Marmon the Hamster rolled in his ball through the streets of gold, past the Crystal Sea, and all the way up to the grand throne of the Almighty God. His hamster ball clattered as he passed the mansions of the blessed. He paddled faster.

Near the throne, the cherabium sung in chorus, their thousand tiny wings ringing their faces of eyes. Supplicants, animals, and saints of every kind surrounded the throne, waiting their turn, worshipers throwing themselves on their faces all around. God was in a particularly shining mood today, the light of his countenance illuminating heaven with a cheerful glory.

Marmon stopped by the administrative table, currently staffed by St. Paul. He opened the porthole in his hamster ball and squeaked up at Paul. “I have an emergency,” he said. “Priority One.”

“Death, disaster, or despair?” Paul said, assembling a stack of forms with arms that moved like lightning. He paused, waiting for the information for the last form.

“Disintegration,” Marmon squeaked so quietly he had to repeat himself. “I made a mistake!” he said. “I need to see God now!”

St. Paul blinked at him. “Really, kid? Disintegration? After the big training moment last week? I thought we went over this.”

“It’s an emergency,” Marmon said, his front paw coming up on the edge of the ball as his whiskers twitched. “Let me through. Now.”

“Hold on, kid. There’s paperwork. I need—”

“Do it for me.” Marmon shook his head and pushed forward, moving the ball in one big jump as he tumbled around and around, running to get his feet.

The ball landed in a straight line towards the Throne. God stopped the ball with a foot. He waved the cherabium to a lower volume and picked Marmon’s ball up gently.

Screwing up all of his courage, Marmon tripped the release to the ball’s cap and poked his head out of the hole. God seemed patient, holding out a giant hand for Marmon to take the next step on his own.

Marmon, now shaking from the light of reflected glory – and the knowledge he’d screwed up big this time – eased out, paw by paw, until he was fully on God’s hand.

Keeping Marmon at the level of his eyes, God put the hamster ball on His lap. “Why are you here?” God asked.

All around, disoriented worshippers started to poke their heads up to see what was going on. Some, at seeing the hamster in God’s hands, scratched their heads and whispered among each other.

Terrified, Marmon buried his head beneath his paws. “You’re God. You know already! I am a fool! I know it!”

God shrugged. “I’ll need to explain the situation to most of the saints when you leave. It saves time this way. Besides, it’s good for you to tell the truth.”

“I’m so sorry!” Marmon squealed. “So sorry I broke the universe! The big red button just seemed so shiny sitting there. I had to push it. Now the black hole is eating the Epsilon Galaxy! The worlds are ending! I am so sorry! I gave into temptation! I am a fool!”

God started to laugh, long booming laughs that shook the foundations of heaven. The cherabium joined in with a babble of delight, and the saints, a full three beats behind, started tittering, not like they understood the joke, but like they’d rather not be left out.

Marmon trembled with fear. God was laughing at him. Smiting couldn’t be far behind. His little fur stood up in panicked clumps, and his whiskers shook.

“Ah, Marmon,” God said. “You are very precious. I forgive you, of course. I’m glad you understand what you did wrong.”

“But the Epsilon! The black hole…”

“I know,” God said. A flash of light came and a tiny roll of pink duct tape settled on God’s other palm. “Here you go.”

Marmon reached out his little paw delicately. “You want me to . . . ?”

“Well, you did break it,” God said.

Marmon screwed up his courage and took the tape. He paddled his ball past the saints’ mansions, past the Crystal Sea, and down the streets of gold, the hamster ball clattering all the way.

He would have to get directions to the Epsilon galaxy, but at least the duct tape roll was endless.

Alex Hughes has always been a writer at heart, having finished her first novel at the age of thirteen. She won a state Promising Young Writers Award the following year. Since then, Alex has published a short story in The North Georgia Writer and written two more novels, and is currently working on her fourth, a science-fiction space-opera adventure.

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