The Boy who questioned God

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Nate never truly believed in God, or the afterlife. As a cynical, pragmatic, sceptical boy, there was no way he could believe in something so frivolous. That all changed when Nate died.

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Chapter 1- Wammy’s house

Nate sat intently and stoically laying dominos out in the empty, capacious room, right hand laying dominos, left hand twirling a strand of hair slowly. Watari- adopter of Nate in the affectionately named ‘Wammy’s house’- had allowed Nate to use the room of the orphanage for his elaborate- and often questionable yet impressive and ostentatious- puzzles and sculptures.

The room was open and dim. Only natural sunlight, like rays of heavenly abundance, could pour through the 3 spacious windows which were on Nate’s left, shining a spotlight upon his genius creation. The other three walls were simply built from dark timber and smooth plaster- bottom half timber, top half painted green, seemingly replicating Nate’s stoic and expressionless demeanour. The roof was nothing special; a simple triangular prism shape with timber beams strutted across like train tracks; a pattern which Nate was fond of, due to his childlike obsession with toys. Floorboards of the same bland timber were what held up Nate’s creation, as a loving father does to a child. Nate had nearly finished constructing his masterful and elaborate clockwork of dominos when numerous children came running past the open door with a racket. A young girl, by the name of Linda, paused and looked at Nate- intent upon his puzzle (or rather, as Nate called it, “a construction which ticks like the clockwork of the innermost subconscious and mind”).

Linda observed Nate for a moment, furled up on the floor like a baggy pile of clothes. He wore an oversized- yet, according to Nate, heavily comfortable- pyjama top coloured in pure white, much like the platinum-coloured, thick matt of hair upon his head. Similarly to the top, the trousers were equally baggy, yet coloured sky blue, an odd choice for Nate’s otherwise seemingly bland and emotionless self. His skin was pale- almost sickly- tinged a similar colour to his hair and top. Nate briefly looked up with brown pupils from eyes undercut by grey bags- indicating a lack of sleep. Before long, Nate continued laying dominos in the usual odd manner- not even looking where they were placed.

Linda finally spoke,

“Nate, some of the other kids and I were going to go outside and play. The weather’s nice and bright today!”, she exclaimed in a high-pitched, childish voice- for Linda was only 12, whilst Nate was 14 at the time.

“No, thank you, Linda”, Nate returned in his usual monotone and expressionless voice, as Linda seemed to frown slightly before leaving Nate’s sight.

Nate continued laying the last handful of dominos, now paying particular attention to their placement, as if perfectly measuring the distances between them with laser-like focus and genius precision. Its always the last ones that count, he reminisced. They can make or break the clock.

There was a reason behind Nate’s construction. Whenever Nate thought and pondered upon any subject deeply, he always felt he could hear gears turning like clockwork, clicking into place as pieces of matters come together like one of Nate’s complex puzzles. When it finally all clicked and ticked and docked into place, the silence was all-the-more savoury and satisfying. It was these moments which put a dim smile upon Nate’s thin lips; the satisfaction of being right. The moment drew near for the clock to begin ticking.

As Nate toppled the first domino, the clock began. It was time for Nate to ponder upon the ultimate question; is there really a God?

He started with the basic philosophical layer of the matter, the smaller gears whirring and clicking into place, winding up quietly but slowly growing louder and more powerful, their whirrs and whispers picking up pace and vigour.

“What’s a mob to a king?”, Nate’s subconscious spoke in the same physical voice as the person who governed it. The voice continued thoughtfully.

“What’s a king to a god? What’s a god to a non-believer like me?”.

The ticking grew louder, as the gears continued to click and tap. Pieces began gliding together in the front of Nate’s mind. His genius subconscious wisely continued its reflection, driven by the clicks of the gears.

“A mob. A mob is chaotic, but a king will endeavour to control it, make sense of it under his rule, yet a king to a God is just like anyone else; a mortal whose significance does not rise above those whom he would call his subjects in a god’s grand scheme.”

The clicks of the gears grew even louder, echoing through the halls of Wammy’s house, joining with the orchestra of children’s cries of glee and sadness, joy, and unhappiness.

“To a non-believer, there is no god. An atheist usually believes everything is random, caused by chaos. So we are back to human beings in a mob… yet isn’t God supposed to control those beings? Bring balance and order to his world, rather than let chaos and ‘sin’ destroy his people?”

The clicks echoed further, as more pieces slid into place, fitting together like a masterful puzzle- one even beyond Nate’s capability. Nate’s subconscious delved deeper.

“What is right from wrong? What is good from evil? Nobody can truly distinguish between them. An act I viewed as ‘evil’ or ‘sinful’ would most likely be seen as ‘good’ or ‘righteous’ by someone else; therefore, whose to say what a ‘sin’ is and what ‘justice’ or ‘good’ is? Is it for us to decide, or some higher power? Who are we to even ponder upon such an incomprehensible matter?”

The gears where whirring at full speed now, ticking and clicking like industrial machines, as an ultimate conclusion drew near. The puzzle was finally coming together, after all this time.

“Now, supposing there were a god, and his world existed, how would I- a non-believer- appear to a god? Would I be seen as ignorant? Sinful? Heretical, heinous? Even then, if God and his world existed, I would stop and think for myself- as all geniuses do. I would decide if a god’s teachings were right or wrong- despite perhaps not having the necessary authority or power to make such a conviction. After all, I am just the same as most others. I put faith in all of my convictions as to what I believe is ‘just’ or ‘right’- just as the believer does with their god’s convictions. Therefore, does god exi-“

“NATE! What on earth is all of the racket?”, a stern, fatherly voice said. It was Watari himself, standing at the door.

Just like that, the gears stopped. Motionless. Lifeless. Nate looked up at Watari’s withered face with stoic eyes.


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