The Whole World in Their Hands

A Supernatural Short Story by Clark Roberts

The Whole World in Their Hands

by Clark Roberts

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Led By Beasts

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We’ve all seen the beginning of the end—a giant fucking hand.

There are gods, and now we all wish there weren’t.

The setting of the first Taking was not a coincidence. The fact it happened on the stage of the World Cup was without doubt deliberate. Here in the USA, the single most watched event is the Super Bowl, but every four years the entire world’s eyes turn to the World Cup. It was here that they—whoever they are—sent us a message. One second the German standout Klaus Albrecht was speeding on a breakaway. The next second he was gone, snatched out of our existence while the soccer ball rolled harmlessly off course. The Brazilian goalie didn’t take one step towards corralling that ball. Like all of us, he was frozen with fear.

The message was heard loudly and clearly by humanity. You are not safe. You never have been, and you will never again feel safe.

A giant hand.

A giant hand of a god made Klaus Albrecht look the size of a toy figurine, and it stole not only his glory but also him from our existence. That giant hand might have stolen sanity from all of us.

There was no door opened, at least none discernible. On playback there was no shimmering of the air as science fiction and horror movies have led us to believe. The footage revealed no crack in the fabric of our reality, no peek into what was on the other side—except for the hands. Watching it in slow motion only revealed the hand literally transpired from nothing. First the fingertips and then the inner hinges of the knuckles, a palm with a lifeline not unlike our own.

Everyone was looking for answers, because it was almost unbelievable.

Except it wasn’t, because then the second Taking was caught on video a week later. This one a grainy cellphone recording from an Indian family visiting the zoo. The father was seen holding his baby, extending his arms out to a wire fence while a black buck antelope approached. The antelope put his nose through the fence nuzzling at the baby’s bare feet. The baby was overcome with giggles, and its legs pedaled the air. The father erupted with laughter as he looked back at the mother. From behind the recording, the mother casted an admonishment in a language I did not know, but I knew that tone. All fathers know that tone. Be careful! The father gave a look all fathers carry in their repertoire saying come now, let us have our fun. Then the hand appeared dwarfing the baby. A giant thumb and finger snapped closed on the baby plucking it from the father. The antelope reared and kicked its forelegs before bolting. There was a moment where true terror registered on the baby’s face before it was taken. The father was left holding air. The recording clattered to the cement pavement. Screaming ensued.

Next up was Inukjak. All of the lights of that small Inuit village in northern Quebec were put out in one single night. I looked it up on the Internet the next day. The population of that village was 656.  All 656 of those people vanished without a trace in a modern day Roanoke mystery. Except it wasn’t a mystery. We all knew what happened.

The Taking happened, and because there were no answers on the horizon, the world held a breath. The Pope attempted sage advice, “We must continue to live piously and wait.”

It seems many people cannot simply just wait. People are frightened. In the past year the suicide rate has more than quadrupled.  People want to meet the god they worship rather than the gods behind the fabric of our reality.

I used to believe that anyone who followed through on that act was a selfish coward.

Now I know otherwise.

*

On a blustery winter night half a year ago, I was surrounded by brightly colored owls—a wiry statue of an owl on the nightstand, owl figurines lining the shelf, even an owl clock with oversized and shifting eyes hooted out the hours above the head of my daughter’s bed. Our Ellie loved her owls.

My wife and Ellie were both on the floor as was customary for what had become their nightly ritual. They both held playing cards fanned out before them. Between them the rest of the cards were spread out in a haphazard pile.

Ellie,” my wife said, “do you have a jack?”

Go fish,” Ellie said.

Darlene reached and pulled a card from the make-believe fish pond.

Ellie studied her cards with her features momentarily twisted in earnest. “Mommy, do you have a ace?”

It’s an ace,” I said, stressing the an.

Huh?”

An ace,” I repeated. “When the next word begins with a vowel you use an not a.”

Sorry, Daddy.”

Technically he’s right,” Darlene said, passing over a card to Ellie. “But for now just ignore Professor Dork.”

Ellie giggled. Darlene glared questioningly at me. What the hell are you talking about right now?

I took the clue and turned my attention to the bedroom window where sleet was already beginning to patter against the glass. The winter storm that had been predicted was beginning to froth. A steady breeze had kicked up and could be heard whistling around the corners of the house. An oncoming northern winter storm after dusk can feel downright ominous at times, and my thoughts turned to the Takings.

Since the tragedy of Inukjak, there hadn’t been any more incidents of entire settlements vanishing. Still, worldwide, the Takings had progressed to an average of one or two a day. Our town had been spared up to this point. The nearest incident I could recall was in a town over a two-hour drive away.  A pediatrician had been snatched as he unlocked his practice.

A gust of wind blasted the bedroom window. The bedroom light flickered perilously.

After the light steadied, Ellie had her eyes shielded with her cards.

Maybe you should round up some flashlights,” Darlene said to me. She was staring up at the bedroom light as if it was a giant icicle threatening to break loose and deliver a death blow.

Good idea,” I said. “Right after we put Ellie down I’ll do that.”

The game of Go-Fish progressed, and, like 99 percent of the previous games, when it was finished, Ellie had piled up twice the amount of sets as Darlene.

In the past I’d expressed to Darlene it wasn’t wise to let our little girl win every time. We didn’t want to be responsible for developing a winning complex that would crush Ellie when life actually challenged her. Darlene’s response of defense was a challenge to me to challenge Ellie.

Beat a four-year-old in a game of Go-Fish? No problem.

So I’d challenged Ellie.

I’d lost hands down.

Darlene and I had always thought of our child as special, but the crushing defeat Ellie dealt me in a simple kid’s game made me ponder it differently. How special is she? When I mentioned it to Darlene as we brushed our teeth, Darlene had given me a look in the mirror. So you finally see it.

The discussion had continued when we went to bed. We even went so far as to discuss the exorbitant amount it would cost to send her to a school for gifted children. Darlene, always a believer in the supernatural, had tossed out the term clairvoyant.

With the current game wrapped up, Ellie tucked herself into bed. Darlene promised to come back for a last ‘goodnight’ when I finished a bedtime story.

I scanned Ellie’s bookshelf, asking her, “Which one?”

Little Red Riding Hood!”

Again?”

It’s spooky. It feels like a spooky night.”

I reluctantly pulled the Brothers Grimm edition and sat down to read.

Watch this,” Ellie said, taking the book from my hands.

She proceeded to read through the entire story without making an error. This was no child’s picture book interpretation of the tale but the original and complete Brothers Grimm version. Certainly there are a couple pictures to help flesh out the plot, mostly crude sketchings which don’t even thinly veil the wolf’s predacious intent, but for the most part it is a true short story.

She closed the book letting it drop to the floor.

Good Lord,” I muttered, and dropped my jaw.

Do you think I’m special, Daddy?”

Under all of God’s grace I think you’re special.”

Daddy, if the power goes out in the night, can I come in and sleep with you and Mom?”

You sure can, Elli-owl.” I tussled her mop of blonde hair. I glanced at Darlene who was back and leaning against the doorframe.

I’d really like that too,” Darlene agreed.

When the Takings first began, Darlene and I had brought Ellie into our bedroom each night. We’d slept better knowing Ellie was by our side. It only lasted a week and ended on Ellie’s terms. Despite my concern, and Darlene’s almost imploring, Ellie had amazed us both when she returned to her bed without batting an eye.

I patted Ellie’s head. “In fact, I’ll go down and get that flashlight to put on your nightstand.” I leaned down to kiss her cheek goodnight. She tilted her chin up, and I turned to receive her reciprocating kiss on my cheek. This time she reached higher, kissing my forehead. She let the kiss rest there for a second. Parental. Recalling that kiss makes me think of paintings of the Mother Mary holding her baby Jesus.

That was different,” I said, squinting my eyes.

I love you, Daddy.” Kids are strange, and I chalked it up to that. If only I’d known.

I joined Darlene in the doorway and reached for the light switch. The heaviest gust of wind yet assaulted the house. The light once again flickered of its own accord. Sleet pelted the window like handfuls of thrown stones.

The room fell decidedly black. Immediately my fingertips tingled. I’ve always dreaded the initial sensation of helplessness that washes over me when the power fails completely.

The blackout only lasted a couple seconds, just long enough to draw out a yelp from Darlene, before the house hummed back to life.

The hand, large enough to palm a small sedan, hovered above our daughter’s bed.

Nothing can compare to the loss of your child. When parents stand over a child succumbing to cancer and state they’d gladly take their child’s place, I can testify to the truth of their conviction.

I won’t write down in detail what next happened. Certainly I could recall it in full detail as I’ve dreamed the sequence almost nightly. At other times, when Darlene forgets to take her pills, I’ve been wakened by her thrashing the bed sheets, and I know it’s the nightmarish memory we share that also ruins her sleep.

But no, I won’t put that down here.

I cannot do it.

I simply can’t.

It’s enough to just acknowledge that the Taking had finally occurred in our town.

*

Just nights after our daughter’s Taking the town organized a vigil. The community turned out in droves to light candles and whisper prayers. Darlene and I were hugged by both friends and strangers.

The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months. We refused to have a legitimate memorial service. Instead we chose to play the part of Sisyphus, pushing our rock of grief through each day that was our hill. The memory of Ellie’s Taking haunted our dreams. I would wake from these dreams and tumble back down that hill with a bottle of liquor in hand. Darlene would rise in the middle of the night and stand next to the window. Often she’d stay there just staring into the deep of space until the morning. I never found any answers at the bottom of those liquor bottles. The moon’s phases never delivered any mercy to Darlene’s soul.

*

Last night was different. Last night I had a different dream.

I was seated at the back of a school bus full of young children. Outside my seat’s window the dark of night pressed as the bus barreled at warp speed down an empty but winding highway. Around each curve the bus careened onto two wheels threatening to roll. Inside the bus was a madhouse of wails and terrified screams. Children spilled into the aisle while others clung to their seats for dear life. The driver of the bus was undeterred by any of this madness and continued to straighten the curves, then flooring it on the short straightaways at breakneck speed to the next upcoming bend. Through my feet I could feel the frame of the entire bus rattling, breaking apart.

The little girl I shared the seat with was dead. Her head had banged against the window with such force the pane of glass had spiderwebbed. She flopped into my lap. Her head rolled. Her tongue stuck out. Her eyes lifelessly stared up at me. I decided I couldn’t stand for any more of this.

The center aisle jerked to and fro like a rope bridge snapping in hurricane winds. Somehow I managed my way over and around the mass of entwined bodies being tossed about as I stumbled down the aisle to the front of the bus.

Slow down!” I yelled.

The driver looked up at me blithely. His eyes were missing, replaced by only darkness as if they’d been cleaned out with a deep digging scoop. He worked the shifter and somehow the bus found a higher gear. I actually felt the bus momentarily lift from the road. Behind me the children were screaming bloody murder. I glanced back. The emergency door had swung open creating a vacuum that sucked the children out in clusters. My daughter was one of the children; she was suspended in air like Supergirl. Trying to fight the forceful vacuum, she clutched to the top of a seat for all it was worth. The bus jolted as we hit a bump, and my daughter lost her grip. She was sucked out of the bus with hands and feet splayed before her.

Better brace yourself,” the driver intoned.

I turned my head in time to see the headlights bearing down on a massive tree before we smashed into it.

I was thrown forward and shattered through the bus’s front window. I struck the ground with the force of a meteorite. Despite feeling the impact rattle through every bone in my body, I raised to my feet to discover I’d survived the crash unscathed in a way that is only possible in dreams. Behind me the wake of carnage from the wreck was nothing short of apocalyptic.  The children had not survived. Their bodies and limbs were strewn over a burnt wasteland. I was surrounded by a blackened and worthless landscape. Smoke coiled from gigantic craters in the ground. To the west, far in the distance, I could see massive fires lighting the sky. To the east, not one, but three separate suns were rising. Their discs were unsettling against the horizon. They were too near the Earth, too large in the sky.

My mind tried to compute what had happened, tried to elucidate the why of it.

Because why not? I guess some of us just don’t give a fuck anymore.”

I turned to the voice. The bus driver was slumped beneath a charred tree, his eyes closed as if he’d only been stirred from a nap. The tree was a nightmare unto itself. Despite having been burnt crisp, the ends of what few limbs remained blossomed before my very eyes, and the fruit of each blossom was a fungus-like disfigured effigy of my daughter. It was a heavy fruit. Hanging the branches low, the fruit-fungus stirred pendulously in the hot breath of the air.

I ran to the bus driver. I curled my fist into the man’s coat, shook him violently, and drew his face near mine. I screamed, “Why did you do this? What was the point of all this?”

The driver’s eyelids fluttered momentarily before popping open. Again his eyes were only darkness from which ribbons of smoke escaped.

You’ve got me all wrong, Daddy-o. But let me ask you something, you ever step on an anthill?”

What does that matter?”

It won’t matter.” He pointed my attention back east where now the three suns collided and absorbed into one gargantuan, blazing orb. It was so immense in the sky it couldn’t be seen in its entirety. Though what could be seen, and felt, was mind numbing. Massive fiery whorls as flames consumed flames, infinite fusillades of explosions each more nuclear than the previous, heat, heat, heat. “That’s your end game right there. So why not?”

I woke from this dream shaking. The house was silent. For a time, I stared up at the ceiling trying to regulate my breathing. My body trembled, and the sheet below me was sopped in cold sweat. The back of my throat was dry. Beside me, my wife’s sleep continued in a steady cadence. I rose from the bed knowing if I closed my eyes I would only be haunted by horrific images of sprouting fungi that would grow into the face of my little girl.

I went downstairs and straight to the liquor cabinet. I poured a double shot of Scotch into a tumbler glass. With a trembling hand I drank it all in two swallows. I gave the liquor a chance to steady my nerves before I pulled back the kitchen window’s curtain. Outside, all was still and quiet with the world. The moon hung in its appropriate place in the night sky. Our neighbors’ houses were not the frames of smoking skeletons as I’d feared they’d become.

Hello, Daddy.”

The tumbler glass dropped from my hand and clattered into the sink. Turning, I saw the small figure in the next room. She was seated straight-backed as a book binding as my wife had taught her was proper at the dining table. I stepped around the kitchen island. With each heavy breath a step until I reached our dining area. My hand flailed, sweeping the wall behind me until it hit the light switch.

I’m glad you and Mommy didn’t throw my juice boxes out.” She was dressed in the same purple owl pajamas she’d worn the night of her Taking. In front of her was the juice box of which she’d spoken. With sheepish and innocent eyes, she leaned over sipping from the crinkled straw. “I found it in the fridge. I know you guys always told me to ask first, but I really wanted some juice. I hope you’re not mad.”

My legs had gone numb. My hands were once again trembling uncontrollably as a mixture of relief and shock burst through my systems. I gasped, “No way, Ellie-owl. I’m not mad at all.”

Daddy, why are you crying?”

I sobbed, “Because I’ve missed you!”

I missed you too, but I’m not crying.”

Next she giggled, and then in straight Ellie fashion, she put a hand over her mouth to conceal her smirk. This had always been her go-to move when she laughed at something she thought was funny but possibly inappropriate. This was truly my daughter, my Ellie. I didn’t know why or how, but she had been delivered back into my life.

I rushed to her gathering her petite frame in my arms. I hugged her tightly to my chest and squeezed not only her but also the tears from my eyes. I rocked back and forth in an outpouring of emotion while she rested her head on the sweep of my shoulder. It reminded me of the first time we’d spent an entire evening at an amusement park. She’d tuckered out at the end and I’d had to carry her to the car.

I’m sorry if my dream scared you,” Ellie said.

What do you mean by that?” I asked, truly perplexed.

The dream I sent to you tonight.” Beneath my palms I felt the small knobs of her spine straighten as she pulled back so as to assess my reaction. “I could feel you were scared.”

I set her back onto the chair and brushed a fallen lock of blonde hair from her forehead. “We don’t have to talk about my dream right now.”

Sometimes it’s best to get straight to the point, Daddy. You taught me that. Mr. Bill says things like that too. My dream made you angry. I didn’t mean to make you so angry. I’m sorry.”

Hey there, I’m not upset with you.” My thoughts were a shaken snow globe of emotion and weren’t able to follow everything she’d said. For the moment I completely dismissed the reference to a Mr. Bill. I put two fingers to her chin gently lifting until our eyes connected like magnets. “So you were able to control my dream?”

Not all of it, silly Daddy.” Her mercurial nature came through. She smiled foolishly at me. “I was only trying to show you what happened in a way you might understand. I put you on the bus, and you came up with the rest. All those fires and the tree with my faces. I couldn’t’ve thunk up all that. You’re a weirdo, Daddy.”

It dawned on me that she was talking in a metaphor. Somehow she’d influenced my dream thoughts, maybe with just a nudge, and my subconscious had filled in the details. I thought of the horrible imagery of the tree. Why had I conjured such an image of my daughter?

Daddy, you’ve got it both right and wrong. It is a met-uhh-for.” Suddenly I could feel her presence in my head. It was as if a part of her had turned to smoke and slid into my earholes. “The tree just means I’m going to keep growing. But the god you made in your dream, the bus driver you thought up, you’ve got them all wrong. They don’t look like that, at least not the ones that took all of us away. They have eyes, and they’re nice and kind, and they told us to say that they’ve saved us. They saved us from the uhh-poc-lypse.”

Apocalypse. I asked her if that’s what she meant. She nodded.

It was all real confusing when the gods explained it, but later on Mr. Bill told me in an easier way. Mr. Bill said that there is some kind of disagreement happening between the gods.”

Who is this Mr. Bill character?”  I asked. My daughter’s tone told me it was somebody good, somebody she liked, even trusted, but he was still a stranger to me. “Is he one of the gods?”

She laughed, “No, Daddy. Mr. Bill is just a man. He used to be a farmer. He’s the adult I’ve been assigned to, but he won’t let me call him dad.”

A guardian of sorts is what she meant. “You shouldn’t have called him dad. I’m your dad. I’ll always be your dad.”

I don’t try to anymore. Mr. Bill won’t let me. He said that wouldn’t be fair to you or Mom.”

What else does Mr. Bill say?”

He told me that you and Mom should know that back here on Earth his own children had become good grownups. He misses them.”

Does Mr. Bill know why all this happened? Why the gods are fighting?”

Yes.”

Can you tell me?”

Some of the gods have given up on people, and other gods, like the ones that took us, want to keep the experiment going in a safer spot. Mr. Bill did tell me that he and I and the others are like a secret. That we’re supposed to rebuild everything on our new home. We’re the chosen ones, but we’re also a secret to the bad gods.”

But where? Where is your new home?”

She clucked her tongue as if the name of the place escaped her. “There’s a river. A lot of the kids want to go swimming in it, but the adults won’t let us. Some of the women that wash our clothes down there say they’ve seen a serpent swimming under the water. Mr. Bill told me a serpent is just a large snake. He didn’t know why a snake would live underwater.”

I don’t either.”

Daddy, don’t be angry, but the gods won’t let me stay. I have to go back to help rebuild.”

No,” I stated firmly. Once again I corralled her to my chest and squeezed my eyes tight. I stood with her in my arms rocking back and forth like one does with a new born baby. “No, no, no. I’ll hold you for eternity. Why on Earth would they need a child to help rebuild?”

It’s not about Earth, and Mr. Bill said he thinks without children even the best adults would never get it right. Mr. Bill told me to tell you and Mom he promises to love me, that he will do his best with me.”

I’m not letting you leave! I promise I’m never, never, never letting you go. Do you hear me? Never, never, never, letting you go.”

Sorry Daddy, but I’m special. I have to visit Mom, then I’m going for good. Daddy, do you care if I take my juice boxes?”

I ignored this question, instead focusing on living up to my promise. I wasn’t letting go of her, no way in heaven or hell. She hugged me back, as fiercely as is possible for a four-year-old girl. I felt her breath on my skin and the wetness of tears on my neck

You have to understand something, Daddy. There’s always an end to things.”

I didn’t let go of her, yet she was taken from me just the same. I was left holding the air. I fell to my knees sobbing in great hitches as the grief of losing my daughter for a second time racked through my body like detonations.

*

An hour passed before I was able to gain my feet, but out the window the neighborhood was still dark and quiet. I made my way upstairs trying to convince myself I was fortunate to have seen Ellie one last time.

I noticed a sliver of light down the hall. Ellie’s door was open a crack. I went to it, gently putting my hand up, but my wife’s voice halted me.

Ellie, do you have a queen?”

Ellie’s voice, “Go fish.”

Darn. No match again.”

Mommy, do you have a seven?”

You must have peeked at my cards!”

I didn’t try to peer inside, but I could picture them on the floor as easily as drawing water from a tap. Each would be holding a fan of cards before them, Ellie propped on her knees and in her owl pajamas, and Darlene sitting cross-legged, dressed in sweatpants and a baggy shirt. In the short time it took for them to complete their game, I heard more laughter from Darlene than either of us had exercised in the last six months. I stood there in the darkness and eavesdropped, praying their game would never end.

Eventually, inevitably, they both cheered and clapped. Ellie declared herself the still-reigning champion.

I shivered ice off my shoulders as Ellie’s words from earlier struck me with the force of a village crushing avalanche.

There’s always an end to things.

Mommy,” Ellie’s voice dropped an octave with concern, “I need to tell you something.”

I stepped backwards from the door. I couldn’t bear listening to Ellie explain it one more time. I turned and traipsed down the hall. I did not sleep.

*

In the morning, I watched the first swatch of sunlight slip through the curtains and invade my sanctuary. I watched it grow as it crawled down the wall until it reached the bed. I rose and shuffled down to Ellie’s room. I pulled the owl sheets back crawling into the small bed with my wife.

We held each other without speaking.

We wept hard.

Finally, we slept.

*

It was evening when I finally woke. We were still cramped together in the twin sized bed. Darlene stared straight into my eyes when I blinked out of sleep.

You’ve been watching me,” I said.

For about a half hour.” She shrugged a shoulder saying—you should expect this quirky behavior from time to time. The traces of a smile touched her lips. She placed a palm on my cheek. “You looked peaceful.”

That’s the first I’ve slept uninterrupted since…”

She moved a cool finger down over my lips to shush me. She said, “Me too. Me too.”

It showed on her face. The bruise-colored bags that had chronically clung to us both like Marley’s chains were gone from beneath her eyes.

I can’t believe this,” I said, “but I think I’m actually hungry.”

I guess I should whip something up for us.”

Downstairs we agreed on a breakfast for dinner. Darlene opened the fridge to pull out some eggs and let out a yelp of laughter. She said, “You’ve got to see this.”

I stood by Darlene. The package of juice boxes we’d refused to throw out was gone.

You think they’ll get it right over there, wherever there is?” Darlene asked.

Before answering, I opened our kitchen trash. The empty juice box Ellie had drunk the night before was neatly placed on the top. Next to it, and capped, was the half-full bottle of Scotch I’d left on the counter.

I said, “With our Ellie-owl on their side, how could they not get it right?”

Darlene cooked. We ate eggs, toast, and hash browns at the dining table. When we finished, we immediately washed our dishes in the sink like responsible adults.

We moved to the couch, Darlene resting her head on my lap. She was asleep in minutes.

I sat there, ruminating, and stroked Darlene’s hair. There were still unanswered questions banging in my head. I tried to puzzle together some answers based on my dream and Ellie’s input, but no real answers were coming.

That is until I turned on the news. Now I know one of the answers. When I woke Darlene, I didn’t bother to tell her what I’d learned.  Our evening had been too peaceful to ruin. Instead, I walked her up to bed. I simply settled her back and came back downstairs to start writing this—my final blog.

Darlene did stir and mumble something as I walked out of the room. She said, “It feels different now.”

It sure does feel different.

I’ve never felt so juxtaposed. On one hand there is at least some semblance of peace with my daughter’s Taking. On the other is the sensation of helplessness, because I am nothing more than a speck upon another larger speck on a huge and dark canvas able to be painted out of existence with the stroke of an artist’s whim.

The most recent news reports are not of another person being swept away into never-never land, but of another hand. This one is not merely a giant hand, but a cosmic hand that scientists estimate is at least twice the size of Earth. It looms above, spinning in space, hundreds of thousands times larger than any era-killing asteroid for which the last decades we’ve had million-dollar telescopes probing. The scientists’ theory is that it probably came through a wormhole. It has a destination. The course it is on is in direct alignment for a perfect hit. They say we might be able to see it with the naked eye by the morning. It is estimated to strike in two days.

Imagine a fist closed around ping-pong ball. That is the kind of mercy I pray it delivers us. I plead to any of you that read this to also pray for that mercy.

Because the dream, the one my daughter partially gave to me, alludes to a permanent forecast of heat, heat, and more heat. That we are about to be pitched like a crumpled paper into a fire.

For me, the prospect of imminent death has unveiled a path to unmatched introspection. I haven’t accomplished much with my life, and certainly I haven’t lived godly. My professional life has been mediocre at best. More than once fate has presented me with the choice between right and wrong, and I’ve straight up turned my nose at the choice of clean living in the name of selfishness.

I’ve also lost a lot of relationships with good people.

But I’m not a terrible person. I’m truly grateful my daughter was chosen over me. Not only because it proves I didn’t screw up everything, but also because the new home of humanity is better off with her rather than me. Maybe I wasn’t afforded enough time to do so, but I didn’t fuck up raising my Elli-owl. That much I was getting right.

Jesus, I love her.

And the ending that’s spinning towards us, I’m going to get that right too.  Admittedly, poisoning a drink for my wife and overdosing on pills myself has crossed my mind. Given the circumstances I think I’d be forgiven. But no, that would be the easy road, and it certainly wouldn’t be an act Ellie could be proud of her father.

I still have faith my God is somewhere watching all of this.

Does that sound ridiculous?

Probably it does, but with the end so near I’ve nothing else to turn to.

I’m going to fight back with the only means I know. Tomorrow I’m going to hold my wife’s hand, because she’ll need my strength, and I’ll in turn need hers. I implore any of you reading this blog to join us in this fight, to kneel with us, to bow your head with us. For some of you it may have been a long time since you’ve uttered such words as these. Surely some of you have a different prayer to utter, or different beliefs. To that I simply send this invitation—in your own way. For those that don’t, I offer up the words as I learned them.

Pray for mercy with us.

Pray or else we all burn.

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

thy Kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven…

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