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Ever Since The Rapture

Sean Vivier is a web app developer in real life. He also moonlights as a ballroom dance instructor... or at least he did before the pandemic and hopes to continue after. Learn more at seanvivier.com.

Ever since the Rapture, we have all become far kinder to one another. I haven't seen a trace of judgment for petty differences. Not one gay slur. No Muslim has been beaten in a long while. My trans friends are walking without fear. And I haven't been slut-shamed once. It's a real Paradise on Earth.
Ever since the Rapture, we've worked together to overcome the Tribulations as we never have before. Humanity had already proven selfless and calm in emergencies, and this only changed in scale. And now we had no one to tell us that we deserved our suffering. It wasn't because we accepted gay people or because we didn't pull ourselves by the bootstraps or because I was a whore. It was a fact of life, and we had the right and the means to overcome it.
Someone might pull me across the molten ground to safe purchase. Or I might carry someone who can't swim the floods. Or we might all keep lookout for fiery rain for the others. We all looked after the community, and the community looked after us. We had no need for division or exclusion.
Ever since the Rapture, sure, there are still problems. We're still fallible humans, after all. We still lose our tempers sometimes. There's been disputes about who has the right to what. I've broken some hearts when I gave some guys the wrong idea about how serious I wanted things.
But we move forward. We grow. We make sure to do better and we don't look to outdated traditions to answer our problems in the present.
All in all, it's been much better without the world's most rabid Christians.
Ever since the Rapture, I wish I could say it continued that way. I wish I had a chance to tell you that human nature overcame its worst faults in the crucible of the Tribulation. But stress fractures, and constant danger makes us see danger even where there is none. At least, that's how I think it happened.
Because in times of trouble, there are still those left who will turn to a higher power for comfort. We had plenty of Buddhists and Jews and Hindus and Muslims in the caravan of survivors. Not everybody was an angry atheist like me. We even had some of those folks who offer a vague idea of Something Out There Bigger Than Us, but no real details.
Not so Jessica O'Rourke. Her lapsed Catholicism relapsed ever since she found a rosary in the rubble. She held it and kissed it and prayed over it ever since then. The beatific look on her face when she held it, even beset by vipers and locusts....
It began with shouts. Accusations. Demands to know how she dared turn to the very religion that had condemned us to this fate, had hated us all even before.
It ended with shoves, even some blows. I saw a kick. Jessica fled to the outskirts of our camp, far from the protection of the rest of us.
Ever since the Rapture, I've had to rethink a lot of things about life. I had to rethink my place in it, and more than that, I had to rethink everyone's place in it.
When I had watch that night, I paid far more attention to Jessica as she shivered in the cold, away from the fire, than I did for the sight of demons. As much as I'd cursed all the Raptured, I didn't have the heart to feel any cruelty toward Jessica. Instead, I felt much more contempt for my fellows who had driven her before them, and for the same reasons I had never been able to stand the Raptured. We had to live together as one, for all our differences, or what was the point?
I never really thought about the practicality or the consequences. I saw Jessica in her suffering, and I made my way to her. She watched my approach with fear in her eyes, but rosary held tight to her chest, which I saw stiffen her spine and raise her shoulders. But I didn't give her long to fear. I sat down beside her, and I held her tight to warm her.
As the chill left her, she shivered less and less. I held her tight, and I said nothing as she recited prayer after prayer for herself and for every living soul in the caravan.
Ever since the Rapture, the world has become a strange and new place.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

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- Sean Vivier
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