A Whisper of Faith

By Michael S. Bardell

art by La Joilette

21st Century life needs a little more spirit.

      Sometime around dusk it begins. Neon lights fill the air. There are sounds and smells and a distinct murmur that clashes with everything overall.

     This is the city. A cesspool of human filth. This is the place where beginnings have no meaning and endings are so commonplace as to be overlooked. This is the future of humanity—clumped together like some growth forever deteriorating. This is where entirely new religions are being born, and a new set of gods are exerting their will with steel and fear.

     We were not always like this. Once only a select few places were this bad. From one of those original places there arose a man—who or what he was is not important. His philosophy is all that matters. His whispers turned our world into the pile of trash it has become.

     He was born from the city, but he didn’t stay. He chose to crisscross the world like some type of Johnny Appleseed spreading his belief like a plague. This was the seed that germinated to blossom into our stinking world today. When he began his mission, the world was having hard times. Starvation loomed on the horizon and the garbage can was the preferred place to eat. People were homeless and life was cheap. At the time, I am certain that he was not viewed as evil, and yet he was.

     You can almost always use your influence over the desperate, and he was a master of persuasion. A whisper can sometimes resound stronger than a war…especially if it’s believed. All he whispered was, it’s better in the city. Unfortunately, he was believed.

     Like lemmings, the people headed to the cities. The politicians joined the rallying cry, and so did the governments. Before long the mad few dashing for the cities grew to frenzied droves. Soon the fields lay unplanted, and the cities bloated. Disease and murder reigned supreme. But because everyone was in the city then, the government had to listen to them. Little did they know that the government was gone already. The light of hope died out and the people stayed because they had no place else to go.

     Yes, thanks to his long-ago whisper we can certainly say he was evil. The despair must end! If nobody else can see the insanity around them, then I must set out to effect a change myself. I will make a difference. It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. I may not even live to see it, but it will happen. I will spend the rest of my life traveling from city to city, whispering in everybody’s ear, “It’s better in the country.”

     Sometimes we discover that things become merely a question of faith…a faith that, when tempered both by innocence and reality, can come to roost in ways we least suspect.

     Out on the frozen ice of the north there exists a terrible wasteland. Nothing grows or clings to life where the fierce winds scour the land as effectively as sand. Barren and infertile, no life clings tenaciously to its ice.

     For years, centuries in fact, we have been told to believe and have a little faith. As the years ebbed by, more and more people were born in the world. More and more were told to have a little faith, and more and more did.

     The rasping winds that blew fiercely across the ice began to bend and twist in a slow circular dance. Within a short time a white funnel of snow had formed over the ice.

     Mankind is a curious “creature”. People like to think that if you wish for something hard enough, then maybe…just maybe…it will come to pass.

     The swirling of the snow funnel increased in intensity. The landscape for miles became nothing more than a white blur. The low moaning of the wind became the ruler of the icy waters.

     Even as we grow and become hardened by the day-to-day reality of life, we still carry with us some facet of that previous faith. We instill it into our children. We pass it on, and in the back of our minds we wish right along with them. Thus, the legions of the faithful continue to grow.

     Deep within the swirling white mass a lonely glow of light is trying to blink itself into existence. Its slowly growing intensity is matched only by the increasing anger of the storm about it.

     We wish for a better world…a world in which our children and grandchildren are safe, grasping as always for the least smattering of faith. Generations can become united in belief. This is what allows us to lay aside our differences, if only for a while.

     The storm has build to an unprecedented fury. The wind wails like the banshee of myth come alive. The glow has become so intense as to light not just the storm but most of the expanse of northern ice. There is a blinding flash. For one brief, fleeting second the ice is lit up as if by the light of day. Everything is abruptly still and quiet.

     We tuck ourselves into bed this night with our faith running like an electrical current through our heads. Scientists will never find an explanation for what has occurred this night, nor will many of them care. Sometimes faith is rewarded.

     On the morrow mankind shall awaken to a brand new world. The magic of our faith and youth will be restored.

     A lone figure stands in the icy waste and looks around.

     The fissure and canyons echo with laughter as he turns to go. This creature has much to do, and yet, one can’t help but ponder his mere existence. He is our creation. He will dawn a new age for all of mankind. We gave all we had to our faith, and in return we got him, and he shall forever be known as—Kris Kringle.