I recently downloaded Reddit and subscribed to some very good world-building and writing prompt groups. What follows is a quick attempt at a prompt along the lines of: You are a simple farmer in a world of famine and plague. You pray every night. This time, however, your god answers…
It’s a bit sceptical to say the least…
Here it goes…
I walk over barren ground. The topsoil is gone. Nothing grows here, not anymore. Only the ground in the triangular field by the river still yields any sort of crop. It’s enough to live, but not enough to sate the hunger fully. The air stinks. The summer died long ago, leaving the world in the perpetual autumn. Perpetual decay. I remember the day that summer died. The day the vast, black form fell from the sky and the world shook. I remember how it knocked me off my feet as I stood in the field. I remember how the shaking ground brought down the walls of my house. I rebuilt. But walls are no real defence against famine and plague.
I pray every night to the Glory. Every night I beg for the ground to bear fruit and for the blood plague to cease. I pray for vindication for every suffering and hurt. The Glory doesn’t answer my prayers. Nor the prayers of anyone else in this miserable existence. My faith has not waivered though. The Glory knows its own mind, and by not answering confirms to me that my faith must remain strong. I have to trust in the Glory. This is a test of faith.
I feel sleep approaching so I make my way back to my house. I fall to my knees at the side of my bed as I do every night. I clasp my hands together and bow my head.
“Glory, I am you servant. I hold onto my faith now, as I have through all the long years of your test. Hunger stabs at my belly, and my eyes and ears bleed, and still I wish to bask in your radiance. Show the world your kindness and end the pain of the faithful. Save us”.
The walls shake and pottery falls from the table.
WHY DO YOU STILL PRAY?
A voice booms in my ears. It reverberates in my head, a sharp pain accompanying each word and strange lights float across my vision.
WHY DO YOU STILL PRAY?
YES, IT IS I. WHY DO YOU STILL PRAY? ANSWER.
“Because you are the Glory! You are the light of the world! I love you! All of mankind loves you”
I HAVE POISONED THIS WORLD. I CREATE FAMINE AND PLAGUE.
“We are taught that everything you do is for love of the world. We must do as the scriptures say and worship and thank you!”
YOU PRAY BECAUSE YOU ARE TOLD TO? DO YOU THINK I WILL END THE SUFFERING WHEN ENOUGH PRAY TO ME?
“We must prove ourselves to you, Glory! We must prove our faith!”
AND WHAT IS FAITH?
“It is our trust in you! It is our knowledge that you will always be there to help!”
TRUST THAT I WILL RELIEVE ALL YOUR WOES?
THE TEST IS FINISHED
“Oh Glory! You will end the suffering? The hunger and sickness?”
I WILL. THE SUFFERING WILL END.
“The world will rejoice!”
YOU HAVE FAILED
BLIND FAITH IS POISON. YOU HAVE SPENT YEARS PRAYING YET TAKEN NO ACTION YOURSELF. YOU HAVE FREE WILL. YOU ARE NOT MEANT TO FOLLOW BLINDLY. I HAVE FAILED. MY CREATIONS SHOULD QUESTION AND STRIVE TO ACHIEVE.
Tears are filling my eyes.
TIME TO WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD.
I can hear a strange whining outside. I leave my house and look at the sky. The whining increases to a roar and the sky ignites. The sun has come to the earth. I burn. The world burns. I pray to the Glory for help, but he doesn’t reply.