Thoughts of a dying atheist


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The weather did not change that quickly; not even during winter. When they'd started the trail shortly after 12am, the blazing March sun had left shadow's scurrying for cover. Now, a quiet chill had settled along the mountain. Grant hadn't expected to see more than a handful of hikers, as Thursday's were an odd time for hiking, but it was odd that they hadn't seen anyone for almost two hours now.
Granted, Skeleton Gorge wasn't for the faint of heart, yet still he couldn't shake a peculiar sensation, as if the witching hour had badly misjudged it's arrival. He'd read the Earthsea novels, was familiar with the concept of secret names and hidden power; and what a great fictional concept. But the mountain whispered gossamer words to the sea, and as she birthed a thick, swirling mist in answer, Grant found himself wondering just how imagined the concept was.
Thankfully, they were on the way down and he hoped the mist would only prove a hindrance in driving home. It seemed as if they'd barely walked another ten paces, when the mist claimed them both; a playful lover at first, but with intentions too alien to comprehend.
Then, the sound of feet slipping, a petrified scream, and desperate scrabbling as the safety rope attached to Keegan dragged Grant over the edge.
Moonlight prised unwilling eyelids apart. As his eyes adjusted to the gloom, three things became numbingly apparent. A piece of his shin bone had sliced through his skin and something sticky pasted his shirt to his side, but he lay on something more sickening then either. Keegan had broken his fall. And his own neck. They...shit, he.....how does one describe two bodies, one alive and one dead? He..........he seemed to be in a deep fissure. Large enough to see a brightly lit sky, and large enough to swallow up his cries for help before they'd even left his lips. Grant should have been in agony, but a part of his brain was convinced this was all a dream, and pain didn't exist in dreams. At least, not the physical kind.
Slowly at first, and then with increasing ferocity, the pain did come. He'd been able to keep it at bay long enough to move away from the body, long enough to strip Keegan of his jacket....but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Not the shame, but the fear that if he tried to, Keegan's cold hands would reach out for him. So instead he lay shivering in another corner, laughing at the broken pieces of the cellphone in his hand. Instinct almost got the better of him and he barely managed to stop himself from forming a prayer in his mind. Old habits did not die hard; they just loitered around, waiting to make fun of the weak.
He could hear his mother's voice, warning of a fiery place, happy to welcome him for eternity should he not repent. It wasn't that she'd been unkind or cruel, she genuinely believed she had his best interests at heart. What grated him far more then her constant insistence, was her blunt acceptance in damning the wicked to a ceaseless flame. Did she, did any of them have the slightest concept, a fraction of the ability to conceive of just what eternity meant? Without end. The entire span of history a loose pebble on a mountain.
He felt sleepy, but strangely no longer cold. He knew he should be fighting to stay awake, but could no longer remember why. Grant closed his eyes. After all, it was only forever.


4 Responses to “Thoughts of a dying atheist”

  1. Anonymous kyknoord 

    Let's have a 'Complete the Death Trilogy' competition. Here's my entry:
    Karen watched with an ironic detachment as the frayed end of the elasticated rope whiplashed past her right ear. "Damn!" she thought, "that's the last time I let anyone talk me into bungee-jumping".

  2. Anonymous Luke Sometimes 

    Hey ... you're on a roll. Stop it. You're making the rest of us look doff.
    This is totally real, can feel it. Some great lines in there, dude.
    Bugger it.

  3. Anonymous Fence 

    Two days, two great pieces.

    Course I'd'a given in and prayed, but that's just me :)

  4. Anonymous anne 

    Of course he was no longer cold: the fissure was probably the opening to the fiery place...

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