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The Condition

by Acerstorm

     “What do you believe?” he asked.

     “What do you want me to believe?” asked Alex, his voice feeble yet still retaining a spark of determination.

     The preacher sighed. He opened the bible in his hands, not reading the page. “I want you to believe that God sent his Son to die for you. That He loves you and wants you to accept His gift of eternal life.” He met Alex’s eyes with difficulty. Exhaustion blended with a sense of urgency in the pastor’s chest. “Mr. Mortimer, you and I know there isn’t much time left.”

     Alex let out a laugh that dissolved into a hacking cough halfway up his throat. “I’m well aware of that,” he remarked, a dry, ironic grin spreading across his face. “I’m also well aware of the pain God has seen fit to inflict on me for the past months.”

     The minister sat quietly, praying for the right words, as Alex suffered another coughing fit. “Tell me, Mr. White, why did God want to see me in agony for so long? Is He too weak to heal me or is He just a sadist?” He choked on the last word, coughing into a tissue. A red stain was visible as he pulled it away.

     Reverend White shook his head tiredly. “I’m sorry. I’m afraid don’t have all the answers. No one does.” He laid his hand on Alex’s arm, a pleading look in his eyes. “But I can tell you that everything is part of His plan. He moves in mysterious ways, with thoughts higher than our thoughts. We can’t understand his motives, or at least not completely.”

     He shifted his gaze out the hospital window to the sprawling city beyond. “I know it’s difficult. Our desire for control dates all the way back to Adam. It’s not an instinct we can shake easily, but the most virtuous paths are often the most difficult. The way of the faithful is no exception.” He looked back to Alex’s expressionless face. “He wants to see you in heaven, Alex,” he stated gently. “And I want to see you there too.”

     “You say He’s good,” murmured Alex, closing his eyes. “Then you say we can’t understand Him.” 

     His voice gained a bitter edge. “You say everything is part of His benevolent plan, and yet here I am coughing up my own blood. If I encounter fortune, God is love. If I encounter agony, God is mystery. If someone wins the lottery, God has blessed them. If someone dies a slow, torturous death, it’s because we can’t comprehend His intentions. I’m sure He means well as He stands idly by, listening to their futile screams for mercy.”

     Alex opened his steel-gray eyes and stared out into the city. Its streets were bursting with vitality, welcoming the fading light of dusk. “It sounds as if you have no idea what God is, Mr. White.”

     A single tear traced a path down his cheek. “But perhaps soon I will,” he whispered.

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485 Reviews

Points: 21027
Reviews: 485

Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:48 pm
Elijah wrote a review...

Hey there, Eli here from Team Marlins for a review in the last minutes of our lovely month's review day!

It will be pretty to be honest as this is like my last breath before death but I want to be honest that at the beginning I had no idea what was going on, it seemed like it meant to some kind of prayer towards God but our main protogenist did not like the way it was made, he did not believe in the way God was actually pictured to him, he did not believe what the man had no tell him no matter what. And I am on the same page, why would God even take him to the heavens if he was a good man? He did not seem to deserving this treatment? It is God's will to take him? That sounds so foolish. Maybe kind of childish towards our main from the God, would not God forgive him no matter what he had done?

Is there God anyways and why he is so for real sadistic with Alex, I am sure Alex deserved so much better? Anyways, this work is wonderful and I wished I had complains about it but I really do not. All I see is argue about religion, which is not my favorite thing, but it was a good read even if the genre was one of the ones I dislike mostly because I do not understand it. I am not a believer at all. But I am on Alex's side. Poor Alex!

I’m afraid, Idon’t have all the answers.

Keep on writing!

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24 Reviews

Points: 1105
Reviews: 24

Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:51 pm
Lumos wrote a review...

Hi Acerstorm!

This is not normally something I would read (I'm not much of a religious-y person), but I have to say I really enjoyed this piece! It's almost as if there's some sort of internal struggle Alex is dealing with. I also feel like a lot of people feel this way - why would God let me suffer and does that mean there is God?

Anyway, I just wanted to say I enjoyed your piece. Keep writing!

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62 Reviews

Points: 854
Reviews: 62

Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:58 pm
Dest wrote a review...


A single tear traced a path down his cheek. “But perhaps soon I will,” he whispered.

Whoa! The sense of finality in that sentence! Anyway, this piece made me feel emotional. You did a great job conveying the weary voice of the minister and Alex's rebuttals.

I like the detail you weaved into the story. Not too much but not too little!

I enjoyed reading this short story very much, and I hope to read more from you.

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40 Reviews

Points: 106
Reviews: 40

Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:00 am
Sharon1407 wrote a review...

Hey there... Sharon1407 here for a review... This work has great quality within. It has obvious depth but I love how you have made that visible in the best way possible so that readers face no difficulty in understanding your intentions because the subject of God is certainly mysterious. I feel that this work is complete in itself. It does not need any more ornamentation but I sure would love a sequel to this or some other story related to this one. Because I, personally, want to know more of what you are trying to mean here. A bit more of the whole theory wouldn't do it any harm, I presume. But I repeat, I have a lot of admiration for this work of yours. Keep writing!!! All the best. :)

It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats—the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill —The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it—and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another.
— JRR Tolkien