By Joe Kirkenir
One day, I’m a normal guy in Unpleasantville, the next, I’m a monster.
I find it funny how the brews, stories, and sorcery in my life can go from mundane fixtures in the background to sins that keep me from getting closer to my lord and savior. Jesus loves me, this I know because the Bible tells me so, right?
That book. That damn book. Why did I let her give it to me? Marsha and her family have always been a bit off. I knew it would only be trouble. What good is eternal life if you can’t enjoy it? I have no love for the pleasantries and compassion that they preached about day after day, but here it is in black and white. If I don’t pick up this book and read it until my eyes ache and fingers bleed, I’ll burn just like them.
The Jones family knew the consequences. I shouldn’t feel bad. Plus, for what it’s worth, they are living in heaven now. They knew where they were going too, but then why did they scream? Their faith was (is?) stronger than mine. Heaven was waiting for them and, unlike me, they liked that idea. Nobody ever understood the Joneses, not even themselves apparently.
The only thing I dislike more than a cloudy land full of eternal love is a dark cave full of everlasting suffering. Those are the only two options. The book said so and books never lie. They can’t. They’re books and I only have the one. My neighbors don’t even have that much, relying on stories from their parents to learn about the coven.
I’m already forgetting the stories. The fire burned them out of my brain while it burned their brains. I can’t remember the chants nor the recipes. How long has it been? A day? A week? Fuck. A month at least. I know this isn’t the first full moon. The sun may be gone, but it’s light is still illuminating the stone around me. When was the last burial? Hell if I know. Can I even say that word? What if he hears me?
Jesus loves me, this I know because the Bible tells me so. Jesus loves me, but they don’t. My neighbors, my family, my friends, or, more accurately, my former friends. They saw me watching. They saw me reach into my bag. They tried to take it away, but they failed. I still remember how Rick stared. The bastard. He’s why I had to come here and will burn just like his damn wood. I feel it.
Now, I’m finally alone. The book is all I need to get through this. A month isn’t that long. I’ve been eating, if you can call it that, but the rats are coming around less and less. I can’t remember the last time it rained, the puddle in the hard floor having dried up ages ago. Yet, the book’s words read the same.
Heaven is still waiting. Those other believers burned in life, but will fly in death. I’m skipping the burning part entirely. Let’s just get right to the flying. Where did the book say there was flying again? I can’t remember, but I know there has to be flying. What else is there to do in all those clouds?
My fingers hurt and I’m running out of blood so I should probably stop writing this sentence, but I’m in too deep.
To anyone reading this, don’t pick up the book. The words will scream at you until your mind goes just like that family, to the inferno. Your life is fine as it is. Trust me. I thought I needed it, but what good has it done? No friends. No family. All fear. All loneliness. Nothing but this damn stone and rotting rats. The book says I should hear him calling. I hear nothing. The book says I should be at peace. I’m screaming inside. The book says I should be saved. I feel pretty damned right now.
Jesus loves me, this I know because the Bible tells me so. Jesus loves me. Jesus…
Joe Kirkenir lives in York, PA with his cat, Victor, who is named after the complex main character from the classic novel, Frankenstein. He graduated from Gettysburg College with an English degree in 2014 and has worked in the nonprofit sector in fundraising and marketing ever since. When not volunteering with the Animal Advocates of South Central PA or the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, he spends his free time reading, writing, learning, and running. Facebook LinkedIn