Ugly (short story) – Edwin Madu

After reading not one but three bad short stories in a row, I was beginning to think I’m being punished for something I did in a past life. I called my sister in Bookish crime, B, and asked for a save – kindly offered in the form of https://afreada.com and I grabbed it with both hands.

As humans, we all have a bit of shallow tendencies in us and the title grabbed me because I was interested to find out just how one person can write a whole story describing someone’s ugly looks.

“Hello and welcome to the Hall of Judgement. You are Larry yes?” She responded in a voice that shook the entire hall, this vibration coursed through his body and caused a slight disturbance when it got to his scrotum. He had not looked down until that moment and was now staring at a body that used to be his but he had since forgotten. This body was naked, he stared at it; white with no blemishes, he liked it. A part of him thought to cover up his nakedness but his hands would not move, they rested by his side, unbothered, like they were enjoying the show and would rather not be disturbed.

Larry, a 60 year old Pastor, has passed on and at first doesn’t understand what is happening to him. Unbeknown to him, he is in the presence of God –one not in the conventional form and obviously has as much attitude and humour as the next person. Larry is given a snippet of his passing and faces of people he has come across in this lifetime –the purpose? To play a guessing game. To ‘judge’ whether they are in heaven or hell.

To God’s amusement, Larry is sure he is headed for heaven. He is a Pastor after all and has undoubtedly done all he has with the intention of pleasing God and living the way God intended his people to live. But the question still remains – Heaven or Hell?

This story is so well written and reminds me so much of ‘The Shack’. It talks to the idea of God’s appearance – the Bible is often referenced in how we, as humans, were made in God’s image –what is God’s image?
Growing up, I always thought of God as this grand, gigantic being who looks down on each of His creations and never misses anything or anyone.
In essence, He still is that to me but looking at how unique each of us is led me to believe that God is who you want Him to be, to a child He may be childlike, to a Mother /Father He is a Parent we look to for guidance, etc.

He was still staring at the screen when a poof sound filled the great hall and a man dressed in a well-tailored white suit was suddenly in the room with them. He was Caucasian with chiselled features; a jawline that could cut glass, baby blue eyes, a full head of sandy-brown hair. He had one of those faces that you were certain had been in a Hollywood movie at some point.

The devil is always portrayed in such a negative light –assumptions are usually that he is ugly, red, has horns and a long tail, blah blah – Edwin gives him ‘chiselled features’.

So much thought was put into the words and expressions in this story. It takes you, the reader, on a journey of self-exploration, making you question and answer the things you thought already had answers.

It really was a worthy read.

-PZ

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