September 20, 2019. It had been hyped for months. What had started as yet another meme over the summer had escalated to a threat to national security. As a respectable young Millennial, of course Lucille had had to participate. So when the day rolled around, she had been right there among the couple thousand others who had shown up at Area 51.
Lucille was the first inside and perhaps the only. She had watched people young and old fall around her. She mourned their losses. But she had striven ever forward, and she had made it.
She didn’t know what she had expected to find… but it wasn’t this.
The man was ancient, frail, on the verge of death. He was kept in a cylindrical glass cage, like something out of science fiction. But what about this wasn’t out of science fiction? The man was kneeling, staring at the floor of the cage, and his ratty white hair swept to the ground. Nevertheless, he had an aura of power about him. He felt like a dying sun.
Lucille had to suppress an intense urge to weep.
“Who are you?” she whispered.
The man looked up at her, eyes wide with incomprehension.
“He can’t understand you,” a man’s voice said from behind her.
Lucille spun around. It was one of the Area 51 guards. She tensed to run, but he put up his hands. He was carrying no weapons.
“What’s going on here? Who is this man?”
“I think you know,” the guard said.
He was right. She did know. But she didn’t understand. Wasn’t this man’s job elsewhere? Shouldn't he be stopping school shootings before they happened? Fighting against racism, sexism, homophobia worldwide? Providing food and shelter to the homeless and starving?
Why was he here?
“The universe goes through cycles of birth and death,” the guard said. “After every birth, there is death, and after every death is rebirth. During the cycle of the Sun, the universe expands and life flourishes. But when the Moon rises, the universe contracts. Chaos arises, evil wins over good, and eventually the universe condenses to the width of a single atom.”
“The Big Crunch,” Lucille nodded, remembering eleventh grade physics. “But what do you mean about the Sun and the Moon? The universe contracts every night and expands every day?”
The guard smiled. “No, I’m referring to the Universal Sun and the Universal Moon. Entities who are not physical but are nonetheless the puppet masters of the universe, the two true Gods. They contract and expand the universe for their own pleasure; when they are bored of one universe, they create it anew. They put your soul and mine through the cycles of rebirth in each new universe, subjecting us to eternal torment, eternal hardships, into infinity. There is no Heaven, no Hell, no nirvana for the soul. But, there is one way out.”
Lucille remained silent, waiting for him to continue.
“There is a time in the life of every universe when it neither expands nor contracts, and our universe has reached this stage. At this time, the Sun is passing the baton to his sister the Moon, who has been waiting for her turn for billions of Earth years. As the impatient one of the pair, she has watched life begin and grow and die out on hundreds of billions of planets throughout the universe, and she has been displeased with it all. She has been wanting to restart it. She has been pining to crush it between her fingers. And finally, her brother has consented.
“The cosmic baton is not the only one that must be passed, however. The Sun and the Moon only decide when the universe ends, not how it ends. They need a third party, someone who has lived amongst the mortals that they will destroy. This third party will transcend their mortal form and be granted supreme power, until their task is done. Then, their power slowly withers away until they are placed back into a mortal body. Their mind and body deteriorate until they are prepared for mortal death. And when they die, they die for good. They are never reborn again. They are escorted to peaceful oblivion.
“That is what we see here before us.”
“So that man… is God.” Lucille had already known it, but saying it out loud solidified it in her mind. This was the man that she had grown up worshiping. Her parents and her grandparents and billions of people around the world had sung Him praises and asked Him for aid. No wonder He had never answered. He was on the verge of death Himself.
“He went by Cain, before he became what you know of as God.”
“But Cain… he was real? The first murderer? But, he came about after the universe was created.”
“Every God chosen by the Sun and the Moon must do just a little more than their duty. The creator Gods must destroy, and the destroyer Gods must create. Before the earthly baton was passed, the Moon had given the universe over to the Sun, and the destroyer God made the new universe to his liking. It was he who organized the Big Bang, who pushed each atom in the direction of his pleasing. It was he who set the new universe in motion. The next creator God could only paint on the canvas that already existed.
“Once this was done, the destroyer God’s power ran out, and he returned to his earthly body. He was named Abel.” The guard raised his eyebrows. “You’re intelligent. Put the pieces together.”
Lucille hesitated, just for a moment, and her voice was trembling as she spoke, “In… in order to become the next Creator, Cain had to kill the last Destroyer.”
The guard nodded. He walked to a simple wooden desk and took a golden box from one if its drawers. He opened the box and removed a gilded knife, which he handed to Lucille. Her hands shook, and three times, she tried to drop the knife. But it seemed stuck to her hand. Once again, she wanted to weep.
“The Sun and Moon choose who they want each new God to be. Each cycle, they set up tests for the one they have chosen. This raid was that test, and you, Lucille, have passed it. You posses the chaos needed to rebel against the law, even to face death. You posses the apathy needed to watch your fellow humans die all around you under our bullets and not blink an eye. You possess the imagination needed to follow through with this raid, despite so many cowering away at the moment of truth.”
The man knelt before her. “You are meant to be the new God, and my Lord, I will be your humble servant until the day that I die.”
Lucille’s hands had not stopped trembling, and she felt on the verge of a panic attack. Her, the new God? The anti-God? The God-slayer? There was no way; she couldn’t do it.
“No, you do it,” she said. “I can’t… I won’t… I can’t destroy everything.”
The guard rose and took her hands, steadying them. “You won’t just destroy, remember? You will create. You’ll set the next universe in motion. You will write all its laws of physics. The next universe will be everything you feel this one is lacking… And then, you will cease to be. Once the next creator God ends your life, you will never suffer again. That is what Cain wants. He has been back in his mortal body for hundreds of years, unable to die, but constantly aging. He has forgotten how to speak for himself, to think for himself. He has sat in that position day and night for as long as my ancestors can remember. He has not moved, until he saw you. He looked up; a simple movement, but the most he has done for centuries. Cain craves the end of his soul. He craves the oblivion that only you can provide.”
The guard released Lucille’s hands, and she found that they were steady.
“You said that I can create anything?” she asked.
“I can make magic exist in the next universe?”
“If it pleases you, yes. And I will love for my soul to have a part in it.”
“And all I have to do is put that old man out of his misery?”
The guard nodded.
Lucille took a deep breath to steel herself. “Alright,” she said.
The guard smiled sadly. He typed a code into the keypad beside the door to the glass cage, and it hissed open. Lucille stepped in.
Lucille knelt before her God, Cain. She knew what she was about to become. She knew she was going to take His place as the Supreme Being. Yet, she felt no excitement. She was only sad. She had never spoken to Cain, had seen Him for the first time only minutes before, but she felt as if He was her brother, just as Abel was Cain’s. And now she had to end Him.
The door to the cage hissed shut, and the guard gave her a thumbs up. He smiled weakly at her and bowed, and she smiled back. This man would have her blessing.
Once again, Lucille took a deep breath. Cain looked up at her, and the former God and the future one locked eyes.
“Thank you, sister,” Cain said.
Lucille gripped the knife with both hands. She stabbed him through his heart, and His blood poured over Her hands.