"We still write in this book, and wait for His return. Paying generation after generation, with life after life for our returning souls, for the sins of our ever more distant relatives. Or ourselves... our soul. The nebulous force inside all of our flesh; yet, as has always been true, we can only half-believe it as we go through our day to day life, and face the same old questions the blind flesh will... is this life worth it? What really happens afterwards? Are the Holy Books right about this, when they are wrong about so much?"
Joesup lays down his pen and looks at his feet, where two cats have aproached him after a nap. He says a prayer of thanks that he did not fuck up... the Bible he worked on was elaboratly illuminated with art that had taken his fellow monks years to perfect.... He had never screwed one up, or knew anyone who had, but they all joked about it among each other to let him know, they all feared this. They all smoked a lot of weed and drank mead - who wouldn't, living out on that rock, in the seas.... moving all the time. Staying ahead of the war fronts, frantic to preserve what they had. All that was sacred to them -- the records of the Christ coming to earth, and leaving with the most evolved souls...
All of their souls had murdered, raped, pillaged... grown rich by bleeding others lives... Long ago... thousands of years now. Still, they prayed... He heard their prayers once, and came... Spent hundreds of thousands of years doing what he could for the evolving souls.... then, He left.
There was a great war. They led the wrong side. He gave them every chance for redemption and they refused. They led many to senseless deaths, the grunts on their front lines... and were surprised to see the Christ forgive them for being drafted by the wrong side.
Joesup could see no fairness in it. Some of them had learned better... still, most of the souls there were still fighting one another for the pure joy of having a reason to live, however dark and destructive. His order had shunned the violence for 900 hundred years. They had followers on every side of the conflicts. People who followed the Traveling Monks, the keepers of The Church of Redemption.... an elaborate title for what amounted to forty people who lived under guard, traveled secretly in submarines for years at a time... writing, ever writing... trying to communicate with the Universe, gather visions.... they knew more now than ever, but it was too damn late.
He remembers text he had scribed, of the look on the Christs face as he left them, how sorrowful as he told them, "I failed you. I am a servant in my Father's court, or I would do other... if I can come back, I will. Do not wait for me. Live better and pray."
Every child on the planet had once known those words. The writing from the times after the visitor, when He was still in every living person's memory... those words alone brought out saintly behavior in the most vile humans on the planet. A great peace had ensued... for a thousand years. They thought it would bring him back... as prophesied.... but no... the thousand year peace was the most he could do for those left on the earth, nothing more.
Three thousand years now. War and pestilence, pollution.... the world less governed than broke up into private armies funded by large corporations and billionaires. Fiefdoms. Families lived in obligation to one army or another; raised from birth to be warriors, to hate and kill. This was when the monks first left the cities for the mountains, isolating themselves from being slaughtered for being associated with the rise and fall of some little King who took over their physical geography.
He had been picked out of school and taken to the monastic life when he was seven. After entering a school that tested out his hand eye coordination and intelligence and found him the best of his generation; chosen over children who were less troublesome, though less artistic. The life was much better than he had up to then. He was so grateful whatever he had been washed away.
The life out in society was spent drilling for war, and going to battles to do what they could... by seven he was killing wounded enemies, and had already learned to go through their pockets, check the anus for jewelry...
He already had a serious drinking problem and was starting to like heavy drugs.... they gave him anything it took to get him to be a brutal thing.
The older Monks told him that God had sent him to them. The tests were just a front. They had visions, they told him, and he would, too....
He lived in awe of them. Wanted their powers. At eighteen, when he was inducted into the Cycles Of Visions, he had been somewhat disappointed to find that meant doing a bunch of mushrooms. Still, the visions had grown on him, and he loved the right... and he felt the universe out there at such times, knew just what he was, a soul on a rock, cycling over and over through lives...
When the Christ was last on earth, he had spent years trying to tell people what he was doing, who he was, how to follow him to Heaven. He was laughed at by some, drove some mad, and others followed what he was doing and did not care who He was, which was just fine for the Christ, who never asked for belief, just Right Living. He wrote then, "Hell is being lost in space, knowing your savior has come and gone." He fought until there was peace, then left....
It was hell now. Hadn't always been. For a thousand years there was a peace. The writing from that time was still popular. Everyone wanted peace, after the next battle to take a bit of land... or when they were losing.
The room around him is warmed by the burning torches. A cave. On a gray rock jutting out of the ocean, off the southern coast of Africa. Near the arctic, cold enough to see a few penguins... which all the monks loved. They had heard there were a few left, out here far from man. Seeing them for sure... most birds were gone, dead from a war era using electronic pulse weapons, which killed great swaths of humans, entire neighborhoods... and every animal, down to the worms in the soil. Out here they had escaped the Great Kill.... came just twenty eight years after the thousand world peace.... when an ambitious man got his hands on the schematics for the vicious weapon, and surprised a peaceful world by having spies and agents all over the world.... took them less than five years to reactivate the evilness in the lost souls.
A lot of things fell apart when they finally accepted the Christ was not coming back. Waiting a thousand years was nothing. They lived agrarian lives, carefully took care of the earth in a receivership, as His throne... when that day passed... then years.... people began to live purely for the flesh.
Sex and drug cults destroyed whatever had come before. People saw no reason not to live running from the pain... slowi down at all and it all caught up with them.... the fact that they were in the Hell they had read about.... in their bibles. The Hell they had made almost a heaven... compared to what they were left with after the Heaven's War. Little was left unscathed. Just enough, they found, for the people left.... all part of His plan. Joesup lays his head down on the table, closes his eyes and wishes he had been able to drink more that morning, instead of sit here working.