To be entirely fair to Zarthax 89 the Glorious, his plan was quite sound: Take a human, stick the warm-blooded fleshling thirty thousand years in the past, laugh at its plight and leave it to die. He had a time machine, ; Humans were perfectly legal to strand in the past provided they don’t didn’t leave Earth space and it was always a good time. By Mung and Zarve, that human should be panicking! The sport should have been choice!
On a rainy night, he materialized in front of some humans, grabbed a nonplussed bull male and stuffed him into the time machine. Zarthax zipped away through time. The moon colonized America. The Christ was born, lived and was died of a virgin. Nebuchadnezzar built a temple that Solomon destroyed. Man forgot how to domesticate and the dog became wolf and our enemy. Finally, the animals became huge, from bear to insect, and man lost everything but his family.
Beyond even this juncture, as the ice age ended (or began. Who knew with time travel), he stopped. Zarthax, laughing, brought out his captive.— The the bull male, huge, bearded and wearing nothing but casual evening wear. He adjusted his glasses and shined them, peering at the giant trees and the unknown mountains.
“Well. What year is it?” He he said calmly, waving at a giant bear, which was still figuring whether the flash of light was harming it or not.
Zarthax, thinking that the panic was coming, told him in his crackling, cackling voice. , “30,000 BC exactly, fool human!” Any moment now, the human’s calm demeanor would crack and the delicious screaming would begin.
“Huh.” The human remained unmoved. “30,000 BC?” He stuck his hands in his pockets and rocked on his heels.
Zarthax laughed and laughed. “YES YES! 32,000 years before your own birth! DIED BEFORE YOU WERE BORN!”
The human sat down and started pondering. “Well. That was a good trick. Huh…” And he began to make thinking noises. “Hmmmmm.”
Zarthax’s laughter lessened.
The human scratched his forehead. “Maybe… hhuurrrrrrr….”
Zarthax smiled waned crescent from gibbous. His mouths always smiled, but the lips closed over the sharp teeth.
The human stuck a fist under his bearded chin. You couldn’t see the fist for the beard.“Ahhhhh.”
Zarthax’s enjoyment shriveled away, but was replaced by anger and curiosity. Then he grinned as his evil mind turned around. “Ho! Contemplating your own death?”
“What? No. I don’t care about that.”
Zarthax’s double slitted eyes widened so that they nearly absorbed his whole temple. “Not care about death?! Everyone cares about death.”
The human shuffled and adopted a wider stance. “Well no, I care about death. I don’t particularly care how it happens. Death is death. I’ll die alright, whatever happens. But what about after?”
Zarthax shuffled and six of his many hands started to nervously clack the great claws together. “After? Don’t you care about the animals eating you, the starvation and thirst and cold? The horrible death?”
The lips of the human moved to one side and the eyes met Zarthax’s great globes. “Well, that sounds unpleasant. Temporary though. Compared to the, I don’t know, fifteen minutes it would take that bear to eat me to death, 32,000 years sounds like a lot. Or maybe I beat the bear up. Punch it in the snout to assert dominance. Wear it like a coat and survive for however long. I’m not likely to hit beyond fifty, besides the family heart and kidney problems.”
“Yes, human! Eaten by a bear! Guts slurped like your pathetic earth spaghetti!” Zarthax’s good mood returned. “Your round butt a most fatty meat ball!” The male human frowned at the insult. “Sorry sorry! Big boned fatty meat ball! ZA ZA ZA ZA!” By Sheemesh he would have some amusement yet.
The bull human crossed his arms, planted his feet and waited. Zarthax’s laughter subsided. “Now look here, there’s something I am wondering about.”
“On a scale of 1- to 10, how painful it will be?” Beat. “32,000! ZA ZA ZA ZA!” All fifty fifty-seven and a half teeth in Zarthax’s eighth maw were visible after this jest.
The human rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, clever. No, like I said, temporary. Pain is always temporary. Even hell will have variety. Fire, worms, lakes. Fire lakes.” The eyebrows were most expressive. “Fire lakes full of fire worms.” The eyebrows returned to normal expression levels. “Point is. What after?”
Zarthax looked around like someone had let out a fart close by in a crowded room. Then settled on the human. The question disturbed him. He would never die of old age, but he could be eaten by another of his species. Which was part of the reason they developed time travel. “Does it matter? Death is being eaten. Souls are not quantifiable. Pain is. Amusement is. You are going to die painfully.”
The thick head shook side to side. “I’ll be explicit. I’ve got 30,034 or so years before Christ dies. Are you aware of blood sacrifice being propitiation of sin?” He continued on, despite two of Zarthax’s feet shuffling. “Now, Christ is not yet dead. Am I under law or grace?”
“Uh.” Zarthax, for once in his unending life, could not answer a question or challenged posed.
“Now, I’m not a professional theologian, but while God is above time, does that mean my immortal soul is as well? I’m grounded by a linear time stream after all.” The right eyebrow went up in a mountainous peak, while the left remained flat as a mesa top.
“Uh.” Zarthax wondered if he should eat the human.
“It’s like this. Do I need to run off and find and sacrifice some four- footed clean beast, or do I just relax in the assuredly gentle bear massage. Or maybe it’s a bit different. Since God is outside time, I was already under blood and it doesn’t matter.”
Zarthax scratched his head, third skull. What was this limited lifespanner talking about? What were these Theologians? If this bull human wasn’t a professional, what did a REAL Theologian look like? Did they all talk in such riddles?
“Think about it. Maybe I’m going about it backwards. What if Christ’s death, being the Son of God, and thus God according to virtue of the Trinity, is itself, an event both inside and outside of time?” Becoming eager, the human leaned forward, beard jutting. “So if maybe Christ, being God and outside and inside time, created a sort of singularity about which all Salvation can revolve like light around a black hole.”
“Black holes?” Zarthax croaked.
“Yeah, so you have the immense blood sacrifices, combined with true faith in— – get this— – THINGS TO COME!” The human was now excited. “So, in that I have faith in things to come and things that are/have been… Because while Christ isn’t dead yet, I’ve still got the knowledge or trust or faith or whatever combination it is I can’t remember. – It’s all some sort of event horizon nothing, not even history, can escape.“
The human started waving his arms and making non-rude finger gestures. The giant bear was coming closer, but could smell Zarthax, which he didn’t like.
“The Christ’s death creates a singularity that affects everything ahead and justifies what happened behind. I’ve already made the sacrifice, which can’t be taken away and so justifies me even in this era which is under law. Once for all, suckers!” The human jumped up and splayed his arms and legs.
The bear, surprised, decided that the human was food and crept forward. Zarthax was lost in thought. This clearly wasn’t worth the price in deuterium.
As the bear’s great maw opened and drool dripped on the laughing human. , Zarthax got out of the fugue caused by a human who didn’t fear death. The fun was ruined! “A POX ON ALL THEOLOGIANS!” Zarthax 89 the Glorious grabbed the human, stuffed him unceremoniously back into the time machine just as the jaws snapped shut on air.
He used his third foot to kick the human back out as close to his proper original time as he cared to. The human got up, brushed himself off, checked his smartphone, and waited.
Zarthax pondered as he watched the Red Sun expand and eat the pathetic planet earth billions of years on. Theologians… Wait, if that was a theologian, what if there were others. Zarthax was Glorious, after all. There were others who were things like Terrible, Ponderous and Egregious. So, if that bull human was a Theologian, perhaps Zarthax could find a different kind of human.
Zarthax came out of the time bubble before a sharply dressed, yet weak- chinned male at a nearby college campus. “HUMAN!” Zarthax reached out and grasped the human in nine of his arms.
“Holy crap, an alien!” The human flailed limp-wristedly.
“YES! TREMBLE! Are you what they call a DRAMA STUDENT!?”
The human quieted. “Yes. WAIT! Is this like those shows where I’m the only one who can save your planet with my amazing acting skills? I am so ready for this! I always knew I was special.” The human fanned himself with his palm before he got the vapors.
Zarthax blinked. After a beat, he put the human down. He entered the time machine and swore he would never return to this dumb planet again.
Thirty minutes ago, the bull human met himself in the road. After sharing a handshake that, thankfully, didn’t end the universe, they shared a secret code word in case this exact situation happened. “So what’s up?”
“Well, we’re about to be kidnapped by an alien who doesn’t get the concept of murder with a bad sense of humor.”
“Been through worse, but not so weird.”
The elder of the two nodded. “That’s what I said when I was you. Anyway, he strands you in the ice age or whatever. He then decides to stay and watch. I then didn’t react to anything that happened and pretended to think. Subject: Christ’s death as a resonant point in history and how we’re still under blood. Sell it to him though.” They shook hands without killing everyone again and walked away, satisfied a stable time loop was achieved.
Food For Thought
Zarthax 89 poses some excellent questions. What does he look like? What kind of alien is he? Is he a cousin or something of Shub Niggurath – Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young!? But those questions will never be answered. What can be asked with a reasonable expectation of an answer, is that is God above time and thus, above our cares about time travel? Thus, is a man who is thrown outside time still under his religious belief system? This story bases its conclusion on the Faith of those like Abraham, whose faith justified them, but their sacrifices are rarely mentioned, unless it’s something like the sacrifice of Isaac. Consider though, they looked forward to Jesus’ sacrifice, we have personal knowledge of it after it happened. They were still required to sacrifice, however, as the Blood had not been shed yet. What worked for them should not apply to us as our souls were added to the world AD, rather than BC. The fact that Time Travel Theology isn’t a discipline in and of itself is the biggest question of all. Will any University give me a PHD PhD if I put out a thesis on this?
About the Author
Benjamin Wheeler is a recently unemployed, hopefully employed by time of publication, Saint Louis Millennial with a chip on his shoulder and the Safety Dance playing in his head non-stop. Be that as he may, he got a worthless degree in History and a Minor in Creative Writing from a mid-list school. Someday, he hopes to overcome these disabilities. He’s wants to make it big in the Superversive movement, and has made attempts to be published with several different publishers on their side recently. In a supposed interview describing his motivations he is quoted as saying “Castalia House Senpai…. Notice meeeee.” On a less facetious note, he is a rabid fan of John C Wright, and simply cannot wait for his next book in the Somewhither series.