“Godex denies your application for a change of god.”
“But why?” the believer cried out, dropping on his knees. The temple was enormous, which was fitting since Godex was massive indeed. He had three pairs of arms and two pairs of legs, but he never used them, floating on air.
“You demand justification for Godex’s answer?”
The believer hesitated. Yeah, he wasn’t gonna go all the way back without a proper answer to give to the others. “Yes, great Godex, I do.” He quickly added, his forehead touching the floor, “If you so desire.”
Godex bobbed up and down in the air. “Your assigned god is appropriate for your species. It has been decided so by heuristic algorithms and outcome projections.”
“I do not dispute that, great Godex. But why must you give us this worthless god? All he does is sleep and drink all day,” the believer complained, forgetting his place.
“I repeat, he is the one appropriate for your species.” Godex spoke and then there was a long silence.
The believer expected more.
Godex of course, saw that. “You expected more.”
“To be honest, yes, I did, great Godexm,” the believer said meekly.
“I will grant your request. Here,” Godex said and lowered one of his massive hands down to the believer’s height. He opened it, and there was a device.
The believer picked it up with reverence as he would a holy artifact, ’cause that’s what it was. It was similar in design to Godex himself, with fluid mechorganic lines. “Godex? Thank you. But I must ask, what is this?”
“It’s a choose-your-own-god device. It’s very simple to use, it simply has that one button.”
The believer put his thumb over it.
“Yes, that one. Once you press it, you will be assigned a new god at random. Press it again, and a new one shows up.”
“What happens if I change my mind?” the believer asked, his finger trembling.
Godex shrugged with all three pairs of shoulders. “You can only go forward, never back. And the permutations are practically infinite for your short lifespan.”
“So, if I like a god, but press the button, I’ll never get him back again?”
The believer returned to his home planet. He shared nothing of the details with Godex, and his fellow believers didn’t find that weird in the least. Godex was known for not explaining his decisions, but they respected them and knew that only he could see so far into the future and wide on all solar systems and deep into possibilities to make a choice. Who were they to refute him, simple motes in godex’s eye?
A year passed, and the believer grew weary of their god. He really was just a slob, there was no other way to describe it.
So, one day, he went home and took a good look around.
He was living alone, like all proper believers should. Abstinent, no sex was allowed with the opposite sex for them. They could masturbate, the lazy god didn’t mind that. In fact, he insisted on it. A Spartan apartment, with the barest of essentials. A bed, a chair, one of each cutlery necessary, a single plate.
He swallowed, looking around the brownish apartment.
He went to the proper spot and dug out the brick from his wall, recovered the holy artifact, and pressed the button before he could change his mind.
The sky changed. Red fires engulfed everything, spanning from one side of the horizon to the next. Red beings flew and snatched the other believers. His friend and neighbour screamed as he was flung in the air, tossed from one red being to the other like a plaything.
Eyes wide, the believer pressed the button.
Cold. Shivering. The ice-god stood in the middle of the city. The believer’s clothes did nothing to protect him, he felt his toes getting stabbed with pinpricks, he might even get frostbite if he stayed in the snow a bit longer.
He pressed the button.
Eden. Trees swallowed the city, birds chirped, the air did not make his face hurt. That was a good thing, the believer decided. Any place that was cold enough for the air to make your face hurt was a bad place. He took a look around, his neighbour fell screaming from the sky into a patch of bushes, unharmed. The leaves themselves put him on his feet gently. He smiled, checking himself over, giggling like a crazy person for escaping certain death. “What happened?” his neighbour asked, but barely finished the sentence.
A dinosaur ate him in one gulp.
The dinosaur-god roared in the distance, demanding flesh.
He pressed the button.
Black. Endless black. He wasn’t sure there was even something to see. After a while, he realised he was indeed in his city, he hand’t moved a centimetre. It was just pitch black, no stars, no lights, no illumination sources from anywhere. In a city of sixteen billion, that was eerie beyond measure.
The believer found his phone inside his robes and used the screen to see.
He never expected the darkness to have teeth like that.
A black face came from the sky and aimed to snap shut around him. He pressed the button a millisecond ahead.
He shut his eyes, of course. He didn’t dare open them. What had he done? The lazy god was perfect compared to all the other fates his planet could endure in the hands of the other possibilities. He had doomed them all, the fool, he who dared to object to the great Godex.
Such and idiot, he was.
He opened his eyes. Hm… Things were calm. No dinosaurs, he checked. No red flyers in the sky. It was sunny, lukewarm. He looked around.
His dead father greeted him, tending to his old garden.
“Oh, hell no,” the believer said, and slapped the button once again.
The city was bigger, he could tell immediately. There were overpasses and maglev trains whistling over his head. This technology seemed far beyond what the believers currently had. Well, well… Had he stumbled on a technological god that could bring about a glorious existence for them?
He looked around, everything was sleek, over-designed, awesome.
He felt something in his chest. Or rather, he noticed an absence.
It took him a long while to find what the noise was. He realised there was a sound he was supposed to be hearing. Something he had been hearing his entire life.
Ripping his robes from his person, he saw his chest, a glistening, glassy, mechanical chest.
His heart was nowhere to be found.
Immediately he pressed the button again. A cyborg future was not what he thought of as a paradise, oh no.
He wasn’t going to rush in. This time, he checked, he had a pulse. He checked, there were no dead relatives gardening in the back. He checked, there were no dinosaurs. He checked, there were no red flyers.
He looked around.
Well, this was normal, for now. But he had been fooled so many times. Weary, he took a couple of steps, looked around, checked the corners, stepped forward.
Hm… Oh, there was a woman. His… Ah, he kept forgetting her name. She had a shop down the street.
She saw him, smiled wide at him.
The believer waved ‘hello’ back to her.
She ran up to him and straddled him, her legs around his waist, her hands ripping his clothes away. “Take me, please, take me right here!” she begged and moaned like a deranged, horny person.
“Uh, get off of me!” the believer said and pushed her away, grabbing a fistful of her breasts without wanting to.
She seemed excited by that, looking at him like he was a delicacy. “Seventy-two virgins for you, and I’ll be the first,” she said like a predator and chased after him.
He picked up the artifact and ran away from her.
At the last minute, he slapped his palm on the button.
Again, everything changed, and everything remained the same. The believer looked around, checking every nasty thing this infernal device had brought onto him.
And then he realised that as he turned his head, he could still see at the spot he was looking at earlier.
Very, very slowly, he raised his hand to put it in front of his face. Then he moved it to the side, and it was still in front of his face.
“In his image,” the believer mumbled, and closed his eyes. Another pair remained open, staring from his back.
He pressed the button.
Air. Air. He gasped for air. What was happening? Nothing. Stars. Air, no air. He flailed, the artifact leaving his grasp. It floated slowly next to his hand.
In space. In godexdamned space!
Air, he needed air. He snatched the artifact and squeezed the button so hard he thought he’d break it.
But no holy artifact breaks as easy as that.
Water. He was in the city, but everything was soaking wet. The walls, the ground, the streets. His robes smelled of mold, his joints ached. Everything was moist.
The god of moisture splashed around the streets, making everything wet.
“Oh, not a chance,” the believer said, and pressed the button again.
No… no… no fingers. What was this? No mouth. No arms. No legs. No skin. Pain. He was in pain. He could see the artifact, but he couldn’t reach it. No, he couldn’t really see it, more like sense it with his tendrils. He stretched out his pseudopod from his unicellular body and pressed the button again.
He had his body again. Nice! He checked himself over, and his crotch, just to be certain. Things were in place, and no funny business or errant numbers. That was good. Then he looked to the side, and saw his own body, looking back at him. But he was also in that body, looking back at the first.
Was it a mirror? No, only one had the artifact in his hand.
In his image, a duality.
“Huh,” he said through both of his mouths.
He entered his house with both his bodies and looked around. Everything was the same, but doubled. Two beds, two toothbrushes, twice the cutlery, two chairs.
He went to the beds with his two bodies and pushed them together, forming a bigger one.
Then he had sex with himself. Hey, it was technically masturbation, wasn’t it? No rules were broken.
Smiling from both mouths, he hid the holy artifact back inside the wall. Yeah, he could get used to this dual god.