I'm thinking about making these short stories into a series. This is a kind-of-sequel to The Condition. Enjoy.
"I'm sorry, Mom... I can't lie to you any longer."
Lying on the hospital bed, Alex Mortimer's heart convulsed in his chest. It threatened to stop altogether if he revealed the ancient truths buried so deeply within his thoughts. He tore away at the mental barriers he constructed so long ago, reaching for secrets so faded and withered from disuse he didn't know if he could utter them aloud.
"Why? What is it? What's wrong?" asked his mother insistently. Her mournful sapphire eyes shined with tears. So caring, so demanding, so compassionate, so controlling... Alex had loved and hated those eyes. He loved them because he loved her. He hated them because if she discovered the truth about him, it would destroy her.
Alex had hidden much of his life from those eyes. He had forged a false persona long ago to appease her. Now that he was dying, he no longer had the energy to pretend.
She had to know the truth, even if it would shatter her comfortable illusion forever.
"I'm not... I don't..."
He stopped, the air refusing to leave his lungs. His body refused to cooperate.
"It's okay, honey, it's okay." His mother took his hand and clasped it in her own. "We're praying for you every day, Alex. Everyone at church is praying too. The pastors told me God will provide, and He'll get you through this. I know He will."
A tidal wave of pent-up rage recklessly burst through his inhibitions.
"What has prayer ever done for us?" he asked icily.
His mother gasped in astonishment, but he cut in before she could respond. "You pray every day that the problems of the world will be solved, but nothing has come of it. You pray for the suffering of the world to end, but the pain lives on. You pray for war to cease, and yet it continues."
Alex coughed into his hand. His skin became slick with red. He ignored it. "You and every other Christian in history has prayed that God will move in the hearts of the unfaithful, to prevent the all-loving King from feeling the need to throw them into eternal torment, but to no avail. In his infinite wisdom, God has apparently decided that most of the world deserves to bleed and burn forever, shrieking for help through sulfur-choked lungs as he watches from above with indifference. All because they didn't want to follow His list of rules."
Anger smoldered in his steel-gray eyes. "If that is God, He does not deserve our worship."