Gina followed the erupting ovation and moseyed over to the light cracking from the curtain. The stage was inches away from where she stood. Chills ran up her spine while eyeing the hungry crowd gazing at the adolescent prisoner as if she was a pig at a luau. State Police hadn’t arrived yet. Crawling under the stage was a bad idea. How in the world can she pull off this rescue?
“Before we start this service,” Thorn continued to preach, “I ask you, brothers and sisters, to give praise to the true and living God! The one who has rescued us from inferiority and dismay! The one who has given us a chance
at immortality by carrying on his mission to vanquish the weak souls who’ve plagued this planet with their lies of this unseen God! Whom which we hear about from that blasphemous book they call a Bible!”
The cult booed.
“They say he mysteriously floats around and shows unconditional love toward humanity. Meanwhile, we still have poverty, heartache, and diseases that decimate our lives! Why do they call our sacrifices evil?! People sacrifice each other every day in robberies and shootouts for meaningless materials and mint pieces of paper! Satisfy themselves by abusing their freedom! Giving in to their blood-thirsting lust! Is that something to be thankful for?!”
“NO!!” the cult yelled in unison.
“They can keep their God! I don’t believe in any of these beings or idols
this heathenous world has created! Why? Because as a child I was taught to never believe in fairy tales!!” Cheers and applause followed.
“And that’s what has brought us all together this evening. We all know
who the true and living God is! And after tonight, every soul on this planet will also see the truth. The world needs a wake-up call. And we have been chosen to usher in the dawn of a new age!!!” Another eruption of cheers ensued.
“Tonight, we give our God a pure soul to thank him for opening our eyes. For revealing the truth about this ugly world, which has kept us enslaved for years! Politics! Government! Laws! Economics! That all comes to an end tonight!”
Veronica fought the urge to grab her gun and put these twisted fanatics out of their misery. Gina, on the other hand, was terrified, witnessing an army of brainwashed killers being created before her eyes. Thorn’s words sounded convincing, but he was as mindless as the rest of his flock.
Praise died down. “We’ve been promised power beyond our wildest dreams for following the Holy laws. He has promised that we will burn in his everlasting fire! Our souls will roam free once our God takes back the world that was stolen from Him! And once that happens, he will rule for all eternity!!!!”
The group cheered again.
Instructing his gathering to bow their heads in prayer, Thorn spread out his arms and lifted his head toward the ceiling. He asked the dark lord to accept the showering of adolescent blood as a gift of eternal worship. This was the opening Gina needed. State cops or no state cops, this ludicrous act of murder had to be stopped. She ran on stage and sucker-punched the first guard. While falling into the crowd, he knocked down a candelabrum and the stage caught on fire.
Thorn howled like a trophy wife on welfare as his robe started burning. Second guard let the fire eat his skin as he tore off the flaming garment. “CURSE YOU!!” yelled Thorn. “You dare bring your blasphemous forces to condemn my holy sacrament?!! YOU SHALL BE PUNISHED!!!”
Amid the chaos, Gina swiped the evil knife from its stand and pried open the shackles wrapped around the little girl’s limbs. To her surprise, she recognized her face from the newspaper this morning! Christine Jordan!
Crying in relief, Christine freed her arms and wrapped them around the
sheriff’s neck, heavily sobbing while expressing her gratitude. “Heathen!” Thorn shouted, pointing at the sheriff with overwhelmed eyes. “She is a demon from this world, sent to perish us all! Kill her before the window closes! My minions! Everyone! Kill her now!”
More guards ran on stage and slammed Gina down. Thorn cheered from
the sideline like an obsessed sports fanatic. Just before the guards could do their worst, two loud bangs filled the room. Blood trickled from their leather masks. Thorn was mortified as he watched his henchmen plummet off stage. Veronica stood in the middle of the stunned crowd, holding a smoking gun. “DON’T LET THEM LEAVE ALIVE!!!” Thorn shouted to his congregation, seething with anger.
At that moment, the calvary finally arrived as dozens of sirens rang throughout the town. Fleeing for their lives, the followers broke down the doors and scattered in different directions. Dozens of squad cars zoomed down the streets of the dead-end town. Armored state policemen rushed onto the grounds with rifles and shotguns. Many followers gave up voluntarily, but others got killed for choosing death before betrayal.
Gina guided young Christine Jordan to the entrance of the secret passageway, showing her the way out. Before she could leave with her, the crazed leader jumped on her back. He snatched the knife out of her hand and wrapped his other arm around her throat. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” he screamed. “WE NEED DEATH TO GIVE HIM LIFE!! I GUESS YOU WILL HAVE TO DO!!!”
The sheriff judo flipped him to the ground. The knife got lost among the panicking ruckus. Three members jumped in front of their leader. However, they tumbled like bowling pins as she landed straight punches against their jaws.
A disgruntled guard charged at her with a sneak attack, but a click by his ear caused him to stop in mid-motion. It came from the cold steel clutched in Veronica’s hand. Reading his rights was unnecessary.
BANG!!! BANG!!! She canceled his membership.
More followers attacked her with knives and swords, but Veronica instantly dropped three of them with bullets to the skulls. She dared for the rest of them to come, but recognizing it was a no-win situation, they ran for their lives.
Stumbling onto the stage, Thorn watched his legion disintegrate into cowards. Nevertheless, his thirst for power consumed every cell in his brain. Witnessing the sheriff pummeling his minions like pizza dough, he grabbed one of the large candelabrum on the stage and lifted it over his head. Swinging with all of his might, he struck Gina in the back of her head. She dropped to the floor, lying motionless.
The lunatic leader yelled over her, “You ruined everything! My flock is gone! My army is gone! BUT I WILL TRANSCEND ON MY OWN!!!! The Lord will reward me for going to the ends of my life to oversee his revival! You will all suffer a great deal for disrupting my ceremony and MY GOD will make sure that you BURN FOR ALL ETERNITY!!”
Seeing her best friend about to die, Veronica squeezed on the gun trigger, but only clicking sounds came out. Her refills were hidden underneath the overgrown cloak. No time to search for them. She then spotted the satanic knife on the ground. Thorn lifted the candelabrum overhead and aimed it at Gina’s skull. At the last second, Veronica picked up the knife and flung it across the chamber.
Blood gushed over Thorn’s clothes as the blade pierced his black heart.
His eyes rolled back while dropping to his knees. Suddenly, his skin immensely bubbled while smoke rose from every opening of his face. Screams morphed
to a deep roar as a bat-like demon ejected from out of his mouth and blasted through the ceiling. The rest of his body disintegrated into ash.
At that moment, white beams illuminated from the pentagram symbols on the knife, forming into one fiery light. Veronica stared at its unnatural beauty. Just then, a fiery beam blasted from the knife and struck her in the chest, throwing her back against the doors. Winds swooshed throughout the chamber. Wall torches fell over. Flames rose and ate away at the rest of the old church.
Woozily regaining consciousness, Gina climbed to her feet and staggered toward an out-cold Veronica. Chunks of wood fell around them. She carried her friend and staggered toward the secret passageway as the flames vastly
approached. Reaching the cellar doors, Gina climbed up the stairs as fast as she could. Unfortunately, she wasn’t fast enough as the entire church exploded!
The ladies were thrown several feet across the field. None had moved, not even to breathe. Unresponsive to the continuous chaos happening around them, State policemen feared they were dead. EMT’s checked on their condition.
Pulses were weak. Immediately, they rushed the officers into an ambulance and
took them to Colfax County Hospital.