Jesus Heaven, Unbelief Hell - Chapter 5
To the readers. This story can be crude, intense, and quite offensive to the deeply religious.
“Wha-, what are you doing!”
A rustic lounge, with a small bed and a table, and a wall-mounted TV attached to the room divider. There, I was forcibly laid on the bed, and my limbs bound.
The man who was watching the scene calmly looked down at me with indifferent eyes, and murmured.
“You really seem unaware.”
“This looks like an unusual possession case, Father Sung.”
“If evil had really surfaced above the consciousness, he would not have drunk the holy water in the first place.”
The two men took off their black robe-like coats and put them, folded, to one side. Underneath they were wearing black vestments that you could only see in a church.
It was then that I guessed what was happening, even with me heavy and tired head. Did these people think that I was a madman possessed by a ghost, so they captured me?
“No! Wait! I think you’ve misunderstood something, but I…”
“Is that so? Johann, do you think we’ve misunderstood?”
“No, Father Sung.”
“Then let us tell him why not.”
Johann quietly turned on the wall-mounted TV and tuned to the news channel. The 8 pm evening news was running, and the news anchor was announcing the breaking news first.
– 8 o’clock breaking news. In XX neighbourhood, XX district, Seoul, another serial murder, presumed to be the work of the same criminal, has occurred again.
– The first murder case was the employees of the service company A, Mr. Baek, Mr. Kim, Mr. Lee and Mr. Kim. However, the crimes did not stop there, and a day later, the president of the service company A was also found dead, and the police assumed that it was the same criminal.
– With a total of 12 deaths so far, the police authorities have announced that an intense wide-area investigation is underway, but most of the crime sites are either out of CCTV coverage or had electronic malfunctions at the time of crime, so the investigation is mired in difficulties.
“Now do you remember?”
“No… what the hell does this have to do with me?”
“You still don’t remember, or are you just pretending not to know?”
Not caring about the priest running his mouth, I kept watching the news with my eyes wide open.
The head of the metropolitan detective department came out and was explaining about the recent serial murders that had taken place in Seoul.
There were many points of commonality, such as the means of killing, the correlation between the victims’ identities, the time of the crime and a quiet place, so they were convinced that it was the same criminal.
On top of expressing a strong determination to catch the criminal without fail by mobilizing the full strength of the police force, he also urged the citizens of Seoul not to wander around alone at night as much as possible.
‘That’s why there weren’t many people on the street even though it was evening.’
Normally, people who enjoy drinking would have been sitting at the bar sipping cocktails since early evening, but it was understandable that there were only two people here.
Even so, how did you anticipate me coming here? How did you know that I had anything to do with this case? And how did you catch me?
In the first place –
I’m feeling so great, so why are you looking at me like that?
Johann took out a camcorder and a folding tripod from his heavy office bag, put it to one side of the room and started recording.
And on the table, strange tools, a cross, and a bible caught my eye.
“No wait, really, there’s nothing…”
“Our Lord and Father in Heaven, please help this lowly servant to rescue this stray lamb from evil. Please forgive the sins of this poor little lamb, light up this darkness with Your splendid brilliance, and punish this evil with Your omnipotent power that none may resist. Amen.”
The priest, who didn’t listen to me and began to pray freely, drew shapes with his fingers on his forehead and chest.
Please, listen to me! Why is no one listening to me!
Why are you ignoring me and persecuting me? What did I do so wrong? Why did I become an orphan? Even as an adult, when everyone else is having fun as they like, my only sin is working diligently!
But why is everyone ignoring my words and blaspheming even my character?!
The wall-mounted TV turned off, and the lights in the lounge started flickering.
The young man named Johann was startled for a moment, but he didn’t care too much, and started pouring clear water from a large glass bottle into a small iron bowl.
Father Sung put the cross on his forehead and whispered so softly that I could not hear him. It seemed like he was blatantly ignoring me, so I got even more angry.
What should I do with this uncontrollable anger?
Pour it out.
Don’t hold it in.
“Deliver me from evil.”
After finishing his prayer, the priest scooped out a little water from the iron bowl with a small ladle and sprinkled it on me. Stinging pain and heat exploded through my skin as if salt water was being poured on raw flesh.
“Crawl out on your own before the great God, and ask for forgiveness.”
I desperately tried to free myself, but all I could manage was to rattle the bed. And even the bed wouldn’t have shaken so much if it was a Simmons’, which advertises an unshakable comfort.
Rather, why am I in a place like this with my limbs bound, and being sprayed with a strange clear liquid? Is this hydrochloric acid?
The priest stopped attacking me with hydrochloric acid, and quietly approached to whisper.
“At 7:21 pm at XX Hophouse, you used abrupt violence against two employees of a service company who were having an argument with the owner, and fled the scene. All four in the group went out to pursue you, and the next day, they were found dead in a sparsely populated area.”
“Is that… rather, I was the one beaten black and blue?”
“You remember it, but you still don’t realize it. If you had been unilaterally beaten by those four, would you have been able to come to this bar so casually today?”
I understood what he meant. If I had been caught and beaten up by those guys, even if I didn’t end up dead in a ditch, I should have at least had to go to the hospital. At least, to get better, it would have taken several months.
But that doesn’t make any sense either. I’m an ordinary person, weaker than them, and I don’t have the strength to turn them into dead meat without any damage in return.
I’m a pathetic animal that can’t even kill the mosquitoes bothering him in the early autumn, let alone commit serial murders.
“What day of what month is today? Do you know?”
“… I haven’t checked the date.”
“Today is September 22.”
Hearing that answer, my memories flashed back to the past like a whirlwind.
I woke up at 9:09 on the 9th of September and went out to the grocery store, lamenting about my circumstances.
I bought petty indulgences worth 36,200 won and went home to eat dinner.
As I was walking past the school and by the church, I heard a strange laughter and stopped walking.
At that moment, a huge pillar fell in front of me. A metal crucifix, fallen in reverse, heavy enough to pound a hole into the asphalt was facing me.
And I saw something beyond the sparks on the church steeple that flashed like lightning.
It was very small, black like the darkest night, covered by a hazy fog that spanned beyond sight…
Don’t hold back your anger.
They all deserve to die.
They insult you and do not hesitate to persecute you.
Tear their flesh and bathe in their fresh blood. Make an altar by pulling out their bones and stacking their skins like rags.
I am the darkness inside you – the independent being whose domain is the absolute will that is forever immortal.
I am here, because you are there.
You are there, because I am here.
Show your anger.
Fight and win with pride.
Prove that you are not inferior to them.
Crush these lesser tribes, stand atop them, and praise me.
As I had expected, the four rice sticks had been the employees of a service company, which was affiliated with a subcontractor of a large corporation that was trying to redevelop the mall.
I returned home covered in blood, washed myself and fell asleep. After waking up, I ordered some food delivered and then went out again.
I just moved.
I couldn’t hold back my anger, so I couldn’t tolerate seeing the behaviour of those who persecuted innocents for money, and tormented others to appease the elites.
So, I moved. As if… possessed by something.
I infiltrated the company using ID cards stolen from those service workers, and found the president.
I beat him to death too, and quietly left the company. And again, I washed off the blood that covered me once I got home, and then I fell asleep.
The next day, it was the chief of the police who had taken money under the table from the president and closed his eyes to the situation at the mall.
That guy went to a salon, got drunk and was stumbling back home alone, so I attacked him and beat him to death.
When I got home, I wiped the blood off my hands and went to sleep. My beard grew quite a bit, but I didn’t shave.
The next day, it was a reporter who wrote a false news article paid for by that large corporation, telling the public that the pub used cheap Chinese ingredients, and the boss had poor hygiene.
Likewise, I attacked the guy who was returning after receiving lavish hospitality from somewhere, and beat him to death. When I got home again, I did what I had to do and fell asleep.
The next day, the next, the next, the next, and the next.
They were all bad guys who took dirty money and did dirty things, or made innocent people drown in the bitter wine of pain and despair.
I did not hesitate, because I understood more deeply than anyone else the pain of those who had suffered, and I knew what they were feeling without even needing to ask.
Strangely, wherever I went, the CCTV broke down, the locked door opened on its own, or the person who was running away fell and broke his leg.
I believed these to be opportunities granted by Heaven.
Because I wasn’t the one in the wrong.
Whenever I go to a place led by that laughter, there is always a lot of garbage that I have to deal with.
Like a buffet where I can eat whatever I choose without any fuss to relieve stress.
There was only one choice, so I just chose and walked on the only path.
“In the name of our Lord and Father who art in Heaven, I command you, say your name!”
“Then what will change?”
“You will have an opportunity to confess your sins and repent.”
“That’s not an opportunity. That’s just compulsion.”
“Distance yourself from the evil that dwells within you and see the world with clear eyes. The Father illuminates all things with light and loves without discrimination, so you too can feel His love.”
“Illuminates everything with light and loves without discrimination? To me, it’s just some old greenhouse where only a small percentage of plants is allowed safe photosynthesis. Some great being doesn’t take good care of it, so it’s infested with pests and weeds, rain and wind and snow seep in, but He doesn’t care. Even at this moment, the greenhouse roof is torn and the soil is getting filthy.”
“Therefore, at the end of days, you must stand before Him, have your sins forgiven, and go to Heaven where He resides. Otherwise, sinners will suffer in purgatory and burn in Hell, eventually forgetting even their own existence in the abyss. Even so, why would you still walk the path of a sinner?”
“Why would I walk the path of a sinner? Didn’t the handsome Lord Jesus and the Father teach you even such a simple thing? No one wants to walk the path of a sinner! No one ever wants to walk the path of a sinner! Because it is the only road that unfolds before their eyes, it is the only path that they can walk desperately in order to live. Because it’s the only way they have!”
“Not all weak and imperilled walk the path of sinners.”
“But there is no fair way for everyone. If you love all things equally, why don’t you offer an equal way? He respects human free will, but the paths we see are all so narrow. Are you saying that I will be punished because I risked walking such a path just to stay alive?!”
“All suffering and adversity, happiness and unhappiness, and even the destiny of all things, were created by God’s plan. It is a purely personal will and choice to decide whether to sin and deny Him, or to do good and follow His will.”
“What a clever plan! Is it God’s plan for innocent humans to die in such a miserable way, and God’s plan for the sinners to close their eyes comfortably without ever being punished? Or maybe it’s just making fun of the victims, saying that if they survived it was God’s plan, and it was God’s will if they die of ill-fortune!”
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“Heaven for believers and Hell for unbelievers! If there had been no Hell, evil, or sin, there would have been no confusion and injustice in the first place!”
You say that there are many options, and it is purely up to the individual to choose.
But in reality, there are only two outcomes we face. Jesus = Heaven, Unbelief = Hell.
Even if you see many different paths.
But when you start walking, there are only two outcomes.
So how about this other path?
Likewise, only two results.
Why not one, not three, but only two?
Why is the freedom of choice of a human, whose right to free will is so respected by the great being, ultimately so narrow?
“The beautiful God wants a faithful believer who believes in Him and does only good, but at the same time wants a contradictory existence with free will that He doesn’t know where will go!”
I cried out, desperately trying to stand up, forgetting that my limbs were bound. It felt like the blood vessels all over my body were swelling up.
“Don’t oppress people with a nonsensical excuse like respecting their free will! The freedom of sinners is the freedom to be repressed, and the freedom of good men is merely freedom to follow a set path! You dare discuss freedom?!”
My confused mind was becoming refreshed once more.
As if the clouds clearing up to reveal a fair autumn sky.
My real anger was not because I had to endure always being ‘oppressed’ by various factors.
My anger was aimed at something more fundamental, and I was just angry at the fact that I had to put up with it.
I tore off the fabric that bound my limbs and stood up, proudly.
I felt no more reaction to the clear liquid that was being sprinkled on me, or the cross they had touched my skin with. Because I was not of the ‘evil’ and ‘sin’ those things defined.
I was just… me.
“If the Lord Above wants mechanical fanatics with their free wills castrated, I’ll help.”
I picked up the Bible lying ready on the table.
“I will send even the last person to Heaven. I will preach to all sinners in the world the solemn meaning of Jesus’ Heaven and Unbelievers’ Hell.”
I left the lounge without even looking back at the two who had become stiff as stone statues, only leaving a final word.
“But leave me out of that disgusting skit.”
Watching everyone ascend to Heaven, I will proudly walk into Hell.