1 Apr


armageddon photo: Armageddon 1445.jpg Sejus stood on the platform and surveyed his audience or, as he preferred to call it, his congregation. He had a message and he just had to get it through … or the consequences would be dire, and not just for himself. All of humanity stood on the brink, the very tipping-point, of destruction.

He cleared his throat.


“Brethren,” he began, his voice mellow, his expression serene, his grey-white over-garment rippling slightly as he moved, his beard, manly and yet juvenile seeming to quiver with every syllable, his whole a twenty-first century hippie in mid-twentieth century garb.

“Say on!” called a voice from the congregation.

“Brethren,” he repeated because repetition, he thought, would reinforce his message, “Brethren, we have reached the end.”

“What do you mean, Sejus?” called the same voice. The rest of the gathering muttered and shuffled, getting ready to leave. They’d come for a proper sermon and not this callow youth’s crackpot words.

“When my ancestor preached two thousand years ago he knew his message would bring forth conflict and wars,” said Sejus, his voice loud and now authoritative, as if someone had turned a tap on and given his every syllable renewed strength.

“Words don’t bring wars!” snapped the voice from his congregation, “ideas do!”

Sejus nodded. “Quite right!” he replied, “and it was the ideas within his words that proved to be the crux of the matter! Love one another, he said, help your enemies when they need you, be good Samaritans! And by saying these things he guaranteed the opposite, because he knew human nature! Tell mankind to do one thing and he’ll wonder what on Earth’s wrong with the other! Why, there are even intellectual arguments published that prove that black is white or one equals two!”

“So isn’t it?” sneered the voice. Sejus ignored it.

“My ancestor, he with the kindly face and wispy beard, knew a thing or two,” said Sejus. “He knew a lot about men and women. He knew that the human population was likely to grow remorselessly, was probably going to become so huge that there wouldn’t be enough food to go round! Why, he could almost feel the misery that would cause! And he wasn’t the first who knew that: it was common knowledge even to the ancients! They wrote about it in their good books!”

“And why shouldn’t it be true?” demanded the voice, and a few others mumbled an echo to his question.

“Oh, it should,” responded Sejus airily. “We all know that it’s young men who go to wars. We call them heroes, for goodness’ sake! They go and in olden times some died in battle whilst others lived, and it tended to be the strongest that did the living. The weak were left to become food for a whole lot of wild creatures, carrion birds and the like. In that way the human population became stronger. Good old-fashioned wars weeded out the rubbish and the whole of mankind benefited because what we now might call weak genes were left on a whole lot of olde worlde battlefields.”

The voice in his congregation decided to take a break, and remained silent.

“That’s why my ancestor created texts that would continue to convince future generations of the truth behind his message, and as the message was basically about love then humanity would do the opposite and increase its capability of hating. Of doing the opposite. And wars would persist. The genetic pool would be endlessly strengthened as the weakest were slaughtered en masse. Which brings us to now. To this eleventh hour, with yet another conflict brewing up, based on hatred caused by too much love.”

“Gobbledegook!” called the voice, acerbic again.

Sejus shook his head. “It’s probably too late,” he said, suddenly so quiet that those at the back had to strain to hear him.

“Speak up!” scoffed the voice.

“We have to stop believing what my ancestor said, stop having faith in what was reported that he preached. We must stop this insane reaction to instructions to love each other and then maybe we won’t do the opposite! After all, love isn’t the sort of thing you can teach people. You either love or you don’t, and if you do it’s well-nigh perfect and if you don’t there’s bound to be a bloodbath sooner or later…

“And at the moment the missiles are aimed, they’re right on target, Armageddon’s due and all because we can’t stand being told what to do and often choose the opposite! So stop this insane belief in a non-existent deity and the words of a sad old first century hippie, and learn to hate before it’s too late!”

There was silence before the sound and fury hit them where they sat, and en masse, as a group, they all turned to charcoal.

Except the speaker, that is, who sighed, crossed himself and vanished in a puff of nothing.

© Peter Rogerson 01.04.15


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