The Writer's Den

UCLA's creative writing student group

Winter Creative Challenge (part 3)

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The creative challenge over Winter break was to dig up an old piece of writing and add to it. Here is a piece from Gabriel Relich, a sequel to stories he wrote in the 2nd and 6th grades. To check out other submissions, click here or here.

Ex Cathedra 
By Gabriel Relich

The Pope sat up in his bed.  What did I hear…?  he thought.  “Pope Isaac the Second. It is an honor.”

Isaac turned and his mouth opened, and then opened wider.  He started to speak….but found he could not.  Next to Isaac’s bed stood a Green humanoid, roughly the size of a man.  Two antennas sprang from his head which housed a large single eye.  The eye sparkled as if it were made of rubies.

“The…honor is mine sir.” The Pope answered.

“My name is Zuruk.  I come from the planet Gadro.  I have recently had the honor of meeting three of your kind.”

“The USS Prometheus!  It wasn’t destroyed in the asteroid field?” the Pope asked.  He pinched himself.  I’m not sleeping, He thought.  “You said you come from…the planet…the planet Gavo?”

“Gadro,” Zuruk corrected.

“Where …where is this Gadro?”

From outside a voice shouted, “Are you okay Isaac.  Don’t tell me you’re having nightmares again.  I must say old man Kevorkian must have rattled you with his talk on demonic possession, hasn’t he?   Now sir…”  Cardinal Vella came and burst into the room.

There was a few minutes of silence as the green man and the cardinal sized each other up.

“Vella…this is Zuruk…he tells me he is from the planet….”the Pope began bewildered.

“DEMON!!! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELLS YOU!!!” Cardinal Vella shouted.

“To do what?” Zuruk asked confused.

“TO…to…to-you know what I mean!  THE POWER OF CHRIST-”

“It’s not a demon Vella!”  the Pope snapped.  “You must forgive him Mr…”

“Please call me Zuruk.  I understand this must be quiet confusing.   But after you expertly handled that tricky issue on how killing a werewolf may or may not be permissible under the Doctrine of Double Effect you caught the eye of many of us on Gadro.  Everyone around you was losing their heads.  But you took the tricky issue in stride, and had your faith grow stronger nonetheless.  We thought maybe, with your help, Earth may be ready to receive us.”

Isaac nodded, although the ethical ramifications of werewolves still frustrated him sometimes, he was grateful for the compliment.

“We would like to reveal ourselves to the Earthlings, but we are scared.  Scared that the people of Earth, fearing us, will try to harm our beloved Gadro.  Which is why we come to you Pope Isaac the Second.”

“Sir” the wide eyed Pope said with a stutter, “what do you want of me.”

“To speak on our behalf so the children of Earth will not view us as monsters.  To declare sir, that we have souls, that we are children of God. To declare….what is it you call it?  Ah, I remember, Ex Cathadra…”

Cardinal Vella shook his head.  “You cannot just demand that the successor of St. Peter declare whatever it is you want…”

“Do you doubt sir, that I have a soul?” Zuruk asked.

“Well all living things…” the Cardinal began.

“Spare me man!  I don’t mean whatever weak crude soul an insect may or may not have!  I ask again, do you think I have a soul?” Zuruk said with frustration.

The Cardinal shook his head.  “It’s not even that!  We cannot scare the faithful.  Do aliens have Original Sin?  Do you need to accept the cross?  There are…dozens of Catholic doctrines…that will need to be discussed, clarified…Do Aliens have the same eternal fate as…?”

“Do you love?” The Pope asked.

Zuruk stood silent for a while.  He responded, “Not the way my father loved.”

The Pope started to ask a question, but Zuruk continued, “Many of us seek a Prophet from the Stars.  Some say Buddha is he.  Others Confucius.  Others Mohammed.   Still others weep for joy when they read the Bhagavad Gita. Still others Pope Isaac, believe that your Jesus of Nazareth is the one we have been waiting for.”

The Cardinal kept shaking his head, “Can you give us more time…to prepare…we….do not know how people will react once they know there are aliens.  What if they panic, what it if…if..if…they wonder why alien life is not mentioned in scripture?”

Zuruk shook his head.  “The High Council of Gadro is only narrowly in support of revealing ourselves to you.  If you delay, chances are we will go back into hiding.”

“Daddy…?” came a small voice that had crept in unnoticed.  The Cardinal’s eyes grew wide as he turned to see his three year old daughter approaching the green man.  Zuruk knelt and stared at the small, dark haired girl who walked up and, to the Cardinal’s horror, reached up, grabbed Zuruk’s antenna, and then ever so gently tried to take it off like a hat.

“Is this what your larvae look like?” Zuruk asked.

“It’s just a man in a costume dear,” the Cardinal whispered to his daughter.

“Are you sure daddy?” the little girl asked.  She ran her fingers up and down Zuruk’s antenna “He seems real to me.”

The Cardinal approached his daughter and tried to pull her away, ever so gently “Now, now, dear its past your bedtime…”  He did not want to scare her.  “It’s only a man in a mask my dear, an entertainment for the Pope…”

Zuruk ran his hands through the girl’s long, black hair with the same curiosity that the girl displayed towards his antenna.  “Go with your father dearest,” Zuruk whispered.

The Cardinal rushed his daughter out quickly.  “Bye mister…!” she shouted back.

“Forgive me sir but I did not think it was your custom for your preachers to mate” Zuruk said turning to the Pope.

The Pope nodded and explained: “Before Cardinal Vella became a priest, he donated quite regularly to sperm banks for the money.  Last year he had found out that one sample had, for some reason, only recently had been chosen by a couple. When the child did not display the intelligence and appearance the couple had hoped the good Cardinal’s sperm would provide, they abandoned her.  The sister of the adoptive father tracked down who the sperm donor was in a desperate attempt for help and well…. Cardinal Vella has been, at my permission, a priest and father both ever since.”

Zuruk nodded then said, “My father too had a demanding job.”   “Is he with the L…” the Pope began before hesitating.   Then he completed his sentence, “Is he with the Lord?”  Zuruk said, “You tell me Preacher.”

There was a long silence between them.  Then Zuruk asked, “Will you declare sir, ex cathadra that we are Children of God?”

The Pope thought for a very long time.

At the conclusion of the next day’s Angelus the Pope told the faithful who were in the Vatican City that day to meet outside by the Chair of St. Peter which he had ordered moved to St. Peter’s square.  Cardinal Vella was there, looking pensive.  Isaac sat on the chair that, tradition had it, supported the body of St. Peter over 2000 years ago.  “I Pope Isaac the Second, heir to the Office of St. Peter hereby declare Ex Cathadra that the offspring of the Planet Gadro are, and of right ought to be treated as, ensouled beings, made in the Image and Likeliness of God.”

The crowd was silent.  The translators stopped translating and just sort of stared at the pope with mouths half opened in confusion.

And then there was a great silence.  Isaac waited.  His heart started beating faster and faster.  Where are you Zuruk?  Oh Lord do not tell me I have been tricked… that I have disgraced my Office. Such were the troubled Pontiff’s thoughts.

Cardinal Vella rushed forward.  At this point the crowed was starting to talk.  Cameras were flashing.  I can see the headlines.  Pope goes batshit crazy- speaks of aliens.  Oh Lord, what have I done.  Perhaps it was a demon…

“What the Pope means to say is…that…he is tired… and perhaps we…we….” Cardinal Vella started to say to the flashing lights of the Vatican City press.

Suddenly, the sound of mighty wings came from the sky.  The crowd gasped.    Isaac stood up with his staff in his hand and started to walk through the crowd to where the shimmering silver spectacle was coming in to land.

The ship was a long tube with rounded ends and protruding from its side were four great wings of an astounding length.  Its flapping slowed as it came to hover over the center of St. Peter’s square.

The Pope smiled and shouted, “My good people give them room to land!”  People backed away from the ship and it soon touched the Earth’s surface.

The door opened and Zuruk came out, kissed the Pope’s ring and said, “The LORD bless you and keep you!  The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!  The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!”


(Numbers 6: 24-26)

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2 thoughts on “Winter Creative Challenge (part 3)

  1. Pingback: Winter Creative Challenge (part 2) | The Writer's Den

  2. Pingback: Winter Creative Challenge (part 1) | The Writer's Den

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