Without a Prayer
Pete opened his eyes within eyes and searched the battlefield for soldiers calling out to god. It was important to find ones looking for god with a small g – ones who didn’t believe in any specific god and were calling out in the end of their lives for anyone to comfort them.
Their prayers were fair game… Pete knew from bitter experience not to mess with the prayers of anyone looking for a big-G God. Those guys were rough if you tried to siphon anything off the top of their cut.
The battlefield was a nasty place. It saddened Pete to have to resort to picking up prayers from poor bastards who had gotten themselves blown apart. But… he needed the prayers. Needed them bad right now. He hadn’t had any in quite a while and he was starting to feel it.
Some of the Hindu gods would sometimes let him hang around in their temples and pick up some of the less devout offerings; rotten fruit and such from people who were really just going through the motions. Ganesh was always generous that way, but second-hand prayer doesn’t have much power to it, and he needed something stronger now. He was weak.
He was always weak… had been since the universe brought him into existence because random mutterings of “for Pete’s sake” and “for the love of Pete” seemed prayer-like enough to require a god to answer them. What did the universe know? It just did these things as the circumstances warranted.
But nobody really meant those prayers. They didn’t do much good for Pete. They weren’t worship, after all, just substitutes for people who were too afraid to say “God” when they meant it.
So Pete was a god without a following; no worshippers, but just enough cosmic force out there to maintain his existence in a constant state of needing the prayers. Just a little prayer.
So, the battlefield.
Ah, there was one. He was calling out to god – any god – to help him. He hurt, but wasn’t on the edge. Not yet.
Pete went over to the man who was lying, his leg mostly hanging off, in mud made from dirt and his own blood. He was praying. The power was pouring out of him. Pete took a deep draught of it. Ah, man, that was some high quality prayer. It filled Pete, took him up and dusted him off and made him feel, well, like a god.
With the power of the man’s prayer in him, Pete could help him. The soldier needed to move to the other side; Pete knew a few small cracks in the wall that the big guys hadn’t locked up with their rules and laws. He could smuggle a guy through now and again without getting noticed.
The last of the man’s life and prayer died away. Pete slipped him through to heaven.
Pete opened his eyes within eyes to search the battlefield once again.