Of Feathers and Strings

Written by Addie Barnett

“Hey, check this out.” Afsaneh pushed a letter towards me and I took it gingerly, as if it were worth a million dollars.

“What is it?” I sniffed it attentively, smiling at the scent of  paper.

“Just read.”

A billion years ago, the stars exploded and created life. No, that’s not it. Let me start again. A billion years ago, a being made of light created life. No, still not it. Don’t worry, we’ll get there, eventually. This is how the story really starts. I should know. I was there.

My name is Adam. You might know me as the guy who got banished from Eden. Only it wasn’t Eden, and Eve was not Eve. The serpent is fake and everything the Bible told you is wrong. God isn’t God. He is not all-powerful or all-seeing, but he takes pleasure in punishing bad people. Or at least he used to. He’s dead now.

“What the hell is this, Afsaneh?” I lifted my eyes only to notice my friend had migrated to the coffee counter to order us two new cappuccinos. I sighed and returned to my reading.

Yeah, you heard me right. God is dead. He wasn’t immortal to begin with, but he lived much longer than he was supposed to. He fed on people’s faith. 

You might be wondering where I am going with this. As a last wish, he wanted me to write this letter of sorts, telling humanity how wrong they have been–I told him no one is going to believe me, but what the hell. It was his last wish. I know you’re probably wondering how I’m still alive when God is dead. Well, let’s just say he did have some pretty crazy powers under his belt and he granted me a few more years to make sure I get this letter done properly.

The world is dying–as I am sure you must have realized by now. Unlike what you have heard, God created it from stringing a couple of bird feathers and blowing on them.

I crumpled the letter in my hands and took the coffee Afsaneh offered me.

“What do you think?” She asked.

“Where did you find this horseshit?”

“Just keep reading.” Her eyes are glinting with hope only faith can give. Faith in God, faith in life. I had lost that faith a long time ago, when someone had shown me people can’t be trusted and life will take any opportunity to shit on you.

I picked up the letter once more. If the letter gave Afsaneh hope, maybe it could save me too.

Feathers–what a fragile thing. Imbued with his magic, they grew into the world you know today. But they were fickle and had to be tied down with string. And now the string is breaking.

I need your help. We have to tie the world together. There is only one way to do it, and I’m afraid we’re running out of time. My clock is ticking; what little years God bought me was spent on making this book and running around giving it to people. But no one came to my door. So now I will come to you.

I closed the letter with a sigh, rubbing my eyes. “You actually bought this?”

Afsaneh nodded and took the paper from the table. “You see the address written at the bottom?” She showed me the address, and I gaped at her.

“You didn’t actually go, did you?” I saw mischief and amusement floating in her green eyes. “Afsaneh,” I groaned, wanting to bang my head on the table. “Are you crazy? You could have gotten yourself kidnapped or worse.”

Afsaneh only smiled, turned around and waved to someone in the coffee shop. I stared as a man as tall as an oak tree, with a neatly trimmed white beard and eyes as red as embers dragged over a chair, and sat down at our table. The chair groaned underneath him and he rested his elbows on the tabletop, smiling.

“You brought him here?” I snorted at Afsaneh and stared when Afsaneh put one perfectly manicured hand on his hands, as if they had known each other for a lifetime.

She’s gone crazy, I thought. That was the only possibility. Afsaneh–the Afsaneh who wasn’t able to talk normally at parties and whose hands trembled every time a man leered as he passed by us–was sitting next to a stranger with a content smile on her face.

“Hi, Chava. I’m Adam.”

“Yeah, sure, and Afsaneh is Eve,” I rolled my eyes, and he grabbed both of my hands.

A shudder passed through me and I felt myself calm down. Only once had I felt this calm before–when my mom murmured the Sabbath prayer and my dad kissed her on the forehead.

I shook my head and took back my hands. This was impossible. He couldn’t be. He said it himself. He should have been dead. My father, my grandfather, and my uncle all stared back at me, but it was his face I saw as if time and space didn’t exist for this man. He was my father, and my grandfather, and my uncle, and yet he wasn’t. I had the sudden feeling I was watching myself in a mirror and all my history was getting reflected back at me.

He was there too. I didn’t want to think of him.

“Will you help me, Chava?” Afsaneh was nodding beside him and I mirrored her by instinct.

“Help him rebuild the world,” she said, and I forced a smile, my stomach dropping but my soul soaring.

“Good.” He took out a white string from his jacket pocket. “Because we  need to tie Antarctica back together.”


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