Welcome to this month's Brotin Tale. Periodically my good friend Otin and I get together on a story...this month he sent me the first part, so jump on over to his blog and read the first part, so that what you are about to read makes a little more sense...then come back over. Don't worry, i will be waiting right here...smiles.
Tongues of flame lick the battered can, leaving black trails on its surface, the label having long become ash. It is rare to receive such a blessing of food from among the rubble that once was our proud nation. It was pride that became our undoing, mine in particular. If only I had listened…
Kill Michael Parker, that is what God asked, and I answered. It was not as if Michael Parker was unknown, if anything my questions came from who he was, particularly in relation to God. I am sure at some point, you watched him on television, teeth gleaming above the sharp pressed suit, pleading the masses to turn their hearts toward the way, the truth and the life. He was God’s messenger, and God wanted him silenced.
Ironically, it was the silence that came after that night, when God spoke to me, that convinced me it was true. Many would have waited to hear from Him to clarify His wishes, but the quiet worked like a scalpel at my conscience, a parasite coiling inside me. Retrieving the gun from my bedside table, I stared at it, contemplating whether to use it on myself or follow through on God’s command. Either way, it would end the silence.
A peace you will never understand, washed over me those brief moments when my finger hovered over the trigger, and I knew this was good and right….and just. I watched crimson flowers explode across Parker's head and chest, before I lost sight of him as a wave of security guards broke upon me, driving me into the concrete sidewalk by the crowd barriers, where we had waited to meet the celebrity pastor. Sirens wailed, ambulances racing the inevitable toward the hospital, as they loaded me into a police van.
How do you explain God told me to kill His messenger? Zealots on the police force worked me over, leaving me beaten and bruised, blood pooling on the cell floor beneath me. They mocked me, spoiling my food, calling me Judas.
When Michael Parker died, the nation was thrown into a state of mourning. Protesters circled the penitentiary calling for my head. Their voices were piped into my cell my small speakers the guards set up just outside my door. Doubt crawled upon my back, as I pleaded with God to save me, though He had forsaken me, or so I thought for three days…
Curled on my bunk, to protect my ribs in case they came for me again, I heard the rattle of the cell door. Men in black suits stood as shadows in the light streaming through the open bars, resembling angels. They bid me come and I was allowed to walk out of the penitentiary to an awaiting limousine, sleek and black. Opening the rear door they motioned for me to enter, so I did.
My skin crawled at the sight of the man. His smile spread in a thin line from ear to ear and I imagined rows of needle teeth behind them. Michael Parker placed a hand upon my knee, and hissed “Thank you. None of this would be possible without your help. I knew you were the one, Brian. I have watched you for some time and knew you would believe.”
“Divine right. Intervention. Destiny. Whatever helps your simple mind wrap around it, Brian. And now we are on the way to tell the world that I have returned...dead three days, the stone rolled away. I will forgive you publicly, of course, though some may still harbor ill will. Their eyes will be open in the coming days.”
I felt the vehicle moving beneath us, but that did not deter my fingers scratching at the handle trying to get the door open. I wanted to escape the cold presence of this abomination. His laughter was hollow, “ You can not leave Brian, this will be our moment together.”
“I knew as the instrument of my rebirth you would be able to see me for who I really am. You will be my silent witness in the coming days. They will love me more, turning over their countries to the new messiah. Only you will know, that they slowly march toward their doom, unable to warn them.”
He grabbed my throat in fingers that seemed to wrap front to back and I felt a part of me leave in that moment. When he released me, I could muster nothing, not even a squeal. His laughter consumed everything….
Using a stick, I push the can from the embers of the meager fire. Letting its contents cool, I survey the remnants of a the city I once called home. After the announcement, they turned me out, destitute on the streets. No one would help the man who tried to kill God, so I watched as they flocked to him.
He ushered in a new age of prosperity, what you want, when you want, with absolution and cheap grace for how you got it, a true American God. Years of unbridled consumption eventually led to scarcity, then dependence. This is when He came calling for all that he had asked for in return, their souls.
Stirring the thick steaming contents of my can, I watch a line of harvester transports wind its way through the streets, a great steel dragon, looking for those left alive, so they can face their judgement. His laughter still rings in my ears, mocking my inability to listen and discern the true voice of the One. It is this voice I now listen for, and wait...