Friday, August 05, 2005
The Everyday Savior
Artwork by Rae Ann. Story based on an idea she came up with. Read part 1
He sat in filth, on a ragged moldy cot that smelled faintly of old urine. He was happy for it all the same, as it was the first he'd sat down in several days. He rubbed his temples. Miracles tended to make him out of sorts, but healing really gave him a headache. He sighed. It didn't matter. He'd take a week's worth of migraines if it meant more people could live free of disease.
"You should eat," a voice spoke behind him.
He shook his head. "There's precious little food here," he said. "Don't waste any of it on me."
A young woman came to sit next to him, resting her hand on his shoulder. "It would not be a waste," she said. "For what you've done..."
He waved her words away. "What I've done is simply what I can," he said. "I'll eat at... somewhere else." He'd almost said "home". But he hadn't had one of those in over a year. Not since...
He stood up, slowly. He was beginning to feel stiff. Regardless, he had to move on. The longer he stayed, the greater the chances of it happening again. The people, the questions, finding himself revered... No. Never again. Not after what happened. He clenched his fist. Why did he ever let the old preacher talk him into that television ministry? All the people he could have helped, all the lives that could have been saved, and he'd wasted months preaching nonsense and performing parlor tricks for wealthy fools.
He smiled, remembering the way he'd finally quit the ministry. Officiating over the marriages of 100 homosexual couples simultaneously on global TV put him slightly out of favor with the devout Christians at the television studio.
"Ah, so you do have a smile." He'd forgotten she was in the room. "I was wondering where you'd hidden it."
His grin turned sheepish. "Sorry. I have... a lot on my mind."
"I don't doubt it." She crossed over to him, reached up and kissed him.
He touched his lips as she pulled away. "What..."
"I get the feeling you'll be moving on," she said. "I figured it was my last chance." She looked over her shoulder as she left the room. "You won't be forgotten, Dan." Then she was gone.
No, he thought as he made his way to the other door, the one that led outside. He wouldn't be forgotten. Everywhere he went, he seemed to leave behind... disciples. People who dedicated their lives to spreading his message and continuing his works as best they could.
He pulled his tattered coat tighter around himself and walked down the street, head bowed against the wind. It was a simple message, or so he thought. And he didn't really preach all that much. He just talked to people about being kind to one another, caring for those less fortunate, showing tolerance for those who are different. He just talked, but the more he did, the more people listened. He--
A van pulled up next to him, tires screeching on cold asphalt. There was the loud rumbling of the door sliding open, then a sack over his head, a sharp pain at the back of his skull and then... nothing.
He woke atop a hill. He was cold, dressed in little more than his underwear.
"Ah, you awaken at last, Mr. Nicholas." The voice was even colder than the air, with more than a hint of menace. "No doubt you are wondering where you are, who I am and why you are here."
"I'm more concerned with the location of my pants," Dan said wearily. "But you seem eager to talk about yourself, so don't let me keep you."
A tall thin man with graying hair stepped into Dan's field of vision. He was well-dressed, and conducted himself with the air of casual superiority attained only by those born to money. "Charming," he said. He began to pace in front of Dan, gloved hands clasped behind his back. Dan shivered and rubbed his arms with hands made of ice.
"My name is unimportant," the thin man said, "as is the name of my organization. All you need to know is that we are here to deal with people like you."
"L-like m-m-me?" Dan wished he could stop his teeth from chattering.
"Messiahs," the thin man said. "Saviors. Prophets. We exist, as we have for thousands of years, to prevent the Second Coming."
The thin man laughed at Dan's confused look. "What? Did you think you were the only one?" He laughed more, and was joined by two large men who laughed with him. "No. You are simply one of many. Yes, you've managed to elude us for a time, and you've built yourself quite a following. But we can put them to use. We'll see to it your message is... tweaked, to bring it more in line with the way we see the world."
"A-a-and w-what w-w-way is that?"
The thin man smiled, a smug self-satisfied smile. He'd wanted Dan to ask him that. "Isn't it obvious? There are two kinds of people in the world: men of worth and pedigree, and those upon who's backs we stand. And if those people suddenly decide to stand up," he spread his hands, "well, where does that leave us?"
"And if I d-don't co-co-co-operate?"
The thin man chuckled. "Who said we needed you to?" He gestured, and one of the large men came forward, handing him something. "We have a more... permanent way of dealing with you people."
And he held out his hand, revealing three large nails.
As Dan's arms were grabbed roughly by the two large men, the thin man leaned forward to whisper in his ear.
"And just so you know, we're planning to blame the queers this time."