Prompt 218-Religion

Does religion play an important role in your life? Why or why not?

They say there is a holy place where you can meet the gods if your belief is strong enough. They say your prayers will definitely be heard and answered if your body is pure enough. They fail to mention what you might encounter otherwise.

Surely the place could not be found without the strength of heart required. I certainly never believed I would find it. My curiosity was piqued when, during my wanderlust travel, I encountered landmarks half remembered from a children’s tale. My mother had read me that story every night from the time I uttered my first babbling words until I could read it myself.

I had expected a temple, or a shrine of some sort, deep in the mountains of some exotic faraway place. I suppose the fountain at the heart of the arboretum could be considered sacred ground. If nothing else, it seemed to be a place for wishes to be cast. The coins along the bottom caught and reflected the sun back at me.

I rummaged in my pockets for an offering. I didn’t usually carry loose change, but I had a handful of coins from purchases I’d made earlier in the day. I was surprised to find a silver half dollar among them.

The weighty coin seemed eager to join the others in the fountain. Wishes were foolish. Impractical. There was only that which could be done and that which was not possible. I had no wishes, but I wondered if the gods were even listening to those who tossed their copper and silver into a glorified collection tin even as I flipped my own coin into the watery basin.

I turned to leave but was stopped in my tracks by a haunting image of a young woman. I had never heard her walk up behind me. Surely, in those boots, on this cobbled path, I would have heard her heels clicking along behind me. Her clothes were goth chic, fashionable but dark. Flashy accessories adorned her from head to toe. Gaudy costume rings and dangling fang earrings, several necklaces with carved symbols from more than one religion, a studded belt. Her pale hair was tied back with a red ribbon.

Her eyes froze me where I stood. At first glance, they were the eyes of a beast. Her makeup flaunted the darkness of her eyes, played it up to appear perfectly black. Who was she? What did she want with me?

She looked up at me with those dark eyes and bared her teeth in what was evidently meant to be a grin. “What’s the matter? You look as if you’ve never met a god before.”

Notes: I wasn’t really sure what direction to take this. I don’t have this protagonist clearly in my mind, though the girl is definitely a minor deity of some sort. I was thinking of going the route of “gods walk among us” and have her show the MC how to spot them, but the words just weren’t flowing tonight.

I relate to this protag though because while I do not actively practice/believe in religion, I grew up with it all around me, and naturally it shaped how I view the world and it still governs my actions. I’ve just become a passive observer.

It’s important to think about/incorporate religion into your stories though. Where people gather, they cling to faith and their spiritual families as much, if not more so, than their blood families. Whenever they come across the unexplainable, they deem it a miracle and attribute it to a higher power. Sometimes even after evidence has been uncovered/explained. Speaking of which, I need to figure out how religion factors into all my stories. This might take a while.

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend! Stay warm and dry, and I’ll see you again on Sunday!

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