This is a small section from my novella that came out last May. It is about The Reporter and his battle to overcome guilt and depression. He starts feeling these negative emotions after someone he is close with dies. Other troubles, and more negativity, ensue as his life completely breaks apart. Moreover, this is a story over redemption and renewal.
I think it can be read as a religious tale of inspiration. God helping breaking a man down just to rebuild him stronger than he was ever before. The story is after all written in this language. It may also be read as a story about a guy who simply loses his faith (in whatever it may be in) and tries to regain faith, because without faith, his entire life crumbles into a cold and solitary sadness. This is the interpretation I like.
Like raindrops slipping down a window pane, The Reporter’s heart shed tears of sorrow and sympathy. For he truly believed his story had led to The Priest’s descent into madness and depression. And with this belief came waves of sadness that wash over The Reporter, slathering his skin with seeds of a negative variety. The waters of sadness brought a pessimistic infection that burrowed into his heart, shredding it with atrophy and agony. And with the onset of this evil, sickness began the slow and delicate process of decay. Through a complex web of misery, bound by an acidic lace, The Reporter would find his demise.
His mind played host to a flourishing collection of somber thoughts. Unpleasant ideas that bore a unique sensation dotted his imagination. Every ounce of common sense he possessed implored him to cease this nonsense, yet his heart appealed with logic and passion; urging that he give in to the dark feelings and accept the simple truth: he was somewhat responsible for The Priest’s downfall. Due to this theory of guilt, he became worried about his standing with his god. Slithering just beneath his skin and creeping along his veins was the cool feeling that produced a foul pit that was black in nature and color. And into the pit he would fall.
“Have you ever felt guilty? Have you ever done something wrong? Have you ever sinned? Of course, we all have! And our god forgives.” The Preacher began his Sunday message with a cheerful smile. The Reporter sat in the back of the sanctuary with his wife, sulking quietly as The Preacher talked. In the short span of time since the incident his emotional state had deteriorated, leaving him a crumbling wreck. He had fallen from a high perch, landing on a dark and grim path.
“We all sin, there isn’t much we can do; we are defective creatures. One could call us misfits or damaged goods. But what are we to do about this condition? Since we know that certain behaviors and actions are wrong, we should avoid them at all costs, correct? Shouldn’t we avoid these bad behaviors and seek out good ones? It’s like a balance scale. The more good you do, the better chances you have at getting into Heaven!” The Preacher stated motioning to a cartoon picture depicting the gates of Heaven.
The Reporter snapped to attention and sat up straight. His eyes were locked on The Preacher as he spoke. His ears curled toward the front of the sanctuary to hear his words more clearly. There’s a way out of this! All I gotta do is be more good than bad! Why didn’t I think of this? The Reporter thought as The Preacher went on about the cruel and twisted nature of man:
“Men have the capacity to commit awful deeds. Evil is a very real problem in this world! Rape, genocide, murder, false religions…men have a lengthy list of sick ideas they fancy. Some of these inventions even have the potential to steal you, yes you! The salt of the earth, the true believers and leaders of the blind could be led astray by these manipulative and misunderstood inventions of man.
“Listen close my friends and commit these words I share to memory. In the end, we, us, the entire human race will be held accountable for our crimes and sins. We will be judged and sentenced accordingly, unless we find salvation of course. The sinners and criminals will be locked away in their cells and left to rot, burn and starve forever, while Our People are warm and safe with our loving god.” The Preacher declared. In response several of the members of the congregation shouted: “Amen!”
“Did you know that even our god believes that certain sins are unforgivable? Yes my friends, our god who coined the terms, forgiven and salvation, has a short list of sins that he has deemed unforgivable! Tread carefully and watch out for the hidden traps, for they conceal the nasty and most sinful pathways. We know that our god rejects murderers and child rapists from Heaven. He has told us so!” The Preacher said motioning towards the sky.
M…murderers? The Reporter thought to himself. Am I a murderer? No, I didn’t hurt the Priest or his family. But I helped, in some way, I helped. I know I did. So I’m a man who pushed someone to murder…what does that make me?
“Now, if you’ll come back to the positive side of things, I’d like to end today’s sermon on a reassuring note. You can be saved! Sin can be crossed out and forgotten about. Repenting and begging god for forgiveness is one method. We’re all familiar with this idea, right? What about the one I mentioned earlier? Preforming good actions to level out your “good” and “bad” deeds? That works too. I’ve heard about people neglecting and denying themselves of certain things…this could be considered a sacrifice of sorts.” The Preacher stated leaning over the podium.
That’s what I gotta do. I gotta be nice and sacrifice things. But I’m already pretty nice to people? And what would I sacrifice? Don’t some religions forbid alcohol and pork? I could go without bacon and I hardly drink, so that wouldn’t be a hardship. But what if that’s the idea, it has to be hard for me. What if that’s what he really wants; for me to suffer or to have a tough time? I could flog myself or something. Cutting myself could work then too.
Later that evening after church The Reporter and his wife sat on their couch watching a movie. However, as the film played out, The Reporter found himself distracted. He found himself thinking about what The Preacher had said in church. If my god wants pain, shouldn’t he already be happy? I’m hurting! And The Priest’s family, they were in pain before he got help…and I’m sure they suffered to some extent before they died. What more could he want from me? Does he want blood? Blood, a blood sacrifice of sorts? My Blood…