's 2018 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Saga

Do you know someone named Chris? Everybody knows a Chris. Or maybe some variation. A Criss, or a Kris, or something like that. Think about that person for a little bit. What are they like?

Chris is often a shortening of Christopher, a biblical saint that carried Jesus across a river. Has the Chris you know ever carried something across a river?

You might know more than one person with that name. Do you know more than one Chris?

I know someone named Chris. I don't think he's ever carried anything across a river, but I don't keep track of him 24/7. I've got to sleep sometime.

See, "Christ" is in fact the root for many of the names Chris is short for. It's not always why the name is chosen, but frequently there is a religious bent to it, as with most biblical names. I've known more Christians named David than I have atheists with the same name, for instance. But we're not talking about David, we're talking about Chris. The Chris you know. And the Chris I know.

It might not be a physical river. It might be a boundary of some other sort. Try to remember. This is important.

Let me tell you about the Chris I know. He's about six foot two. He's not skinny, but I wouldn't call him fat either. He has nice brown hair. Short hair, a little wavy. He puts gel in it to make it wavier. He owns a pickup truck. He likes flannel shirts. I think his eyes are green. He recently broke up with his girlfriend; I think so, at least, because she's stopped coming to his house. I hope he isn't taking it too hard.

I know all these things because I watch him. It's very important that I know what he's doing. I need to be able to stop him if it looks like it's going to happen again.

My heart jumps whenever I see him carrying something in his hands.

Maybe I should back up a bit. You're looking at me like I'm crazy.

Saint Christopher carried Jesus across the river before he knew who Jesus was.

It's important to note he came to be called Saint Christopher later. The name comes from the Greek and means "Christ-bearer." Because that's what he did, he bore Christ across that river.

My Chris is religious. There's a cross hanging on his wall, I've seen it through his window. Sometimes, his shirt dips low and I can see the one around his neck, too. That one's silver. The one on his wall is wooden.

Someone probably told him the story of Saint Christopher when he was young. But I don't think he knows how significant it is. How important it is that he never live up to it.

I don't think he's paying attention. I don't think he'll notice if things align again. I don't think he'll recognize the boundary.

I'm worried I won't, either. But I've had a lot of practice with boundaries. I'm not supposed to cross them either. It'll probably be fine.

You're still confused? I just explained.

Okay, let me go back even further.

Have you ever heard the word "archetype?" That word's from the Greek, too. The Greeks were more perceptive than history gives them credit for.

It's the name of a Jungian psychology construct. There are certain concepts, tied to certain imagery and traits, that all of humanity recognizes innately. It's built into our collective unconscious. What if I told you the concept went back further than Jung?

Since the beginning of existence, there have been forces dedicated to keeping things working. These forces are what we today interpret as gravity, and electromagnetism, and things like that. Religions often characterize these forces as celestial beings, gods. The Christian faith and its various sects regard the collective ensemble as one God, but other religions distinguish between the forces. They operate at every scale at all times. They're more than mere rules by which reality abides. They shape reality, consciously. The human psyche recognizes these forces even if the conscious mind does not.

One of these forces is the one devoted to taking things across boundaries.

Names are powerful. They always mean something, even if you don't mean them to. When my Chris's mother gave birth to him, she named him Chris because in the deepest part of her soul she could see that he was born to carry something across a boundary, just like Saint Christopher did for the Christ-child.

I can't let him.

My Chris is just one of the many incarnations on the human scale of that destiny of crossing, but I'm fairly positive he's the most important one. After Saint Christopher, of course. The Ur-Chris. He might not be, which is why I'm asking you about the Chris you know. What are they like? They might be the one instead.

I'm glad my Chris is religious. It'll make it easier to explain to him, assuming I ever get up the courage to talk to him. I'm a little intimidated by how cosmically important he is, but I'm cosmically important, too, so it should be fine.

What's my name? If I said, you'd know, wouldn't you? You'd know which of the forces of creation I embody. I don't want that.

With everything being couched in metaphor it's hard to tell what to look for. I'm reasonably certain that Chris carrying a toolbox out across his yard to his truck isn't going to mark the beginning of a grand unraveling of all Christendom, but it still makes me nervous.

The forces of reality manifest in everything that exists. Everyone. No one thing is inert and has no effect on its environment. Even a lifeless block of stone blocks light and keeps grass from growing underneath it. Birds can perch on it. It can be seen, felt, known. It warms as sunlight rests upon it.

In that way, we are all God. Not part of God, all of God.

Chris is God. I am God. You are God too.

There is only one thing that is not God. I don't know what that thing is, but when Chris brings that thing across a certain boundary, everything stops being God.

I don't want to not be God.

I'll do anything not to not be God. I hope you're prepared to do the same.

Keep an eye on your Chris for me, will you?