A month since my wife and son died in childbirth, and God gives me no answers as to why. So I walk the desert that used to be the sea and cross the spine of mountains bisecting our island in the clouds. Here, on a cliff’s edge at the end of the land, I find not the open sky, but a gigantic lid of thick, oceancolored glass sitting atop the world. Approaching the place where the sloped glass meets the ground, I slide to my knees, fish a spike of obsidian from the sand, and start hammering at the glass. For weeks I kneel here, bashing this stone against the firmament, mashing my hands raw and aching, and sipping from my puckering waterskin.
On the second day of the second month of my hammering, as fat beads of coalcolored blood drip from my cracked palms, I finally punch through the lid of the sky. A silky silver light swallows my body whole. Watery heat burns the clothes from my skin. Swirling wind lifts me from my knees and slams me against the rocks.
Scrabbling to my knees, I peer through the gash in the sky. There I see a face the size of a galaxy floating in an oily ocean of empty space. Sealed in polished pink marble, its massive lips orating in a silent language, I watch as stars, moons, and planets fall like teardrops from the flickering silver eyes of the face.
For days I stare at the face and pray for stillness, for the moment I can ask why it took my family from me so soon. But before I can say a word, the face’s stone skin begins to melt. Its jaw cracks free and dissolves into dust. Its nose implodes and becomes a black hole.
Crying out in fear and sorrow, I scramble through the gash in the sky and propel myself toward the dying face. As I scream through the black void like a comet, the stars and planets whipping past at dizzying speed, I see a pair of glimmering figures flying toward me. They are bathed in pink light; they are healthy and whole again; they are more beautiful than I remember.
When my fingertips touch the sunbrowned skin of my wife and son, our bodies melt together. Crackling heat consumes us. Roaring wind swirls about us.
Transforming into a three-faced creature of pulsing pink light, we streak toward the black hole at the center of the dying face. Only the eyes remain now, their silver light growing dim, but we don’t question anymore. We understand why our rotting God destroyed our family. Why He stole from us to restore Himself. And for this we will never forgive Him.
Seconds elapse and we pierce the singularity at the heart of the black hole. Bursting apart in a flash of pink brilliance, our hybrid body scatters across the universe. Eons pass. Stars expand and die. Then, when it’s time, my family and I begin to coalesce into a new face, one more magnificent and wrathful than has ever existed before.
Steve Gergley is the author of the short story collection, A Quick Primer on Wallowing in Despair (LEFTOVER Books ’22), and the forthcoming novel, Skyscraper (West Vine Press ’23). His short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Pithead Chapel, Maudlin House, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Barren Magazine, New World Writing, and others. In addition to writing fiction, he has composed and recorded five albums of original music. He tweets @GergleySteve. His fiction can be found at: https://stevegergleyauthor.wordpress.com/