Tag Archives: religion

Dream Cycle: 11-6

I wake her from her dream.

Still hazy, she scribbles her visions in pen on a yellow legal tablet.

Tablets, like Moses, brought down from heaven.

Tablets, holy words, for us to sing.

 

Wiping the sleep from her eyes,

she sings with heaven still roaring in her ears.

Distorted and warm guitars cocoon her voice,

make her visions free from sin.

 

A light is in her eyes.

A sly, and joyous smile on her lips.

She sees a place promised in holy visions,

in the cutting, bitter words of prophets.

 

She lays down to sleep.

Dream cycle 4-6. Last song at sunrise.

God is close in cold nights, whispering.

We’ll wake her at first light, to hear Him.

 

Prophetess, talons in prayers,

time, time, time, and embracing thunder.

Buried words go in through the pores, not ears.

Saving them from sin if only half heard.

 

One last revelation, and soft kiss,

watching her troubled peace on a vinyl couch.

Heaven comes in snatches as we float to the ceiling.

Prophetess, our soul, my platonic knight errant.

 

A soft kiss on her brow, she sighs.

Eyes closed, automatic writings, writes her visions.

Half heard, like angels laughing, under soothing cacophony,

she will sing heaven into this world.

Concrete

The righteous young woman, from that haughty sect

that sets themselves apart, dress the women in white robes,

stood their among the cluster of other women in her band,

long golden hair in a ponytail, staring me down with fire

filled grey eyes.

In the ether realm, in the realm beyond the sun and flesh,

she carries a sword all afire in honeyed flame, that she stole

for herself from a bored, disinterested angel more interested

in fucking human woman and shaking down the lonely

with false hope that he would fight for him.

She stares me down, cleansing hellfire in her grey eyes,

knowing me, knowing I am not so different, so good as

I have made them believe or dream I am, and I feel that

sword pierce my heart, and her hate, and it’s flames

burn right through me.

A smirk crosses her thin, pale and unadorned lips as she

leaves me behind, as her cohort of Christians crosses the

street as the light changes and I see the hunger to devour

all the lust and greed and cruelty, that living among her kind,

she knows all too well.

A month later, I would see on the news one Saturday morning,

as I was halfway to despair and elation from a sleepless night,

where Roxy and Sam spoke to me of things hidden in the air,

that she had taken a shotgun and killed all the men in her sect.

“God was away, and someone had to make them pay.”


The Sin Eater

It was six am, the little digital clock said on Ellie’s desk. She couldn’t see the sun beginning to break, as the morgue was cold and underground and away from all sunlight. Still, she took a moment to visualize the coming light in her head, the cold and wan light of a February morning, the shadows that and starry ocean that receded like a tide as the light pushed its way ashore.

               She had shared just such a morning with Skylar, the young man laying cold and dead on the examination table, with the loaf of bread laid upon his chest for the ceremony that she needed to perform him, to get him free and into heaven.

               Ten years ago, after a night of drinking and laughing and talking and ecstatic lovemaking, they had walked up the scraggly, almost bare hill behind their apartment, holding hands, happy, carrying yet another bottle of red wine with them. They had sat down on the hill, passing the bottle, her head on his shoulder, in silence as the sun rose and all seemed like paradise.

               That was the last good time they’d had. That was the last time the bad outweighed the good. That was the end of everything for them, and the beginning of everything about Skylar going completely to shit.

               Ellie left her office, and went to the examination table. The sweet beauty, the boyish petulance, the trickster spark was gone from him. He was only an empty shell. Whatever it was that made him wild and mad and a goddamned fool was gone forever from him. It unnerved her to look at him like this. Bodies of those lost were uncanny faces that looked familiar, but utterly empty and alien. There had been a soul, and it was gone. What was left was a mockery.

               The autopsy had told her what she already knew, but procedure had to be followed. No foul play, his body had just shut down from all the abuse. Suicide by substances. Suicide, slowly but as plainly as if he had put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. Suicide, because he was a goddamned fool.

               He could be sweet, when he was sober, when he was himself. He could make her believe she was God’s Most Favored Angel, the greatest treasure in a starry night. She remembered him taking her down to Chattanooga and over into Dalton Georgia in the middle of the night, simply because she’d said she’d never been out of Tennessee, and he though he needed to immediately rectify that. She remembered the song he made up for her though he couldn’t sing and could barely play a guitar. She’d be flattered anyway. She remembered his tender and supplicant kisses. She remembered.

               And she remembered the drink and the drugs taking over and the demon that unleashed upon her. The rage and accusations and the jealousy. She remembered trying to take a bottle from him once when he was already smashed, and him hauling off and back handed her across the face. She fell to the floor, crying and screaming, while he continued to howl at her. She scrambled to her feet, ran out the door of the apartment they shared, and never came back.

               Once he was sober he kept calling in tears and begging her for forgiveness. But her heart was hardened to him, and she cut him out of her life forever. She gone on her way, to becoming a doctor and then an M.E., and working for the county sheriff. He’d gone on down the path he’d laid out for himself since the beginning, and it came to its predictable end.

               And now, the ceremony must begin. The loaf of bread had laid upon his chest all night, since midnight and the turning of the day. It had absorbed all his sins. In the old times a Sin Eater would eat the bread left upon the deceased, so the bread could absorb all the deceased’s sins, and the Sin Eater could take those sins upon themselves, so the deceased could go into heaven and be free and at peace forever.

               Ellie would be his Sin Eater. She would take his sins upon herself. She wanted him free and in paradise. She ate the bread, bitter and cold, and quietly tears rolled down her cheeks. She still loved that goddamned fool, even now. She couldn’t bear the thought of him in torment and without hope. She would take his price, so he could be at peace at last.

               The ceremony over, the tears shed, the bargain made. She called his parent to release the body to them, and to go and see the sun that was now risen and bright.

              

              

And All Of That And All That Happened After

“Do you think it’s like in that old movie, that like, Hell’s full?”

 

               “No, because everyone who dies comes back as a zombie, and that would mean everyone goes to hell, and that The Church has been lying to us all these years, and were fucking suckers, and also that it doesn’t matter if you’re good, you still burn, and who needs to think shit like that?”

 

               The two others in the armored van continued like that. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, or at least lose myself in non thought, just free floating blackness. I wanted to lulled by the hum of the engine and the tires on the road, and the rocking of the van as we made our way back to Paladin Base.

               It didn’t work though. My heart still thudded in a sickening and breathless hollowness. I still strained to catch my breath and not feel like I was suffocating. And the two other assholes in my squad would not stop yammering about god and hell and the undead. None of it went anywhere. None of it meant anything.

 

               The van shuddered and shimmied as we went over the fat concrete lip at the entrance to motorpool. Finally, maybe, this night would fucking end. Harris and Walters where the muscle and the firepower. I was the Priest In Command. They would only have to unload the young woman’s body, but I would have to perform Rites over here, before putting the corpse into the crematorium to burn.

               Harris and Walters unloaded the stretcher with the body, and placed it on the gurney, and started wheeling it to the Revenant Chapel, which held the crematorium. Then they’d change from their battle armor into civvies, lock up their weapons and be done. This job was hell for everyone who did it, who rounded up the Revenants, or who were present at deaths or any mass casualty event where their were in short order going to be lots of undead to be put down. But I hated being a Priest, and having Perform the Rite that we were told would send the good to heaven despite the Curse of Returning. I hated having to be last one to be with them, to bear witness to their final destruction.

               Most of all I hated the thoughts it led to. 15 years the Curse of Returning had been here, and it never ended and we humans rose again after corporeal death, hungry and ravenous and soulless, to have to be destroyed again by a well placed hollow point in the skull, and for all the devotion and prayers and songs of praise all of us in The Church sent wafting up to heaven, it never got better, the curse never lifted, and society just continued to crumble, to grow tattered and dissolute, in the face of all this madness. All the awnsers The Cardinals could not supply.

 

               The Revenant Chapel was nothing like glories The Church had once produced. Nothing awe inspiring or hushed and sacred. It was a plain cinderblock room painted cream, with an aluminum cross painted a flat gold above the hatch to the crematorium oven. All functionality and utterly banal, like everything else.

 

               I was supposed to remain in body armor and keep my side arm holstered on my leg, and my main assault weapon on the sling when I performed The Rite. I was not going to do any of that. Off came armor and weaponry, and shirt, undershirt and boots. I was hot and I couldn’t breathe and the weight and the air and even the silence seem oppressive, like the weight of a million atmospheres.

               This Revenant was a young woman, poor and already a mother. We’d killed her in front of her two daughters because otherwise the daughters would have been eaten by their undead mother. But the girls would carry the weight of that death forever, and already they’d been born with so much else to scar them.

               I cleaned the body with holy water. I placed a communion wafer in her mouth. I said prayers over her and burned insense. I told her her Father In Heaven would receive her into paradise.

               Tears welled in my eyes as I went through all this, though I never broke down into sobs. All that had happened and all that was yet to come and all that we, God’s Perfect Children, suffered in the dirt and mud of this world, and He showed no interest, just let it all play out.

               The woman had been sweet and loving. She’d been a devout believer. She’d loved her daughters and did the best she could by them. She died in a stupid accident, and all of that and all that happened after they saw, and no angel wiped away their tears.

              

               I crumpled against the cold cinderblock wall, the sobs finally coming. I held my crucifix in my hands, and mouthed the words of prayer, but I felt nothing getting past the ceiling.

 

 

               I left Paladin Base as the sun was coming up. This early the day was actually cool and all was still quiet and I almost imagined it was all over, we’d all gone to heaven, the world would not wake-up and continue, we could all rest forever.

              

               I share a small bungalow on a back alley, behind a ratty apartment complex and a old Victorian house down at heel and now a half way house, with my lover. Priests are supposed to be celibate and refrain from romantic love and pleasures of the flesh, but my heart is hungry and demands love and affection, and, well, there’s worse things I could do.

 

               She is not awake yet. The morning sun casts a hollow on her. Her back is turned to me, and with her long, dark hair fanning out over her naked back, and the soft rhythm of her breathing, and that wonderous light making her glow like a Madonna, all purity and love. In that, in that simple sight, I’m reminded of what beauty this world can be, and how it can take you out of all the pain and emptiness, and almost make it seem worthwhile.

 

               I lift up the covers and bury my face in my lovers hair. I reach one arm around her chest and the other meets it after passing under her neck. She sighs and I wash her body with my tears and anoint her with all the light and devotion and sweetness that is left in my broken heart.

               We make love, and then she dresses for her day. She kisses me, once, softly on the lips, I drift to sleep with the smell of her perfume filling me with bittersweet dreams, and puts me in some long lost garden.