The Seven Five Nothing

The Seven Five Nothing are a collection of hyper-short stories, each written in a single sitting with no editting.

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4. Higgs Boson and the Death of God.

We waited nervously, wondering what they were going to say. Eight billion people watching TV's, listening to radios, online, over the public broadcast systems.

It had been several years since the demise of God was first announced, and still, for nearly everybody, somehow, it just didn't seem real. Didn't seem right.

They had announced it in the morning paper, 'FINAL PROOF: GOD IS DEAD' it proclaimed. And, upon reading through the article, came the realisation that this changed everything.

The scientists at CERN had been working underground for so long now we'd almost forgotten about them. The threat of the old sensationalist stories of black holes forming in crazed experiments, conducted miles below the Earth's surface, had faded years earlier, and it had become as normal as the birth of space exploration decades earlier. Somewhere, between half the world watching in awe as men first landed on the moon and iPhones and laptops sapping all our attention, we'd gotten used to the extraordinary. The illusion of God was nothing more than just another more myth to be resolved by hardcore, heavyweight logic and scientific evidence.

And then they discovered it - the Higgs boson - or rather, the God Particle as the populists called it. Of course, it wasn't that spectacular, at least, not up here. We all continued our lives, drinking coffee, driving our cars, kissing our wives, flying on our planes, watching our televisions, eating our lunch, just doing what regular people do. And yet, in that fraction of a moment, in that brief slip between the links of Time, God was revealed to them.

Nobody really knows what happened. The reports were immediately censored, an information blackout. But of course, it had been so profound that people had to know, and soon, the rumours spread.

They said that in that moment, everything stopped moving. That a light so bright washed all along the chambers, but not hot, defying all physics that anybody knew. And after a beat, a pure pause, more simple than our minds can accept, pure calm spread through the people.

As word was escaping, they knew they had to confront it, and so they held a press conference.

'God,' the scientist said, 'existed. But only for a moment.'

And that was it. That is how it ended. They had decided that, at the birth of our universe, the space from which all people, things, plants, animals, time, planets, elements and space had sprung, started from the seed that was God. The big bang was a magic trick, a wonderful stream of coloured ribbons from the magician's hat, sprung from the flash of his desire to exist for no longer than necessary.

Nobody could have known what the news meant. That it would be final proof, evidence zero, in the science versus religion debate. To know he existed was not the same to know he exists. And so, the voices faded.

The churches closed their doors.

People stopped praying.

Sectarian violence waned.

Nobody knew what they were fighting for or against.

A resolute acceptance if you will.

And over time, the scientists stopped trying so hard.

Eventually, people would learn to deal with what became known as 'final knowledge.'

It wasn't easy, many held on, resisting this new truth, wanting to disprove the facts. But we all knew it was inevitable. We were now living in a world without God.

Wars were less, religion faded into obscurity, peace arrived almost as a byproduct and walls were torn down. The striving of man became less, apathy grew.

'People need something to believe in.' The scientist looked straight down the camera, talked right into the microphone. 'In the 2,847 days since we discovered the Higgs boson here at CERN, we've been just as amazed as everybody by the impact the final knowledge has had on our societies. It was not something we could have ever predicted, much less imagined.' He shuffled his papers. 'Therefore, after much deliberation, we've decided to pursue the resurrection of the Higgs boson program. We're going to attempt to bring him back.'

Eight billion people. Eight billion minds, all trying to contemplate what that meant. We had never known for sure, then we did, then we grieved. And now, and now it was another step into the unknown.

But there was hope.

Hope that things might again one day come back to the way things were. Hope that mothers would pray for their children, that the terminally sick might get better, that we could all look forward to what might happen after the end.

Of course, lessons had to be learned, processes understood. What does it mean to lose something you never really knew you had? And what responsibility did we need to take if we knew we were going to get it all back?

People need something to believe in, even if they don't know what it truly is.
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