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The Varieties of Religious Experience

The Vocal + Assist Unreliable Narrator Challenge

By C. Rommial ButlerPublished 8 months ago 2 min read
Top Story - October 2023
A Painting by Carravagio

This story is part of the Vocal + Assist on Facebook Unreliable Narrator Challenge. You can learn more about it here:

The Varieties of Religious Experience

Some monstrous thing struggles to tear itself out of you. A brutal labor, of which the pangs alone almost kill you, but not soon enough to keep you from experiencing the explosive birth. As the beast bursts free, it eviscerates you in a supernova of muscle and sinew, tenderizing you into choice meat for its first meal, a nurturing sacrifice of the creator to its creature, a nightmare unfolding lovingly before the ghostly presence of a dead god fading...

Fading away, melting, and melding into your shadow. You are the monstrous thing destined, damned, and doomed to take the dead god's place—the dead god who once called itself human.

Your myriad eyes watch your insectoid limbs shovel desiccated flesh into chattering mandibles that churn like turbines, grinding the squelching mass down into the darkness of your gullet, filling you with the glorious Eucharist of your former self. The old life is an ecstatic vision, an image of light—your creation story.

As you suckle on the flesh of your womb, images accelerate through your consciousness, all the knowledge of what came before, assimilated through gore. This is my body, you think. This is my blood. A reference to some pervasive belief from the culture you left behind and which you will soon overcome. A golden chalice passes from hand to hand. Faintly, you hear chanting, you recall the smell of incense, but like the smoke that bears the scent, the memory scatters and disperses into the thin air of your newly developing mind.

You thought you were so smart. Little did you know the monstrous thing you would become. No inkling at all did the human who played God have of the terrible fate that hid within its DNA, waiting to be unlocked by its own biochemical tinkering.

Your consciousness is accelerating so fast that all these memories—these thoughts and feelings of a busted cocoon—are seared into nothing, like the tortured remains in your stomach as your metabolism accelerates your new body rapidly on to its death, which will only be days away.

You better get moving. You can sense other hosts just beyond this dimly lit room. Heated bodies will become living incubators. You are the generatrix androgyne, and you have eggs to lay.

Just before your buzzing body smashes through the window, wings rapidly beating, flying off into a sweltering summer night, the last memory of the old life flits across your mind, a recollection of a cherished book you read as a child.

Something about a Mr. Hyde.

PsychologicalShort StoryMicrofictionHorrorpsychologicalmonsterhalloweenfiction

About the Creator

C. Rommial Butler

C. Rommial Butler is a writer, musician and philosopher from Indianapolis, IN. His works can be found online through multiple streaming services and booksellers.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (13)

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  • Novel Allen7 months ago

    Terrifying and ghastly, unreliable Hyde flies out, hopefully I don't meet it any time soon.

  • At least it cleaned up after itself. Great story!

  • Jay Kantor7 months ago

    'Sup CR ~ Perhaps not intended as such ~ Who's to say which 'Religious Experience' is it? 'j'

  • Grz Colm8 months ago

    Highly evocative and descriptive writing. Excellent job!

  • Paul Stewart8 months ago

    Yay...congrats on Top Story!

  • Rob Angeli8 months ago

    So seething and brilliant way to incinerate the cocoon; "all knowledge of what came before, assimilated through gore" Congratulations on a well-deserved Top Story!

  • Test8 months ago

    Congratulations on reaching the status of a top story!

  • Paul Stewart8 months ago

    Damn, damn and damn! thi. was relentles and the descriptive language was a joy to read... as The Strange Case of Jeckyll andyHyde is one of my favourites, I applaud where you took this! fantastic work!

  • Oooo, there's just so many layers to this! I reached the end, saw Mr Hyde and knew I had to read the story again. So I did. And my mind was blown by your brilliance!

  • Mother Combs8 months ago

    Great job, Charles

  • Excellent work Charles. Very deep.

  • Test8 months ago

    Oh wow! This was absolutely terryfying! So, so well done. And that ending was perfect! 🤍

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