by C.C. Parker

Janice Brubaker, a girl from the hills, was looking for old bones. The desert had been here for as long as anyone could remember, but she knew, instinctively, that there was an old civilization buried down there. "Maybe I was one of one of them," she liked to tell her friends.

She buried her hands in the hot sand and watched as it sifted through her fingers.

When she looked up Christ was standing there. "What the . . ?" she said, violently rubbing her eyes.

He was older then she remembered, and most of his teeth were busted out. His skin was the color of blood sausage. Janice looked into Christ's rheumy, sorrowful eyes and searched for any reason at all why He would be here.

Christ shrugged his trim shoulders and nodded toward the sun, which was enormously hot. "Him?" He asked.

"I don't understand."

"The sun," he said.

"How long have you've been out here?" Janice wanted to know.

"Long enough," he said.


- - - - - - -

Janice Brubaker was looking for old bones, and she'd found them . . . rust colored bones protruding out of the wasteland.


Janice was half expecting the bones to rise out of the desert like in the movie Army Of Darkness.

She bent down to caress the skeleton's beautiful, brownish rib cage. It came up out of the sand and arched back down toward it. It was like architecture, she thought. Like beautiful fucking architecture, and down beneath it . . .

Janice wrapped her fingers around its ribs and pulled. The entire skeleton opened like a door. Beneath, there was mostly darkness, but alas . . . Janice could make out the winding staircase there. Actually, these were the bones of a great serpent winding down to man's most ancient civilization.

Jesus was waiting at the bottom, his gaunt face half obscured by darkness; his sparse tangled beard wagging in the purple gloom of unnatural night.

"Him?" Jesus was pointing at the snake. The empty eye holes of the winding staircase looked deep into his soul. Janice could feel the chill coming off the savior.

"No," she said. "Man."

"Are you coming home?"

"I don't know," she said "For all I know this could be a dream."

"But whose," he warned her.


"Not mine," he said, moving out of the way of the graveyard.

As Janice's eyes adjusted she realized that it wasn't a city at all; at least not one that had thrived commonly.

"They were already dead?" she asked.

"A necropolis," he explained. "The snake tried to warn them. He came out of the sky like a twisting, black banner with golden eyes and he tried to warn them."

"But if they were already dead?"

- - - - - - -

Janice spent a few hours in the infinite graveyard, and the first thing she noticed were how all the graves were empty. Christ followed her through the decayed and crooked streets of the necropolis. Instinctively, she discovered her own name, etched deeply, lovingly, in a corroded tombstone. It was little different than the others.

Jesus touched the girl's shoulder and thought of all the times humanity had escaped this place.

"He'll come again," said Jesus. "Satan. My real father."

"It's all backwards," she said.

Jesus grinned crookedly and left her there to live.

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