, and the both of them had to be restrained. Some hours later, Mr. Perry produced a sheaf of papers containing the most bizarre sorts of rambling, and claimed it was from the Wizard. Cromwell scoffed at it, of course, and none of us took it very seriously, apart from Mrs. Forrest, but it seemed to comfort her where nothing else had, so we said little.

Professor Williams took the papers and began to examine them. Cromwell scoffed at him, too--great scoffer, that Cromwell--and said "Can't you see at once these are nonsense? What are you studying there, so closely. Why, a child could see they are in Perry's own handwriting." But Professor Williams ignored this and went on studying the documents for some time.

Little Jimmy Ness came to me that evening, and asked me if I thought the Wizard would come and save us. I was at a loss, for I didn't want to even admit we were in such danger, but of course I could not deny him. I said it was just possible, and that seemed to satisfy, for he ran off to tell his friends, and they all seemed to take to bed a deal easier than was usual.

Cromwell was much astonished when, on the following morning, Professor Williams announced that the papers were genuine. For all his ready scoffing, I had thought I would never see him speechless, but that did it--for a moment, at least.

With that pronouncement, the Wizard Papers swiftly grew in importance and popularity among our number. Even Perry himself seemed mildly surprised, but swiftly recovered, accepting the admiration of his colleagues at finding the precious documents. Cromwell recovered his tongue in a while, but was shouted down by more than half the company.

Mr. Bonefish asked if he could study the Wizard Papers for a time, and this was granted as we all sat round and chattered brightly about it all. Some claimed to have known it all along, and many exclaimed at the wisdom and generosity of the great Wizard and his spokesman, Perry. Perry, for his part, seemed a little dazed by all the attention, but went along with it well enough. Some few raised questions, such as old Mrs. Welles who wanted to know why the Wizard didn't show up and save us now.

Well, from the edge of our little group came the unpleasant voice of Mr. Bonefish. "Why, Mrs. Welles? Well I will tell you, if you claim you don't know. Didn't you take more than your share of food last night?"

Mrs. Welles was outraged, but it turned out she had taken some extra, and some had seen it, though no one made much of it at the time. She claimed it was for her ailing daughter, but Bonefish dismissed that, and called her a thief. She might have killed him--she certainly wanted to--but we held her back, and tried to calm things down.

She wanted to know what taking food had to do with anything, and Bonefish said it was because the Wizard wouldn't bother saving such wicked folk as she.

Well that is where it started. Over the next little while it seemed Bonefish was everywhere. Even Perry was brushed aside, and Professor Williams was accused of heresy, though none but Bonefish seemed to know what heresy was. Cromwell, now, he was...well, it is awful to think of it.

He stood up to Bonefish, called him a fool and a liar, said the Wizard Papers were so much nonsense. Mothers clapped their hands over the ears of their children and looked on Cromwell with shock and hatred. Cromwell talked about how the Wizard was only an invention of Mr. Perry, and the Papers were all rubbish and drivel, and I don't know if Bonefish might have let him live but the others got to him first, and burned him alive.

Even gentle mad old Mrs. Forrest threw a stick or two of furniture on the pyre, saying "How dare he say that the Wizard won't rescue my little David. Of course he will. Of course he will."
And the Lord God spake unto them, saying, "A Great Fire be bound within all things, and know ye that be it unleashed, its energy shall be as like its mass, multiplied by the swiftness of the light, and so multiplied again." And they were much amazed. --II Physicists, Chapter IV, verses 5-8.
RE: Short Stories.
The whole idea of someone 'facing up' to God! If an alien ship appeared over your house (like in Independence Day) I don't think you'd be 'arguing' with any aliens that came forth from it. You'd be too busy shitting yourself. If there really is a God He surely wouldn't condemn the Christian guy anymore than He would condemn the atheist. So in my opinion, the story is silly but I see what the story is trying to achieve. Tongue
"The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility"

Albert Einstein
RE: Short Stories.
Dotard, I think your first story is a good one. Of course it is rather inconceivable to have people orderly lined up to await a godly verdict but the dialogues are right on. Also it exposes the moral breakdown of an almighty all-kowing but otherwise absent god. Imo there are two main reasons for atheism, moral reasons and logical reasons. The moral emptiness of the god concept is nicely exposed.
"I'm like a rabbit suddenly trapped, in the blinding headlights of vacuous crap" - Tim Minchin in "Storm"
Christianity is perfect bullshit, christians are not - Purple Rabbit, honouring CS Lewis
Faith is illogical - fr0d0
RE: Short Stories.
I dreamed I had an interview with God.

"So you would like to interview me?" God asked.

"If you have the time" I said.

God smiled. "We have until your alarm clock rings.
What questions do you have in mind for me?"

"What surprises you most about humankind?"

God answered...
"That by worrying about the afterlife,
they throw away their one real life,
sometimes literally by trusting prayer instead of medicine,
or flying a plane into a building full of infidels."

"That with thousands dead from an 'Act of God',
they flock to churches like flies to a bloated corpse."

"That with all their fantastic science,
and libraries full of great literature
they still think glurge like this is profound"

God's hand took mine
and we were silent for a while.

And then I asked...
"Is there anything you would like humanity to know?"

God smiled and said,
"Just know that I am .... only a dream."
I used to tell a lot of religious jokes. Not any more, I'm a registered sects offender.
...the least christian thing a person can do is to become a christian. ~Chuck
[Image: attemptingtogiveadamnc.gif]

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