In the name of Religion

Get down! Elizabeth yelled as she pushed me into the shelter just as a bolt of lightning struck a tree near the pathway. The sounds of thunder had been rolling between the hills for the past ten minutes, and my friend Elizabeth has never been a fan of electric storms despite her tough goth appearance. So where are you taking me, I demanded from Elizabeth. I’m not a fan of dodging lightening bolts all evening! Listen, Elizabeth said softly while running her fingers through my long auburn hair, I’ve been thinking about what we’ve talked about and what, or who, has been guiding the thoughts we’ve had, so I think it’s best that you move forward to the next step in your journey.
Elizabeth and I have been having some deeper than usual discussions and exploring the dimensions surrounding us, does anyone really think we’re alone here? There has to be more, and this curiosity has been pushing the explorer inside me. My family had always been, how do I say it, shallow. We didn’t really pray, or mess with the Tarot and Ouija board. Come to think of it we only went to church once, and that was for the funeral of an aunt that I had never even met! Now it feels like Elizabeth has my curiosity on a leash!
It’s not much further, Elizabeth reassured me, remember the gathering I told you about a couple weeks ago? Well, I think it’s time. It’s time for you to move forward and meet the others, maybe even show some commitment, maybe even be a part of the family.
This type of talk felt a little too strong for me, I’ve never been the “Commitment” type, if you know what I mean. I’ve always trusted Elizabeth though, ever since we were nine in middle school and had to walk home when our school bus broke down. Actually I think it was the driver that broke down, more like a nervous breakdown!
There it is, Elizabeth said, and it looks like everyone is already there! To my surprise it was the old marble building that I had only seen once a few years ago, and in the moonlight it cast an ominous presence. This was sure to be a new experience for us, or at least for me!
This won’t be long, maybe an hour or so, Elizabeth assured me as she pushed the dark oak doors that opened to a beautiful hall lined with old paintings and an aroma of incense making my mind feel as if we had entered another realm. As we entered the chamber this feeling was reaffirmed, everyone seemed to be meditating and almost in a trance that could have been induced by the other worldly sound of an old pipe organ. I had only heard of these organs before, but I could feel every note flowing through my body, almost speaking to my soul. Without realizing it my sentience was no longer mine, and Elizabeth seemed like she was getting a high from the ambiance!
Someone in a black robe, a man I think, spoke a few soothing words, most of which I didn’t really understand, some seemed to be in another tongue, Latin maybe. Then he seemed to summon a spirit or entity. Either way I was inhabited with the same trance as those around me!
It’s time! Elizabeth exclaimed as she took my hand. She led me to a candle ornamented alter, here you will join in covenant and with a sacrifice you will be one of us, your new family! Sacrifices obviously include blood, and I’m not shy about being squeamish, but Elizabeth promised this was the only way. Once again this robed man was hailing a spirit and after finishing the ritual he took me by the hand and was leading me up the steps where a wall was mysteriously opening up. I looked back at Elizabeth, I didn’t know if I needed help or not, and seeing the tears welling up in her eyes wasn’t reassuring to me, not at all! Oh god, what is this she has taken me to? Then the robed man handed me a white robe and pointed to a room where I was to disrobe and change. What is happening I thought, and why isn’t Elizabeth here with me? Entertaining the room it felt cold, like those who have been here before me hadn’t returned again, at least not the same as when they first arrived! There is was again, the pipe organ. Only this time i heard something else along with it, a stream, a waterfall? I thankfully had snapped out of the trance from that organ and the aroma of incense I had been in earlier, but it wasn’t going to happen again! I looked down at that white robe and wondered what was going on, are they planning some kind of sick wet t-shirt finale or something, but why were Elizabeth’s eyes filling with tears? Elizabeth and I had left one storm behind us when we entered this Cathedral, only to enter another one! I have no choice, I’ve got to find a way out of here, and fast! It had only been seconds since the man in the robe put me in here, but it felt like an hour! The walls had long red fabric covering them, and i thought, just maybe! Sure enough, behind the fabric on the far wall I found it, a window! Fortunately this old building had the windows with fancy brass latches on the inside and I slowly opened the window to be surprised by a garden of white Lilies below, a perfect place to land!
I gave a new meaning to “Hit the ground running” as I sprinted from the bed of Lilies and crossed lawn still wet from that earlier storm. Hopefully now both of those storms are behind me! What was this next step of my journey and this family that Elizabeth was about to indoctrinate me into?

Authors note:
Many civilizations call things by different names, even though there’s little difference between them, regardless of how normal it may seem to a society. One man’s religion, is another man’s witchcraft. It’s all about the Entity being served. In North America that Entity provides a tax exempt status.

B.G.Parker

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