Chapter 60

Alex

 

Now then, The Doctor said through the TV, I think it's about time you take care of the commotion outside.

Lilly opened the blinds and gasped.

I looked. Down on the lawn, there were a series of wooden posts pounded into the ground. I’d seen them there before, but didn’t realize until now what their purpose was: they’re meant to restrain the body and keep the limbs spread out. For torture. Some poor soul was chained to the posts, limbs spread out in a very painful-looking position. Upside-down.

Without a word, we headed outside to see this atrocious display up close.

The posts were surrounded on all sides by a massive crowd, many of them chanting and screaming, others just staring with eyes full of hatred and anger.

We fought our way to the center, where a table was set up with knives, baseball bats, whips… all kinds of weapons.

“You’re just in time,” the angel behind the table said, “We’re about to get started. Take one weapon each.”

“Wh–what the hell’s going on here?” I asked.

“Execution.”

“What did she do?” Lilly asked.

“Blasphemy. She’s been going around telling people God is a woman.”

“That’s it?” I asked. “You’re killing someone for that?”

“She committed blasphemy against the Lord.”

I looked up at the girl strung on the posts. Her chest was chained to the center post, her arms and legs cuffed to two posts to her side, and her wings… someone had cut slits in her wings–the flesh part, not the feathers– to slide the chains through. I’d heard about the way angels perform executions, seen it on TV sometimes… it’s a ritualized beating. Everyone takes turns attacking the victim, breaking their bones, cutting off body parts…

I’d never seen it in person, and I decided not to let that change today.

“Stop the execution. Now.” I took a deep breath, trying to stay calm.

“It–it’s not blasphemy,” Lilly said, “It–it’s true, in a way. God–God embodies all that is good. That means He embodies the good of both genders.”

“You two are prophets, right?”

We nodded.

“Hmmm…” He looked up at the victim. “I guess I can’t argue with you. If you say God’s both genders, then–”

Both genders?.” Jack Hitler-Hussein emerged from the crowd. “You’re saying God is a hermaphrodite?”

Great. The prophet of genocide is here.

“Spiritually, I guess so,” I said, “But not anatomically. Anatomically, I imagine he’d be asexual. No need for reproduction.”

“You imagine? You mean you’re just guessing? He didn’t actually tell you.”

“Uh–”

“And if, physically, He has no gender, then He’s not a woman, and it’s still blasphemy.”

“Well, um…”

“It doesn’t matter what the physical form is.” Lilly came to my rescue. “He could easily change that, take on whatever form He wants. It’s the spiritual that matters.”

“Shouldn’t the physical match the spiritual, though? Why the discrepancy? If God were a hermaphrodite, wouldn’t He want to have a hermaphroditic form?”

I slammed my face into the palm of my hand. “Damn it, it’s not like that. It’s… it’s in a spiritual, metaphorical sense, and–”

“Metaphorical?” He turned to the guy behind the table. “Did it seem like she was speaking metaphorically?”

“I don’t think so.” He looked up at the girl. “What exactly did you mean?”

“I–I meant that God is a woman. She–she’s female, but the Bible was written by a bunch of men that screwed it up.”

“So, not metaphorical?”

“Come on,” I said, “Just tell us it was metaphorical. If you want to live, then–”

“No. No. I won’t take it back. It’s the truth. God is a woman, and this patriarchal society needs to accept that fact.”

Sticking up for her beliefs. Admirable. Stupid, but admirable.

“There you have it.” Jack gave me a smile. “Regardless of what gender God is metaphorically, He’s not literally a woman, so it was blasphemy.” He turned back to the mane behind the table. “Nice assortment here. You pick this out?”

The man nodded.

“Not bad. A bit wasted on this crowd, though. Most of the people here are amateurs when it comes to killing. They’ll just start slashing wildly, probably lose control, hit something major. And then the victim will die before anyone else gets a turn.” He sighed. “That’s usually the way it goes with executions. Some amateur kills the victim before I get to have any fun.”

“Perhaps you should go first, then. Show them how it’s done. Tell them what to do.”

“Yeah. Good idea. I think that might help.”

“We–we have to do something,” Flutter whispered, “We can’t let them kill her.”

“Agreed,” Lilly said, “But can we do? They rejected our argument.”

“We could tell them that God wants the execution to end,” I suggested.

“And then Jack will say we’re wrong. It’ll be his word against ours, and… I think he’s a bit more popular when it comes to murderous crowds looking to mutilate people.”

“Well…” I hesitated. “You could just make them stop the execution. You know, with–”

“Mind control?”

I nodded.

“It wouldn’t be right.”

“It’s not as bad as letting an innocent person die,” Flutter pointed out.

“Attention,” the guy behind the table addressed the crowd. “It’s time to get started. But before we do so, Mr. Hitler-Hussein is going to teach us all how to draw out the victim’s suffering.”

Jack approached the victim and pulled out an ornamental knife. “Right. Now, the trick is to avoid hitting any major arteries…”

“Better decide quickly, Lilly,” I said.