I don’t have anything much to say, so here is a little bit of madness to occupy your time. This is a story from long ago that I have both loved and loathed. I hope somebody enjoys it. If it stirs any emotions at all, I will deem it acceptable.
In the Hands of an Angry God
By Carter Nipper
She stares, wide-eyed, wild-eyed, but never speaks. Her stare follows me, haunts me. Even when I leave the room, she sees, she watches. If she would just speak, if she would even blink, but no. She sits. She stares.
Don’t look! Don’t look! But I can’t help it. Her face is dark and swollen, her mouth hangs open, her tongue sticks out like a purple pickle, and her voice shrieks, telling, accusing, demanding.
She knows me better than anyone else. She should, we’ve been married for seventeen years. She knows what I must do; I know what she needs.
Forgiveness. There is no forgiveness. Jesus doesn’t love me, this I know. Not now. She won’t forgive me. I can’t forgive myself.
My hands feel her skin again, friendly, encouraging me to give her what she needs. I feel the rush of rage, the squeezing, the shaking, the need to make her be quiet, shut up, stop, don’t, the triumph as she squirmed and kicked. The rage, where did it come from? Sudden, overwhelming, a deluge of fire and brimstone. Where did it come from? Where did it go?
I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it–I admit it. When she finally stopped, I looked deep into her eyes and felt a joy unlike any I ever knew before. Even when I realized what I had done, I was glad. But she stares; she shrieks. Jesus doesn’t love me. It hurts; it burns.
Atonement. I must atone. For all have sinned, for I have sinned and fallen short. An eye for an eye. A life for a life. Blood and fire. The only way. A sacrifice, a burnt offering, that’s the only way. She knows. Her eyes tell me. She speaks harshly in the ancient tongue and demands blood and fire.
God is angry and must be appeased. Blood for blood, fire to carry my guilt up to God and lay my plea before the Mercy Seat, a sacrifice that will be pleasing unto God. I must atone.
Her voice is a psychic itch, a mental tickle. My fingers twitch and writhe in an agony of unrelievable sympathy. I must get away, run, hide, but her voice distracts me, its constant wail a confusion, leading me astray. I ran into the wall. I sat on the floor, comforting my bleeding nose, and I cried. She stared without sympathy. I must help her; please help me.
There’s blood on my hands. There’s blood in my hands, and it won’t come out. Out, damned spot! It won’t come out to play today. I got a knife and searched for it, but it ran up my arm and hid. I chased it through my wrist, my forearm, my elbow, but it hid. Olly, olly, oxen free! Come out, come out, wherever you are! Please come play with me.
How can there be a sacrifice without blood? Blood and fire make Godly prayers. But the blood won’t come out. It won’t come off. God help me. God won’t help me–I have no blood to give. She demands my blood. She demands fire. She demands, and I have nothing to give.
I can’t hear myself think. Her voice hums and chants and sings and shouts, and I shout against her, with her, through her, but she only gets louder. I feel the blood pounding in my head. So that’s where it is! I’ll sneak up on it. I’ll start right here below my ear. I’ll cut deeply and quickly; it won’t be able to get away. Burn the bridges–my bridges–my bridges over the depths of Hell.
Fire! I need fire. There’s no other way. I must have fire so the smoke will carry my prayers to Heaven and I can be forgiven. Pleasing to God! Please, God, make her be quiet!
Oh God, forgive me! I have sinned! I have fallen short of Your Glory! I will atone! Here is my sacrifice, O God, let it be pleasing in Thy sight!
The matches, good. Newspapers. There, a good blaze. Fire. Now blood. Quick and deep. It can’t escape. Forgive…