Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer

“Above as under, I am eternity.”

It is irrefutable fact that each day you all, without exception, unwittingly amble through the exact moment of your eventual demise. That unassuming second into which those you leave behind will, hopefully, look and take pause to remember all that you once and forever were.

“I can see inside you. It is fascinating. To peer down and through and beneath ripped flesh and behold were souls they cowered.”

It has been many months now since the sky ripped and through its vulgar slit did birth down upon us this most protracted and bawling end. So many months that I have hidden in the crypt beneath of what was once my church, so impatiently I awaited the silence.

That’s not entirely true – that tiny stone chapel, that faith corral was never mine. I never wanted for my majesty to be so confined. I am, though, in awe of how beautifully it was designed to aid and abet the conditioning of minds.

“Blind faith… your name is Faith, right? Especially funny, on account of that you also now have no eyes.”

Today, as I finally emerged back into the world, I saw my little church for what it most certainly always was. But an empty room with an impractically high ceiling and pretty windows adorned with fragmented liars that change and spin the light into dust filled flutes — spears, so taken as they were to prod and to judge and condemn.

I had listened as with hooked fingers the celestial sickness took hold and rammed itself again and again into your minds. I listened as you beat on the door and I heard as your ruined words pleaded to God and then unto me for salvation.

“God, how much proof did you need of this fakery? All that suffering. All that random disaster. How many bullets and bombs wrapped in the spittle of scripture needed to be cast? I mean, it was obvious to me and I’m a bloody priest for god’s sake.”

I listened and fidgeted as the boxes I’d propped jarred and the cans of food clinked and the bottles of water squeaked in their plastic bandages and I waited and I cried out for you to stop. So impatient. I just wanted to get on with it, you know? Domination should not wait for anyone. I just wanted you all to end.

“There is a smell that lingers, trapped beneath the skin and above the flesh even long after the rot of death. It fills me now, and I wonder who it is that agitates at the very tip of my tongue.”

I didn’t know at first, though I did suspect. I don’t think I am a god. Just maybe an entity that can never die. I know that much. I know I am here forever.

“Sorry, I’m changing and I don’t know what I am saying out loud and what I’m saying inside of my head. And I don’t really care, to be honest. The blood of Christ is upon me and I feel its warmth as it snakes across my flesh.”

I feel stupid and needlessly self-concious as I stand here naked in this supermarket aisle with the new day’s rays contracting the wet sheen atop of my skin. You look stupid too, as you kneel at my feet and fear shimmers across the dried lakes of your upturned eyes and your lovely lips peel back from teeth clenched so tightly they might crack.

My body is drenched in red wine though I did not partake in the barest sip. Not sure why. Probably should have, I guess.

“Would you like some? Share a glass to numb the impending pain. You know, I think that not only do we pass through the exact moment of our deaths but some may also, perchance, pass through the exact place, the exact location in which they will draw upon the very last of the air that they will ever, ever breathe. I used to watch you when you worked here. You used to smile. You should smile, they look good on you.”

And so it is I find myself here in this your most special moment, this end of all that you will ever be, the end of all you will know, and I feel myself trapped. Held tightly, bound within the ever bloating and constricting last seconds of your existence. I am frightened and I look upon the deflated ooze of your beautiful eyes as they leak from the holes in your head and I am numb.

I really don’t know how long I have been standing here. Long enough for the night to have been folded and put away many times over, I think. And now, as the sun runs its fingers across the ruined selves and the desiccated corpses, I think it has too done this more than just the once.

I think I have been here a while. I cannot have awoken just today as I thought. My blood is still and it has forgotten to pump and I wait for my legs to shake and fall away. I think, I have been here more than a while.

“I’ve been noticing little things. I’ve fallen in love with worn edges, the swirling scratches where countless midnight cleaners had buffed and polished the floor. I have been coming here since I was a kid. I’d steal button mushrooms from the grocery section and munch on them raw as my mother pondered on the soothing caress of her secret juniper friend. The bolts in the silent air-conditioner above my head are weeping like a rusting Madonna. There is a cardboard woman hanging from the ceiling and her eyes are as vivid as the oil on a master’s palette and her cleavage is bound and brown and calling. I think she is selling peas.”

So, I’ve been thinking that, maybe, I must be wrong and that a God does exist. How else could I have been spared and then so cruelly punished in this purgatorial never ending end of days?

I am a priest and I am a wolf. I’m sure that many will align comparison between my predatory conduct as the former with the obvious steely eyed stealth hunting impulses of the latter.

“I have as many names as I have faces and was never really sure as to which me was the real me.”

I squint out through the dust-caked sliding doors and into the simmering waste and I am mistress of all I behold.

“I was right, I am going to live forever. I think I have been here a while.”