[LNHY/ACRA] The Daily Super Short-Short Story #32

Saxon Brenton saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Sat Oct 9 08:50:20 PDT 2004

The Daily Super Short-Short Story #32
A Devil Came Down to Georgia 14
Last Time: Martin dreamed, and in that dream had a fight scene with:
     "I am Saint Christopher, patron saint of travellers," said the 
wolf-headed man. "And I know all about overcoming a monstrous inheritance 
to find grace."
     The young man boggled. "I... don't understand... There isn't any 
mention of wolf heads in the story of the Ferryman and the Christ Child..."
     St. Christopher waived his hand for silence. "Among the Catholics, 
perhaps not. But then, the stories of my Passion are spread between the 
eastern and western branches of Christianity." Then he smiled ruefully. 
"And of course, my historicity has been cast into doubt by your church 
and my name removed from your list of saints. Under those sort of 
circumstances, I think it's to be expected that you wouldn't know my 
full story."
     Martin's dark skin reddened with embarrassment. "I'm sorry, I just..."
     He waived him to silence again. "I did not mean to berate you about 
it. I'm sorry if it sounded that way. I won't lie to you and tell you 
that I am not disappointed about it. To be honest I consider creeping 
mundanity to be a unhealthy sign in a faith. But I didn't mean for you to 
be the target of blame. In any case, my story...
     "If you've learnt of your Nephilim blood from the sock then you 
should know by now that mankind is not the only race to walk upon the 
earth, nor even the first. There are other races who call this world home. 
Many others, and their numbers only increase when you add in interlopers 
from other planets and other universes who visit from time to time."
     "If nothing else, we can see them on the news fighting the 
superheroes from time to time," admitted Martin.
     St. Christopher nodded. "Yes. Something that I am not sure is the 
best way to be introduced to an idea. People watch the antics of the 
superhumans with awe and wonder, but never seem to realise that what 
they'd doing in some way affects *them*. Over the past four decades there 
must have been perhaps a dozen alien invasions of T-Bone, but each time 
the latest one occurs, people seem shocked by the idea that aliens even 
*exist*." He shrugged. "In any case, I was born to the cynocephali - the 
dog-headed people. At that time we were not a civilised lot. Many of us 
were still cannibals, and that did not help improve relations with 
humanity, who even at the best of times tended to be a parochial. This 
was made worse by the problem of language. Not just having a different 
language, but also not having the vocal equipment able to learn and 
speak a human tongue.
     "I was young and idealistic, and alienated by this state of affairs. 
The closed cycle of being seen and treated as a monster by your kin - who 
could act pretty monstrously themselves, when you came right down to it - 
and then returning their blind prejudice and giving them an excuse to act 
monstrously back in return, filled me with disgust. I was looking for some-
thing constructive to do with my life, but I didn't know what. I went off 
to be by myself, and settled down by a ford to help others cross the river. 
And that part of the story, I think, is the part that you should know."
     "Yes," said Martin, and paraphrased from memory: " 'And one day the 
giant met a child who wanted to cross the fast-flowing river, and he put 
him on his shoulders that he could carry him across. And the way across 
the river was long and hard. And once they have made the farther shore 
the giant said that never before had he made such a difficulty crossing 
or carried such a heavy weight. And the child replied, 'Wonder not, for 
today you have borne on your shoulders the world and He who made it'."
     "Mmm," said St. Christopher, and there was a far-off look in his 
eyes of fond remembrance. 
     "What was your name before he baptised you?" asked Martin.
     "Reprobus," the giant answered. "It was after that I discovered my 
own gifts to talk with others." Then he came back to this issue at hand. 
"And there in that story is the lesson that you should need. It does not 
matter who or what you are, nor how base and unworthy you think yourself 
to be. All it requires for you to be otherwise is to make the effort and 
ask for that effort to be accepted by the one person whose approval 
really matters."
     Martin made a sour face. "You'll forgive me if I point out that 
there's a world of difference between dog-headed people and a literally 
demonic race like the Teenaged Giant Halfbreed Fallen Angels."
     St. Christopher's smile turned wry. He didn't want to risk saying so 
now, but there was indeed a difference according to God the Hardassed 
Bastard Father, if not necessarily to Jesus the, Like, Totally Mellow Son 
- but the solution to Martin's crisis of faith was too delicate to risk 
with the full truth. Instead he asked, "Have you asked to find out?"
     Martin looked abashed. "I tried praying earlier..."
     "No doubt when the wondersock was playing with your mind. Why don't 
you try again," he suggested.
     The young man took a breath. "Okay then."
Tomorrow: St. Christopher tells Martin where his abilities come from.
Authour's "I've suffered for my art (and now it's your turn)" notes:
     I've had a soft spot for the cynocephali version of Saint Christopher 
ever since I read Adam Douglas' _The Beast Within_. Another reference for 
his multiplicity of origins is Patricia Dale-Green's _Dog_.
The Daily Super Short-Short Story series and the wondersocks created by 
Arthur Spitzer, and used with belated permission.
The Teenage Giant Halfbreed Angels epithet for the Nephilim/Nephalim 
cooked up by Andrew Perron.
Saxon Brenton    University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
     saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au 
The Eyrie Archives of Russ Allbery which collect the online superhero 
fiction of the rec.arts.comics.creative newsgroup can be found at:

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