I dreamed this, it was like Indiana Jones meets the Ghostbusters....
by Erin Halfelven
Two young men attending Illuminated University go out on a field trip, a special assignment. Their task is to retrieve the Book of Infinite Gestures from one of the Hell Dimensions, left behind when the previous class failed to matriculate.
Arnie is a black American, good with weapons and devices, and has a flytrap memory that never lets go of a fact.
Pierce is an Englishman, expert in languages, codes, and ciphers and a form of unarmed combat that mixes parkour and karate.
“You’re shitting me,” says Arnie. “what would you call that, parkorate?” Pierce runs around the room, floor, walls, ceiling; snatches Arnie’s beanie and slaps him on top of the head.
“Hey!” says Arnie, grabbing his hat. “Don’t come to me next time you need help opening your locker!”
They have adventures in Hell and return with the prize, a copy of The Book, autographed by Asmodeus.
“Congratulations,” says the Dean. “You’ve passed the first term.” He doesn’t mention how much they have been changed by their adventures. No longer raw young students, they have become seasoned researchers.
As reward, the Dean gives each of them copies of the Book of Infinite Gestures, the Tome of Impossible Proofs, and the Hermetic Codex of Unasked Questions. The books are enormous, burnt around the edges and stained with unnameable liquids.
Their next assignment, prepare a lecture for the incoming class on “What is religion?”
They retire to a library table on the crenellated wall of a cyclopean castle to work on this.
Arnie pours spiced yogurt into a pocket sandwich while Pierce paces around the parapet.
“You’re supposed to be taking notes,” says Pierce.
“I’ll write them up later. I’m listening, but you ain’t saying nothing,” Arnie says.
Pierce mutters then says, “How about this? ‘Religion is man’s attempt to deal with the infinite.’”
“Sounds like math.” Arnie takes a bite and chews then says, “And you ain’t politically correct.”
Pierce nods and tries again. “Religion is humanity’s attempt to deal individually and personally with the moral implications of eternity.”
Arnie squints at her sandwich, then at Pierce. “You mean like when that succubus swallowed your testicles?”
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