Church of the New Covenant
Brother Ramon awoke, his naked body aching and weak. His head pounding, swimming in a fog of confusion. Fragments of monochromatic light, blurry shades of gray and white filtering into the emptiness behind his eyes. This is what blindness must feel like, he thought. If only his nose was as impaired as his vision, the stench of this place was strong enough to fell an advancing army.
There was nothing before this moment. His mind blank like a book set to page 113, nothing but stark white emptiness filling the preceding pages. Who was he? Where was he?
Ramon rolled onto his side. Reaching out to feel his surrounding, the floor pushing back as he ran his hand across the cold stone. As he continued to probe his surroundings, the stone gave way to rough-hewn fabric. He gripped and pulled but something held it in place. Leveraging its weight, he dragged himself to the object anchoring the cloth.
His vision still compromised, he reached out to the object. Cold and lifeless, it felt rough and rubbery against his fingertips. As he continued to grapple his hand slid onto a mound of course strands. He clutched and pulled himself closer, his other hand probing… lips, nose, eyes. What the… it was a face, a human face. He recoiled in horror jerking his hands away from the woman’s face and pudenda.
He stumbled to his feet momentarily then collapsed in place. He lay there for a while, too exhausted to move. His eyes recovering, the room slowly revealing itself. Afraid to look anywhere else he stared straight up into the rafters. The ornate ceiling of an old church gradually coming into focus. There was something familiar but just beyond awareness.
He turned, now able to see the woman he had groped. Ashen skin rippled against her still frame. Her breast was pulled flat by gravity with her nipple frozen erect from the onset of rigor mortis. A lifeless corpse tucked into her opposite arm. The child cupped against her side as if still suckling at the other.
Reeling, Ramon sat up, the stillness of the empty church silently ringing in his ears. Across the floor, countless bodies lay motionless. All naked, some flat, some crumpled on themselves, others twisted together where they fell. It was a macabre yet peaceful scene. No blood, no violence, just quiet death.
Ramon stood to leave, at first carefully stepping over the dead, picking up speed until he was running. He did not get far, his foot catching on an outstretched leg sending him tumbling into a family locked in a final embrace. That is when he noticed the small plastic cups alongside the bodies. A green residue clinging to the bottom of each vessel. The pieces falling into place as the stream of memories flooded back in.
The congregation gathering, naked and pure for the journey home, the promised land waiting to greet the chosen few, the green liquid meant to cleanse the recipient soul. Then it dawned on him, was he, brother Ramon not worthy? He was devout in following doctrine as prescribed. He was not a member of the Council of Enlightenment but he held their respect and the respect of the entire congregation. There must have been a mistake.
Where were Master Gideon and the council? He searched through the dead but could not find their remains. He began to question everything. Had The Church of the New Covenant been a lie? Another cult of suckers. His worst fears were confirmed as he sat on the stone floor staring at Gideon’s pulpit.
Ramon wept amongst the dead, his friends and family nothing more than victims of an elaborate ruse. A crime scene waiting to be discovered. Why had the poison not killed him? He wished it had. The buzz of a vibrating phone broke his train of thought. He scrambled to find it amongst the loose clothing strewn across the floor.
Brother Ramon dialed 911 as he swallowed the green liquid left untouched by Gideon (if that was even his name.) The sound of the phone hitting the stone echoing through the church as it fell to the floor and then only silence.
Lady Jabberwocky’s Prompt of the Week.
Prompt: Describe a crime scene
Date: 2022-05-02 | Tags: #promptoftheweek