"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves?" - Friedrich Nietzsche
Part 1: Life is Good
Once upon a time there lived a little girl named Susan, but everyone always called her Susie. She was the sweetest and most beautiful little girl ever, with such a wonderful smile and deep chocolate skin with hazel eyes that would just make you melt. Her parents were very lovely people as well, and although they worked an awful lot, they always tried hard to make time for Susie.
Because Susie was only 10, and because her parents worked so much, she spent a lot of time with her aunt Tasha. Aunt Tasha couldn't have any babies of her own, Susie didn't know why this was but had overheard her talking to mom about it and crying, and so aunt Tasha loved Susie like she was her own child.
On really nice days, Tasha would take Susie to the park and they would feed the ducks. Susie had been a little afraid of the ducks the first time they'd gone to the park because boy were they loud! But once Tasha showed her how they would come up and eat right out of her hands, Susie relaxed. She absolutely adored the park and the ducks now, and was always a bit sad when they couldn't go.
Sundays were the best though, because aunt Tasha, Susie, and her parents, all went to church together. Susie liked church because she got to sing, which she really enjoyed, and she got to go to bible school where she learned about god and Jesus and how god loves us so much he made a special place where we'll get to live forever, which made dying seem not so bad. There were crackers and grape juice at church too, but Susie didn't get any of those because she hadn't been baptized, where they dunk you under water like the mean boys at the pool. Susie didn't really like the idea, but her parents said it was just part of being a Christian.
After church they all went out for a nice meal and Susie always got her favorite ice cream afterward. Chocolate, with rainbow sprinkles. On those days Susie thought life was just about perfect.
One day after church, Susie, aunt Tasha, and Susie's parents, were heading to the restaurant they all loved so much. Susie was telling knock knock jokes and everyone was giggling and having a good time. After a rather funny one, Susie's parents both turned their eyes and faces to Susie and gave their biggest smiles. Susie could literally feel the love in those smiles.
In that one moment, that blink of an eye, if you will, a tractor trailer heading the opposite direction crossed over the median and ran head-on into Susie's family. The devastation was immense and absolute, killing all in the car nearly instantly.
Part 2: The Worst Sundae Ever
Susie thought she must be dreaming. She remembered being in the car with mom and dad and aunt Tasha, and then... She blinked? Or maybe fainted? She'd never had a fainting spell before, but then she had gotten car sick before and felt all woozy and sick, so maybe that'd happened again only worse and she'd fainted. Either way, this had to be a dream.
She had opened her eyes, not remembering having closed them, and she was now in a playground. Only this playground was different than any she'd ever seen before. Everything here was solid gold, only not cold and hard like gold, but soft almost like hard foam and warm to the touch. Despite the golden shine of this place however, Susie was sure it was familiar. In fact, now that she thought about it, this playground looked exactly like the one down the street from her home where aunt Tasha often took her.... Only gold instead of all the colorful plastic she was used to.
The playground was empty except for Susie, or at least that's what she thought at first. She'd been a bit panicked at first looking around and hadn't noticed the old black man sitting on the bench in a far corner. Once she noticed the man, Susie suddenly felt a calm fall over her. Their eyes met, and the man produced the most warm and charming smile she'd ever seen. He raised a hand and waved to Susie.
"Hello there little one," he said. "You look lost my dear. Come sit a spell with me."
Although her parents had always told her not to talk to strangers, Susie smiled and began walking to the man on the bench. The man didn't feel like a stranger at all, but more like someone she'd known all her life. Besides, this was a dream so it wasn't as if this man could really hurt her.
She strolled over to the bench and sat down beside the man, his smile seeming to become more soothing and inviting with each step.
"You're Susie, right?" The man asked.
"Yes," Susie replied. "How do you know my name?"
The man laughed lightly, "Susie, I know everyone's name honey."
Susie giggled. "Nobody knows everyone's name. Well, except for the NSA according to my daddy. He says those people know everything about everyone."
The man bellowed laughter at that. "Honey, if the NSA knew what I know their little brains would explode." He said.
Susie didn't know why, but she joined in the laughing. The man's smile and laugh were contagious.
"In all seriousness Susie, don't you know anyone else who might know everything about everyone?" The man asked.
Susie thought for a minute and then said, "Well... God knows everything about everyone."
The man smiled. "Bingo! You win the Kewpie doll!"
Suddenly the man was holding a doll out to Susie.
Part 3: Butting Heads
The color drained from Susie's face as she stared at the doll. She had been sure this was all a dream, but now she wasn't so sure any more. Looking at the doll, she started having memories pop back into her head. Being in the car and telling jokes and then... and then what? Her mind circled around the idea but couldn't quite hit on it.
"Susie," God said, "There was an accident."
"No," Susie whispered. "This is just a dream."
"I'm sorry Susie," God said. "But it is true, little one."
Tears were pouring from Susie's eyes as she kept searching her mind and memories. They were in the car and she'd been telling jokes and... Suddenly, Susie heard the crash in her mind. That unmistakable sound of metal hitting metal far too fast and hard. Finally the memory broke loose completely. The tractor trailer had been in their lane heading right for them and mom and dad had looked away from the road for just a second to smile at Susie. Susie had seen the truck at the last minute and had just enough time to scream "Look out!", just before it hit them. Then everything had gone dark and she'd woken up here in this playground.
" Oh god..." Susie said. "They're dead... We're dead!"
She was bawling now. Tears streaming in rivulets down her cheeks.
"There now child," God said. "It's okay now. You're in heaven and nothing will ever hurt you again."
God pulled Susie close and wrapped an arm around her. Susie buried her face in God's chest and let the tears fall.
After several minutes Susie jerked her head up suddenly. "Wait," she said, "If we're in heaven then everything is okay! My mom and dad and Tasha are here, so we can all still be together!"
She was wiping the tears from her cheeks and eyes, and staring intently at God. "I want to see them. Where are they?" She asked, and at once noticed the frown which came to God's face.
"I'm sorry Susie, but they aren't here." God said.
Susie stared at him for a moment, not sure what he meant.
"So, everyone else lived?" She said.
The frown on God's face deepened.
"No Susie. No one lived, but your parents and aunt didn't make it into heaven." God said.
If they didn't make it into heaven, Susie thought, then that means...
"They're... In hell?" Susie asked.
God nodded somberly.
"But... but why?" Susie asked. "They were good people. We went to church every Sunday together. If you're God, then you know that."
"That isn't how it works child," God said, his frown diminishing and a look of frustration, or perhaps anger, taking its place. "Being a good person and going to church isn't how a person gets into heaven."
"But, that doesn't make sense," Susie said. "If being good doesn't get you into heaven then how is anyone supposed to get in? How did I get in if not by being a good person?"
Susie was sure what she saw on God's face, in his eyes especially, was anger. He stood and faced Susie and when God spoke again his voice was so loud that Susie thought her eardrums would explode.
"Only those who obey me unquestioningly, and who are subservient to me in all things, may enter my kingdom!"
Susie was terrified and couldn't speak. She was afraid that if she spoke he would rip her head clean off her neck. Tears began to run down her cheeks again.
God continued, "Your parents were sinners! Fornicators who conceived you outside of marriage! Your aunt was an abomination unto me! Indulging her homosexual appetites with other women! Worse still, she was not a true believer and in her heart she spoke as a fool who says there is no God! But she no longer doubts as her flesh is seared from her body over and over again in my pit!"
His voice grew even louder, "I am the alpha and omega! The creator of all! I made you to serve me and to glorify my name! Right and wrong are what I say they are! Justice is what I say it is!! Those who do not submit and bow down before me shall suffer eternally!!!"
Susie had stopped crying. She had stopped being terrified. She had seen who God truly was, and she knew his type well. She'd met them on the playground and in the halls at school. They pushed her down and tried to make her cry. They had succeeded at first, but her daddy had taught her how to deal with them.
Susie stood from the bench and raised her head to look God directly in the eyes. She faced those eyes burning with anger, without an ounce of fear in her heart, and said calmly and quietly,
"You may be God, but really you're nothing but a bully. You have to force people to do what you want by making them afraid of you, because if you didn't they might realize how insignificant you really are. You make people beg for your love and forgiveness. God or not, you're a monster and I'd rather burn for eternity with the family who always loved me than to spend even one more minute with such a horrible bully."
God narrowed his eyes looking down at Susie and a smirk touched the corner of his mouth. Then he said three words,
"So be it."
Part 4: Freedom
Suddenly Susie was in the pit, her flesh searing off of her body. The pain was beyond anything she had ever known or ever describe with words. Her entire body would burn until it was charred and blackened, and then instantaneously she would be whole and the process began again. Everything burned, and everything hurt... Except for her eyes. That was the worst part really. Her eyes hurt so badly and yet they didn't burn. She had no eyelids to close within seconds of her regeneration, and all she could do was stare at her flesh burning and bubbling. Over and over and over again.
And then there was the smell. It was not like cooked meat or burnt meat at all, but rather was something somehow sickeningly sweet and yet vile all at once. There were billions of souls trapped in eternal bodies that regenerated themselves yet never healed. The screams of agony were almost soothing next to the smell and having to witness it all. To witness not only your own torture and suffering, but all of those as far as the eye could see in the barren wasteland of the pit.
Susie was not bound as she thought she might be, and was able to move freely. But what would be the point? She couldn't run or hide from this. The pit was vast and inescapable. So she stood where she'd been placed and screamed out in agony as she was tortured without end.
Then, she saw a group of figures moving towards her. She assumed they were demons at first, come to exact some even greater cruelty upon her. However, as the figures drew closer, Susie could see that they too were tortured souls in this wasteland. As one of them was finally burnt too far for pain to sink in well, the body was regenerated and Susie could see who it was.
She screamed out, "Daddy!"
As the others regenerated around him Susie saw her mom and Tasha were with him. She wanted to run to them but the pain in her feet was too great for her to run. Nevertheless, she put one foot in front of the other, despite the pain each step added to her misery, and walked to meet her family. It seemed to take an eternity to reach each other for all of them. But of course, they had an eternity to make the journey.
Finally they reached one another and Susie's family encircled her with their arms. "Susie, we're so sorry," her dad said with vocal chords that were nearly burnt crisp in just the time it took to speak those words. Susie pulled his charred body close and embraced him even tighter. She looked around into the eyes and burning faces of her family, and even as they suffered and burned smiles came to their lips and eyes.
After a regeneration, Susie said as loud as she could, "I love you all so very much!" At that moment an incredible light formed around Susie and spread out to encapsulate her and her family. They were whole again, and the flames which lapped all around them were unable to reach them.
They stared around in amazement, not understanding at all what had happened. Susie's dad said, "Honey... What did you do?"
"I don't know daddy," Susie said. "All I did was tell you guys how much I love you."
Instantly, God appeared in front of them. Only this wasn't the same kindly looking old guy she met in heaven. This time God had chosen something more intimidating. The body before them was 12 feet tall, with magnificent wings that spread out behind him.
He spoke in that all too loud voice, "You dare to continue to defy me! I will unmake your very souls!"
God brought down a closed fist to seemingly stamp them out. However, when it was within nearly a foot of them, his hand hit the barrier around them and was flung away violently.
"What is the meaning of this," God bellowed. "I am the alpha and omega! There is nothing greater, or more powerful than me!!"
Susie's family, being unaware of the exchange between Susie and God in heaven, were taken aback by all of this. Susie however, wasn't surprised in the least. She stepped forward out of her father's arms and stared defiantly up at God.
She took another step forward and said,
"I don't care who or what you think you are, because I know that you're just an insignificant and hateful bully."
She was steadily walking forward out of the barrier toward God, growing a bit angrier with every step. Her daddy had told her once that sometimes the only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to them and fight back. She didn't care how big and bad Mr. Alpha and Omega supposedly was, if he wanted to destroy her soul then by-god she was going to show him that she wasn't afraid. She'd already died once, and walked through hell for those she loved, so there wasn't anything he could do to scare her now.
They were standing as they'd been in that playground in heaven when God had banished her here. A giant towering over a small child, eclipsing her in every way, save for one. For that child had a heart and will greater than that towering giant could contain.
God looked down at Susie and said, "Bow to me or I will destroy all that you are!"
Susie looked up to meet God's eyes and said calmly, but with absolute resolve and conviction, "No." She reached out with her hand and touched the god before her, and instantly he turned to dust and fell away.
Susie's family ran to her and hugged her close. Her father pulled her to arms length and asked, "What just happened honey?"
Susie smiled and said, "That god was just a bully who was holding us hostage in our own minds. He's gone now and we are free to go home."
Susie's dad smiled back and asked, "What do you mean 'go home'?"
"Back to the universe that gave birth to us." Susie said.
And at that they could see that they were losing substance and all was fading away.
Susie looked around at her family one last time, and although she could not speak to be heard, she mouthed the words, "I love you so very much."