What truly lies beyond may only be a choice.
“Ignore my ramblings," he said.
I took, or rather chanced, a careful glance at the three souls that followed me into the church. I call them souls and not people because…well, how do I put this? Because after humanity had deserted us, all that was left, and to my relief, was our souls.
He who spoke was tall, thin-boned, and darkish complexioned as if his skin had gone from pale to tan under some intense artificial light, rather than turning dark under the sun. His shadowy flesh was the color of charred earth, which from certain angles appeared as creviced as the alligatored bark of an oak. He stood with his back to the alter, on top a stepped transept, which added another four feet to his already tall stature, facing the rows of pews.
“One more thought though,” he added. “Just to alert you few. I have meaning in my bones. True meaning.”
His blue-grey eyes scanned us. His gaze looked on me. “Does that trouble you?”
The other three, I noticed, shifted ever so slightly away from me.
An easy answer sprouted. “No,” I said. “Not at all.”
For one considered so enlightened, his face reflected surprise. The others, not so tentative now, moved full steps away from me. He stared at me, unblinking. He did not seem angered, perhaps more confused than anything. I could almost sense the thoughts trying to coalesce in his head.
“I will ask this another way.” He whispered as if wanting only I to hear. “Meaning is your salvation. My bones are your eternity. All that is left for you is to embrace this notion to move on. Any soul would be troubled by this prospect. And any soul not reflective of this is one for the damned.”
He paused to let me contemplate.
“Now, I will rephrase. Are you fearful of my bones?”
“I don’t need to reflect”, I said. “Reflection has come to me during a lifetime before this moment.”
We locked eyes.
I added simply, “I don’t believe in you.”
Turning, I walked away from him, down the nave past each pew of benches, slowly, really without a notion as to where I would be headed once beyond the church doors.
“Stop,” he bellowed behind me. “Or I’ll —”
On this threat, I reversed my step before he finished, cutting him off mid-sentence, “Or you’ll what?”
He said nothing.
“I have meaning in my bones too,” I said. Then turned and left.