(This was a short story I wrote for my world literature class in 9th grade. We were told to base a short story on a poem. I wrote mine based off of Undiscouraged by Friedrich Nietzsche. I wrote this rather last minute, so it’s very rushed and of poor quality. Regardless, here it is.)
No. It couldn’t be true. No. He couldn’t accept it. This was it. This was his life. This is what he lived for and now, well now he had no life it seemed. No reason to live. No reason to keep digging. This was beyond discouragement. Beyond questioning his own beliefs. This was a destruction of everything he believed. Everything he had ever thought or trusted in his realm of work, annihilated. This was the end. All of those debates, all the relationships broken, all the lives lost, and for what? His faith, (Yes, he was not afraid to say the accursed F word now) was so well placed in this one idea, to the point that his entire life revolved around it, and now he was wrong.
Fredrick stood in front of the large, open window, his eyes wide and staring at nothing in particular. A few stories below, a black street evangelist had gotten the attention of hundreds of passing people. This was to be expected. The street below, usually blocked off by the traffic of New York’s signature yellow taxis hocking each other to pieces, was now covered by swarms of teary eyed, terrified, confused New Yorkers looking for an answer. Today, the traffic was quite a few blocks down, as alluded to by the distant honking of taxi horns and cursing of especially loud drivers. The sky was cloudy, the kind of weather one would see directly before a heavy storm, darkening the late afternoon. The humid, uncomfortable, summer air added to that feeling before a storm, in the city.
The preacher below appeared to be the stereotypical, black gospel preacher, complete with the intense sweating, passionate cries for ‘Amens’, and a zealous message all about hell and damnation and things of that sort. Any other day, these people in the streets would’ve ignored him and go about their lives and jobs. But not today. Today, similar sermons and gatherings were happening all over the city, all over the world probably. If Fredrick wasn’t so angry or confused, he might’ve attempted to listen to this man, just out of curiosity about how the other side was taking the news. Instead, he simply stared out of his window, contemplating what to do.
There was a knock on the door of his apartment, startling Fredrick out of this reverie. He jumped and turned around, wondering who would knock on his door. There were hundreds of people who would want to talk to him right then, and very few of them were people Fredrick would want to talk with himself. Fellow teachers, religious people he had debated with, students that he had ‘led astray’. No. It was better not to answer the door. In a child-like manner, he snuck over to his tiny bed room in the corner of his small apartment, and hid behind his bed, so that he couldn’t be seen through the peephole. The knock came again. Fredrick didn’t respond. And yet again, there came the three rhythmic knocks on his door.
“Freddy, old boy,” a familiar British accented voice called from the hallway “It’s Charlie! I know you’re in there! I’m a little older and confused, but my eye sight is still perfectly fine. I could see you from below when I was walking into the building.” Charlie nervously laughed a little when he referenced his eyesight.
Fredrick let out a sigh of relief as he stood up and walked to the door. Charlie was exactly the man he would want to talk to. He would know what to do.
“Oh, hello! I was starting to worry you had jumped,” Charlie exclaimed when Fredrick opened the door.
“I was right well tempted to when I first heard,” Fredrick responded with a grave tone in his quiet, clear voice, that hinted at his German nationality “come on in.”
“Oh, well, thank you,” Charles said, politely taking off his hat as he walked into the apartment “bloody awful mess, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Fredrick stated quietly, staring at a spot on the ground distractedly before closing the door “it is that indeed.”
“I suppose that you’d be cross with me,” Charlie guessed aloud, turning to Fredrick with a worried smile “me being the one who taught you.”
“Oh no, not at all,” Fredrick said, looking up and giving a forced smile. In truth, he hadn’t even thought of that until this point.
“I appreciate it,” Charlie mumbled, as he stared awkwardly at his shoes. “I’d understand if you were, knowing that we’re wrong now.”
Fredrick didn’t respond for a moment, but then invited Charlie to sit down on the plush couch. Fredrick hung up his friend’s hat on the coat rack next to his black blazer, and followed Charlie to the living area where he sat down across from him in a small armchair.
There was a moment of silence between the two men. Charlie Wardin was an older man, in his sixties, with a round, rather adorable face with bright blue eyes, a receding hair line and a long, thick beard. He had a little bit of a heavy set body covered in sweat because of the hot day. He had the appearance of a clichéd British professor. Fredrick Itcheszen was slightly younger, in his late forties at youngest, late fifties at oldest. He had a bony, yet handsome face, with a thick mustache and round, clear glasses. His dirty blond hair was clearly slicked back, but had started to get frizzy and wild that day. It was very apparent that he was German.
“Well, what do you think?” Charlie said, clearly uncomfortable with the silence.
“Hm?” Fredrick looked up “oh, right. Uhh, I don’t know. It’s rather confusing, I must say.”
“Yes,” Charlie said absent mindedly, looking off into the distance “like I said when I was first teaching you: it was just a theory.”
“But did you really believe that?” Fredrick snapped, starting to get annoyed “did you really believe that you were following nothing but a theory, or did you full heartedly put all your faith into it? You spent your entire life digging for the truth, arguing with religion, and trying to find the answer to the equation of the universe, same as I.”
“I-I thought that there would be an answer,” Charlie stuttered hopelessly, looking down at his shoes again.
“Well, apparently there is an answer!” Fredrick began to yell “But clearly it was not the one we trusted! We were wrong! Everything we believed in: wrong! We’ve wasted our lives and now there really is nothing but Hell below us! So, you know what!? You’re right! There is no answer!”
Charlie put his head in his hands as Fredrick stood up and walked over to the window, trying to cool himself down.
“I suppose we have a few options,” the older of the two said miserably, from the couch “we can either listen to what they have to say and change our beliefs, pretend we knew what we were talking about the whole time, or….well, there is always the window.”
Fredrick was silent for a few more moments. It was clear he was thinking. That’s what his silence always meant. Thinking.
“Keep digging,” the man at the window said, under his breath at first, but then aloud for his friend to hear him “Keep digging! So, they really think they’ve proved us wrong? They really think that atheism and Darwin’s Theory and evolutionary science have collapsed! They believe that they have proved God’s existence today! No. All they’ve done is shown that macroevolution does not happen naturally! Ha-ha! There is still more to learn! More to discover! The Truth is out there just waiting to be discovered! Keep digging I say! We will find the truth! Ignore the fools out there, let them keep on preaching on about hell. But we, we will find the answer.”
Fredrick was glowing with confidence and excitement, ignoring the astonished face of Professor Wardin. Fredrick would recreate the atheistic belief structure. He would defend his fallen world view. He would fight against the evil idea of God like he always had. He would be undiscouraged.
There will always be those who can’t and won’t change their beliefs, and therefore our species can never be fully saved.