Today marks a year since my becoming began. Five religions down, a thousand to go. I’m not deterred, numbers never matter. On the subject of religion, spiritualism offers me an interesting view of necromancy. I would be at the cemetery today to test out some theories I believe are true. I am certain that I have studied enough to actually… “Tim!” Mother. She seemed to have a knack for wrong timing or at least an inherent timer for when it’s worst to call. “Hurry up or we’re going to be late!” for a funeral I wasn’t sure who died, but my father being a clergy meant we had to be there, mourning in sympathy, sending prayers up for the acceptance of their soul into the pearly white gates which – “I’ll be right out” I had enough past experiences to say didn’t exist. These souls remain here seeking God, why would they stay if he wasn’t here too? He would’ve made himself known if he knew who he was. If he was who he was supposed to be. Who he had to become.
Mother and my sisters were being awfully noisy on the supposedly solemn drive to church, making it especially difficult for me to deal with my dilemma. Deciding how to feel about today felt pretty daunting. A new soul lingering meant it would be easy to reach them. If they recognized me, that could make it hard for me to get through to the others. Doubt was the one thing I didn’t need in their hearts. I had postponed this mission twice now, I couldn’t dally any longer. I would be recognized for the truth I embody. They had to see it. Human souls thought they were…. A girl with bright red hair stood across the street from where I’d parked, I could swear she wasn’t there when I pulled into the driveway, but she looked like she’d been a while. Now she was staring straight at me, my skin chilled a bit as our eyes met. Hairs were erect under her gaze as goosebumps covered my forearms, I stopped abruptly in my tracks. My keys slipped off my finger and clanked to the ground, distracting me momentarily. By the time I had picked them up and looked back, she was gone. Just gone, almost like she was never there, but I knew I saw her. “Perhaps I didn’t need the rituals to make the spirits aware of my presence after all” I muttered to myself, walking into the chapel. My sister passed me a procession pamphlet. Ben, that’s the guy who died, never knew him, but he did look familiar.
My parents always got to bed early on nights after funerals so my leaving the house at 2 am was hitch-free. I parked blocks away from the cemetery and grabbed my flashlight and journal, had to walk a while. I didn’t particularly have a plan, my guidance was from within and never failed me. Betting on this Ben soul’s ability to recognize the greater force I was beyond my “preacher man’s kid” title to keep him from messing up my plans, I sat cross-legged twenty-one graves away from his. As the power surged through me, I closed my eyes to revel in it. Feeling a presence, I opened them, half expecting a whole company of souls drawn by the force of their source. My triumph was dampened by perplexity when I noticed a red-haired figure hunched over Ben’s grave. I inched closer to witness his acceptance into the search for souls, proud to be there in his moment of realization. The figure turned slowly. That cold, hard stare, she held it for a heartbeat as I took in her features, face smeared red, damp hair framing it, I stopped, the chill again. Three steps closer allowed me to see as she grazed her teeth over an open rib, scraping worn flesh off of it. She looked up at me, eyes warm this time, inviting. So I knelt beside her. She lifted his hand, an offering, I accepted, biting down on his index as hard as I could, ripping it from the palm. I was unable to swallow, but the satisfying dissociation of flesh from bone kept me going until what was left of him was torn to shreds of flesh and a heap of bones. Watching the sky as it burned orange behind the trees, dawn, we fell asleep.
I woke up to sirens and men all around. She sat up, assessing the environment, then stood protectively over me as I scrambled for my journal. The men closed in on us as I wrote; I met a girl, I think she’s God. then held it to my chest. She handed me the flashlight and walked away, “NO! No, don’t go! Please” As tears ran down my face, I’d found God, but she had left me. Tears because I wasn’t God, tears because I was wrong. Feeling a needle in my side, I drifted in and out of consciousness too tired to try to fight back, I kept my eyes down, only just noticing the white dress I had been wearing, perhaps I had worn Mother’s nightdress mistakenly. Darkness and muffled noises surrounded me as I was lifted off the ground.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry I can’t…please don’t read any further” a frail woman, in her early 50s judging by the prominent grey streaks in her hair pled, hurriedly pulling out her handkerchief in a futile attempt to hide her quickly contorting face as she choked back tears. Her husband drew near, comforting her with an embrace. “We could’ve helped him. He kept telling me…You know, when he first said he was God, I just thought-” shuddering as she took a stabilizing breath “my Tim, my poor boy”. An understanding silence ensued, allowing her time to regain her composure. “Did he ever speak of the girl he saw?” the reporter continued. “Never. He never”
This work is written by SEFA MAMU.
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