Other Things

Other Things

A Story by Zorrin86

One dreary Sunday morning, a small boy with a pale face dressed in awkwardly posh clothing sat in one of the back pews of a church service with his mother and father. The old preacher behind the pulpit rubbed the side of his graying head and carried out his sermon in a tired drawl. The boy sat rigidly still as he listened, his face appropriately grave. When someone coughed or rustled in their seat, occasionally his eyes would dart to the corners of his head in quick bird like movements. Sometimes he would lose the train of the sermon, though he tried hard to concentrate. It was all cyclical in a way anyway. God. The Devil. Heaven. Hell. Sinners. Saints. Punished. Second Coming. Jerusalem. Good Friday, and then sometimes they would drink faux wine and eat crackers. The basic themes were always the same, so it wasn't difficult to get back on board and follow along.

Times changed; the material didn't, and it could only be interpreted and jazzed up in so many different ways.

The boy shuffled about anxiously in his seat. He furrowed his brows and stared ahead as gravely as ever. Suddenly something irked him and told him that he had been there too long. There was something artificial about this whole business, something divorced from nature or any kind of authentic feeling. The boy frowned, but he was relieved when they then started to sing. Yes, let them sing their mirthless songs! He knew that an end to this was near.

The great Church Bells shook and rang in their languid agitation, and the throng of worshipers shuffled noisily out of the congregation. Outside the day was no less dreary, but after listening to that sermon sitting there like a lawn gnome for an hour even an icy gust of wind or the rattling of leaves (and real colors, dreary though they were!) made one feel as though they were alive again and had beating organs, pumping out desires and self gratifying mischief.

This brief armistice with life at an end, the boy walked down the decaying stone steps with his mom and dad on either side of him. The family made for the parking lot to leave. Without being asked for his opinion, the boy stopped short and stared with a meaningful look up at his parents. “Mom,” he began. “Dad...I've been thinking. Instead of that, the sermon and the singing, I mean, certain other things should happen...

In my vision of it there should be no pulpit at the end of the room, just a concrete slab in the middle of it. There won't be any preacher or people to listen to sermons. Instead there will be two groups of equal number only. One stands in the middle and is pelted with stones, while the rest hurl the stones at them. And then they switch sides! And the stone throwers go up to the stage and get pelted in turn. In either case it behooves them to hit their targets, for should they miss then they hit the group on the other side that are also throwing stones. For any people that can still stand afterwards, they just stand around and gaze about one another for about an hour longer while silently absorbing their pain, expanding on it and exploring the full breadth of both their physical and mental pain. Let them close their eyes, or stare at one another, and if they do that let them share a moment together, a real moment of human bonding and compassion in suffering, as brothers in arms suffer in war.

And with the pain guiding them and obstructing trivial thoughts, let them think how they can be better people. And everyone wears black, soot black.”

Having finished, the boy looked grave once more and was eerily silent. The father stared down in vexation at what he was hearing. He rifled an ugly look at his wife. “This is your doing, you know,” he said. “He takes more after you.”

The mother frowned in reply and idly shrugged her shoulders, like she usually did to ward off burdensome confrontation. In silence she elected to be first to the car. On this day she would have wine; sometimes it made certain other things easier.

© 2018 Zorrin86

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Added on February 25, 2018
Last Updated on February 25, 2018
Tags: Other Things, short story, literary fiction



Louisville, KY

Avid reader...writer, musician, artist of sorts...into esoterica, spirituality, mythology, classical literature, a delver in many things. more..

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