When what remained of humanity came crowding tight into the city centers, Father Frank walked out. For a variety of reasons, he considered himself done with humanity. The last thing he wanted was more of it breathing down his neck. So he kicked the dust of that place off his heels, turned his back, and off he went.
First he went through the new suburbs, the neighborhoods whose population had sharply dropped between the die-offs, disappearances and diasporas. Here the urban vegetable gardens still flourished. Those who remained to care for them were robust and able-bodied. They had to be. There was manual labor to be done in every postage-stamp garden plot. There was concrete to be broken up and soil to be hauled. There was the daily journey, on foot, back and forth, bringing crops to the city center and returning with tools in trade.
Father Frank considered the new suburbs and rejected them. He suspected the people here of being too smug in their health, too proud in their usefulness to humble themselves before the Lord. Besides, he’d once argued with a community gardener about the precise relationship of works to faith. She hadn’t seemed to have any—faith, that is—and the argument had not gone well. No, they’d make a poor congregation. This could not be his parish.
Next he went through the old suburbs, abandoned and already crumbling....
__This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for June 3, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (978 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.Cover art incorporates free stock photo from Pixabay.