Day 1 of 30 Day Writing Challenge
Day 1: Select a book at random and use the last sentence of the story as the first line of your new story.
Then he turned back the way he had come walking out of step with the others and headed alone into the city. “It was the perfect time,” he thought. They were so caught up in the events of the day no one noticed he turned on his heels and walked away. Walked away from the only life he had known. ”
He found himself in the park sitting on a bench overlooking the statue of Mayor Tammeron, who was always at odds with Pastor Jake. He believed the church was a cult and that the members needed to be saved from Pastor Jake and his radical beliefs. Michael remembered how the Mayor would run them out of the town square when they came to town, every Wednesday afternoon. Pastor Jake was arrested and put in jail after he and Mayor Tammeron got into a fight. The members prayed outside the jail for two days. When Pastor Jake was released he informed them that he and the Mayor had reached an agreement that they would only come to minister every six months.
On the rare occasion they would go to town Michael would often wonder what it was like to be one of those people who Pastor Jake and the church, including himself, condemned in the square. He would preach from the makeshift pulpit for hours. The younger kids would sit in a half-moon formation in front of the pulpit indian-style, with backs as straight as boards, and hands placed on their knees If at any point this position was not held one of the monitors would poke at them with a stick that came to a sharp point. Some were poked so hard that little red dots could be seen on their white tunics.
Pastor Jake would preach for hours and one of his favorite sermons to preach was”Fire and Brimstone”. He would begin with reading Genesis 19:24-25:
Then God rained brimstone and fire down on Sodom and Gomorrah – a river of lava from God out of the sky! — and destroyed these cities and the entire plain and everyone who lived in the cities and everything that grew from the ground.
“We are living in Sodom and Gomorrah right now,” he would boom. “And if we continue to ignore God, He will punish us in a hail of fire and brimstone. He will punish you,” he would say pointing to some passerby. “Repent of your sins now. Save yourself now. Today. It’s not too late.” If that didn’t stop any one he would move on to Revelation 21:8, which usually worked to bring some man or woman down on their luck into the church.
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
It’s been over a year since the church’s last visit to town. Apparently Michael wasn’t the only one who left the church that day — Rebekah, Isaac, and Mary also left. It’s been said that Pastor Jake needed to implement new security measures to keep this from happening again. Michael, Rebekah, Isaac, and Mary were taken in by friends of Mayor Tammeron’s, who lived in the neighboring towns.
“They’re coming to town,” Mary told Michael, Rebekah, and and Isaac.
“How do you know?” Michael asked.
“I overheard the Johnson’s talking to Mayor Tammeron.”
“When? asked Michael
“Next Wednesday afternoon and he wants our guardians to keep us away from town that day.”
“Why?” asked Isaac.
“He thinks we might be in danger.”
“I think we should go,” Michael said.
“I don’t know. I like my life the way it is now and who knows what kind of danger we may be in if we go” said Rebekah.
“Who knows if we’ll be in any danger at all. Your know the Mayor and Pastor Jake have always been at odds. It could be the Mayor’s way of scarring us into not going.
“But Michael, you know how Pastor Jake got when Gideon and Martha left and he found them,” says Mary
“Yeah, he brought them back to the compound and whipped them in front of everyone. He said they were being made examples of,” said Isaac.
“It’s time we make another stand. We grew up afraid of what could happen to us if we didn’t conform to Pastor Jake’s beliefs and we believed for a long time that if we left the church that we would die because we weren’t under his protection. I think we should go and let him and everyone else know that you can lead a life without sin outside the church.”
Michael, Rebekah, Mary and Isaac go to the town square Wednesday afternoon and Pastor Jake is there in his makeshift pulpit and church members are circling the square looking for vulnerable souls and shouting at others. “Save yourself now. Repent or die in a hail of fire and brimstone and be doomed to live out your eternity in the fire pit of hell.”
“Remember, we stay together,” says Michael.
Pastor Jake looks up and sees them. “I see we have former members in our midst.” They are converged upon by church members. “No. Leave them. This is a peaceful time and we have no qualms with these misguided youth. Let us pray for the salvation of their of their souls and that they will find their way back to us soon.” They all bow their heads and begin to pray.
Michael is approached by one of the Deacons after Pastor Jake has finished preaching. “Pastor Jake would like a word with you.”
“No, I don’t think so. We’ve already wasted enough time here and we’ve got to get back home.” Michael says as they turn and walk away.
“Michael,” Pastor Jake shouts after him. “Michael just one minute of your time. Your friends can stay with you.”
“We will stay right here in the open where we can be seen. What do you want?”
“I’m hurt you would think that I would harm you. I was going to tell you this on your sixteenth birthday, but you left the congregation.”
“What is it?” Michael snaps.
“You are the next in line to Pastor the church. It would be nice if you came back to assume your rightful place.”
“What are you talking about? The only way that someone can take over the church is if he is the son of the . . . ”
“Yes. Michael, you are my son.”