There is – I wouldn’t call it a hole, rather a hollow – in the ground outside my house. When it rains it fills up to form a puddle and when the sun shines it evaporates, back to a hollow. The last few summers the puddle hasn’t dried away. Perhaps the sun shone less or perhaps the branches of the tree just above it grew a little thicker, but the puddle remained throughout the season. I can see the puddle from my bedroom window. The puddle, the tree and the green area around it, the little playground outside a kindergarten and a convenience store.
The convenience store faces the playground, not the road. There’s always traffic, even at night. The convenience store owner often complains about his misfortunes. ‘Oh how I wish more customers came in. If they knew I was here and this and that’, he says. The convenience store used to be a second kindergarten, for toddlers and the other one was for babies. The demand for childcare didn’t lessen; they just had to settle for a single kindergarten. Efficiency and budget cuts. A result of this is the many children on the playground. They have to play outside, which was seen as a good thing. ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing’ – was the argument. Anyway, why it matters to me, childless as I am, is that I have trouble sleeping. Children shout. They don’t talk. Whoever said children have secrets, is a liar, for no child has ever whispered. Shouting and laughing, I don’t mind people laughing, but children laugh at a very high pitch and evolution made it so that we women wake up to that particular pitch. I do not want be a mother. I would make a terrible mother. But still, I’m burdened by this awful evolutionary device. My body wants to tend to my child’s every need, even though I don’t have one.
I try to sleep on my sofa instead. The trouble is, I wake up with the strangest feeling. Yesterday I woke up and my neck was wet. I had a feeling I wanted to crush the head of a cat against a rock. I have never done such a thing. Never. Nor would I do it. But I wanted to hear the sound of it. I searched the net to listen to such a sound. It was hard to find, but I found a site which offered what I wanted. So I ordered it. It was very satisfying. It made the crunching sound I expected. I listened to it with my eyes closed the first couple of times, imagining what it would look like. It didn’t look exactly as I had imagined, but it was close.
Several years ago, I was supposed to be killed. They carried me to a graveyard, strapped me down, pushed the edge of a knife against my skin and carved from where my collar bones meet to my bellybutton. I wasn’t as afraid as I should have been. It was thrilling, actually. The men held me down and the priest commanded over my fate. My vision became cloudy. It didn’t hurt. Very odd. It was warm and welcoming. Then it stopped. The priest saved me. He saw that I could do what he did, and even better. I knew nothing then of course. I thought my reckless living had finally caught up with me, but it hadn’t. It will someday, I’m sure of it. I haven’t slowed down. In fact I have increased it. And I am now paid for it.
The men they carry in, just like I was carried, are not innocent. Maybe some are just petty thieves, what do I know? And what do I care? However, the men I resurrect are not petty thieves. Not at all!
I do it, get my money and get the hell out of there as quickly as I can. I try to have as little contact as possible with the parish. The priest can handle the subjects once they’re up, that’s all I need to know.
Sacrilege –as the thief, rapist or criminal are called – is carried in by Sheep – as the men who once carried me in are called – in accordance to theology.
Sheep are easily sacrificed. They think it’s worth it and I agree. I think, if I could choose my own destiny, it is the way I would go. Stronger, faster and smarter, albeit for a limit period, but who wants to grow both dimmer AND older? Plus a sheep is not killed every time we do the ritual. Most sheep survive when I resurrect that murderer or lunatic… or whatever the hell they did when they first were alive.
The Sheep are necessary to hold the man back, to keep him at bay, while the Priest and I are safe. The first onslaught is brutal. The Sheep tries to hold him back, run around or block his fury, long enough for the priest to take control. I have witnessed a few very bloody trials. The Priest is strong – exceedingly strong – but he still has problems containing the subjects. One day I will likely take his job, if I survive long enough. Why wouldn’t I? They have my back and that means a lot in the right circles. I’m just afraid that some minor shit will take it all away. Like cancer. I had it a year ago, breast cancer, I guess I still have it, but it’s under control, the doctors say. I have spoken to the priest about it and he says he’ll try, but he might fail to resurrect me. Isn’t that just great? The only person who can resurrect me is me.
If I confessed in a catholic church they’d say it is the wrath of God. Revenge, justice or some kind of bullshit. Then why the hell did he make me this way? Stop putting cancer in good people and stop giving bad people talents. I was given talent and cancer. What does that make me?
It seems to me that the big struggle among theist and atheist is about whether or not Man was the mirror image of God or vice versa. Did we create God or did he create us? I think about that a lot. It concerns my occupation. I am recreating life, in a manner of speech. For a bad cause I know, but no one is knocking at my door, paying me to resurrect Mother Theresa. I wouldn’t. Well maybe, but they’d have to pay me very well – which they would of course; they probably have more money than the Priest. She told raped women who had abortions they would go to hell, forever burn in agony while being reborn every day, in fire. So the mother cries every time she sees her unwanted child. No, Mother Theresa can stay buried. Anyhow, there’s no demand for “good” people. It’s the sinners that pay.
I lie awake on my sofa and wake up. A Sheep calls me and tells me to come down immediately. They are always direct. They must be. They are performing kidnapping and murder every day. Or if it’s technically the Priest who performs the murder, who cares? I go down and they bring me to the convenience store. The owner is dead. He lies in a puddle of blood by the Snacks and Sweets shelf. The Priest puts his arm around my shoulder.
“Did you know this man? I think you did seeing as you live so close.”
We step over him and walk to the dairy products, where the Sheep have prepared space for us.
“Yes. I didn’t know him personally.”
“But you have met several times, perhaps even talked.”
“Yes. He complains about his business.”
“What does he say?”
“That it faces the playground instead of the road.”
“Hmm. He makes movies in his spare time, did you know that?”
“Yes. Premium movies, order-in type of business. A customer, who might be on the other side of the world, orders a certain deed and he provides it. Nothing complicated of course, but he needs a steady supply as you might understand.”
“You ever wondered why he complains to you? Why he purposely chose to complain to you?”
“Does he use children in his movies?”
“The police? Really, Executor, wake up. Those who killed him are obviously not police officers. That man last week, did you think the police killed him too? Thirty-five shots are more anger than professionalism.”
“I won’t do it.”
He smiles and places his hand on the freezer. “Do what? The resurrection? You must be joking.”
“I am not joking. And why are you telling me this? I am usually the last to know what they did. Is this some sick-”
“I’m retiring. That’s why I told you. It is a test to see if you can handle it. You WILL handle it. You will resurrect this man.”
He clasps his hand around my throat.
He lets me go. “Ha-ha!”
I walk round the freezer and turn to the Sheep. “Don’t attempt anything. I can pinch my fingernails and you’ll all be a wet stain on the wall. I won’t do anything. This is goodbye! Don’t ever contact me again.”
“Really goodbye?” The Priest steps over a can which lies on the floor. “Tell me then, do you feel something growing inside you? Somewhere in your chest perhaps?
My chest burns. He approaches.
“Yes. Cover yourself. Gasp for air. That very darkness which once almost claimed you is dawning upon you. Who do you think gave you cancer? A justice-seeking god!?”
I bend forward. A cough. I cough up blood.
“No. I own you. I AM GOD. If you don’t resurrect him in ten seconds that cancer will burst through your heart . 10.”
I collapse and start vomiting.
I shut my eyes. “7”
My hearing fades. His voice echoes in my rib cage and I’m only listening to it. My heart beats with it, pumps blood after it. Follows it.
A tingle in my hair roots.