The Nonbeliever

The nonbeliever stared out at the broken bodies, dressed in running shorts and t-shirts. He sighed. He shut his window, but the sirens kept wailing and he couldn’t keep their sound out. He had seen events unfold through the thick, double-glazing, and he wondered why he wasn’t more moved. He was left cold. He felt like he was watching a movie. Just another movie.

He turned to his computer and opened up his social media websites. There were many of them. It was where his life took place, his real life, the one divorced from the lumbering, uncomfortable, needy flesh that was his body. He didn’t like physical necessities. He found them embarrassing and ungainly. Words were what moved him.

Online, he found that he was already late to the party. Everyone knew about what was happening right outside his window. He realized he could be a valuable asset and positioned himself again so he could see out while typing. He began feeding live reports and found himself with a dozen new followers, almost immediately.

When he uploaded a picture, he was shocked to find even more hanging onto his words. He described what he was seeing and hearing and even opened the window again, just for a moment, to try to get a whiff of the smoke. It smelled like smoke.

There were others like him, sending out messages of hope and love. He stuck to the facts. He was a nonbeliever, after all. He knew communication was essential, but didn’t believe in the power of prayers. He knew that help was possible, but didn’t believe in the fluffy notion of good thoughts. He was seen as a good source of information and valued for these qualities.

Over time, however, the news he could glean from his window grew scarce and the online world turned to grieving. It nursed its wounds and condoled the bereft. He recoiled. He was a nonbeliever. It wasn’t possible to believe in the goodness of people after he’d witnessed himself standing and staring motionless, emotionless, at the carnage unfolding itself below in the tortuously slow way of nightmares.


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