Lantern

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"Come raise your lantern to the sky!
And lets illuminate this night!"

"The H*ll is sent! They tell you we're H*ll-bent!
But H*ll is not where we're going.
H*ll is where we've been...!"

-Rise Against, "Lanterns"


"Follow the morning star
On a land where darkness failed.
The passion left unholy,
Now you find yourself."
-Black Veil Brides, "Fallen Angels"









Maybe you'll read this. Maybe you won't understand them, the metaphors. Maybe you won't get the message behind the image so clearly portrayed. But I will, I understand all of them, both collective to the human populous and the ones secluded to my own being. I understand them all from my perspective. Perhaps you'll understand them from yours. Or maybe you just won't read this, maybe you'll join the billions who never will. If you've gotten this far, maybe that's not true. Maybe there is hope. Not for the attentiveness of one reader, but of all.
















The room was dark, darker than night. Darker than the word black ever really seemed to describe. Black only ever seems to describe evil, sorrow, ending. This black seemed not to end, seemed as if it had only the capacity for emptiness, no evil. It was darker than a pitch black. It was the black that would encompass space were the stars not burning so brightly as they do. But, of course, there was no starlight to fill this...perhaps not this room, but this..space. There was no light switch. No ceiling fan running to make me think otherwise. In fact, there seemed to be no temperature...

I got up, somehow. Somehow I found footing in this darkest of places. I felt around, finding four barriers, just as if it were a perfectly square room. After feeling around for quite some time, I found that I could detect no openings against the "walls," no nook or cranny besides the intersecting points of all four walls. I began to break emotionally, feeling as if the walls must be moving silently through the darkness, preparing to crush me in the slowest, most horrible way possible, when suddenly I was startled by a creaking sound, the kind made by rusty hinges. A crusty, gravely sound followed by the groan of lighter friction somewhere inside the mechanisms. As this sound erupted from the depths of the darkness, shards of light began to fall across the floor, a floor so surprisingly white I had to turn away, the brightness burning deep into my eyes like the brands of God. I felt warmth crawl over me, the feeling of any temperature at all suddenly bringing my body to life, both unsettling it and calming it. My stomach churned with nerves as I summoned the courage to put my eyes at the mercy of the burning light, and found that the light was quite tolerable now, even though it surely had not dimmed. Then it came to my realization that the light had not dimmed but had been subdued by a great silhouetted figure standing in what must have been a doorway I could not find. As my eyes adjusted, I saw the man was young yet wise, eyes gentle but sharp, and his face was scarred by what seemed a timeless amount of nail scratchings. I saw sadness in those gentle eyes, the blue, watery way they reflected the light bouncing off the floor showed something deeper than a soul, something deeper than even a spiritual being. He Was. He Is. He always would be. I knew immediately no previously living, currently living, or soon-to-be living being stood before me. Who stood before me could only be the Father of time, the Father of science, the Father of all that's been, is, and is to be. The young, scarred being was God.

I was almost afraid to gaze up at Him, for I knew by His expression that no good was to come of our meeting. I had been contained, unable to leave. Unable to see. Only able to move, feel, and comprehend entrapment. God had not intended to make me comfortable for an eternity of happiness. God had not set me in this room to hold me for questioning. Something was to happen, and I was to be involved, and I had never known as great a fear as being involved with what must be the dirty work of God.

It was at this fearful realization of being held captive for an undesirable purpose that I noticed God's left hand contained something. His great, rough looking hand was clutching the handle of something. A lantern. The lantern contained something, something small, something spherical, something spinning. Then He began to approach me, each step not a great boom, as I'd imagined, but a normal sounding step. I almost would have thought from the whiteness of the room that God was not God but in fact a rather tired doctor preparing to deal with another late night patient with which he did not care to bother. These steps were full of dreams unrealized, full of sleepless nights. How long did nights last in Heaven? Did God sleep? If so, had he truly lost sleep over whatever matters seemed to concern me? Was I to die? Aren't I already dead if I face God? I feel no lighter nor no heavier than I did the last time I can remember. I feel as solid and as mortal as ever, and here God approaches, his unlit lantern swinging in his hand, creaking in the exact same manner the door had. That same crusted, rusty creak. Like the scream of a dieing being who is choking on their own breath.

"Noah," said God, "Your time has come." My blood ran cold. I had not been told of this "time" which was to come, nor that it would involve God. I looked about the room, looking for something, anything, to...what? Pose an argument? No, good sir, my time has, in fact, not come at all. But no, nothing of argumentative value was in the room. Just the white walls, God, and I. And that blasted creaking lantern, which seemed to simply keep swinging, regardless of the fact that the laws of friction should be acting upon its awfully rusted handle.

"My...my time?" I replied, stammering in that slow, embarrassing manner that you believe is for drama, but the truth is you forget how to speak for just a moment after your first word is uttered. It is this stammer that forces me to remember I am a mortal before God, and that I had just foolishly asked a question, as if I could have heard his strong, clear, godly voice incorrectly.
"Yes, my son. Your time. Our time. Everyone's time. It has come at last." At this, God stepped toward me with his surprisingly soft, silent step, and then he was above me, his figure sculpted and powerful beneath his thin robe, his eyes looking down on me, turning from their watery blue to an overcast black, a color that spelled of stormy doom, of smoke and ruin, of rage and vengeance. His lips did not change, they did not snarl, they only worked with his eyes to show a look not of anger, not of disappointment, but of determination. What could make God need to feel determined...I never could know.

To my misfortune, perhaps I would get to know after all.
"Noah, I have promised the world a great thing. With each passing storm there remains a rainbow, my greatest weapon. The most beautiful of weapons, is it not? And it is presented through the reason for your living, the shining sun passing through your life giving water. In this I had also created your greatest fear, the fear of one day being no more, the will to live which I planted in the minds of every mortal being, be it human or otherwise. I look at your earth and know my cycles have come to their ending phases, and soon it shall be to resume after a period of rest. However...this promise I have made...it forbids me from bringing the cycle to its first relapse. I may not flood the earth, my son, for I have flooded it once before, and now my rainbow remains locked in the waters of your earth. My arrows of wind may no longer pierce your skies, and my arrows of flame may no longer scorch your fields. So I have called you, my son, from the world of the d*mned, for it is so d*mned as I have proclaimed, to bring about the end of all."

"Of...of all, my Lord?" I asked, again acting as if I did not quite hear the words coming from just above me.
"Yes, my son." With this, God lifted the lantern, and now I saw its contents. What floated so slowly inside that lantern was a little ball, scattered with white clouds and the great oceans making up most of its surface, green land diluting this blue.

The lantern contained planet Earth.

Then, God reached into a breast pocket of his robe, and retrieved from it a very human invention: a long, black-nozzle lighter. He handed me this lighter, which I examined, finding it was exactly like the one from my innocent little home on earth, and then he dropped the lantern in my lap. I looked down at the lantern, and from it came sounds I had not beforehand heard. I heard screaming, laughing, gun fire, animal screeches, trees being cut down, children crying out, prayers which would go unanswered, cries of vengeance directed at God, songs proclaiming that God was a fool, a sham, a mere figment from which to gain monetary power. Before this moment, I had known not what God had called me to do, but as I looked at the lighter, a pang of great despair rammed into my chest, chilling it and overheating it all at the same time, my back running freezing cold as my face grew red hot, my eyes threatening to spill, along with my bladder.

"I...my Lord..I cannot."
"You will."
It was not about whether or not I could, that much was clear. God was not simply asking me to end the world. He was commanding me to.
"Light it, Noah."

The next time I looked up from the lantern which spilled the noises of a corrupt world, which may very well have been hours later, God was gone, the door shut and the lines which should be cut into the wall to symbolize its remaining there were gone. No door. No escape. Just this world, this lighter, and I. A world sat in my lap. The means to its end rested in my hand. The heaviest grief which could ever be comprehended wore down my heart. I grasped the lantern handle, and found it now ice cold. I stood, lifting the lantern to my eye, looking in at the little spinning world, one half of it always consumed in darkness, the other half always consumed in light, always spinning within this matrix of night and day. I figured if I put my ear to the nightly side, I would hear less sounds, but the sound was equal from each side. Evil never rests, I guessed.

I walked to the center of the room, and set the lantern down there, kneeling in front of it, simply observing it. Listening to it. Watching the world spin within its cylindrical glass container. I could hear the exploding of mortars, the cries of war codes and enraged berserk soldiers with nothing left to lose and the only thing left to gain was war medals, be it little gold circlets with ribbons or bands of shrapnel paired with gunpowder and the surrounding land packed into throbbing wounds. I heard the hells of war mixed with the heavens of pleasure, be it lustful or passionate. I heard the screams of oppressed wives and the bellows of oppressive husbands. I heard the political calls of dictators and elected leaders alike. All sounds were similar. All sounds were human. Very many sounds were evil. Some were good. I could hear laughter, collective applauding, cries of joy, even the bittersweet screams of birth. Birth. New life brought to existence, perhaps destined to the save the world which I was commanded to end. But would humans kill themselves before such a hero emerged? Did this lantern protect them from the possible disasters of astronomy? Were humans still adversely affecting the weather patterns of Earth? Could I be spared this horrid task I'd been given.

"No..." I whispered to myself, almost unaware that I did. I'd read the Bible. The Book of Revelations did not call for an end from any of these, but of one final event, a great flame. God had intended for this inquiry on my and the world's behalf so that humans may have time to eradicate a portion of themselves before the final portion would be consumed in their own modernized Hellfire. I almost found it ironic. One named Noah was to aid in yet another flood. A flood of horrible fire.
I stood up, then. I placed my fingers on my chin. If God was to have me think, then so be it. Perhaps I could find a way around this deed I was meant to do, and perhaps I could not. I would, first and foremost, have to reach a conclusion on the matter.

The fact that I was dealing with matters of God and the Rapture was a rather large determining factor in this little equation. This is, after all, a matter of the Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. All that is and ever shall be. All that biblical dialogue. How was one to get around that? But, of course, when consulting the Bible, one would see that God had very human, very mortal actions. Rage, empathy, love, confusion. God spoke on equal terms with all humans communicated with within stories in the Bible. His confrontation of the newly wise Adam and Eve. His call out to Noah to rescue the species of the world via his great arc. His speaking to Moses to give instruction to lead the Jews away from Egypt. In all these stories, God spoke in easily accepted terminology, spoke at the mental speed of humans, and even experienced great emotions while making these famous confrontations. So...was God somewhat human? We were made in His image, yes, but in His personality, as well? That could not be so, for then the world's end would be unnecessary..So what was it that put God on a human level? Could He interchange His communicative properties? Switching between a direct mortal-form confrontation of Adam and Eve and the burning bush experience of Moses seemed good evidence that this must be the case. So, God was communicatively flexible. This made Him powerful in a whole new way. Who needed great godly power when they could speak to anyone in a manner in which they can convince them of anything? Had Adam and Eve been wary to speak because of this realization after consuming their mystic apple? Had Noah been at first reluctant to follow through with building the great arc, but then decided God was right in His flooding of Earth? Was Moses discouraged before God explained just how to save the Jews? Were all of God's holy adversaries as fear stricken as I am now?
So, the conclusion of that matter is that God is not of human level, but can lower Himself to be so. This should have been obvious...After all, God can see all, therefore observe all, therefore know the best way to go about any task He needs done.
...But could He see all?
He did not stop Eve from taking the apple, did not stop the snake from convincing her to do so in her state of stupidity, did not stop her from offering her apple to Adam. In their new found wisdom, He shunned them. And for what!? Realizing something? What had they realized?! What had they seen that I cannot!?
I realized it then.
"They saw that he could not see all," I whispered to myself. I had spent this whole time believing his eyes were on me. But no. His eyes were not on me, nor on Earth. He was not watching over His children. He was allowing His flock to go astray. God was nothing more now than a shepherd who'd given up hope on taming His sheep.
"They realized God can be fought. That he can be rebelled against."

I lifted the lantern to eye level again, looking down on my brethren, my kin, and now my race. These people, for their final moments belonged to me in their lantern prison. Would I burn them?
"No," I said aloud.
Adam and Eve would never have grown wise enough to craft the glass encasing the Earth right now if God were not powerless in one manner. And I would never have been wise enough to shatter it. I brought my shoulder back, and just before bringing the lantern crashing to the floor, a booming voice echoed in my head, the one those of the olden days believed God to truly use, not the calm, solemn one I'd heard long before.

"Your last moments will be spent in your useless introspection."

The lantern shattered. Screams scratched out at the air with demon fingers. Earthquakes struck as the Earth bounced along the surface of the white room. Then, the room was no longer white. The room was then encased in flames. Not an inch was untouched by the great burst of fire. I had ended the world and my own life. And with my dying breath, I uttered not a word, but my mind wrenched relentlessly with thought until darkness brought me dragging down into the depths of nothingness.





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