I Tried To Read The 5th Wave And Failed

I just can’t with this book.

I first saw the Fifth Wave in the bookstore a few years ago when it was brand new, and it seemed pretty interesting. It has a very good premise. It’s a dystopian YA novel (strange how that’s not only a genre now, but an oversaturated and cliche genre. What a weird time to be alive) about a girl surviving on her own in the ruins of Earth after aliens show up and destroy the place.

The alien assault comes in the form of “waves.” The first wave is an EMP blast that disabled all electronic devices and cuts off communication. The second wave is a series of bombs dropped into fault lines that trigger tsunamis which wipe out all human life near coastlines. The third wave is a virus, transmitted by birds, that not only causes people to die a painful and bloody death, but also lose their mind to the point that one victim is shown to have been chained to her bed while she ripped her own fingernails out.

The book begins after the fourth wave has begun. It has a pretty strong opening chapter, and I was hooked very quickly. The narrator, Cassie, switches back and forth between recounting the events of her life before and the way humanity dealt with the attack from “the Others,” and her current mission to travel to a nearby airbase where she believes she might find her younger brother, trekking along desolate highway while being followed by a sniper.

At first, Cassie’s tendency to wax philosophical is charming. I mean, if you can’t contemplate the futility of existence in an apocalypse that somehow manages to combine an alien invasion, a superflu, a zombie virus,, a worldwide flood, a super bomb, and the mass murder of all survivors, you really can’t ever find a time to contemplate anything. But as time goes on, it feels like author Rick Yancey was more interested in using the lens of an uber apocalypse to discuss human society than actually telling a compelling story.

And things only get more ham-fisted from here. Every point is driven home without a hint of subtlety, and simple messages that shouldn’t be difficult to grasp are slammed in with a sledgehammer. The most egregious example of this is a moment that made me roll my eyes almost out of my head. I had to put the book down and Google to see other people’s reactions because I was so incredibly annoyed.

At one point, Cassie is reciting her experience in a camp of survivors. They’re all struggling to survive and trying to figure out what the hell is going on, unsure if anyone is ever going to come and help them. Cassie herself makes a brief reference to religion before this scene, simply saying that when it comes to God, she feels like there’s some kind of a broken promise there. But leaving it at that would be subtle and understated, two things that this book is not. We’re briefly introduced to two characters surviving in the refugee camp: a religious fanatic nicknamed Mother Theresa by the others, and “the sole atheist in our camp, some college professor named Dawkins.”

Yeah, that’s a LITTLE on the nose, Rick Yancey. Let me talk about WHY I hate this so much. The point Yancey is trying (read: failing) to make here is that all fundamentalism is bad, both religious fundamentalism and… non-religious fundamentalism? I mean there’s a problem with trying to explain how someone could be a fundamentalist ahtiest when atheism is simply the rejection of a religious claim, but I get what he’s trying to say here. He’s saying that we should be level-headed in our approach to life, and not get lost moving too far to one side or the other to keep a clear view of the situation.

But this is an actual apocalypse story. The other survivors jeer at the atheist, telling him he’s going to hell, to which he reasonably responds, “How would I know the difference?”

What bothers me so much about this is not just that Yancey went with the most obvious and on-the-nose name choice possible for an atheist character by naming him after Richard Dawkins, though that annoys me too. And I won’t dwell on it for much longer, but I have now found two different interviews in which someone asked him about naming his character Dawkins, and in both of those interviews he chuckled and said “You caught that, did you?” Yeah, Rick. We ALL CAUGHT IT. It was not subtle, or clever, it was ham-fisted and graceless. Anyhow, that’s not what bothers me so much. What bothers me is the idea that in a world where all of the conceivable apocalypses have happened one on top of another, that an atheist would STILL be regarded with disgust. I mean, if you need any more proof that there is no God looking out for you, trying looking around at the nightmarish dystopian hellscape you live in. I get that people would probably turn to their faith for comfort, but like Cassie mentioned earlier in the book before this scene, it’s clear that if there was some sort of promise from God to keep people safe, he didn’t live up to it, and may as well not exist anyway. The idea that this ONE character is the SOLE atheist is ridiculous, particularly when Cassie more or less admitted to being an atheist only a few pages ago.

I did manage to get a bit of revenge when, later on when groups of soldiers arrive to take all young children away to safe houses, Mother Theresa demands that she be allowed to leave too, because “women and children should be taken first, that’s just how things are done,” seeming to go out of her way to throw everyone else under the bus. I might have enjoyed this jab at religiosity more if it hadn’t been countered by an incredibly flawed atheist strawman. Not that his Mother Theresa character wasn’t a straw man too, but at the very least, anyone could sympathize with the atheist character.

At any rate, just when I began to feel really interested in what was happening to Cassie, the story switches perspectives rather abruptly to another character called Zombie, previously Cassie’s high school crush, and his experiences becoming infected with the plague virus, and subsequent recovery. He’s hooked into a computer program called Wonderland that “maps” his experiences, basically downloading his entire personality, memories, feelings and thoughts into a computer, and then he’s sent to boot camp to train in becoming a soldier. Calling the computer program Wonderland is one of several cringe-worthy literary references that might have been clever if they weren’t so cliche. It reminds me of the villain in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series being named Valentine, or the way the Looking Glass Wars tried to turn the Mad Hatter and Chershire Cat into anime-style martial arts badasses. It just feels so… silly. There’s kind of a trend in this series of giving silly names like Wonderland, Zombie, Nugget, Razor, Poundcake, and Dumbo. Sometimes they feel like they’re supposed to be references to other works, sometimes they just feel like unfortunate nicknames.

The story switches back to Cassie and manages to get very interesting for a few chapters, because the sniper who had been following her is an alien. Up to this point, no one has seen the aliens, but it is known that there are aliens masquerading as humans and killing people, which is called the Fourth Wave. The Fifth Wave, by the way, is never explained or even mentioned in this book, and won’t be addressed until the final book in the trilogy, but I digress. So the aliens have basically attached themselves to people’s brains and possessed their human hosts, but they aren’t a conciousness which replaces the old one (a la Stephanie Meyer’s the Host), they are still the same person they always were, only they’ve been “awakened” to who they truly are. The alien, Evan, is having trouble deciding on what to do because during the time he was hunting and stalking Cassie, he became attracted to her and began to become obsessed with her, unable to bring himself to kill her, instead nursing her back to health.

Evan is a pretty interesting character. He’s conflicted and you can see that his humanity is ultimately overpowering the alien part of himself. It does however worry me that since he is set up as Cassie’s romantic interest, this book continues the disturbing trend in YA fiction of having a female protagonist fall in love with an abusive or obsessive male partner who gives off some distinctly rape-y vibes. Still, because I’m me, I was just happy to finally have a cute boy involved in the story who I could be vicariously attracted to, because what is young adult fiction without sexual tension?

This, unfortunately, is when the book grinds to a complete halt. Evan and Cassie end up sharing a kiss and he climbs in bed with her, at which point the camera fades to black and we switch to Cassie’s younger brother, a terrified seven year old named Sam, who is brought into the safe houses after being separated from a girl he meets on the bus, and the narrative returns to Zombie, who is now in boot camp. And the book goes Full Metal Jacket on us. And you know, I really tried with this part. Firstly, I find military stories entirely boring, particularly when they involve boot camp, because I tend to view boot camp as a very strange form of physical and mental torture that we as a society have sanctioned as perfectly alright, and this book continues to espouse the supposed virtue of emotionally and mentally destroying a person through weeks and months of torture before “molding them” into a soldier, which even in real life seems to have little effect but destroying a person’s natural empathy and replacing their personality with that of a cold and ruthless machine designed to serve it’s masters, sacrificing any humanity.

But again, I digress.

I have difficulty with boot camp stories because of the above mentioned reasons, but also because it’s really not what this book has been about up to this point. And exactly halfway through the book is a very strange time to take on such a drastic change in tone. I mean, yeah, it’s still the same hopeless dystopia as the first half, but at a certain point the utter hopelessness of the story becomes unbearable. I mean, there IS no victory for these characters. At this point, most of humanity is dead. Even if they somehow defeated the aliens, there’s nothing that can be done, humanity will not survive beyond this point, any attempt to survive is pointless. And Yancey has said that the point of this story is not about victory but about endurance, but still, how compelling is a story of endurance? I mean, at the end of Gary Paulson’s book Hatchet, the main character does eventually get to go back to society. His endurance pays off. Where is the pay off here?

The thing that really pushed me over the line is that the book goes into gruesome detail describing the fate of the people who died, particularly through the lens of Casssie’s younger brother. Not only does the narrative go through the horrific details of his mother’s death and the way he lost everything he ever loved, but it does so while retaining his point of view, so that characters are still called “mommy” and “daddy” and we can see his innocence shattering. It all becomes so incredibly depressing that it’s almost too difficult to bear. This whole book is just steeped in hopelessness, and that’s the problem with it. Once you’ve breathed a sigh of relief, things can only get worse. There is never going to be any payoff for these characters.

The little boy is thrown into boot camp, a ludicrous idea even for a dystopian novel, and the drill sergeant taunts him about the death of his mother, which is probably more monstrous and unforgivable than anything that’s happened up to this point. Now granted, this drill sergeant is an antagonist, but the scene is framed in such a way that it suggests boot camp is a GOOD thing, so what is the message being sent here? I don’t know, but honestly this is the point where the book became too much for me and I had to put it down. I skimmed summaries for the rest of the book and then the rest of the series to sate my curiosity about what happened next, and I’m going to talk about it now, so consider yourself spoiler warned.

This boot camp section carries on for a while, and the narrative doesn’t return to Cassie for a long time, which as I said, grinds the story to a halt, because even though Zombie has been introduced, the central story was still mostly about Cassie. Halfway through the book is a bad time to give this novel a deuteragonist. We’d already followed Cassie, Evan and Sam, and Zombie’s section had been brief enough that it didn’t detract from the overall narrative. Frankly, I just don’t have the patience for this kind of storytelling. I know it may be important to switch focus, but I had to keep willing myself to read on beforehand, through all the gloomy atmosphere, because the story was essentially pretty good and was rolling along. I don’t have it in me to put with a boot camp section, not now. The military aspects of the book seem to be glorifying the military and even though that’s another discussion for another time, it was just too harsh of a tonal shift for me.

So, I was genuinely curious about what the hell the Fifth Wave actually was, and apparently it isn’t even explained until the third and final book in the trilogy. The big secret is that the aliens were never on earth, they were always acting remotely, and the mothership doesn’t actually house the aliens so much as it houses their equipment and their weapons. They controlled people by mapping themselves through Wonderland and then uploading themselves into people’s brains. This is meant to pull the rug out from under you, but Yancey actually did a very weird thing in the way he told the story in the first novel. You see, we learn from Cassie that the military are actually alien-controlled humans, but we switch to Zombie and Sam being cared for by the military and being given explanations about what the aliens are, even though we as readers KNOW they are the aliens. But, the information they’re giving the protagonists seem to be true, so it’s kind of a triple-bluff. I wish that the author had picked a better method of explaining the central story than several info-dumps from the point of view of side-characters, given by unreliable characters. Worse, the villains mostly seem to be pretty good people, except for the two military drill instructor types.

The general theme for this book seems to be that we as the reader are shown something, and then the characters are put into a situation where we know what’s happening and they don’t. That’s a good storytelling method in and of itself, but unfortunately, things get wonky from there. Right when I as a reader think I know what’s going on, the “bad guys” are acting good, and we’re left to wonder who exactly is the villain here. And this isn’t done in an interesting, morally ambiguous way, like a political tale in which every player has their own ends and the lines between good and evil become blurred, it’s just clunky and indistinct, leaving me as a reader not sure if the antagonists are lying or telling the truth, and not sure if the narrative itself is lying to me or telling the truth. There are lies hidden within truths hidden within lies, but it’s spun in a very ineffective way, and just left me scratching my head and unwilling to keep slogging on once the focus of the book shifted halfway through.

In case you’re curious, the ultimate ending of the series apparently keeps piling cliche upon cliche, because the sole fault in the Wonderland program is that the aliens didn’t anticipate that LOVE would become involved, and basically, love can break the spell that the program has on people, as it did with Evan and his (creepy?) romantic obsession with Cassie. Yes, that’s right, it’s the old “love trumps everything” trope, but wait, it gets better.

The reason that the aliens sent their ship there was to destroy human civilization, because humans were destroying the environment and wiping out other species, and apparently the Others go from planet to planet, wiping out civilizations that pose too much of a threat to their environments in order to keep life going. But if that’s the case, what about the Others themselves? If they have this kind of sophisticated technology, then surely they must have developed and incredibly advanced civilization that DIDN’T harm the life around themselves, in which case they could use their technology to travel to planets and help other races to take care of their home worlds, share their own technology with them, or hell, even take over the planet and become benevolent dictators. It seems like the Others went through a HELL of a lot of trouble to wipe out the majority of the human race when inevitably another race will eventually evolve to take it’s place and create it’s own civilization. And from what I can tell from plot summaries of the rest of the series, the real origins of the Others are never explained and they’re never even communicated with directly. What a let down.

The Fifth Wave, by the way, is a series of child soldiers trained by the aliens, who go and destroy what’s left of humanity, by tricking them into thinking they’re killing alien-infested people. Even though the people training them to do this are actually alien-infested, but actually not because of the whole Wonderland thing and ugh, my head hurts.

Even worse, the ultimate end for Cassie is that she downloads the memories and personalities of thousands of long-dead humans into her own mind, basically becoming Super Cassie and going on an army-of-one rampage against the antagonists, ultimately beaming herself onto the mothership with a bomb in hand, blowing herself up and destroying the mothership in the process. I don’t know if this actually defeats the Others, because clearly if they’ve done this with other planets before, they must have more ships. Did this really accomplish anything? So we have a combination of the “love conquers all” trope, the “humans will destroy the planet” trope, and the “sacrifice yourself to save Earth” trope. It’s kind of sad to me that a story with such lofty goals ends with such cliche set pieces.

And then finally, the epilogue of the series involves Zombie and Sam wandering through the ruins of the old world, basically just continuing to survive, and having some philosophical discussion about what a realm is. And that’s it. Like I said, there is no victory. No matter how long Zombie, Sam, and the other survivors make it, no matter how many generations of their children survive, humanity is still dead, all of human history is still destroyed, all of the art and music and literature and memories of past generations is gone. And the world isn’t rebooted in an Eden awash with possibilities, it’s on a planet in which much of the life has been destroyed and what land remains is littered with waste. The end.

How incredibly unsatisfying.

And that’s the Fifth Wave. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it, and honestly I’m kind of glad I didn’t. It set out with some lofty ambition, but ultimately feels pretty pointless. The point of a dystopian story is to try and overcome the dystopia, to begin rebuilding, to create a new and better world, but this? This is just sad, and hopeless from the very beginning. Pain stacked upon pain, often in horrifically morose detail. It’s strange to me that in the world of YA fiction, you can’t directly talk about penises or breasts and you can’t do any more than imply that sex happens, but you can spend chapters describing blood leaking from the eyes of children and infants dying in their cradles and bands of marauders murdering (and raping?) children. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs in general that we are so much more comfortable describing horrific violence in gory detail than talking frankly about something as natural and harmless as consensual sex. Not that that’s Rick Yancey’s fault, it’s just an observation, and it’s certainly not a new one.

And now, I can finally go read Mercedes Lackey.

In Defense Of Kathy Griffin

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I will make this brief.

After everything that Kathy Griffin has done for us, we better not turn our back on her now. I haven’t said much about it because mostly I was so pissed off at the response of right-wing commentators. And then of course all the people dragging out such old chestnuts as “ugh that ugly cunt isn’t funny fuck her,” or some other such brilliant and scathing insight. You can bet your ass that if the shoe had been on the other foot, and Alex Jones were holding up a decapitated Hillary Clinton head, right wing commentators wouldn’t be tripping over their dicks to call him out on it.

What pisses me off most is seeing Kathy’s friends turn on her. Anderson Cooper saying he thought the photos were disturbing and awful, when he’s actually a friend of hers. Is he trying to put a nail in the coffin and destroy her? Or is he just saying that because he doesn’t want to risk his position at CNN?

Look, I get it. Holding up a severed head in a time where ISIS exists, it’s a bold statement. It’s disturbing. It’s maybe even a little tasteless. But art is SUPPOSED to be bold and disturbing. The message of Kathy holding up a severed Trump head is not “Hey guys, let’s go out and decapitate politicians,” it’s “We will overcome this, we will defeat this demagogue and we will resist.”

But you know what I admire even more than Kathy having the balls to make a bold statement? The fact that she apologized. Kathy has an infamous no apology policy. She stands by what she says. But after seeing the way it affected everyone, she owned it, and she apologized. And honestly, the worst I can say about the photo is that it’s in bad taste. But it’s certainly not “vile and offensive.” What’s vile and offensive is that we elected a man who openly brags about sexual assault.

What if we just called the Kathy Griffin photos “locker room talk”? Would that make it acceptable.

Trump is trying to make himself a demagogue and we need people to send out a message that we aren’t gonna take that shit. And we need it from all angles. We need the protests in the streets, and we need celebrities holding up bloody heads if that’s what they want to do.

The only thing that I’ve found truly unsettling was watching Kathy try and hold it together for her apology video. She seems like she’s been crying, and she sounds terrified. Like she’s afraid her whole career could be over. And it might. And that horrifies me.

Kathy is a fucking inspiration and the hardest working woman in show business. She made art. Art sometimes includes bold statements like holding up a fake bloody head. And unlike the racists who burned/hanged effigies of Barack Obama during his presidency (strangely no right wing media seemed to condemn THAT when it was happening), she isn’t targeting Trump because of his race or his gender or anything like that. He’s being judged based on the content of his shitty character. Need I remind you that there are actual photos of the Trump kids posing with dead animals they trophy hunted? How about the photo of Eric (I think it’s Eric, I can’t tell these assholes apart) holding up an elephants tail in one hand and a knife in the other? Here, have a look.

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Now tell me, is that more or less disturbing than Kathy holding up a bloody Trump mask? Because that’s a guy who actually killed a living creature for sport and posed with a piece of it’s body.

I know, I’m criticizing one of the Trump spawn, not the orange wonder himself. So let me get back to that.

The pussy grabber in chief wants to get the heat off his ass for his recent worldwide trip in which he alienated a staggering number of US allies, continued to deny the existence of climate change, and turned America into the laughing stock of the entire world. Now he’s pulling us out of the Paris climate agreement, which I remind you even genuine evil dictators like Kim Jong Un still participate in. That’s right, Kim Jong Un is more environmentally responsible than Donald Trump.

So, Donald Trump blasted back by dragging his eleven year old son Baron into it, saying that his son was disturbed by it. REALLY? You’re only just NOW worrying about the welfare of your son and what your narcissistic trainwreck of a presidency is doing to him? I’m not buying it, buddy. Trump is using Kathy as a scapegoat to try and get bad press off of him, and when that didn’t work he invented a new internet meme, because the Trump version of doing something good is creating a scandal that DOESN’T involve directly harming other people.

So hey, hand me a bloody Trump mask. I’ll hold it up for you, Kathy. I’m not above rash and over-the-top demonstrations. Kathy said it best: she’s a comedian, she crosses the line, she moves the line and crosses it again. It doesn’t always land. She owned up to it, and she apologized, not because she thinks that her willingness to speak out is wrong, but because she saw that it was genuinely disturbing to people and it crossed a line for a lot of people. She apologized because she’s watching her career crumble around her and that isn’t fair, not after everything she’s done.

Donald Trump is causing real harm to real people, and making a statement is both allowed and acceptable. Last I checked, despite Donald Trump’s best efforts we still have freedom of speech, and that includes bloody performance art. And don’t give me this crap about how “unsettling and vile” that picture is. We live in a culture that goes to the movies to see torture porn for fun, but suddenly you want to act shocked and clutch your pearls because a comedian makes a statement with a mask covered in fake blood? Like I said, if anything the photo was in bad taste, but it isn’t vile, it isn’t disgusting. It’s an artist making art.

Kathy Griffin does not deserve this, after everything she’s done for Americans, for the gay community, for women in comedy, for comedy in general, and especially for veterans and soldiers. Kathy Griffin has devoted significant amounts of her time, money and energy to soldiers, she’s included soldiers in her stand up tours, in her television shows, in her comedy specials, and done countless benefits for them. She’s been an outspoken activist for gay people, she’s gone canvasing door to door for the LGBT community, she’s organized marches against homophobic policies, and she’s never stopped opening up her damn mouth to defend people who need defending every chance she gets. Even though she crosses the line, she’s doing it for a reason, she’s making an important statement, and even her apology was sincere and heartfelt.

Kathy Griffin has more courage in the little finger gripping that bloody Trump mask than Donald Trump will ever know or understand. Trump is a disgrace to America and to the world, and while he was tweeting on his golden toilet in a building with his name plastered on it, creating racist birther conspiracies, Kathy Griffin was on several USO tours, staying in a hotel that was almost bombed, and flying into a warzone in Kandahar, Afghanistan to entertain US troops, because she’s a fucking American.

What we need now is the courage to stand up to demagogues, to challenge them, to not give them an inch, and yes, to even hold up a severed head every now and then if that’s what it takes to get the message across that tyranny doesn’t have a place here. I stand with Kathy, I support her, I love her, and I’m not turning my back on her because she did what she does, and what she will continue to do, which is to cross the line, move it, and cross it again. That’s what artists are here for.

Rain: A Romantic Short

The window was cracked just a bit, and I could hear the rain falling from the sky, that steady safe woosh of an endless shower of water, falling and falling from the sky, soaking the ground and the grass and the pavement. Water that falls and seeps into everything and finds it’s mark and nourishes.

It was a gray day. I couldn’t remember what time it ought to be, though it was probably the afternoon.

We were all alone. We would be for a few more days. The blinds were raised to show the view of Henry’s back yard, a lush green valley of grass that needed mowing, and in the distance at the bottom of the hill were the trees that led into an expansive forest. Their property extended somewhere into the woods. Usually we’d be out there, even in this rain, soaking wet, up against the wet bark of a tree. But we didn’t mind.

I could smell the rain in the air. It smelled like home, like something safe. The gray light cast down to the boy who lay in my arms. My eyes washed over him, drinking in the sight of his soft, white skin. He’d always been somewhat pale, but right now his whole body was flushed pink. His arms were pulled close and his hands rested on my chest, his fingers making slight movements against my naked chest that sent shivers through my body.

His eyes were closed, his moppy dark brown hair obscured most of his face. It was still damp from sweat. Beneath the covers, our naked legs were intertwined, and my still sticky cock was pressed against his thighs. His member was hiding somewhere, because he was curling up slightly and facing toward me.

I brushed a strand of dark hair away from his face. He took a staggering deep breath that told me he was falling asleep. I pulled him closer and felt his heart beating in his neck and his back, still thumping a little harder than normal. A few minutes ago we’d come together and collapsed, and I had pulled the blankets above us to fight the oncoming chill of the cool afternoon air.

No one would be home for several days. We were all alone. This was our time. We were lucky to have it. We’d been in love for years. Our parents thought we were just friends. We couldn’t tell them the truth, or anyone else. Not even our friends new. Though we both knew they suspected it and we didn’t deny it.

Sometimes we met up underneath an old abandoned bridge in the woods. Sometimes in the dense forest behind Henry’s house. And sometimes, when there was a blessed hour or two when no one was around, we could pull our clothes off, breathing quickly, hearts thumping, and fall into Henry’s soft queen size bed, and we would roll and giggle and kiss and bite and embrace and thrust and pull and we would make mistakes and accidentally hurt each other, and our bodies would awkwardly clap together and make silly noises, and sometimes there was a mess and sometimes there were unpleasant smells and sometimes one of us would have a runny nose and it would get on the other. Being in love is a messy business. Being human is messy. Touching is messy.

We didn’t mind. We treasured everything. Every moment and every touch, every taste and smell. He was the only person I’d ever loved, and I never wanted to love anyone else. The world was empty but for Henry and his moppy hair and his shorter height than mine, and his adorable round butt that made me instantly hard every time I saw it, and the way he laughed at stupid things in movies that made me roll my eyes, and the way I could feel him harden in his pants when I gave him even the most gentle kiss. The way his bright blue eyes would look up at me, because he was always lower than me, when we stood he was lower, and when we were in bed I held him against my chest. It’s strange that it was my arms around him that made me feel so safe.

When his head was laying against my chest, with his soft, wet breath against my skin, I was more than one body, his entire being was an extension of mine, with his own individual thoughts but we shared one beating heart that led us to come together again and again, our mouths sloppy and wet, our cocks throbbing with the intense beating of our hearts, our heads swimming and hot with something that couldn’t be expressed out loud, the whimpers that passed between our lips and the gentle moans and the loud gasps of pleasure only hinted at something so large that it filled up our chests and when we burst, bloody and warm, all over each other, we just kept growing until we filled the room and I think we might fill the whole world.

With my outer hand I explored the familiar contours of his body. The gentle down of hair against his butt, which he hated but which I thought was incredibly sexy. My fingers passed through those hairs that were so light they were almost blonde, perfectly splayed along the cheeks of his butt. My finger found it’s way between them into the warm crevice that seemed to beat with his heart for just a moment against my fingertip. He was nearly asleep but he noticed, and he squirmed gently, but it was a happy gesture. He was exhausted, but I knew that if I pushed my fingertip further, he would want more. I ran my fingertip up along the crevice between his cheeks and then my nails gave a gentle tickling scratch up his back to his shoulder, and he breathed the tiniest sigh of relief. I wanted him to have this reprieve, I knew that in an hour or so we’d be at it again.

But in this moment, with the lingering smell of our bodies and our sweat and our fluids still sticky and drying against me and inside of him, we were safe, and we were whole, and it was quiet. My head was swimming and I found myself getting sleepy too, but I kept my eyes open, and watched the rain outside the window.

This moment might come again and again in our lives. We might have a million of these moments. But this one would never be replaced, and none afterward would be the same. When we were older, we’d both look back on this moment and yearn for it, even if we still have the happiest of moments then, this one will never come again. This one is perfect.

I am more perfectly alive than any other person in the world. Anyone who yearns and tries and searches, it is this that they are searching for. It is this moment in the rain, with Henry pressed against me, and the utter safety of knowing that I don’t have to get out of bed if I don’t want to, and I don’t have to let him go.

I place a finger, the same one that was just giving his entrance a gentle prod, beneath his chin and with the slightest pressure I raise his face up, and his lips form the slightest of smiles. I lean down and my lips reach forward and find their home upon his, and his lower lip is in my mouth and I suck it gently, and a soft and gentle groaning for more comes from him chest and his throat, vibrating against my mouth. He wants more. He’s insatiable. I love him so much.

I kiss his closed eyes, my lips touching those soft eyelids, and his lashes flutter just a little from the surprise, but he’s smiling again. He opens those eyes and they look into mine, and they are blue and crystal and bright and full of everything I am, and he leans up to give me a kiss himself, one a little rougher than mine, his lips pressing hard against mine, and now my eyes are closed, and my pelvis instinctively thrusts forward as my cock begins lazily thickening, and finds its tip pressed against his erection. He lays his head against my chest again and his eyes are closed, and as I glance at his face I place a kiss on his temple.

Everything is worth this. Any pain is worth this. As long as I have this, I can be anything. As long as Henry is pressed against my chest and his lithe body is squirming in my arms, readying itself for more of our passionate and emotional connection, as long as I have the heat of his body to protect me from the sweet chill of the rain outside, I am alive. He is everything in my heart, and the world is a bright landscape upon which he walks, and his destination will always be in my arms, where I need him to be, where I can have safety and shelter. He is rain and forests and beds and moments.

His voice is a soft, crackling whisper, saying that he loves me. My vision becomes blurry. He’ll notice in a moment and ask me why I’m crying. But for a fraction of a moment, this is my reality, forever and ever, and I am so happy that I can’t express it, but my body is trying anyway, with my hard cock and my salty tears and my expectant lips when they come close to his.

And there is no world, no home, no life, but for this feeling, and even though in a few moments it will subside, and transform, and become something different, it’s here. And this is enough. This is enough.

A Prologue in Darkness

So let me explain what this is. I’ve wanted for a long time to try and condense my thoughts about Christianity into one place, and I doubt it’s something that I could ever encapsulate within one project. But I’ve thought of an idea for a book, in which I go through the major points of the Bible and talk about my perspective on those stories and characters, and how they’ve influenced the world today, and basically just try and deconstruct Christianity, to understand something that has caused me so much heartache and which I feel is such a powerfully harmful force in the world.

Truthfully, I’ve always found most of Christianity’s central mythos incredibly uninspiring, at least when told from the point of view of God as the protagonist. There’s not a lot of magic and adventure, and it’s mostly concerned with farming and deserts. As for the players of the story, Satan is by far a more interesting character who seems to have a much more moral stance, and God consistently behaves in ways that are irrational and inexplicably cruel. Earlier today I wrote down a conceptual outline for the chapters of the book, with each chapter being focused around a certain character or character. For instance, chapter one would be called Adam and Eve, chapter two would be Satan, chapter three would be Cain and Abel, etc. And I could go chronologically through the Christian Bible and touch on the things that interest me and that I want to talk about. The final chapter would be focused on the central character of the Bible, God himself, and would cover the book of Revelation.

I started to get ideas for a prologue, starting the story out right before the creation of the universe, and treating God in the most sympathetic and compassionate light. I’m actually really quite proud of this so I’d love any feedback you may have.

The beginning is not the beginning. The beginning of all things is a mystery, perhaps forever unsolvable. We don’t even know that there was a beginning. But this story begins with a creature, a being who is alone, floating in the vast darkness of the cosmos, floating in nothingness. We don’t know what he looks like. We only call him “he” because it’s the way he will later refer to himself. Perhaps he is vaguely humanoid, with two arms and two legs, hands and feet, and a head fitted with eyes, ears, a nose and mouth. Perhaps he is curled, fetus-like, sleeping in the vast emptiness, dreaming in the dark womb of nothingness, waiting to be born into the cosmos. Perhaps he is a tiny speck, perhaps he is large and monstrous, and perhaps, like all of existence, he is void and without form.
Where did he come from? Does even he know? Is he the only being in existence, or is he a being left over from some previous existence? Was there an ending before all of this? Was there a cataclysm that destroyed the entire cosmos and reduced it to nothingness, leaving only this sleeping catalyst? Was the past universe like a plant that upon it’s death, drops seeds of new life, and this sleeping creature is that seed? What is the nature of this being? Does he have emotions, thoughts, desires? Does he feel pain or love, is he lonely? Is there anyone to equal him, a companion to share his existence with, another being like him? Could he even create another like himself if he wanted? Were there others like him once, and now only he is left?
Perhaps he unfurls his body, such as it is, and stretches his muscles and joints, such as they are. Perhaps he looks around and sees the nothingness. Perhaps he feels afraid. Did he have a mother or father? Did he have a family? Does he remember the answer to this question? Perhaps he looks behind himself, at that expanse of darkness that is the same as every other expanse of darkness. Does he see the past? Or is it as much a mystery to him as it is to all who come after?
Those answers will never come. The mysterious being closes his eyes and gathers his thoughts and emotions. He gathers everything he has, and prepares for one magnificent display, he prepares to create everything. He holds out his hands, and he opens his eyes and his mouth, and creation begins.
A vast explosion, a soundless cosmic bang, and all the light of all the stars and all the galaxies comes pouring from one point of light in the vast darkness, and that point of light is the being who lay in the darkness, and from him come planets and meteors and dust and fire, moons and nebula and molecules and atoms and cells and water, from him comes the infinitely expanding universe with it’s constants and it’s laws, it’s various physics and biologies, it’s planets of rock and mountain and ocean, and from him comes mathematics and science and future and past and magic and reason, pain and hope and love and loss and possibility and infinity.
He finds himself floating in a sparkling universe, still racked with the painful explosions that are it’s birth cries, he looks around at the terrified newborn cosmos, and he smiles, holds out his hands over a sphere of water and rock, and he opens his mouth to speak.