Previously in RESUME GOD: Carl talked Gisae into becoming his avatar. Gisae talked Carl into being a little less of a buffoon. Result!
Part Six (of Nine)
“You did it!” Mindy had cheered. “I’m so proud of you!”
Carl wasn’t sure if he was relieved by the effusive praise or if it reflected badly on how he had been viewed before he had gotten a job interview. He had decided to go with the former because it was so nice to be out of the proverbial doghouse.
The email he had forced himself to get out to Hesperides Publishing had actually resulted in a response. Apparently they were getting ready to roll out a new online ebook imprint, and they needed someone to give it a unified artistic direction. The position would entail not only the look of the web page but oversee the digital book publishing design as well, including picking cover artists and designing the trade dress.
It was everything Carl had ever wanted to do.
Well, at least everything he wanted to do on earth.
It had been three days since he imbued Gisae with a portion of his god-power, and the arrangement seemed to be working. When he was in the chair, he could actually check up around her without traveling to Nataal. Even when he wasn’t, he could get a vague sense of how she was feeling, like feeling something out of the emotional corner of his… whatever the emotional equivalent of an eye was. It had given him some time to get his house in order, both figuratively and literally. Dishes weren’t backed up, there was clean laundry that had actually made it to the bedroom, even the cat box had been relittered. And now karma had given him a job interview.
The elevator door closed behind him, bringing his thoughts back to the here, now, and real.
Carl opened the glass door in the glass wall. The reception area for Hesperides Publishing was shiny in every sense of the word. Where the furniture couldn’t be made of glass, it was apparently made of chrome. Even the waiting chairs were silver tubes strung with black mesh for comfort… or the lack thereof. Reflective surfaced tables were unmarred by magazines or plants.
Someone really wished they lived in the future, Carl thought to himself.
He walked over to a glass desk where a surprisingly human receptionist sat rapt, poring over internet kittens or something equally fascinating but significantly less smile inducing.
“Hey,” Carl said. The young man had either gotten a cut within the last hour or his hair product stopped time. One blond eyebrow raised slightly as he regarded Carl, whose suit had been at the bottom of an unpacked box and looked it.
“How can I help you, sir?” the Robot Youth asked. Carl desperately wanted to reach out and bump the thin black tie a degree or two off center.
“I’ve got an appointment to speak with…” Carl checked the name he had written on the top of the index card he was using as a bookmark for his James Michener paperback. “…Mr. Herrick?”
“Mister Herrick is in a meeting right now, Mr…?”
Carl knew very well that the man was looking at his name on the scheduling software right now, but he was the one trying to impress today. He smiled two percent more and said, “McCall. Carl McCall.”
“If you could take a seat over there, Mr. McCall, I’ll call for you as soon as Mr. Herrick is ready for you.”
“Do you know how long that will be?” Carl asked congenially.
“I have literally no idea, sir.” A barely perceptible nod towards the waiting area indicated to Carl that he had been dismissed. Carl took a seat and was surprised at how comfortable the mesh and chrome chair-thing was.
Time passed. A lot.
Fortunately Carl had brought a really thick book.
It had been three days since Gisae had met Carl, and her vague sense of disappointment hadn’t yet evaporated. She knew that he meant well; there was a part of him inside her after all, and she would have been able to sense if there was malice or evil there. He just seemed… plain.
The god of a world as full of wonders as Nataal should be a remarkable being. Someone who embodied everything beautiful and brilliant and benevolent all at once. Carl McCall seemed to embody mediocrity. Still, he was her god and he was the one who could save them from the Kaerbani, whatever they really were. A small part of Gisae wondered if she was disappointed in him because he was the first person who had ever believed in her, but the knot of low esteem and pity was too deeply ingrained in her heart for her to have such a self-realization.
She did know that his power was real. Gisae had spent the last three days in the woods teaching herself to use… what had he called it? The “power cosmic?” It came from Nataal, even she could feel that. There was nothing cosmic about it. What it could do was allow her to control the spirits she had previously only been able to sense and beseech. Affecting physical elements was harder, but she had had a little success with water.
She had put off the most important test, but it was time to push down her pride and return to her village. Carl wanted her to inspire the hearts of Nataal’s people.
Hah, she thought to herself. Her own tribe didn’t even listen to her. Her father. Her fiancee.
She would never be able to be the mouth of god if she couldn’t speak to the people closest to her. At least the power would give them some kind of proof that she was telling the truth. That should have been a comforting thought but it just left Gisae even less sure of herself. Did she need proof to bring faith to her people? What kind of shaman couldn’t…
It was like a thousand children suddenly all screamed without ceasing.
Gisae fell to her knees under the mental weight of the cacophony of every single spirit within miles, all crying out their pain at the tearing of the world. Before, Gisae heard whispers. Now it was like each spirit’s voice was in the center of her head… and there were thousands upon thousands, all in agony. She forced herself to raise her head.
She could see the universe rent asunder before her.
Not a tear, like the Kaerbani she had seen Carl fight came through. Tears, plural. Dozens. Beyond the veil of reality she saw the maddening corruption of the universe of Kaerbanus.
“Gisae?” he asked.
The receptionist’s eyes flickered momentarily to Carl, then back to his monitor. “I’m sorry, sir,” he said. “Mister Herrick will be just a few more minutes.”
© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.