The Tension Pt.1 [Short Story]

There was tension in the air. Everyone in the office could feel it, but no one could put their finger on what it was. Joel kept peeking his head above the wall of his cubicle looking for danger like a Prairie Dog keeping watch. Margaret kept clearing her throat nervously and Lucile kept tapping her pen against the desk. Periodically she would realise she was doing it and stop, only to start up again moments later.

Prudence on the other hand had her headphones in as she typed, the latest record from her favourite punk rock band playing for the sixth time that morning. She might eventually get sick of hearing it but she was basking in the joy of that feeling of new found love for a piece of music. It was this focus on the music and her work as a website designer, combined with the tucked-away nature of her cubicle, that meant she was completely oblivious both to the atmosphere of the office and the events slowly unfolding around her.

In the corner office on the far-side of the main work floor, raised voices could be heard. Mark rose nervously and shuffled his way towards the water cooler, an obvious excuse to get closer to the source of the sound and potentially divine some of the conversation. He pulled a cup and filled it from the refrigerated tap and simply stood there, plastic cup in hand, while very obviously trying to appear as if he was not straining to hear what was going on in the corner office.

Joel’s head popped up above his cubicle once again and upon seeing Mark standing around he too rose and went to the water cooler. He whispered conspiratorially to Mark who jumped halfway out of his skin in fright, so intent was he upon the muffled sounds making their way through the layers of sheet rock and timber, spilling some water on his shirt in the process. Mark’s face immediately went from lightly flushed pink to something a few shades off Fire Engine Red as he was flooded with anger and embarrassment.


In Focus: The Bible

A lot of the time Christians will point to the Bible and say, “look, Jesus said if we believe in Him, and accept the rest of the stuff regarding how we live our lives etc… we’ll be rewarded with eternal life at His side.”

If I took you aside and said, “Look, I have this magic door, okay? Now, imagine the most utopian situation you can. Naked, buxom women everywhere, money, fame, whatever you like. Right, now if you just believe in me, when you walk through that door, it will all be waiting for you there.”  You get that look on your face like it’s all far too good to be true, but your reticence is tempered by your imagination and desire. You hum and haw and you spend a few minutes trying to peek behind, around and even through the magic door but all to no avail and so then you cunningly ask me what the catch is. To which I smilingly respond, “Well, if you don’t believe in me and you walk through that door, you’ll find eternal pain, torment, damnation and suffering with no hope of any form of reprieve. Ever.”

This is Christianity’s offer. Would you seriously consider it? Seriously…? Or would you realise that it is not quite the “offer you can’t refuse” it appears to be and simply tell me to go fuck myself?


The Week Thus Far

A random selection of (subjectively) noteworthy news items. Enjoy!

“The Paedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure” has been withdrawn from sale on – which is an issue both of taste, morality and free speech. I’m sure Amazon alreadty has many disclaimers all over their site and their legal framework distancing the company from the views and/or material contained in any of the products they provide, so where is the problem? I haven’t looked at the synopsis or the content overview yet, but provided it’s all very general I can only see this as a guide to understanding how this compulsion manifests and could only equip us further to deal with it better. Check it out, see what your thoughts are. Apparently the author is confident the book will make it’s way back on to Amazon (apologies for linking to the disgrace that is Fox News by the way)

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I Like Facebook, and that’s okay

You know there’s a lot of people who decry facebook for being the flagship website that chains us to a digital world and keeps us from actually living our lives.

I agree it is perilously easy in this day and age to live primarily online and not really experience the real world, but that does not mean that facebook is inherently evil.

I like Facebook. It helps me keep in touch with people I haven’t seen for ages or don’t get a chance to regularly interact with on a daily basis. As an atheist, skeptic and general opinion-head it helps me connect with like-minded people and also not-so-like-minded people to stimulate discussion and debate, which is something I love.

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The Dirty Lie

The fields are green in the country of my mind.
I enjoy painting their every facet.
I close my eyes, to block out the world,
And enter my own independent state.

REM sleep brings much greater powers,
The creator thus, as tall as towers.
One foot wrong could wreck it all.
Never mind, let it fall.

I never asked for the strength to create my own creations,
Oh well, let the work continue.

A sea of immeasurable vastness,
Is crossed in the blink of an observation.
A sunken tomb is passed over,
Without the merest glance.
The fact now long forgotten,
That people there would dance.

I harvest the land in mid-winter,
For then comes the sweetest fruit.

The consequence of my meddling,
Is overlooked with more.
The person life was ogling,
Has gone through the door.
Only to return to this land,
At the beckoning of my hand.

I control all here,
There’s no need to fear.
But even if you do,
I could never really hate you.

The truth is exposed as the lie that it is,
As I lie awake.
Another truth is soon to come,
As soon as sleep will take.

The Gravekeeper II

It was bitterly cold as he ascended the steps to the graveyard and the wind was a constant callous companion that continuously threatened to penetrate deep beneath the layers of clothing and claw at the skin underneath just as it had long ravaged his face as he made his way from the town along the short coast road to the graveyard atop the cliff. As he reached the summit of the steps he looked behind him to see the town below him and the coast stretching out for miles as the hue of pale clouds above signified that the dusk was fast approaching and it would soon be dark. He smiled and turned back towards the path. He enjoyed the dark and the solitude. It was a comfort and such a pleasure to be away from the yelling children and the nattering townsfolk that he heard passing by his door as he lay half-awake, half-immersed in torpor every morning after his night shift at the graveyard. As he turned, his smile dimmed as he saw a mourner kneeling over the headstone of the plot that was interred not four days ago. He paused, and studied the form. It was a man; he was weeping, sobbing quietly, yet audible above the low murmur of the wind as it whipped and swirled over the edge of the cliff. He was unfamiliar to the Gravekeeper. He had not been among those scant few mourners at the burial that morning. It was always his task to supervise the burials in the morning before heading home, and his was a good eye for faces. It always made him chuckle lightly that his hands and his body could become so gnarled and mottled and so closely resemble the twisted roots of the giant oak tree he passed every day on the coast road, and yet his sight was as crystal clear as the day he was born. So clear, that he could see the lack of a wedding band on this man’s hands and the dried, caked mud beneath his fingernails. A relative? A close friend? A lover. The puzzle would help ease him into the dark hours.

The Gravekeeper I

Torn between the skeletal remains of a dearly beloved state of mind and his heart of hearts, the Gravekeeper watches the fog as it rolls in gracefully over the headstones and decaying flowers deposited by long-departed relatives, glistening enticingly in the dim light from his flickering storm lantern. He turns his head out to sea towards the source of that crawling, grey, glistening creature and sees the flash of the lighthouse in the distance, warning heedless sailors of their imminent demise. He was once able to count on one hand the number of unmarked graves under his care marking the resting place of those few found crushed and broken among the rocks below the lighthouse, but that was a long time ago. Before his hands turned from smooth tools that moved with a deliberate motion into gnarled, twisted tree roots that quivered and creaked as they moved purposefully to their goal. Before the sea began it’s inexorable crawl towards the town nearby, swallowing the land as the cliffs slowly crumbled into it’s waiting arms, flinging wave after merciless wave at the land, turning the once peaceful coastal town from a popular summer get-away into the barren, lonely, deathly place it had now become.