The Book of Blasphemous Words
containing "The Annunciation of Josie" by Jack Burgos
Not so long ago, human beings were cursed with fear. They clamored for hope in a world of boundless suffering and death. They called out to the heavens and summoned gods. They crafted religions that would serve as a candle against the howling night.
That which alights must also burn.
A zealot spits venomous words from his pulpit, his congregation listening and nodding, their disgust with their neighbors boiling into a riotous rage. A girl returns from Bible Camp nine-months pregnant with God’s child—images of a golden flame pressing on her chest, paralyzing her, flood her nightmares. Heaven replaces its angels with automata, dispensing salvation and damnation with callous efficiency.
The Book of Blasphemous Words is a weird fiction, horror, and speculative fiction anthology about humanity’s relationship with its gods. When we answer the call for salvation from the bondage of the material—when we believe in gods—we reach a hand into the unknown and risk losing it to something peckish. When we forget the power of the hearth, we risk a conflagration that can return civilization to the dirt whence it has come.