Unrequited Faith

February 23, 2018
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Mr. Brown was a man of small stature and insignificant social standing.  His bulbous eyes hid behind thick lenses that perched on the end of his snub nose, and his thinning hair constantly looked like a most disgruntled bird about to fly away at any moment.  Mr. Brown’s outward appearance however, is not what was keeping him on the lower rungs of societal hierarchy, Mr. Brown refused all earthly delights.  A peculiar man, Mr.Brown, he fervently believed that by refusing all earthly pleasures he would guarantee his soul a favorable place in the afterlife.
As a child Mr. Brown had dreary memories of going to church.  He sat between the imposing figure of his father, a man with a strong arm and even stronger beliefs; and his mother, a woman who blended more into the surroundings than their family.  Mr. Brown sat quietly staring up at the big cross hung on the far wall of the small chapel. He was watching the early light play around the edges of things making it look as if innamenant objects were coming to life.  As the holy man raised his arms at the climax of his preach, Mr. Brown was assailed by a vision of blinding light and chorusing voices.  In alarm he looked to his mother and father but they were unaffected! He then looked at the rest of the people in the crowded building and none of them seemed to notice anything out of the ordinary either.  It was at this moment that the vision turned dark and fire leapt out at Mr.Brown from all directions.  He turned to his mother but she was consumed by flames, she looked at him and her eyes shone like beacons boring into the center of his being. In mounting alarm he turned to his father and saw he too was consumed in flames but where his hands had been there was only bleached white bones.  His father reached out to grab him and with a shriek Mr. Brown fainted dead away.  The vision will come to haunt the dreams of Mr. Brown for his entire life.
Mr. Brown changed overnight from a carefree youth to a withdrawn serious adolescent.
He took the vision as a call to change his way of living or be banished and tortured for eternity.  He gave up eating sugar, he gave up eating meat, he took cold showers, he resisted temptations of the flesh, he only dressed in dull colors, and he kept social interactions to a minimum when possible.
The years pass by and Mr. Brown grows older.
Mr. Brown refuses to take a wife or have children and scoffs in bitter resentment at “happy couples” with their “happy children”.  He thinks, “Their joy and happiness is limited only to the earthly plane and they will surely suffer in the afterlife.  The vision was bestowed upon me so that I may refuse earthly delights to not be tied down for the next coming. Those idiots! I will win in the end they’ll see, they’ll all see!” He always chuckles darkly to himself and moves on. 
Now Mr. Brown is a middle aged man and still works his average job as a sales representative for a local agency.  Mr. Brown hates his job, it signifies greed and the earthly pursuit of it, but he has to feed himself and pay rent so he works.  People pass by his desolate figure and he snatches bits and pieces of their conversations. “Poor man he is all alone...You would think he does it to himself...no wife or children...same clothes every day...little fool…” He hangs onto these tidbits of gossip like an animal tearing into a carcass.  These morsels feed his obsession and infatuation with his ideals.
Time continues on in the way that time does and Mr.Brown grows bitter in his old age.
He sits in a wheelchair by the window, and he resents everything around him.  Whenever someone tries to put a blanket on his lap (or help him in any way), he refuses vehemently spittle foaming the corners of his mouth, “You don’t touch me! I need to stay pure and unburdened for the afterlife! All of you are going to suffer and I will be the one to ascend! I will win in the end!”  It’s as if the burning visions that haunted him his entire life are boring through his eyes to singe everything they see.  They always try and sooth Mr.Brown’s nerves but this only fuels the fires of madness within him. He talks without reason and saliva running down the corners of his raving mouth. After a while he only forms a few words, “You don’t touch me...I will win...All see...don’t touch me...I will win...touch me...You don’t Win…” Words get increasingly jumbled and somewhere a bell rings in the house, the right side of Mr.Browns face goes slack and he jerks like a marionette on a string.  Always talking, never ceasing his caravan of crazy mutterings, “Almost ready!...I will win!...Don’t touch me!...All see, you all see…” In fact he keeps murmuring the whole time it takes to bring him into the hospital, to a small room in the back.  Just as the doctor is entering the door to check on him Mr.Brown stops talking. In fact Mr.Brown stops breathing, beating, moving, living.  The only thing he doesn't stop is thinking.  As blackness crowds out Mr.Browns vision and all sensation leaves his body Mr.Brown still thinks. “This is it, the moment I’ve prepared for my entire life, the time when I can claim my place above and gain entrance into the heavenly afterlife.” He waits for trumpets to sound and angles in white to clasp his arms and drag him up to ascension. Nothing happens but for the unchanging shrill tone of the monitor in the background, yes, even that annoying sound is beginning to fade away now.  Mr.Brown jumps up and down waving his arms in the blackness “Take me! Angles! I’m ready to go now! Where are you, I’ve lightened my soul, I’m ready!”  Blackness greets him in every direction, there is no one to witness his calls. With growing trepidation he screams out into the void “No! It can’t end like this! My entire life a sacrifice for this! I refuse t-”
Suddenly there is silence and all is dark and quiet.
There is no more Mr.Brown
The doctor in the hospital passes a young nurse cleaning out Mr.Brown’s room after the corpse was taken away some time ago. He can tell she’s new to the job by her puffy eyes-she had been crying.  He thinks, “Guess she's never seen a body before poor sop will see lots of ‘em now.” She sees him lean up on the doorframe and look down at her with a peculiar expression in his eyes. He says to her as he lights up a cigarette  “Don’t worry- he’s in a better place now, kid.”

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