For "The Moment" contest, a sampling of an experience based on true events.
| In a candlelit circle, we sat in stone-faced silence as I waited for Him to address me. He was consigned to namelessness for the “protection of his followers”. Seven of us there, routine ritual, truthfully, but it was rare that He would decide to be present at a gathering hosted by one of his leaders. At the time, I was a firm believer in all that He said, followed the code. I was elated that He had come to dine at my spiritual table. Tonight, I had recruited five new inductees for initiation, and it would be by His honor that they would be chosen and given a place among us.
I held my breath as He crossed through the circle to my kneeling body. I felt the tremors in my hands and body- or was it my own spirit that was trembling in His countenance? He had a way of looking at you with eyes of such kindness- a sweetness and innocence of the exterior that could bleed your soul dry from the tears and sweat that would spill into His hands. And I was in love with Him. It was not just the doctrine that fell from his lips, but every bit of Him, from the long flowing hair to his simple black coat that kept me bound, heart and soul, to the liar behind the mask.
Gently, He bent down and cupped my chin, encouraging me to rise- that I might meet His eyes “with knowing and understanding of every word”. In a voice as smooth as butter, He addressed the neophytes behind Him, “Thank you for coming. You are here for a reason. Lady and I will meet with you in the kitchen after the Inner Ceremony.” My neophytes, eager to exit the space, dusted our presence for the more encouraging table of delicious refreshments I had slaved away at. His eyes met mine again as He wrapped his other arm round my body, still cupping my chin.
I never saw it coming, I tell you. I had raised my chin to prepare to accept his lips with mine- the first union of five in the Inner Ceremony. In layman’s terms, the Inner Ceremony was ritual sex- an honor bestowed only to those who furthered our cause- building the Inner Temple for the End of Days. I had eagerly awaited this moment. Quivering with readiness, I stood. Suddenly, in one fell blow, the Inner Ceremony, and all that I thought I believed, would now splinter into the shards of nothingness I would become in this moment.
The hand lifted from my chin, swung gently backward, and palm met cheek with a painful crack. I lifted my hand to the warming welt in shock and turned my frightened eyes to his now blackened gaze. “Filth,” he spat in my face as his hard arms shoved me to the ground. “Filth and disgrace. Liars, all of them. You of all people, should have seen. They are all worthless, expendable. They cannot learn the Truth. They will be killed just like all the rest.” With these words, my blood ran cold. “Killed?” I whispered. “Master, what can you mean?” Another painful crack at my head and spit of disgust. “Do you not understand? I save all I can- but they cannot be saved. And now, neither can you.”
I remember running, running with my six other disillusioned friends, crying bitterly as I filed the police report against Him. “Unarmed death threat- no immediate risk to life.” Now I was nothing, guilty, purposeless…at least that was His final blow.