2 comments

Drama Holiday

The winds howled like haunted spirits, ramming curtains of snow at the cottage walls. The blizzard was in full bloom, nature’s display of power uncontested by any adventurous souls, who all hid away in safety. Four friends had made it to the cottage just as the blizzard hit and they were in the process of defrosting their bodies as well as their spirits.

Andrew sighed with content as he placed his feet up on the coffee table. The fire was crackling softly in the hearth thanks to David. Michele and Christine took care of their wet clothes and made tea to warm everybody up from the inside.

“Finally,” Andrew said, relaxing on the couch. “Finally.”

“Mhm,” David agreed, throwing one more log on the fire, then unbuttoning his winter jacket and taking a seat on the other couch. “I thought we wouldn’t make it. The snow’s pretty heavy.”

“I wouldn’t mind us getting snowed in for a month, man,” said Andrew and smiled. “Get away from the world, just us.”

David chuckled, knowingly. “I agree with you.” He glanced at the women and whispered. “With our ladies here, we’ve got everything we need.”

They both smiled, sharing an appreciative look

“What are you two smiling about?” Michele asked as she and Christine brought four cups of tea to the coffee table. “Mind moving your feet a bit, babe?”

Andrew moved, smiling. “Honey, you’re a real angel, you know that?”

“I know,” Michele said, handing him a cup. “I’m glad to be with someone who appreciates that.” She planted herself next to him and kissed him on the cheek. 

“Too bad we don’t have any cookies to go with the tea,” Christine said as she sat next to David, handing him a cup. 

“No need to fret,” David said, “I got something better!” He reached in the pocket of his backpack, resting on the floor, and fished out a silver flask. “Ta-da!”

“Oh, yeah!”

“Woohoo!”

“You’re the man, bro!”

David poured some Jagermeister in each of their cups and placed the flask on the table for refills. 

“My friends, honey,” Andrew said, looking everyone in the eyes, “a toast. Here’s to good company and a long-overdue snow-in in a mountain cottage!”

“Hear hear!”

“Cheers!”

They sipped from their cups, the tea steaming hot. Tongues clicked and mouths sighed, bodies easing and positioning themselves comfortably in the soft embrace of the couch and arms of loved ones. The fire crackled lively in the hearth and the wind battered the walls and roof.

“How long do you think the blizzard will last?” Christine asked, snuggling close to David.

“It’s barely begun,” Andrew said. “Probably it will last throughout the night. We might need to dig ourselves out in the morning!”

“Ooo, romance in a snow-buried cottage,” Michele said, taking Andrew’s arm. “I hope that happens! It would be like in a book!”

“Look at you two,” Christine said, giggling. “Made for each other!”

“What about you and David? I bet you wouldn’t mind a snow-in either!”

David smiled, leaning closer to Christine and whispered something in her ear. Whatever he said made her blush.

The sun eventually set somewhere far behind all the storm clouds and all the snow, and darkness fell upon the cottage. The world outside was preparing for a long, cold night, but inside the cottage, there was light and warmth. The four friends talked and debated lively, their mood as high as the mountain they were on and tongues lubricated with a hidden stash of wine - courtesy of the cottage owner. 

The fire burned nicely and with the world disappearing around them, it was high time for their debates to steer a very particular way.

The way of the drunken tongue.

“Thank god for this blizzard,” Michele exclaimed and poured herself another glass, feeling a bit tipsy. 

“Which one?” asked David, playfully.

“Which one what?”

“Which god? There are many religions in this world.”

Michele shrugged. “It’s just a saying.”

“Well, god could exist outside of religion, too,” said Andrew. “Why does there need to be a religion for there to be a god?”

“Well, because otherwise, god is pointless, right?” said David. “Assuming there is no one to believe in a god, that god doesn’t exist, because no one believes in him. All that religion is, is belief anyway.”

“Unless God is real,” said Christine, staring at the fire and slowly swirling wine in her glass. “If God is real then it doesn’t need religion to exist.”

“Whoa, guys, wait a moment,” said Michele and raised her hands. Everyone looked at her, expecting she would want to stop the debate. “Before we go there, we need to define what god even is.”

“Yes, you’re right,” said Andrew. “Well, let’s take the most common definition; god is an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient being that created everything and everyone. I think we can agree on that?”

They all nodded.

“But why must god be a he all the time?” Michele objected. “Why can’t he be a she for once?”

“I agree with Michele!” Christine exclaimed. “We need a girl god too!”

“There are plenty of female deities around the world,” David said. “The Greeks and the Romans had them, for starters…”

“Wait,” said Andrew, “are we going to discuss mythology or philosophy? I’m not a big fan of pantheons with multiple deities. Let’s just stick to the definition of god, which implies that there is only one such being.”

“Alright,” said David. “What is god, then?”

“I think it’s a matter of perspectives,” said Christine. “I mean, to an ant, we humans are gods, right? We are big and strong and we can do all these things like art and culture… ants cannot do that, so compared to them, we are gods. We can easily destroy them if we choose to.”

“Hmm, I see your point, but I don’t think I agree,” said Andrew. “A billion ants crawling over your body could probably kill you if they coordinate their attack; stinging you to death or climbing in your mouth, ears, and eyes...”

“Eeeww!” both the women exclaimed at once.

“...so you as god wouldn’t be immortal in that sense. Plus, an ant can do some things that humans can’t do. It can lift much more than a human, relatively speaking, and it can navigate great distances, relative to its size, over unknown terrain, without getting lost.”

“Okay, how about this one,” David jumped in. “Imagine a kid with a smartphone, coming to an isolated village somewhere in the jungle. The village folk would probably consider him as a god, right? I mean, for those who’ve never seen a smartphone before, it would seem like magic when the kid started taking pictures and playing music.”

Michele poured herself another glass. “They’d probably stick a spear in his gut, thinking he was a bad omen. Or a good omen, and that eating his flesh would bring them good luck.”

They all looked at Michele who shrugged. “Just saying.”

“Regardless,” said Andrew. “We’re still no closer to the answer; what is god?”

“Well, let’s look at it from the scientific perspective, since none of us are very religious anyway,” David suggested. “What in science is considered to be omnipotent? Is there such a thing?”

The group thought for a moment. 

“Gravity?” asked Christine.

“Light?” chimed in Andrew.

“We could say physical laws,” concluded Michele. “The fundamental things that rule the universe.”

“I think that’s a good example,” David nodded. “We can observe, measure, and test these and make sure they are consistent and constant…”

“Until we come across a black hole,” said Michele and cringed. “Or until there is another scientific revolution, where the Earth is no longer flat, but round. These laws change all the time.”

“Just like religion,” said Michele, waving an empty glass at David who refilled it for her.

“It’s quite the conundrum,” said Andrew. “So, what, there is no god? Is no concept or law true and holds firm? Like, fundamentally?”

“Oooh, that’s a good question,” said Michele and placed a hand on Andrew’s shoulder. “Your brain is so sexy, honey. What is fundamentally true?”

Another silence in which they listened to the wind howling and the fire crackling.

“Again, I’m tempted to say something like gravity, but we’ve said already that those things are relative. Gravity collapses at a black hole, so why should we assume that there even are such things as ‘universal laws’?”

“And based on what do we call something true?” added Andrew. “What are we comparing the ‘truth’ to, if we cannot discern between falsehood and truth in the first place? We have no basis for a valid analysis. Like, there is no baseline, no ground zero in which we can anchor our reasoning, knowledge, and understanding. Or is there?”

The group thought for a moment.

“Everything that comes to my mind is grounded in beliefs and assumptions,” said Christine. “Even gravity; I believe that the Earth spins around the sun, though I never actually saw it doing this. It makes sense and we have all the science to back it up, but I never saw this for myself - I simply believed it from others when they told me.”

“Experience!” Michele exclaimed, eyes wide and finger pointing. “Experience then is the one thing that you can ground your truth into! This,” she waved a hand around them, “is what is real. Us sitting here, talking. The fire burning. The wind blowing. This is true and real because we are experiencing it. Everything else, our homes, our jobs in the city, even the owner of this cottage, aren’t in our experience right now, so they cannot be the things in which we can ground truth in.”

“Hmm,” David rubbed his chin. “Good point. Did you also take into account the fact that you are drunk and that the wine is affecting your experience? For example, if you were sober right now, you’d be having a different experience of us than you are having now, drunk. The same situation, a different experience.”

“But it’s still my experience,” Michele said. 

“So, is truth individual then?” asked Andrew. “Is there no objective thing that we can say ‘this is how things are’, but is everything always subject to our subjective perceptions?”

“I think so,” said Christine. “I think you are right there. For example, I think that Michele’s shoes are hideous, but she loves them. For both of us, our perspectives are true, to us. But outside of us… neither holds true. The shoes are neither beautiful nor are they ugly.”

“You think my shoes are ugly?” Michele asked.

“It was just an example,” Christine said. “But yes. Sorry, the wine in me brought this up. That color is just awful.”

“Huh,” Michele said and leaned back. “Well then, since we’re being so sincere, I think your hair looked better when you had it at shoulder length. Now you look like my mother, with that haircut.”

Christine gasped and touched her hair.

“Whoah, whoa, ladies,” Andrew said, raising his hands. “I think you’ve had enough of that wine!”

“That’s it!” nearly shouted David, jumping up from the couch. Christine nearly fell from surprise, smacking David on the shoulder for scaring her. “Say that again, Andrew!”

“Say what? Enough wine?”

“Yes!” David laughed, taking the bottle of wine from the table and raising it, like a grand prize. “This, my friends, is the truth!”

They stared at him, cringing. “Perhaps you’re the one who’s had enough wine.”

“Don’t you see?” David said, eyes glowing. “Both Michele and Christine weren’t being honest about what they thought of each other’s shoes and hair until they drank enough wine. The wine broke through their pretense and brought out the truth! You’ve said it, Christine! You said; ‘it’s the wine in me’. This is it guys, the wine is the way towards truth!”

At first, they looked at him with incredulity. Then amusement. Then they started to consider it. And finally, they poured themselves another glass.

“Whoa, it’s working,” Andrew said, staring at his glass like it was the first time he’d seen it. “I can feel it changing me from within.”

“That’s the truth, my friend,” David said. “Burning away all the falsehood.”

“Can we use this to explain god?” Michele asked. “To answer our first question?”

“I think the answer is already there, honey,” Andrew said. “I think god is wine. Think about it. Why does humanity love wine so much? We consume enormous quantities of it yearly. And throughout history wine has been present everywhere, including religious and spiritual practices. There’s got to be something here, a connection between the two. And the way it brought the truth out from you two… If God is truth, then God is wine.”

The four of them looked at each other and saw themselves in a whole new light. They gazed at the bottle on the table with reverence, their eyes shining like they saw a divinity come to life before them. It wouldn’t seem too inappropriate or awkward to start bowing their heads to it.

But then, laughter exploded from the storage room. The four friends jumped up in shock as the storage doors opened and out came the cottage owner, red-faced with laughter and tears.

“I can’t…” he tried speaking between laughs. “I can’t… It’s too much…”

They looked at each other. 

“We thought you’ve returned to the valley,” Andrew said. “You said the cottage would be empty…”

Andrew had to wait a good two minutes for the man to stop laughing until he got an answer.

“Nah, I couldn’t return in this weather. I planned it, yes, but then I drank some of that, khm, wine over there, and had to take a snooze. Turns out, the path got snowed over during my snooze so I went back to sleep. There’s an extra bunk in the storage room.”

“So, when were you planning on letting us know you’re still here?” Michele asked.

“I wanted to as soon as I woke up again, but…”

“But what?” Christine asked, blushing.

The cottage owner began laughing again.

“What’s so funny?” asked David, outraged, though he thought he knew the answer.

“You lot are some crazy motherfuckers, gotta give you that! First, you come up here anyway, in this weather. Then, you start up one of the most interesting philosophical debates I ever had the privilege to eavesdrop to-”

“Hey!”

“-but then, you turn it into something completely ridiculous, the wine wetting your tongues just a tad too much. Truth and god in wine, ha!” The man smacked his knee and bent forward in laughter. Doing so, he accidentally kicked the table, causing the wine bottle to sway dangerously. Christine tried to catch it, but her reflexes were numbed down and the bottle turned over, falling to the floor and smashing.

The remaining wine spilled over, spreading like blood on the floorboards. The owner kept laughing. Andrew, David, Michele, and Christine stared at the bottle, seeing their newfound god murdered on the floor. They looked at each other, faces stern with resolve. Not a tear was shed, and not a word ushered, but they agreed on what to do.

They turned their gaze on the man, who was wiping his eyes, laughter subsiding.

“What?”

“You killed god,” said Andrew.

“You destroyed the truth,” added David.

“There’s plenty of it back there, though you’ve had more than enough-”

“You must pay for what you’ve done,” Christine and Michele said in one voice. The four of them stood up and surrounded the cottage owner.

His jolly face suddenly became perplexed with concern. “Hey, now, let’s all just take a deep-”

His words were cut by a sharp gasp of breath, as Christine jammed the broken wine bottle in the man’s gut, twisting it upwards while keeping eye contact.

“Blood for the wine god,” she said. The man tried to shout and grab her hand, but Andrew and David held him in place, covering his mouth. 

The winds blew against the cottage, threatening to blow them all from the mountain slopes. Snow piled up to the windows, the fire hissed, sensing a slight draft in the air. Blood poured between the slits of the floorboards and the four friends laughed heartily as they clinked their glasses together, having opened another bottle of wine, celebrating the founding of a new cult.

Out in the blizzard, a figure moved through the snow. It left no footprints behind - as if it materialized into existence at the very place it stood - and the snow seemed to blow around it, defying all laws of reality. Human skulls, their mouth, nose, and eye sockets plugged, acting like containers for liquid, hung from its waist, and clattered together in the wind. The figure’s face was covered by a hood, but its eyes shone brightly from underneath.

They shone deep red, like crimson wine...

August 07, 2020 18:33

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

2 comments

Siya Gupta
16:11 Aug 12, 2020

This story is great: I loved the philosophical discussions, though the ending was gruesome. The ending was REALLY horrifying; they turned into some kind of cult!! Interesting take on the prompt. Awesome! Also, please delete my name from your bio. It's a humble request.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Tvisha Yerra
04:38 Aug 10, 2020

Well, that took a sharp turn.

Reply

Show 0 replies
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.