The darkest timeline - part one

Tue Nov 28, 2017

I’ve been looking back at the past year and chastising myself for only writing half as many posts as I’d hoped.

So, I’m going to mix it up a bit and write more fiction on this blog. I’ll start with a serialized short story with the modest goal of one “chapter” per post with no set schedule and see how it goes.

I’ll intersperse these fictional interludes with other posts as well, so I’m not going all-in on the fiction thing.

I should warn prospective readers that any fiction on this site is probably rated R so you can expect some coarse language at the very least. Also, this is all very rough and experimental and unedited, so don’t take this as a finished piece of work - it’s just for fun. For fun, but not a necessarily a “fun” writing style because my writing tends to get really dark really quickly. I should probably work on that.

As you may know, I have a thing for time travel. So, the first story I’m starting with could be considered Back to the Future fan fiction of sorts. None of the characters from this movie appear here, but I’ve shamefully ripped off the plot from Back to the Future 2.

The genesis for this story lies in this YouTube video where Biff Tannen is replaced with Donald Trump with such eerie seamlessness. I’ve since learned, by the way, that the Back to the Future 2 writers intentionally based Biff’s character on Trump.

Obviously, the darkest timeline meme has also contributed to the thought process behind this story. And a weird dream, which I won’t go into.

In the Back to the Future films, Marty McFly jumps back in time 30 years from 1985 to 1955 and also 30 years forward in time from 1985 to 2015. I thought it would be fun for a protagonist in 2015 to jump back in time to 1985 to experience all the amusingly anachronistic quirks of another era. It’s funny, and more than a little disturbing, to think of the 80s as another era because I lived through that time.

Anyway, this preamble is now longer than part one of my story, so I’d best begin.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Judas lately.

Judas has been reviled throughout history as the betrayer of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. But in the Gospel of Judas - a heretical Gnostic manuscript long-since buried by the Catholic Church - Judas is portrayed, not as a greedy opportunist, but as Christ’s favourite apostle.

In this alternate version of history, Judas was obeying a divine ordinance to hand Jesus over to the authorities. Through secret conversations with Judas, Jesus shaped him to be an instrument with a divine purpose.

This is the Judas paradox: Without Judas, Christ could not fulfill his destiny - to die and atone for the sins of humanity. Without Judas, Jesus could not become a martyr - he could not save us from iniquity and eternal damnation. Without Judas, paradise would remain empty for all time.

But the Coptic language of this gospel is hard to translate, and Biblical scholars are not in agreement. An alternative translation of this text sees Judas, not as a mortal instrument, but as a demon - sent by Lucifer to slay humanity’s only hope of salvation.

Which history is the right one? This is a question I have struggled with. Not struggled with in the academic sense; my struggle is intimate and tortured and very real. Because although history can be interpreted in many different ways, it has always remained immutable. Until now.

I also have a betrayer - a Judas whom I love so fiercely that the betrayal stings to the core of my soul. In the duelling tug between love and disappointment that waxes in deceit’s aftermath, it’s impossible to see the motivations of my Judas. Suffice to say, God has never spoken to me about my divine purpose. I certainly never asked for the betrayal.

But, whatever the motivation, a knife in the back has forced me to choose, as Jesus once chose. Do I choose to die, or do I choose to live?

Self-sacrifice is not easy, but I imagine it’s easier for a soldier in the heat of battle. When that soldier dives onto a grenade to save his squad, he is reacting in a split second, adrenaline surging through his veins. But I have time to think about this. Lots of time.

And I never wanted to be a fucking messiah.

But if I choose life over death, I am not letting down a few of my closest friends. I am condemning the entire human race to hell.

No pressure, right.

When the moment comes, will I be able to do it? Will I be able to change history and usher humanity into paradise - a paradise that has no place for me?

The truth is, I don’t know. I’m not a demi-god with supernatural powers. I’m just a smart-ass kid faced with an agonizing choice. Or maybe I’m just a lamb being carried to the slaughter…

I apologize.

These are heavy, heavy thoughts and I’m burdening you with too many meaningless rhetorical questions. Let me start at the beginning.

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