James "Copywright" Joseph
The dark-skinned, young boy looked sullenly ahead of him in the distance, wishing he could change what was about to happen. Running a hand through his spiky black hair, he turned to look at the young woman who had the same dark colored skin tone he had.
She gave him a gentle, yet sad smile. "I'm sorry it's gotta be like this, Zach. We'll keep in touch, right?" she said.
Zach looked down at the floor. "It's not fair! Just because they believe in something different than you do, Neariah..." he said. "I wish I could come with you."
Neariah touched Zach's shoulder gently and said, "May the Highest One protect you, brother. I have a feeling he has great things in store for you."
Neariah climbed into the cab, her eyes shining with the tears she was trying hard to suppress. Zach's tears were already flowing, but he sniffed and wiped his tears in a desperate attempt to look brave. Looking at him, Neariah wiped at the tears now leaking from her own eyes, and closed the cab door. As the driver slowly drove off, she waved to Zach, hoping he would be okay. Zach watched the cab until it was completely out of sight before sighing and going back inside to prepare for church later on that day.
"Zach, did you iron your clothes?" his mom asked.
"Yeah, Mom. I'm about to go get dressed."
His mother slowly walked over to him before whispering softly, "Zach... how did it go?"
"Fine, Mom. Now please excuse me while I get dressed," Zach replied before walking off to his room and closing the door firmly shut behind him.
Alone, Zach fell down on his bed and thought about how his life would be from now on. Neariah had always been his best friend and companion. Imagining now being without her was hard to bear. Her seemingly crazy beliefs had also made sense to him.
The "Big Deceiving" theory made sense but he never got the chance to get more details. As Zach put on his shirt and buttoned it, he smiled while thinking about the 14 years of memories with his sister. Tears flowing anew, he buckled his belt after pulling on his pants, as a memory of making snow angels and a snowball fight he and his sister once had filled his mind. Zach's heart ached as he remembered the question his sister had asked him that day. Her words replayed in his mind, 'Do you think it can always be fun like this, Zach? Forever?'
Pushing the memory away and hastily wiping the tears from his eyes again, he headed for the door. As Zach opened the door, the image of a triangle flashed into his mind. A voice accompanied this image with an ominous warning, "Don't go down this road, Zach. Stay true to what you know. For your own good..."
Strange shapes flashed through his mind, before slowly returning to the scene of the sunny morning outside. A little dazed and slightly shocked, he frantically fled to his mom's car and waited in the backseat for the rest of his family. As he waited, he couldn't help thinking he might be going insane. Who was that voice? What were those shapes he had seen? He had no idea whatsoever. Clearing his mind of the thoughts he decided he'd go pray for an answer to his questions when they reach the church.
As soon as his brother Nero, his mother and father all piled into the car, they sped off to the church. Zach kept quiet the whole ride, he knew his family wouldn't believe him if he mentioned anything about earlier.
When they arrived, Zach quickly climbed out and briskly walked into the church, quickly getting seats from him and his family. Zach looked around at the congregation, but didn't truly find anything out of order. Everyone seemed to merely be waiting for the ceremony to start.
Once the ceremony opened with the usual songs of praise, Zach glared at the priest. He couldn't help thinking that the priests were to blame for Neariah having to leave. Things went on slowly; a man read from an awkward book, the priest finally got into what he mainly wanted to preach about, and people stared in front of them without a word.
Zach tried not to yawn while sitting through the mass, yet he couldn't help feeling intensely sleepy. He was saved from falling asleep when everyone had to get up for the communion. Zach got up while feeling a little stiff and got into the line along with his family to receive the bread and wine.
As Zach took from the bread and wine, he noticed the priest giving him a hostile look. Ignoring what just happened as best as he could, Zach returned to his seat. His emotions were still so confused and troubled about Neariah's departure, that he didn't think any further of why the priest had reacted so hostile.
After the ceremony was finally over, Zach told his parents he needed to quickly go to the bathroom first. While walking down the hall and past the priest chamber, he heard a priest chanting foreign words. Curious, he stopped to listen more intently. Zach remembered noticing every time that he was a church the door to this particular room would be closed and locked. As far as he could remember this was the only time ever that it wasn't locked and the door not fully closed. Before he could help himself, his curiosity brought him to sneak close to the door and peer inside.
"Oh Father of Understanding and Bearer of the Eye that sees all, I am your messenger and your servant. I have done this week's brainwashing of the people's minds to please your cause. Please accept my service," the priest said while holding his hands in a prayer form.
But what caught Zach's wide-eyed attention even more than this priest praying such bizarre things, were the objects in the room. Against the furthest wall was a large poster of the Triangle he saw from his vision, strewn throughout the room were bent and broken crosses. The thing that caught his attention the most though, was a strange box placed on a pedestal.
Zach may not know what this all meant, or what was inside that box. But his inner senses told him that now was a perfect time to run for the hills. As Zach turned around he bumped straight into another priest.
"Your eyes and your ears have cost you your life, young one," the priest growled. Bewildered, Zach hardly registered the priest's words. Before he could reply anything, the priest's fist connected with him and he fell to the floor.
Dazed and disoriented from the blow, Zach tried awkwardly getting up to no avail as another fist connected with his face. The blow stung and Zach felt a hot liquid run down his face. 'Blood,' he thought while cringing. Lifting his eyes carefully up to the priest, he had only enough time to see the priest bring his fist down again, before he almost blacked out.