Photo credit: Kevin Dooley

Writing prompt: One morning humanity wakes up to a message in the sky. “Sorry was AFK for a bit there” -God


“How do you think it got there?”

“I don’t know,” I say. “Probably some skywriters with a good idea of a prank.”

“Skywriting? But it’s been there since this morning!”

I leave the stranger behind, because I don’t need more questions that I can understand myself. Why don’t you come up with your own explanations then? If I’d stayed there for another minute, I might’ve snapped at him. Thank God, heh, I had the presence of mind to leave. Who knows what else I’d have done. I’m just on edge, is all. But deep down, I know I’m fuckin’ terrified.

I tread through the pockets of people scattered on the street. They’ve been standing there for hours on end. I know because I had been one of them, but all this crap is beginning to wear on me. What the hell is this, anyway? Some call it a message from God — literally — while others are bursting out of the chemtrails closet. To me, it’s nothing but a huge joke.

I’m at my driveway when the hushed whispers turn into gasps, and then screams. Everyone’s pointing at the sky now, mobile phones whipped out of their pockets like a crowd in a post-smartphone-era concert. I crane my head up and see that the words have changed.

I know, right? Leave them for a bit and I lose half my shit. Where’s my me-damned black rhinos? -God

“It’s God!” a woman shouts. Well no shit. “He’s come back to deliver us from our sins! He’ll save us all!” Murmurs of approval wave across the street. “He speaks to us now! Pay heed!”

“Shut up woman!”

“Atone now,” the woman continues, “for judgement day has come! Look there! Look at your proof!”

A silence hushes over, and I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. Perhaps they’re thinking the same thing as me. Gotta get a gun, and lots of provisions. Then, right in front of my eyes, the message changes. It’s no joke this time.

Yeah. Haha. Anyway, you guys ready? -God

“Yes!” the woman screams. “I am ready for your call, O Lord!”

Ok go. Btw if you wanna set up base in Jupiter you gotta help me out man. The last time you sat on your ass, Zeus killed my dinosaurs, almost wiped out my entire planet. -God

I’ve heard silence before, but this time I’m standing in a vacuum. Everyone’s trying to make sense of it all. I’m starting to piece the puzzle, and so are the younger kids, the ones who grew up playing Starcraft.

My bad. How do I toggle team chat? -God

Slowly, among the hymns sung by the pious lady, the sounds of electronic shutters clicking, the growing alarm of the kids, rises a scream: “We’re all going to die!”

I try not join the chorus of panic, but a yell erupts from deep within my gut, a visceral call against the beginnings of hell on earth.

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