Taking the Blood

~ a short story 

Leaders of two opposing organizations meet on the night of the blood moon to engage in a dialogue. They stare up at it, and not at one another, while they speak.

“So here we are, again.”

“Again? This is extremely — 

“Yes, I am aware. We are making every effort to — 

“I am sure you are.”

“Do you ever just stop and consider what it is you are actually doing? What you are devoting your entire life to?”

“Every single moment. I live among them, these thoughts. They empower and comfort me.”

“It’s such a waste. A man of your talent… You could be seriously contributing.”

“I do. I know it. Your words do no such harm to me. In my own humble way, I influence the world, and for good.”

“No. Unfortunately, you sit there in a mental vice, making wishes, making judgments. Bearing it all out with absolute certainty. It’s the most arrogant thing you could possibly be doing. And on top of that, it does no good for anyone.”

“What of your own sins? What of your crimes against my people? You seek to destroy my God. You are responsible for your own certain set of judgments. And despite your best efforts to delude yourself into thinking it to be so — you do not, in fact, have the moral high ground.”

“I do not wish to destroy it. I wish to disabuse you and yours of the notion that you are some kind of ‘chosen people.’ We wish to vanquish our own abominable hubris in thinking any omniscient being would shine its light upon us, influencing our mortal way of things.”

“Because we are wretched creatures? Because we are undeserving of such light, of the gaze of a creator? Ah, we are almost in abject agreement here yet. Save for the notion that this is what makes our benevolent God so perfect. In his limitless greatness, He is still benevolent, He still wishes to save us — in all our wretched imperfection. It is because we are His creation. It is because of that wretchedness.”

“Your delusions have delusions. You speak of nothing. It’s not even falsehood, it’s just … nothing. A dream composed of your hope for what our world should be, what you wish it to be.”

“Your sins will come to roost one day. Have you thought of that? Have you considered the endgame of your life? How much suffering are you responsible for, who will pay that bill? Your eternal soul has much to answer for and you carry no answers. And heh, I don’t consider you a bad person. I think you are one of the good ones. It’s just that you are human.”

“And we are all in need of saving, eh?”

“Well, yes.”

“I am wholly responsible for the sin of being too reasonable, on wanting a world without limiting beliefs, a culture devoid of divine certainties which inevitably become life-destroying dogmas. I know I am on the right side of history for a very simple reason.”

“And what is that?”

“We are incapable of surviving a widespread worldview such as yours. If your belief effectively spread to the masses, like you will it everyday, there would be no history to write.”

“Such is your opinion. But the glory of my revelation is a seed capable of growing into an industrious, sprawling flourishing of human & Godful paradise. Here on Earth even.”

“Inherent in such thinking is the idea you consistently present — that of perfect morality. You believe yourself to have the high ground, as you put it.”

“From the standpoint of glorious divinity, there is only the one perspective.”

“What of the inequalities your group aims to maximize, between sexes and classes? Your God dictates life courses much differently than how a collective of human beings with free will night will themselves into. What of the human rights violations? The countless credible allegations of abuse. Your profession seems to attract charismatic charlatans with capitalistic ambition and predators alike. Not to get started with other such organizations and their own similarly complex codes of divine revelation. You are truly ardent non-believers with regard to every other one of them.”

“As I said, we are on our chosen path. No amount of your reason can dispel such a straight & clear road we walk. Regarding the problems within our ranks, it is something we fight everyday. The true faith can never be party to such corruptions and sins. We work to combat it. We do our best. Our institution is full of human beings. We are composed of those imperfectly aligned to the causes we aim for, those of a transcendent nature.”

“You could be doing a better job, in my own humble opinion.”

“We walk our path with as much grace as we can muster, ever-improving.”

“I am well aware.”

“Have you considered your own life, what you are working towards?”

“I can’t escape it. At this point, it feels as an obligation.”

“And the world you strive for, through your own eyes — a world in which God is dead — have you sincerely considered such a sight? Widely and with all in view?”

“I certainly try to. It is challenging.”

“A world without it. What horror, what chaos, what suffering awaits Mankind? How can you possibly comprehend the future you wish to write? It will be written in blood.”

*chuckling* “Nah.”

“What is left of Man without the transcendent? Without God, what will we become?”


“Maybe. Maybe not. Worse, in my opinion. No surprises there. The Godless mass moves without purpose, without thought of consequence. We shift into sociopathy. Anything goes. If a man can do whatever he wants, what do you think he will do?”

“The same things we already do, but without the hindrances of dogma, without the need for supernatural origins, without the limitations a judgmental, sadistic God imparts upon us.”

“I think you are naive.”

“The human nature you speak is pessimistic to the fault of being nihilistic. You seem to think without this ‘transcendent value’ of God, we are nothing but savages incapable of participating in functioning civilization. You give the flesh no credit for the glories we submit to the stream. I think you are pessimistic.”

“We need Him to show us the way. We are necessarily lost without him, and there is no shame in this reliance. It empowers us to live our best life in His service. We are not savages; we are sophisticated machines of irreverent and infinite self-interest, capable of more creative and destructive energy than any other of this world’s beings. That makes us infinitely dangerous.”

“You aren’t giving the human being enough credit. I would argue we rely on reason much more than we do unreason, wishful thinking, the fictions of our psychology. And yes, even rampant self-interest. They have their value certainly, their incessant pulls toward pathology. But we live in a dichotomy, between our rational mind and our irrational heart, or soul. We must make sense of the world around us together, it’s ingrained. We are logical, economical beings concerning our place here in the Universe. And we have to communicate with one another constantly, in groups, cooperatively, in order to elevate ourselves above predators and exposure and entropy. We are nothing without one another. This long-term reasoned cooperation drives our progress; the questions our environments and natures present are solved via collaborative communications of sociology and scientific. Culture is the buildup of all these team ups. However, just as we need these cooperations and explanations leading on to our survival, there will always be something missing concerning our place here. Always will there be more mysteries. Alongside the inexorable pull of pathology, self-interest, the slicing of the pie, war, all the darkness you and your God tries to protect us from… Most of the time, we would rather be working on the next problem. We would rather be working together upon the shore of some critical externality. We wish to critically examine our world rather than destroy it. I think that is innate. We face challenges which we use our innate ability to innovate to overcome, over the course of considerable failure, all toward the endgame of saving ourselves. Over all these millennia of history and evidence of human action, we examined our world, broke it down, used the methodology of science to understand it, leverage it, solve it. Other times, in moments of weakness in my opinion, we think to be another form of ingenuity in the guise of spirituality — we simply wish to release ourselves unto the Almighty Man in the Sky. We punt. We become restless in our inability to answer the biggest questions of all. Just as we require the rationality to survive physically, we demand the irrational supernaturalism of divine origin in order to satisfy those existential curiosities. There are some questions we cannot answer, and they are all important, so we invent our own answers. We create dogmas from stories that we desperately wish to believe. So we do.”

“… But“

“But we don’t have to. We have outgrown it. This human story we are both actors within is one of evolution. And we are a focal point. Change overtakes us, I am simply accepting and espousing the inevitable.”

“And yet, the progression you articulate, the evolution of the human story, as you put it — it seems to posit some inherent truth. This truth being: a belief in a higher power was necessary for us to make it this far. We needed supernaturalism in order to survive, to become the dominant species on the planet. You might even say, it was supremely beneficial in something like, the process of natural selection.”

“It was beneficial in the same way that storytelling, imagination, and creativity was. This does not mean inflexible dogmatic methods of thinking is useful in the long range future of our species’ continued survival. They are not, and they are some of the primary conceptions which limit us now. The organization and profiteering of modern organizations such as your own are off-shoots of this methodology. They are built primarily on our baser notions — they prey on our psychology, our fears, our self-interest. It’s a shame — “

“Ah, we are tipping now into something we have tread too many times over.”

“Yes. I know I cannot change your mind. Or rather, it is so unlikely as to not be worth the effort.”

“And yet you still try. As I do. I think this is why we both enjoy these conversations to much.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“Come now, there is some measure of joy in the mutual respect we share. A rarity in these days. And this respect, this mutual passion is imperative to the good life.”

“We can agree on that,… on some level.”

“By the way, you know — “

“Yeah, science is completely compatible with your belief. Yeah..”

“Can’t we just enjoy this beautiful view on this night? Two old friends, just people, nothing else.”


[silence for 1 minute]

“So will you take the blood on this night?”

*chuckle* “Every time, it must be your denouement… You know, I have always wondered what His blood might taste like.”


“A sanguine notion concerning your tradition’s esoteric tradition. Always have had some strange, morbid fascination with vampirism… But… it’s a risk I simply cannot take.”

[prolonged silence]

*pointing up* “You know He brings in the tides? That is an agent of his will — “

“Jesus Fucking Christ!”

[mutual laughter]


~ art by CH Apperson