WITHIN EACH PRAYER • by Paul Magnan

Some screamed, some whimpered. Quite a few were demonstrative, while others were quiet and desperate. And there were nearly as many languages as there were raindrops to carry them.

He raised his face to the rain. Each drop broke upon his visage in a smattering of lost hope.

He shook his head and scattered the raindrops. The prayers seeped away into the emptiness between his toes.

She was radiant. He looked at her as she sat cross-legged in open space. Her smooth, iridescent skin was not touched by the rain. It was not to her that it was sent.

“Why so many?” he asked her. “It has always rained, but the drops are larger and more numerous. And they feel different.”

She nodded her oval head and smiled. Her voice came out as colors and light. “They are different. Their lives are changing, much more than it ever has. They have created a world that is leaving them behind, and they are rightfully scared.”

“If they had stayed to the rules I set out for them, they wouldn’t be in this mess.”

She laughed. A blaze of illumination scorched infinity. “Dear one, stasis is never an option. You would not be here if nothing ever changed. Nor would I. The lives of those that cry out to you depend on change. They would have long ceased to exist otherwise.”

The rain intensified. Each drop carved through his face and body, taking his essence with each unanswered plea. “But I cannot help them now.”

She cocked her head to one side. “Why not?”

He looked down. More of him drained through the emptiness between his shrinking toes. The rain did not let up. It would not be long.

“They have rejected me. They no longer accept me as God.”

She leaned forward. “You made that decision, not them. How many times have you tried to adapt to their changing needs? Not nearly enough to serve them.”

“Serve them? I am God. They serve me!”

One after another, the cries and whispers within each raindrop changed. The prayers lost their plaintive hopefulness and became bitter, dismissive recriminations. Water turned to fire. Pieces of him fell away in charred husks that sifted into nothingness.

She shook her head. “Your time is done. It is no longer for you to be God.”

“Who are you to tell me that?”

She opened her arms. From within her breast the world sang out its decision. A collective acknowledgement that the God they had created no longer served his purpose. Their needs were beyond him. He had to go.

“And what will happen to them when I’m gone?” he cried out. “Who will they send their prayers to? Who will be there to give them guidance?”

Her visage expanded as the galaxies within spiraled ever outward. “The fallacy of God is that he is God. There is no other God but Him. At least while he has worshippers.”

He reached up to her. His arms disintegrated.

“Who are you?” His voice was hollow and tinged with despair.

Her eyes encompassed his receding reality. “I am nothing, dear one. Nothing at all…”

God vanished. The rain stopped.

She waited as the collective decided upon their new reality. Upon such choices were worlds made and lives directed. She was the catalyst for existence, in all of its infinite variety, in its perpetual motion and constant expansion, the artist for its creativity and unending renewal. She was their form, and the servant of their beliefs.

Temples were created within each mind, culminating in an acceptance. The will of billions moved through her.

“So it shall be.”

New commandments were written with numbers rather than words. The creation grew within her and she watched it evolve. Perceived reality was cast aside for a more workable essence, one that was not held prisoner to known limitations. Yet, she knew, the limitations were still there.

A new God was created.

He looked at her.

“I am the One.”

She smiled.

It began to rain.


Paul Magnan has been writing stories that veer from the straight and narrow for many years. He lives in New England.


This story is sponsored by
Clarion West — Apply now through March 1 to attend our 2014 six-week workshop for writers preparing for professional careers in science fiction and fantasy.


Rate this story:
 average 5 stars • 3 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction

  • I enjoyed reading this. Although it is not the kind of story I would usually read it certainly kept my attention. It is very well written.

  • I enjoyed reading this. Although it is not the kind of story I would usually read it certainly kept my attention. It is very well written.

  • Audrey Kalman

    I like the way you have humanized the gods and the way you blend specific details–like the rain draining between the emptiness of God’s toes–with the more intellectual parts of the story. The slight formality of the language mostly works well for this subject, though I had to read the line “It was not to her that it was sent” a few times to get it.

  • I like the way you have humanized the gods and the way you blend specific details–like the rain draining between the emptiness of God’s toes–with the more intellectual parts of the story. The slight formality of the language mostly works well for this subject, though I had to read the line “It was not to her that it was sent” a few times to get it.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    A thought-provoking piece, though I found the beginning a bit confusing.

  • Paul A. Freeman

    A thought-provoking piece, though I found the beginning a bit confusing.

  • Deborah Walker

    An excellent story and intriguing.

  • Deborah Walker

    An excellent story and intriguing.

  • Kathy

    Unlike many EDF stories, this one kept me thinking about it well beyond the time it took to read it. Also, considering the abstract concepts it presents, it was a very visually appealing story.

  • Kathy

    Unlike many EDF stories, this one kept me thinking about it well beyond the time it took to read it. Also, considering the abstract concepts it presents, it was a very visually appealing story.

  • Von Rupert

    I enjoyed this one a great deal. The rhythm was especially nice. The rain at the beginning and echoed at the end was perfect. The author took a complicated idea and simplified it. In an odd sort of way–a parable.

  • Von Rupert

    I enjoyed this one a great deal. The rhythm was especially nice. The rain at the beginning and echoed at the end was perfect. The author took a complicated idea and simplified it. In an odd sort of way–a parable.

  • Christa Carmen

    I was so impressed with how substantial a story you wrote within such a limited word count! It’s difficult to pack a big punch in a small package, and you fit God into 670 words!