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"Pneuma" by Sebastian Vice

The sun beat down on my dangling corpse. With visitors long since gone, I’m left in isolation, suffocating on a cross. Don’t call me a messiah. Will my followers construct religions in my name? Erect buildings in my honor? Will they misunderstand what I’ve said? My father promised to look after me when aborted me from his kingdom. He promises a lot of things, and he’s not so different from Zeus or Jupiter. But when you’re a god, you make up the rules as you go, especially if you’re an omniscient tyrant.

It must be hard to be a god. Who would want to be such a creature anyway? To never want for anything, to know everything, and while everything changes, you remain a freak disjointed from existence. An ontological schizoid.

“Father, have you forsaken me?”

I sat back when he tortured Job, and for what? To win a bet he knew he’d win? What lesson should Job have learned other than the being he worshipped was a monster? And is there anything more heinous than asking someone—just as a test—to prove loyalty by killing your own child?

I think back to the Garden of Eden. Back to when my Father exiled Adam and Eve, and for what? Eating an apple? Disobeying an order? The story goes Adam and Eve had no concept of good and evil, so punishing them is a reflection of my Father’s ineptitude. One doesn’t blame a table if it breaks, one blames the craftsman for poor work.

I’m the symbol of a metaphysical criminal.

The land is baren upon this hill. Rome carries on without me. My mother is gone. My disciples absent.

“Father, have you forsaken me?”

The wind whispers nothing.

But as I hang dying, what am I dying for? A people who don’t care? A political cause? Original sin? Why would anyone have to die for these? Why do I bleed for these people? I think of Judas. Is he eaten up by guilt? I suspect people will blame him for my condition, or worse, the Jewish people, but it’s not their fault. Aren’t most people cowards? Wouldn’t you do much the same in his position? If blame is to be placed, again, it’s at my father’s own castrated notion of morality.

“Father, have you forsaken me?”

The wind whispers nothing.

Night comes and washes over me. My death should be insignificant. Countless people die on crosses, nothing makes me special?

A woman approaches and informs me I’ll forever be remembered

I cry.

They will lie. They will say my death is significant. They will tell tales of how heroic I was. A part of me thinks they’ll let me slip into oblivion, sands washing through my skull holes, lost in the recesses of history. But deep down, in places I don’t want to admit, I know this is a lie.

They’ll construct religions, idols, and wage wars in my name.

I’m the sacrificial lamb for cosmic nonsense.

The woman kneels down and looks up starryeyed.

My tears pour like rain from a cracked sky.

“Father, why have you forsaken me?”

I take three last breaths.

Sebastian Vice is the Founder of Outcast Press devoted to transgressive

fiction and dirty realism. He has short fiction and

poetry has been published in Punk Noir Magazine, A Thin Slice of Anxiety,

Outcast Press, Terror House Magazine, Bristol Noir, and Misery

Tourism. He contributed a chapter to Red Sun Magazine's forthcoming

book The Hell Bound Kids (May 1st, 2022) and writes a regular column

called "Notes of A Degenerate Dreamer" over at A Thin Slice of

Anxiety. His flash piece "One Last Good Day"

was nominated for Best of The Net 2021. His debut poetry book

Homo Mortalis: Meditations on Memento Mori was released April 4th, 2022

through Anxiety Press.

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