A flash fiction piece originally posted - Jan 2, 2012
I am posting again because recent events in Texas seems to be coinciding somewhat with this potential future scenario.
Elder Jacob Bean closed the banned copy of the Scripture. He understood why the second book had been outlawed during the Troubles. Harsh times called for harsh measures. The clearly defined rules found in the first book were perfect in their simplicity and dovetailed well with the brutal measures taken to fulfill the Great Elder’s prophecy of the Final Reformation. He could not understand though why owning such an innocuous collection of harmless fables was still on the list of capital offenses. Would not a good caning suffice?
Rules were rules. Shortly Elder Bean forgot about it. He was only as inquisitive as he needed to be to render a verdict. Without new rules, his only choice was to convict. It was a shame they had no females of breeding age. At least they would have been spared. Elder Bean shrugged. The family of three would have to die.
“Jarrad get in here.”
No response. Servo-tech Jarrad was not at his desk. Elder Bean got up and walked out to the anteroom outside his office just as Servo-tech Jarrad came careening down the hall. “Deep Apologies Elder Jacob, …….call of nature.”
Elder Jacob Bean’s cold eyes studied his assistant for a moment. “I understand simple Jarrad. Even eunuchs have to urinate.” His eyes softened and what might be construed a hint of a smile whisked across his face and was gone. He handed Jarrad a bulky envelope. “Please forward this to the Council of Elders ASAP. I have rendered my decision.”
“Yes, right away your Holiness.”
The Final Reformation was in full swing by 2075. The Troubles that had started in earnest around 2024, ripped and tore through Humanity for fifty years. The planet’s population had at first tried to discuss their differences. Unforeseen political and military alliances were formed. Regional confrontations escalated into planet wide scorched earth campaigns. War, starvation, disease, and mass suicides took their toll. By 2035 less than two billion souls still walked the Earth. Religious zealots took control over two thirds of the planet. The Pan Asians controlled the rest.
The Age of the Three Kingdoms had begun.
Scurrying servo-techs connected last minute wiring to the feed going out planet wide. They applied last minute make up to aging Elder faces and fussed over positioning of the altar in the Elder Well. The two prayer benches upon which the Witnesses would sit had been scrubbed and polished. Three stainless steel crosses with braided wire restraints formed a semicircle around the altar in front of a larger Cross upon which hung the current facsimile of what Christ looked like now. He sported a stern face now days and fierce eyes. His arms were spread open as if welcoming all who ventured into the Elder Well, but it was his razor sharp hands that told the truth of what went on here. The Elder Well was designed for one purpose – to instill fear. Fear kept the Elders in power. Only the pious walked out of the Well alive.
Christ had finally transitioned from being the son of God and was now God’s Avenger.
Elder William Graham ll sat and fidgeted in front of his mirror. Tonight would be his first chance at the Bloody Pulpit. He worried every detail with his hair, his robes. He practiced his severe look. He worried that his sweat would show through the heavy makeup. After all, the Witnesses, comprised of the founding Elders would be watching his every move. Sweat would be a sign of weakness in his faith. A servo-tech with a clip board touched his shoulder. “Five minutes Elder William.”
“Are all the sacred devices in place?”
“Yes Your Holiness.”
“Well then, let’s break a leg.”
The servo-tech counted the last few seconds before the night’s festivities began. “9….8….7….6…..”, and then with his right hand he silently finished at 3 and …………… an off camera tech with a calm mellow, made for prime time voice began.
“Welcome good Christians of the Realm. The night’s Sacrifice is brought to you for the first time from the newly constructed and righteously blessed Harold Camping Studios here in New Holywood. Elder William Graham ll will perform God’s Will as Heaven’s Apprentice and will be witnessed by twelve of our most revered founding Elders."
"Tonight’s unfortunates are a family of three from Oxnard. Caught with a copy of the New Testament, the mother refused to acknowledge her sin and plead for mercy. Their fate was sealed when her husband tried to run with her and their son of six. So tonight for your viewing pleasure, …….tonight we have a three-fer."
"Ladies and gentlemen let the festivities begin……………”
Mullah Saluman Kaleri sat 6000 miles away watching the feed from the Realm. Others in his mosque considered the monthly sacrifices broadcast over the Net nothing but more foolishness from the Realm of God. He knew better. There was more to their monthly bloodletting than just reinforcing the fear of God to maintain control over their heathen majority. They wanted a new crusade. What they did today, tomorrow, next year was all aimed at defeating Islam. The sacrifices were a promise of sorts should the Infidels successfully overrun the Kingdom Of Allah. He knew this because it would be what he would do to them.
The Mullah watched the various players take their places in the Elder Well. He watched each “lamb” being led or dragged in by two ornately masked assistants who shackled them each to their respective crosses. He watched the Acolyte solemnly lay out the cloth which held the devices of the Sacrament and then stand at attention to the right. “Ah”, he thought. ”Tonight the new guy has chosen blades to purge their sins.” Mullah smiled and settled back to watch.
The music swelled. The house lights dimmed. The audience grew quiet. Suddenly spots lit up Jesus. Fire and sparks shot out of his eyes. Heaven’s Apprentice began his slow march to the pulpit. Adorned in a simple red and green striped robe tied crudely with a knotted piece of hemp rope he gave the appearance of a god fearing man until he looked at the camera. At once he became a figure to fear. William Graham acting as Heaven’s Apprentice had nailed the look. There was an audible gasp heard as the audience moved forward on their seats. This was a man to fear.
What followed was a well rehearsed sermon of the evils of allowing unclean thought to sully the mind of the faithful. Mullah Salumen Kaleri lost interest and turned the sound down. With one eye on the feed, he poured himself some tea and was just raising it to his lips when the first cut was made. Mullah turned the sound back up and settled in. “This guy knows how to do it.”
He took a sip of tea.
@ 1150 words
Image - Salvdor Dali - Christ of Saint John of the Cross