about the author

Justin Gold learned to read before any of his pre-school alumni and then lost all literary momentum until his father read him Ray Bradbury’s “The Fog Horn” in high school. In his little home on a little lake in New Jersey, Justin’s creativity is often survived by his wife, Carol. His daydreams are transcribed at justingoldwriter.com.

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Gods Not Like Us

Justin Gold

The Alaskan hills rolled silver with the harsh winter’s slush. Cold and cracking, they rolled under, rolled alongside, and, when the gods ran out of mercy, rolled over every Yupik hut, until a thousand years of civilization were stuffed into the carbon dust of a few lonely campfires. The Yupik collected in the warmth of their surviving huts. Together, they prayed to any god who would listen.

And then a wave of outsiders marched over the silvered hills. They had arrived on mountains that broke ice in the bay. They carried miracles that sparked the yellowed glow of suns. The tips of their spears ripped like thunder cracks in a concussive blaze.

The Yupik children fled their frosty burrows, tossed their hide-dolls laughingly about. The elders let the children flee, for when they looked up they saw promise in the cerulean bands that stretched the sky. They saw salvation in the stars that met in meaningful alignment. The elders took their bone clubs and shark-tooth axes and set out upon the hills.

These gods are not like us. The words hung over the elders’ heads. These gods are not like us.

Cold and colorless, the season stiffened their limbs. The winds were deadening. The Yupik dragged their weapons across the slush and when they looked back, the hills silvered themselves smooth as if nothing at all had ever happened.

These gods are not like us. The curiosity burned in the Yupik’s temples like a shaman’s elixir. These gods are not like us, but these are the only gods who listened.

The outsiders grew from rolling specks to dust-spun pebbles to fur-clothed boulders from far-off skies. They came to a halt on a white-nothing snow-blind. The outsiders sunk to their knees and shouldered their spears, and the wind culled from the ice-born Yupik one quiet, breathless moment.

These are the gods who listened.

A thousand tiny suns went aglow.

Thunder cracked.

The Yupik lay in red puddles on the silver hills, blowing clouds into the sky. Those who landed on their backs watched the stars click into alignment. They convinced themselves the patterns were meaningful.

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