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No Such Thing as an Unimportant Day · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The Kiss
The man contemplated his hands once more. Fascinating example of alien biology, he thought.

For once, he had time to muse. The past weeks had been so busy, wandering through this semi-arid land, preaching to other people, trying to get across the message he’d been sent to deliver.

He was exhausted.

He wanted to write something, scribble a cursory entry in his logbook, but his tiredness paralysed him. Instead, he rested his head over his laced fists and looked out through the window. Clouds covered the sky and the light pitter-patter of the rain came to his ears, followed by the distinctive smell of damped seared earth.

No way he could watch the stars tonight.

Not that he was homesick, no. At least not yet. But everything here was weird, and he felt stranger in a body so different from his. He knew that feeling to be par for the course. All his peers in the past had experienced the same uneasiness. But that realisation didn’t bring any comfort to him.

He squirmed on the stool, wondering if too much hasn’t already been done for those throngs of garden variety farmers and their planet. First, a titanic collision to give it a moon, followed by massive carbon dioxide injections in the atmosphere to jolt it out of a perpetual ice age. Another cataclysmic meteor crash had been necessary to break an evolutionary deadlock. Now, they had set up that programme called “covert interventions” at landmarks in history. He didn’t understand why this dogged stubbornness at helping those people. If it were for him…

But he wasn’t the boss, and didn’t know all the ins and outs anyway.

He sighed, stood up and shuffled to the bed. He lay down on the tingling straw, folded his arms under his head, and went on pondering.

Not that there weren’t fun moments every so often. The fish thing, for instance. Or the fake resurrection. But the most rewarding part was to behold the awe in the eyes of the bystanders, the amazement aroused by his “marvellous” deeds. There was so much he could explain, but it would avail to nothing. Their science was primitive. It would ring like ravings to their ears. Maybe in one, or two thousand of their years they would be able to understand. He vaguely remembered that another key appearance was scheduled around that date, but he couldn’t recall the particulars.

An unexpected feeling of intense loneliness washed through him. That was the worst, the realisation that he was on his own. Forced to succeed without help. Although he had those “disciples”, there was no way he could confide in them.

What about, however, that guy who had joined of late? He seemed less obtuse, more passionate and much more clever. Maybe they could become … friends?

What was his name? He kept wondering, but drew a blank.

Then a merciful sleep took hold of him.

The man contemplated his hands once more. Fascinating example of alien biology, he thought.

For once, he had time to muse. Past weeks had been so busy.

He had to join the programme, then devise a suitable excuse to be left alone with the psychodisplacement machine, sneak into it and transfer here unbeknownst to the others. That was only phase one. Phase two consisted in locating the official agent. Fortunately, he had been helped by his growing fame, and it had turned up to be not such a challenge. Phase three was to make contact and befriend the guy. That had proven to be the hardest step, but he had succeeded, and he would’ve bet the other liked him even more than the other fellows now.

Nevertheless, he was exhausted.

Now, he had to go on with the trickiest part: make the plan fail. That programme was a mistake. It was ethically despicable to interfere in other people’s business, even for benevolent reasons. Besides, there was nothing in that race that seemed appealing. They were aggressive, boastful, narrow-minded and unimaginative. They had barely shaken off the sticky crud they had risen from millions of years ago, nor was there any sign they intended to do so. They should be left alone.

And to achieve that he was prepared to go the extra mile. Even if it meant… He recoiled at the thought… kissing the other, and then let him die.

Jesus. What a ridiculous name, he scoffed.

Then a merciful sleep took hold of him.
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#1 · 3
Very intriguing. There were a few awkward constructions, but over all a very clean manuscript. I like how you kept to the theme and how the parallelism between the characters helped set up a nice ethical thought problem. It's a good idea and mostly well executed. I do have a criticism: Naming Jesus was unnecessary and lessened the story's impact dramatically. If ever there was a place for the ambiguous ending trope, this was it. I'd wager no reader had any doubt as to who the characters were once you threw in the loaded word, disciple. Leaving the identities unstated, ambiguous, strips the story of religiosity (or anti-) and allows the reader to think and ponder unrestrained. In my mind, that is what a writer aims for: getting the reader to think long after putting the story down. Try reading the story without the penultimate sentence. Regardless... good story.
#2 ·
This story has basically perfect economy of word usage. We're told only exactly what we need to know, and then the story pays off on the reader's investment very strongly. The measured information reveals also do a great job of creating a sense of mystery that intrigues and makes the reader want more. Nicely done!

Now, I think my biggest issue is that it took me till my second read-through to realize that there are different narrators in both scenes. I know this probably makes me sound like an idiot, but at first I actually thought that the story's central twist was that Jesus and Judas were the same person. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the openings for both scenes are basically identical, with the exact same thought pattern/musings. So I think it was easy for me to assume that two people couldn't have thought the exact same thing about human hands. I'd suggest varying this bit, in some way, maybe in a way that conveys the second narrator's more judgemental view of humanity. This may come across as a little more heavy-handed, but I personally think the tradeoff would be worth it.

Anyways, that nitpick aside, I had a good time with this entry. Thanks for submitting!
#3 ·
While the idea of Jesus being either an alien sent on Earth, or someone from the future accidentally (or not) sent back through time to this time period is not new, the idea that Judas could be another alien sent to sabotage is mission is actually funny.

The way the text tries to parallel the destiny of both characters is another nice touch here, and, as Bachi said, you succeed in packing a lot of material in a small space without being either too terse or too verbose, so kudos for that.

Naming Jesus at the end of the story wasn't probably the smartest of moves, even though at this point it is all but clear whom we are dealing with.

So yeah, all in all, quite a nice entry.