DAY ONE – The Redhead and The Preacher man.

Artwork by Johnny McDaniels @fiddlinpig on Instagram

“And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads.” He wiped the sweat from his forehead. Thick beads that made the napkin he was using soggy.

It was my fourth time hearing this sermon. Each time it was the same audience, and the same bellicose responses. A people preconditioned like trained animals; they could not see beyond the pulpit. The underground church was the last bastion of a past that no longer existed. A bridge between the world we lost, and the world we now inherited. I fingered the small lump underneath my skin. Bio tech more advanced than anyone on the planet had been given.

“That no man… NO MAN!… might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” he drawled out each statement for maximum effect. He smiled at me, and I returned his gaze. A feigned smile and nod of the head to show my appreciation. He, however, wanted to appreciate me in other ways.

A quick look around the tent covered hall, that became a food distribution center, health clinic, and legal aid access point after each service, and I could tell that many people were still desperate. The old, camp styled tent meetings, was a throwback to an age that was somehow a reflection of what was once good about us as a society. The preacher had an audience; I was not included. I was looking for one face in the crowd. The information we had received had said he would be here today.

I zoned out the rest of the sermon, the butt of my firearm was brushing against a wound that was still yet to heal. A scar under my left breast was still infected, and I could feel my immune system fighting with all the strength I had left. I reached discretely and adjusted the harness. Medicine was considered contraband. I would need to see Arlon for treatment when I got back to base camp.

“The word of the Lord never lies. It has come to pass just as He declared!” he thumped the makeshift pulpit with his right fist, a signal to the musicians to get the choir warmed up. This is where he would remind them all that in 2031 the prophecies of Revelation came to pass, and a generation of rebellious erring children still delayed the day of the Lord. It was all lies.

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