The Devil's domain
This is the third part of the series “Cult princess”. It could be read alone, but it is advised to find the previous parts on my profile.
That night, when everyone was asleep I took my bag and packed it with some clothes. I snuck out of the house and walked through the streets of Paradise. I spent the last 8 years here and it was hopefully the last time I would see the town. I had anxiety attacks all the time, as I was wondering if the prophet’s secret police would find me.
When I was out of Paradise, I fell to my knees and thanked God.
I walked all night and finally found a small road. I decided to follow that. I read once that when a person did not know directions, they could walk around in a circle. This caused me to worry a bit as I was afraid I would end up back at Paradise. The thought also made me smile, as knowing my luck, it probably would happen. I figured that I will do how people found baby Jesus, I followed a bright star in the sky.
I walked all night. I was cold and I was hungry. I had no clue where I was going and I had no clue what I would do. Every sound made me scared, thinking there was some wild animal ready to have me for their dinner. I was afraid that God would strike me with lightning for leaving Paradise. Despite that I was in agony, I was also happy as I felt free! Freedom was worth the coldness and my tired feet.
It was nearly morning when I came to a crossroad. I had to rest. I must have walked for miles and miles. I sat down on the wet grass and folded my hand and thank God because I survived the night and did not freeze to death. I looked up to heaven and asked God was running away from Paradise his will? Did he still love me and was I still one of the special chosen ones? I had tears in my eyes that if I have done something against his will, that he would not hate me. I hoped he would not punish my mother that was left behind. I kept on asking God to understand why I ran away and not to hate me.
My prayers turned to anger as I asked God how he could support what happened at Paradise. It was the place that took my Dad away from me and when I did fall in love, my boyfriend was expelled from Paradise. Dad was forced to leave because the prophet fell in love with me. The prophet even wanted me as an extra wife. I turned 18 and he is old enough to be my Dad. The prophet is paranoid and punished his followers because he thought they betrayed him. At the same time, he lived a life of luxury while his followers toiled and slaved all day and starved. I asked God how this could be his will and how could he have the prophet as a best friend?
I have made my decision and it could be against Gods will. I was no longer at Paradise. I was at some crossroads with names of towns I did not even know. Which one should I go to? What would I even do when I came to a town. Where would I sleep and how would I eat? I should have had a detailed plan when I left Paradise. I was now officially an adult. I could do what I wanted to do. I did not want to remain on some cold and wet grass at some crossroads. I wanted to have a home with a nice bed and with nice food!
I could not decide what to do. I did not consider that in the 8 years that I was at Paradise, that I never had permission to do what I wanted. I had to do what the prophet and elders at Paradise wanted me to. This was something that screwed my mind. Any normal person would know which way to go when they came to a crossroad. If they did not know, then they would take a chance. I could not even do that.
This made me mad and have some anxiety. I imagined myself here at the crossroads for the rest of my life. The only time that I moved was when I have seen a car coming. I would jump behind a bush and pray that it was not the secret police from Paradise. The prophet considered me his next trophy bride, so he would lose no time in finding me. The thought of the secret police made me sick in the stomach. I could not imagine the torture and the punishment that I would receive if I was caught.
Then I thought that maybe I should go back to Paradise. I was safer there, warmer and at least I had something to eat. I could say is that I just went on a long walk and hope that the prophet showed me mercy. I knew that it was my hunger and the coldness that made me think this. It did not help that it now was raining and I was drenched to the skin. I had to remind myself that this was my freedom, and freedom came with a price!
I was by now so tired that I laid down on the wet grass. As I was falling asleep, I wondered where Julian was. He was a sweet boy that I loved at Paradise. When the prophet found out, Julian was exiled from Paradise and he was only a teenager. I fell asleep as I kept on asking God how he could be the prophet’s friend. I closed my eyes as I needed to sleep.
I was woken up by a woman. I was still very tired and first thought that she was my mother. I told her that I wanted to sleep for 5 minutes more. She just told me that I would get very sick if I stayed out in the rain.
" What’s your name,” she asked
" Stephanie. Are you... did you come to take me back?”
" Take you back to where? My name is Morri. Why are you laying on the wet grass?”
" I was tired.”
" Where were you going? Where is your home”
" I do not know”
Then she smiled and told me that I was coming home to her house. Then we would figure out what to do. As she helped me into the backseat of her small car, I asked her if she knew Julian or if she knew how my Dad was doing. I was thinking that the world was like Paradise, where everyone knew everyone. I fell asleep as she drove.
We finally came to where she lived. It was a small house that had lovely roses in the garden. She had very old furniture that had so much style. It was like a small museum but there was a nice atmosphere in her house. I felt very safe.
Morri told me that it was best I soaked in a nice warm bath, so I would not be sick. I smiled as I saw the bathtub was full of bubbles and scented soaps. I do not know how long that I was in the bathtub. I felt like I was 11 again. It was a strange feeling. I was at a strangers house, and she showed me as much love as my mother has done in years. We never had bubbles or even privacy at Paradise. We took showers and these were often half cold and more of a duty than just relaxing.
Morri told me that the long dress I had was drenched wet. I could wear some of her daughter’s old clothes. It was a jumper that had all the colours of the rainbow. There were also jeans. I looked in the mirror and I looked so pretty. The last time that I wore jeans was before we moved to Paradise. At Paradise, we only wore long simple and dull dresses. As I looked in the mirror, I could see the small 11-year-old girl that was forced to live in a cult. Then I realized that I was 18 now. I was wearing clothes that would be frowned upon at Paradise. I could not help it, but I burst into tears. The girl in modern clothes in the mirror was proof that I have escaped from Paradise.
After I could control my emotions, I tidied the bathroom and washed it so it was as if I never used it. Then I went to the kitchen where Morri was setting the table. She did not even look like my mom. She looked more like a grandmother. Her face was kind but it also had many wrinkles, which was evident to the troubles that she had in her life. She was not very tall and memories of my granny came back.
There were also pictures of a young woman. I figured that she was the woman’s daughter. I wonder why she was not here. Did Morri take care of me because I reminded her of her daughter? We have learned at Paradise that the people that lived on the outside did not care about others. They were only interested in materialistic things and doing the Devils work. I was so confused. If this was the case, why was Morri so nice and why did she have a cross in her house?
The TV was on. This was another new thing for me. The prophet was the only one that had a TV and we were not allowed to see it. Now I could see the news. There was no news about me escaping Paradise, which made me think that the world was so big and the world did not care about what happened at Paradise. It was not important for them.
Morri told me that it was time to eat. She made some sandwiches and had given me a soda drink. I forgot there was even something called Pepsi. I have to tell you that this tastes like a drink from heaven. Morri smiled and even could not help laughing as she noticed that I was trying some things for the first time in years.
I told her my name and that I was now 18. I had no home but I knew that my Dad, Granny and my boyfriend “lived out here”. Morri smiled and suspected that I came from the religious cult close by. She was also amazed that I walked so long.
When Morri asked me if I wanted to talk about the cult, I went silent. I did not want to speak about it. It was a time of my life that was full of pain and loss. I did not want people to think that I was weak enough to have been in a cult for so long. I did not want Morri to think that I was weak and I let the prophet control my life for so long. It was too embarrassing.
Morri could see this and told me that we could talk about it when I was ready. She also told me that I would live with her until I knew what I wanted. I would be safe here and she would love having me. I could use her daughter’s old bedroom.
Should I trust Morri?
When I was alone in her daughter’s room I fell to my knees and prayed to God. I begged him that my mom was ok and the prophet would not punish her because I left. I asked God to help the other people. The prophet could punish them and blame them for my escape. I prayed that I could find Granny, Dad and Julian. I also asked God to protect me and help me trust Morri.
To be continued