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Everyone is called here once in their life. Some die on the journey; rarely will a person die before the feeling consumes them: the wicked, and their deaths are a message to the world, a threat, for It is a stern God. Their deaths are Its warning to avoid evil — you will never recognize the voice of God in the life beyond if you don’t first hear it in this life.

For thousands of years our scholars have debated the nature of the Cube — whether it is a manifestation or merely an instrument of the Divine. Of course, the argument is pointless, for It is in either case holy, and the fact that the matter still stands unresolved after so long shows its unimportance. We learn nothing from their hollow reasoning.

In fact, all we know of the Cube we know because of questioners — the occasional heretic who, denying God altogether, dares to examine the Cube — to treat It as an object, devoid of all significance.

The Cube stands waist high. Even as we rediscover science and our abilities increase, not the slightest imperfection in Its dimensions has ever been detected. Nor in Its surface — five millennia ago the Cube fell out of the sky to this rocky ground, yet after five thousand years of wind, storm, and sun the Cube is still smoother than any glass, reflecting no light, Its five visible black faces unmarred by any streak or smudge. It is immovable; the ground cannot be dug from beneath it.

But only questioners would need to subject the Cube to test and observation. For the rest of the world, history alone provides any proof necessary to bolster faith.

It is said that before the Cube fell, the wicked abounded over the world, thousands of millions. But the Cube brought with It war, murder, plague, and starvation. In only a few years, not one in ten thousand remained; science and technology had been swept away; and the world was pure. We had been made pure.

Scholars argue, too, whether in that time God acted through mankind or if man only reacted to God’s presence. This is of somewhat greater import, for it speaks to free will, and hence, ultimately, the very nature of God. But it is again a subject of interest only to seekers after the obscure; for most of us it matters not how God compelled our ancestors to cleanse the world, merely that It did so.

Some say as many as a million people walk the world now, but we hear of not more than a single crime each year. The consequences are too terrible — punishment, swift or lingering, at the hands of man or directly from the God, still means just one thing: that It will not heed you in the life beyond. So the God controls us all, and we submit to Its rule and consider it an honor to do so. Is not a life of fear better than an eternity of suffering?

It is this very question I have found myself asking in the three weeks since I heeded the Cube’s call. To every person — sometimes sooner, sometimes later in life — there comes a dream, or a series of dreams. Upon waking, the need to journey to the Cube is overwhelming.

I left my wife to care for our baby son alone. Her father lay on his death-bed; by now he must be dead, but I could not stay behind. I know he understood my absence — as does my wife — for this is a part of everyone’s life. Still, I had to wonder why the call had to come now.

I wondered why I had been called now, and I wondered why I had heeded the call without even taking time to say goodbye to my family. We make every sacrifice God asks of us, and we make them all gladly. But do we make them willingly, if the alternative is too terrible to bear? Fear coerces our obedience — and can we be serving Its will truly if we do so for selfish concerns?

After a lifetime of rejecting questions, so many stirred my mind in the course of my journey. I know it is wrong, even though I meant no challenge to God. I hoped only that when I stood before the Cube I would hear in Its voice answers that would strengthen my faith and hold me closer to God.

And so when I stood on the plain yesterday morning, it was with the hope that on my return home my heart would be lighter, that my family would receive a man renewed in faith and free of doubt.

My turn came; I approached the Cube and I waited to hear the voice of God. I waited for a long time, until the day gave way to nightfall, and until day reclaimed the world once more.

And I am still waiting.


James C. Bassett’s fiction has appeared in such markets as Splonk, Coffin Bell, Amazing Stories, and the World Fantasy Award–winning anthology Leviathan 3. He co-edited the anthologies Zombiesque (with Stephen L. Antczak and Martin H. Greenberg) and Clockwork Fables (with Stephen L. Antczak). He also is an award-winning stone and wood sculptor.


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