There was a ghost in the house. Sandra tried not to think about him as she stirred sugar into her morning cup of tea, but he was always there, lingering between the walls, tutting in disapproval at the black mold in the bathroom and the weeds sprouting in the garden. He crept into her dreams, and she would wake up in a cold sweat to his rigid, grinning face until fumbling, she flicked the switch to the bedside lamp, and his terrible visage disappeared. He possessed this house and he possessed her, a truth she could hide from, but always had to face when, once every thirty days, he knocked on the door and asked in his soul-leeching death rattle for this month’s rent.
The New New Testament
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
Not for climate change or bigotry or homelessness, or anything like that. Those are on you. I gave you free will, you all chose what to do with it. I did try to give you some pointers, even sent you a whole book with a message that essentially boils down to “don’t be a jerk”. To give you a bit of leeway, the meaning got a tad garbled. Matthew, Mark, Paul, they all meant well, but they aren’t the best listeners. They all added some stuff in that made me think they’d missed out the first word in the aforementioned message. But generally, I think my intent came through clearly enough there.
So no, I’m not sorry for the stuff you guys have done. It’s up to you to figure that out. I’m sorry for…
Right, you know how it’s often said you were made in my image? That’s another thing that got a little… lost in translation. It’s close, closer than the other wrong stuff, but I didn’t make you look like me. Every species in existence looks like one of my angels. There are natives to Alpha Centauri who get to look like multiple wheels of fire with a thousand eyes - how cool is that? Some species got Gabriel, others got Satan and Beelzebub - who, by the way, get an unfair reputation. They’re good guys who are willing to question my choices. And that’s a good thing. No leader should surround themselves with yes men. Dogs got angel Flopsy, who is the best boy and needs to go for walkies once I’ve finished writing this. You… you got Angel Steve.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with Angel Steve. He’s also a good guy. But well, you’ve seen Angel Steve. Not in person, but you’ve all seen each other, so you’ve seen Angel Steve. Two arms, two legs, not my most inspired design. I feel like I let you down there. Sometimes I wonder if, well, I’d given you more to work with, you’d have turned out differently. But maybe that’s just me judging by appearances.
Because in spite of what the gospels claim, I’m not flawless, just precocious. I woke up one day, and I was literally able to do everything. I never had to try, it just happened. Imagine what that does to a being. I have all of creation racing through my consciousness at any given moment, the best and worst of everyone, your kindness and your cruelty, all shouting out loud. It terrifies me. It excites me. But most of all, it gives me hope.
I think, what I’m trying to say, is… maybe I need to believe in you.
Andrew Davis is a writer based in Cardiff. He writes a mix of prose and poetry, which has been published in anthologies and online journals by independent publishers including Black Pear Press, Fictive Dream and Arcbeatle Press. Full publications listed at https://linktr.ee/andrewphillipdavis.