Sunday, September 21, 2008

Answered Prayer, Part 6

"Welcome, welcome, friend," the dark-haired man said, sticking out his hand, "I'm Christopher."

Rob shook the offered hand. "Rob. It's, uh, it's nice to meet you."

"We were just about to sit down for the evening meal," the woman standing next to Christopher said, "Would you care to join us?"

"Sure," Rob said, "Thank you."

The couple, or at least he assumed they were a couple, led Rob in to the house. "We don't get too many visitors out here," the woman said, "But we like to be hospitable."

"Not too many are these days," Rob replied.

"Well, it's important for us to display the love to everyone," she said, "We are the chosen, after all."

"I see," Rob said, unsure of how to reply. "By the way, I didn't catch your name."

"Martha."

"Are you married? I mean, to each other?"

"Oh, no," she laughed. "There's no marriage here."

"I see."

Rob fell silent and let them lead him through the house and out the back. They ended up in a large barn. A pair of long, wooden tables ran most of the length of the building. Each table was about half occupied, with men ranging in age from about seventy to maybe fifteen sitting on the inside and women, mostly skewed towards younger ages, sitting on the outside.

"Take a seat," Christopher said, gesturing towards an empty spot next to a young man and across from a blond teenage girl.

Rob took the offered seat. He shook hands with the guy sitting next to him. "Rob."

"Charlie." Nice to meet you.

He turned to the girl, who smiled shyly, then looked down at the table. "Hey, I'm Rob," he said.

She looked up, smiled again, and mumbled something. "That's Kristen," Charlie said. "She's kind of shy, but once you get to know her better...well, you'll learn, I'm sure."

"Huh?"

Rob didn't get a response. Christopher had taken a position at the head of one of the tables. He loudly cleared his throat and began speaking.

"Friends," he said, "Today is a truly auspicious day. I have heard from the lord. He has given me a message to share with you all. It has been ten days since the Lord took away our enemies and our work is finally to begin."

Rob risked a look across the table at Kristen. She was staring at Christopher with rapt attention and an expression somewhere between love and worship. He turned and caught a glance at a couple of the men at the other table. They, too, had adopted an expression of worship. He began to feel distinctly uncomfortable.

He pulled his jacket close to his side as unobtrusively as possible. The reassuring bulk of the Glock in its concealed pocket offered a bit of comfort.

"We have waited for the prophesied day," Christopher continued, "The day that the Lord removes the lukewarm church from this world and takes the innocents in to his divine protection so that we can begin the true work of preparing this world for the imminent return of the Messiah.

"And much work must be done to prepare this world. For the Good Book commands, 'Go ye therefore and multiply and subdue the Earth.' And that it what we will do. Tonight the Lord told me it is time to begin multiplying so that we might raise new children in the proper way.

"I have told you," he voice lowered, "That the sins of this world will be repaid to it seven fold. The Lord has shown that He is displeased with the heathens, the heretics, and the false believers for raising the innocent to be full of carnal and worldly knowledge. So the Lord has taken the innocents away.

"It is now time," his voice rose, "Time for us. It is time for us to multiply. It is time for us to subdue. It is time for us to lead the world in the Lord's name," he finished nearly at a yell.

The young man next to Rob had turned his attention to the girl across the table. He was studying her with a lustful gaze. Everything suddenly clicked in to place. He wanted to run.

"I'm so glad you've come to join us," Kristen said from across the table. "I didn't think I'd be able to play my part in the Lord's plan."

"You, uh, you what?"

"I've been preparing my entire life for this moment," she smiled at him, "But as the youngest, I didn't think I would have a chance. This is a great blessing."

"The youngest? How old are you?"

"Fifteen."

Rob swallowed hard and blinked. "And you've been here your entire life?"

"Yes," she nodded enthusiastically, "I've been blessed to be born and raised here, in the Lord's new Eden."

"I have to go," Rob said. He began to get up from the table, but suddenly realized he was already standing. All he could think about was escape.

Several of the men had also stood up. They began to gather around him.

"What seems to be the commotion?" Christopher asked, stepping between two of the men to stand directly in front of Rob.

"I'm really not comfortable with...well, with whatever it is you're doing here," Rob said. "I think I'm going to go."

"But you haven't even had dinner," Christopher said. "I'm sure that it will all seem much better after you've filled your stomach."

"No, no, that's okay."

"Really, we insist."

"I do, too," Rob pulled out the Glock. The men all backed off a step. He turned to Kristen. "Look, I don't know you," he said, "But if things are happening here that I think are happening, you don't have to stick around."

"But it's the Lord's plan," she replied.

"No," Rob shook his head, "It isn't. Look, I don't know what god's plan is, but it's not this. This is just fucked up."

"I will not go with you," she said. "I will stay here and do the work the Lord has given me. The Good Book says that I will be blessed by my children, so I must play my part."

"I should put a bullet through your head," Rob said to Christopher, his voice lowering to an angry growl. "But I don't think that killing you will save that poor girl from being exploited by one of these other perverts."

One of the other men stepped in front of Christopher. "I don't think you have enough bullets to kill us all, mister. Do you?"

Rob's finger tightened on the trigger and for a brief moment he considered trying to get to Christopher. "No," he whispered, relaxing his grip, "I don't."

"These are our ways," Kristen said. "We live by the word of the Lord."

"I don't think that your god called you to have children with the first random guy who shows up," Rob said. "Christopher over here is exploiting you. You don't have to stay. Come with me. Please."

"You should probably go," Kristen said. "You obviously do not understand the ways of the Lord and will bring judgment down upon us if you stay."

Rob realized his was in a no win situation. He backed out of the barn, then turned and ran back to his Subaru.

As he got back on the road and pointed the car towards Missouri, he looked in the rear view mirror and made a simple vow. "I will never leave anyone behind again," he said to the empty highway behind him. "I've run away too many times."

5 comments:

Abelardus said...

Wow, this covers a range of topics. You actually present a different religious interpretation of The Event. And then you cover twisted theology as a cover for orgies -- or rather, the orgies as a by-product of twisted theology.

By the way, this is a parallel story, am I right? It charts Rob's trip to Chicago and what he does once he gets to Chicago? But don't answer of course if it would lead to spoilers.

Geds said...

Yes, it's a parallel journey. Let's just say I've been watching a bit too much Lost. Also, as silly as this might seem, I am actually using this as a chance to practice certain devices in front of an audience I know to be clever and literate. It's kinda like practice.

But I get a chance to work out who the characters are and play around with the rules of this particular world. The way I figure it, communications have taken a blow and a lot of information is passed from one person to the next with plenty of hearsay and rumor. By running Rob's story of the journey parallel to his arrival in Chicago I get to set a dichotomy between places where order remains and where order has been lost. Or something...

And I hadn't really been thinking orgies, but I suppose that's a good bet. I definitely wanted to have a random cult with its own way of looking at The Event and a wildly different interpretation. I figure it's a good bet we wouldn't be seeing a universe with Christianity/Enigma One World Babylon and nobody else. Rob's confrontation here simply creates a nice dovetail of world building and character development.

And it's entirely possible that I've put more thought in to this one entry than L&J did to the entire Left Behind series...

Abelardus said...

I am actually using this as a chance to practice certain devices in front of an audience I know to be clever and literate.

Why thank you kindly; that's praise indeed.

Rob's confrontation here simply creates a nice dovetail of world building and character development.

Closing the back of the backless maiden.

Also, it's more than a possibility: you have in fact put more thought into a foefic series than LH&J have into their "seminal" work. After all, you undoubtedly care for this world; LH&J not so.

Pardon the gush. I'm actually exercising restraint with this post.

Geds said...

Pardon the gush. I'm actually exercising restraint with this post.

Eh, you might want to hold off before you embarrass yourself. The next couple of entries might be a bit rocky. I actually really like the next one, but it definitely makes use of a device that I'm experimenting with, so I don't know if anyone else will appreciate it. As for the one after that...

One of the interesting things about writing in a quick serial form like this is that I'm kind of at the mercy of the storyline. I'm trying to stay two or three posts ahead at any given time and I've been keeping the storyline mapped fairly far ahead. But I can't exactly stop in the middle and do a major re-write, so if I hit a point that's suddenly much harder to write than I thought it would be, I have to make it work somehow. This is a lot of fun, though. It's kind of like novelist boot camp.

Also, I'm writing three to six pages at a time, then leaving them for a couple of days so I can re-read, edit, and re-write if necessary. Even this is far from ideal, but it's a necessary evil. And it represents significantly more care than Jenkins put in to anything, so I guess I'm just not cut out for the Christian Writers Guild.

Ah, well, I guess I'll just have to content myself with the Fox Valley Storytellers Guild.

Spherical Time said...

Hey. Sorry for being vague. Have gone back through and made sure all the tags recently have been fixed, and all of the sidebars are up to date.