#VisDare 131 : Insight

I learned she hadn’t told me everything the first time I visited a dome. It had take me so long to squeeze through the crack in the wall of the dome I’d left, but the wall of the dome I visited was paper thin. In one step, I was inside.

The inside was filled with neat houses, arranged along streets. Well kept lawns, flowerbeds, big cars and trucks in all the driveways. All the people dressed similarly, had similar haircuts, and similar behavior. It was like where I’d come from.

But the dome’s wall was covered with black, painted letters. The way the people in that dome felt about everything they hated, or didn’t understand, or were afraid of, was painted on the wall of the dome.

It was an insight I didn’t want.

I went back outside, where it was safe, beautiful, and those hatreds and fears were gone.

150 Words
@LurchMunster


Part 11 of a story I’m writing for Angela Goff’s Visual Dare. Please read the other entries in this week’s Visual Dare challenge. Be amazed at the magic people can put into 150 words or less.

Another Lie

I have grown tired of trying to understand people sitting in judgement of those around them. People declaring, “You are evil. You are a spawn of Satan. You are going to burn in eternity with him.”

My psychologist told me, “Don’t touch religion, Marcus. For religion is irrational, nonsensical, and something people only see the way they want to see it. They don’t understand anything else about it.”

But I am angry. I am angry from having lived within a lie for over 40 years. The lie that religion, the church, is tolerant, and forgiving, and welcomes all. The lie that religion seeks to save people from Satan, and themselves.

Religion destroys families. It drives children away from their parents. It drives husbands and wives apart. It drives brother and sister apart. Oh, I know. I know. I can hear people screaming the words now. “Jesus said those who follow him will have to leave behind their families!”

You know. I don’t even care where it says that in the four Gospels of the Holy Bible, King James Version anymore. Because it’s been taken out of context so long it has no meaning anymore. It has become an excuse. A reason. Something people use to justify being unforgiving, intolerant, and judgmental.

Too many parts of the Bible have become the same thing. An excuse.

What about the part of the Gospel where Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan? Remember that story? The story every child learns in church. About the Samaritan that helped the man by the roadside, when the Jewish people, including the pharisees, and priests, ignored him, and walked by. Because he wasn’t one of them. Remember that story?

What about the parts of the Gospel where Jesus worked on the Sabbath. Picking grain in the fields, so he and his disciples could eat. Remember that story?

What about Jesus eating with the evil, heartless tax collector, hated by everyone. Remember that story?

Why am I wasting my breath? Why am I beating my head against the concrete wall again? Why am I pointing out things, stories, and tales, everyone knows, and many can recite by heart? I already know no one that needs to hear, no one that needs to listen, no one that needs to read, will.

Every word I say will fall on two types of ears. Ears that already know. That already understand. That already see how things are. How the church has become. And those that won’t hear. Those that will declare me a demon, trying to divide God’s people. Trying to separate them from God. They will not accept, in any way, the words of a heathen sinner such as me.

This is why I have walked away from the church.

This is why I shall never return to the church.

To me, the church has lost its way. It has become what it was in the time of Jesus, and his disciples. So wrapped up in its traditions, its own ways, its own beliefs, it no longer functions. It has become a club for those with the same beliefs. The same understanding of the words of the Bible. It has become isolated from the world, because the people of the church have decided it must isolate itself from the world.

The church no longer functions at God intended.

So, I have walked away. I have sought people who understand how the church no longer functions. That see it, and its people, for the judgemental, isolated, frightened, biased, and closed-minded people they are.

And I find it hilarious how the people of the church believe they are the victims of prosecution at the hands of the people they declare are Satan’s children. How they cry “We are persecuted!” when they persecute everyone not belonging to their religion. How they scream, “We are not allowed to follow our beliefs publicly!” when they raise their hands, and scream, “They’re practicing their religion in public! And it’s infringing my rights!”

I have grown tired of the double standards the religion of my youth has embraced.

I would say I feel disappointed and saddened, that I have had to walk away. But the reality is I’m angry. For I see this same double standard embraced by every religion. Every social group. Every cultural group. I see the same hatred everywhere I look. The Christians hate the Gays. The Gays return the favor. The Republicans hate the Democrats. The Democrats, in turn, hate the Republicans. Men declare there is no war on women, and women declare there is no war on men. And vice versa. It never ends.

So I have walked away from the church. Not because I have given up on God. Not because I don’t believe Jesus died to forgive me for the sins I have committed in this life. No. I have walked away from the church to find the truth. A truth I know is no longer in the church.

I seek the path of Jesus. Not the path of the church. Not the path of politics. Not the path of money. Not the path of success. Not the path of fame, or glory. I see the path of Jesus.

And I can no longer find that in the church.

I have to find that by walking alone. Seeking the guidance of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost. And finding others who have learned the same thing I have learned. That we have all forgotten the truth. That we are all lost. And need to find the grace, and forgiveness of God.

#FinishThatThought : Throwing Out The Trash

My son watched as she was snatched away. It was the last thing he saw. The last thing he did. He felt the slugs from two handguns tear through his chest, leaving six-inch wide holes in his back, shredding his lungs, veins and arteries. He collapsed to his knees, his life bleeding away. His fall ending with him on his back.

His wife screamed. She reached for him, looked into his eyes and knew he would die. She never had the chance to cry. The men with the guns struck her face, knocking her out. One put his gun in his belt, and threw her over his shoulder. They walked off.

The police found her body the next morning. Her hands tied to a stake, hammered into the ground. Her feet staked out separately. She’d been raped. No one could say how many times. When they were through with her, they shot her in the head. Twice. They left her there, with a warning note.

“This is how we solve problems in our neighborhood.”

My son was white.

His wife was black.

I had hoped people had grown past their hatreds, prejudices and fears. As I watched my son die that night, and his wife suffer that inhuman assault, and brutal death, I knew.

People hadn’t changed.

In my anger, I crossed over. I left the land beyond the veil of life, and returned to the world of the living. I’d seen enough. The brutal nature of people always seemed so far away. Until I watched them murder my children. That act of violence changed everything for me.

I crossed over and hunted down the men that murdered my son, and his beautiful wife. I walked through the walls of the house of the first. Into his own bedroom, where he slept with his wife. When he rolled her face down on the bed, and raped her, I moved. I slipped my hand into his chest, and squeezed the life out of his heart.

I felt nothing as I did. It wasn’t murder. It wasn’t revenge. It wasn’t justice. It was simply throwing out the trash.

I found the second in his garage, with two of his buddies. From the flavor of the smoke in the air, I knew they weren’t smoking tobacco. From the beer cans scattered on the floor, I knew they were drunk. All of them.

I listened to the killer as he proudly proclaimed the neighborhood was purified, and safe once more, from the evils of the world. Like my son and his wife.

I reached into his brain, and ripped his brain stem loose from his spine. Another piece of trash thrown out.

Until the people of this world grow up, and change. Overcome their fears, hatreds, and prejudices, I will stay here. I will weed out the ones like the two that killed my son. One piece of trash at a time. One piece of trash at a time.

476 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for week 4 of Alissa Leonard‘s Finish That Thought flash fiction challenge. It’s a fun challenge. Now, go read all the other entries in week 4.

She Doesn’t Know

I took a chance.
I admit that.
I deliberately broke the rules.
Me, the married guy,
Choosing to sit with her,
The divorced woman.

Everybody knows,
You don’t do that.

I took a chance
To show a friend
How I felt.
What I felt.
About her.
I deliberately broke the rules.
I knew it then.
I understood the risk.

I’ve never been
Much of one
For the rules of life
I see people following.
I suppose it’s because
I’ve seen how those rules
Rip out a person’s heart,
And burn their soul
To ash.

Then I broke one more rule
On that Sunday morning.
I actually put my hand
On one of hers.

I’d say I walked her to her car.
Because that’s what I did.
But I can always claim
I had no real choice.
Her car was between
The church’s doors,
And mine.

There are those that would declare
I knew what I was doing
When I parked where I did.

I can only shake my head.
And wonder.
Will any of them learn?
Will any of them ever change?
Will any of them
Begin to grow again?
Or are they done?

And I know
From the way my heart aches,
And the tears of my soul,
I know.
They never will.
They’re done.
They’re where they want to be.
They’re where they’re safe.
Where they’re secure.

And there,
They choose to stay.

It saddens me to know
She’s that same way.

Unable to acknowledge
What her heart tells her.
She lets no one in.
No one close.
To protect herself.
From pain.

I can understand that.
I really can.
I’ve been hurt myself,
Time and time again.

But that’s all it is.
Hurt,
And pain.
Like when you make that mistake
At the oven now and then
And stand there staring
At your bright red fingertips
As the blisters grow on them
Again.

It happens.

Even the best fall
Every now and then.
Like the time the favorite
For the gold medal
At the Olympics
Never reached the end
Of the race
He was in.

It happens.

I know how badly
She’s been hurt
By events in life.
The one that left her
On her own.
With their daughter.
She raised their child
On her own.

The way people talk
About those women.
You know the kind I mean.
The divorced ones.
Looking for another man.
The ones that might just settle
For a fling.

People are so ready
To believe
Lies and gossip are the truth
When they don’t understand
Something.

It was on the day
She spoke those words to me.
Told me she had an image
She had to maintain.
So people wouldn’t see things
The wrong way.
Wouldn’t say things about her
Behind her back.

She had a reputation
To uphold.

In a church.

Of all things.

It was on that day
I knew.
My days there
Were nearly through.
And the time had come
For me to stand
And walk away.

For I will not live my life
Afraid
Of what the blind,
The ignorant,
The ones afraid of life,
Will say.

Will I get hurt again?
Hell, yes.
I will.
It’s part of life.
Like love,
And laughter,
Tears,
And pain.

You aren’t alive
If you can’t be hurt.
You’re simply hiding.
In a cave.
In a box.
In a little space.
Where all there is to life
Is what’s around you,
What’s in your room.

So you live isolated.
Hidden from the world.
But safe.

The saddest part of all
To me?

She doesn’t know
She lives that way.
No one in those rooms,
Hiding where it’s safe,
Knows at all.

Because nothing they’re afraid of
Gets within those walls.
Nothing can ever change.

I turned and walked away.
Never to return
To that church.
To her world.

But to this day.
And through my life.
If she should ever call,
And ask for any help from me
At all.

I’ll find a way.

Because to me,
She was
And is
My friend.
And my friend
She always will be.

Even thought
She doesn’t know.

I Close My Eyes

It is night.
I turn out the lights.
Pull the covers aside.
Climb into bed.
Lay down my head.

But no sleep comes.

A flood of thoughts
Won’t let me sleep.
Waves of my fears
Wash over me.
Haunting me.
Taunting me.

And no sleep comes.

I lie there
On the bed.
Wishing.
Wishing I could find a way
To ease the ache
Within my heart.
To dry the tears
My soul cries.

How can people live
In this world
They never made?

There was a time
Not long ago
When sleep would have
Eluded me
All night long.

But I’ve learned.
I’ve changed.
Now.
I know
What I have to do.
I know
How to care
For me.
To south the aching
Of my heart.
To dry the tears
My soul cries.

While I lie there
In my bed.
I close my eyes.
And then.

I breathe.
I breathe in slowly.
I breathe out slowly too.
And I remember.

Fear is just a feeling.
Nothing more.
Just like anger.
Just like joy.
And feelings come
And go.

And I decide
As I breathe in
To breathe in all my fears.
And then
As I breathe out,
I exhale tenderness.
Concern,
And caring.

And I decide
To remember
Fears are like the monsters
In the dark.

They’re not really there.

As I breathe,
With my eyes closed.
I extend my hand
To my side.
And there, I find
Her.
Sleeping next to me.

And I know.
I know.
I’m not alone.
And never will be.
So long as she’s alive.
She’s a part of me.

Then I remember
Each friend I have.
And as I breathe in
I inhale
The things I know hurt them.
The fears I know they have.

Then I exhale once again.
The caring.
The compassion,
The tenderness
That lies at the very heart
Of me.

I breathe.
And I remember.
Who I am.

And before long
Sleep comes to me
Again.

But before I close my eyes
And drift off to sleep
There’s always one last thing
For me to do.

I remember you,
My friends.
And the problems you have had.
The fears that you face.
And I breathe all of them in.
And then
I breathe out the truth
That you are not alone.
And even though
I may be far away from you.
So that I can’t hold you,
Or touch you.
Or show you
That I care.

I breathe out that same
Kindness.
Tenderness.
And compassion
That soothed the aching of my heart
And dried the tears
My soul cried.
And breathe them out
For you.

Good night
Wounded hearts and souls
Of so many people
That I know.

Oh how I wish
There was so much more
I could do
For you.

Demons : Grocery Shopping

I never sleep, you know. Never. I sleep, I miss all the good stuff. And humans provide such good stuff. All the good stuff I could ever want. More than enough for me, and my entire family.

Today, I went to the grocery store. I believe that’s what they call it. Where they sell their food supplies. Lots of them gather there. All different kinds. Once there, I waited. And I knew I would not have to wait long before the humans started providing all kinds of good stuff. Nourishment. Yum.

This girl walked in. She was a tiny thing. Maybe five feet tall. Perhaps a touch more. She had blue hair! Yes! And wore a spiked dog collar. Black short pants, with a chain draped across each hip. And a shirt that had silver buttons on it. And another chain that connected the pockets. She had on black lace fingerless gloves. And black platform wedge boots that came nearly to her knees, with buckles all the way up the sides.

“Gothic. Perfect,” I thought. And I commenced collecting good stuff. I followed her through the store. Everywhere she went, I caused other humans to turn their heads. To notice her. It was beautiful! The way they all reacted!

There was this woman there. A few years older than Goth Girl. Goth Girl’s presence just tore her all up. The woman kept looking at Goth Girl. The confusion! Oh, the confusion!

“Why would anyone dress like that? It’s so… So… Wrong. She looks like she’d sleep with anyone.” And yet, she kept watching. With me, relishing ever moment, as she thought, “She’s actually interesting to look at.” And I could feel her urges. The urge to abuse. The urge to say something. “Go home! Get out of here! Why can’t people like you leave us alone!” And the urge to say, “Where can I find clothes like that? I wonder what I’d look like?”

It’s so grand, when humans see someone different. the way it brings out the wishes they have to look different. To be different. To stand apart. “Notice me! Notice me!” And the way it brings out their terror. “Everyone would notice me! I can’t. No. It’s just wrong.”

And then the woman’s deeper thoughts came through. “I bet she sleeps with other women, too.” Oh, the beauty! The sheer ecstasy! You should have seen the images that flashed through her mind when she thought of that! Oh, my! Naked bodies. Oral ecstasy. Exploring fingers.

Then, there was the shame. “Stop it! You know that’s wrong. To think that way. What’s wrong with you today?” And the blame. “It’s all her fault. That bitch. Dressing that way. There ought to be a law, so people like her can’t upset good, honest people like me!”

There was this man. Shopping with his wife. The child in the basket seat. He kept staring at Goth Girl. Watching every move. Especially when she turned away from him. The way his eyes locked on her ass. Oh, my. Delicious. “My wife would never dress like that.” The disappointment. The longing. The urge to explore something different. Someone different.

You would have loved the images that lingered in his mind. Being tied up, with Goth Girl doing anything she wanted to. She’d even brought a girlfriend. And the two of them had fun. Right in front of him. Wet fingers everywhere. Exploring tongues. And when they finished with each other, they explored him.

Fantasy. Such a marvelous invention of the mind. And all the while, the fear. That his wife would find out. Would see the way he looked at Goth Girl. Would see the thoughts in his head. Of getting naked with a stranger. “No, it’s wrong to have such thoughts. It’s all that bitch’s fault. Dressing that way. So disturbing. So sexually disruptive. As if she’s begging to be raped. There ought to be a law.”

Then there we the people who just avoided Goth Girl. They saw her coming, and it was like Moses. Parting the waters of the sea. People just scattered. Cleared a path for her. Left the aisle when she entered. The hatred. The mistrust. The fear. So yummy. Oh, the thoughts! “Avoid that slut!” Oh, the thoughts! “I bet she’s into drugs too. And even takes money for sex.” Oh, the thoughts! The thoughts! “Her kind should just be shot. So we can all be safe from them. From people like her.”

It was beautiful! Gorgeous! Like mining a rich vein of gold! The bounty just went on, and on, and on! Not one single person in that grocery store failed to provide good stuff that day. Oh, what a haul!

When I got home, I invited over everyone. And we celebrated. We got drunk on the emotions, the fears, the fantasies, the hatred I’d collected that day. On that grocery store trip.

The best part? The best part is how humans don’t believe we’re real. Don’t believe in demons. Don’t believe that we hide, in the shadows, in the dark, in the corners, watching. Waiting. For them to lie to themselves. For them to pretend they don’t have dark thoughts. For them to deny their nature. Their fantasies. Their dreams.

Oh, the havoc they wreck upon themselves! Oh, the beauty of their ways!

Not one of us has ever starved. And so long as humans behave the way they behave. None of us ever will.