Keep the Faith

I've written this story based on a game that I played with my sorority in which we had to answer questions based on the bible but if we didn't get them right we would get sent back out of the house.

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5. What is Faith?

Xavier’s POV-

I walk up the stairs with my bible in hand. My parents have not come down stairs yet so I have time to get up there and into my room before they see me with a bible. Lord knows that they would not hesitate to kill me if they saw this book in my hands. I quickly run up the stairs and into my room just as my parents open their bedroom door. I place the bible under my bed in a secret little compartment and close it just as my mother opens my bedroom door. I quickly roll over and pretend to be sleeping as she walks further into my room.

“Xavier?” She calls my name but I don’t answer her. “Sweetheart, it’s time to get up.” She says as she approaches my side and gently starts shaking me. “Your father wants you to attend the ritual today.” She tells me. I feel myself tense up. “Come on. I know you’re awake. Now get down stairs before your father gets upset.” She commands me. I groan and roll over.

“I don’t want to go to rituals. I don’t even have to attend until I at least turn 21.” I tell her. She nods with an ‘I know that’ expression on her face. She motions for me to get up. I throw my legs over the edge of the bed and stand up. She smiles and pushes me out of the room and almost down the stairs. I walk into the kitchen to see my father sitting there patiently waiting for my mother to make him breakfast. He motions for me to sit down.

“Son, I want you to come with me to a ritual today.” I look at him and nod.

“Okay. How long will it be?” I ask him. He raises his eyebrow.

“It will probably take about three hours. Plus the time it will take to walk to the house and set up once we get there and then break down and walking back home. So about five hours, why?” He asks.

“I was going to hang out with some of my friends tonight but we should be back in plenty of time for that.” I answer him. He nods with a big smile on his face.

“That’s great. Where are you going?” He asks.

“Just into town for a few hours. I should be back by morning.” I lie to him. I feel a tug at my heart as I lie to his face but with this new religion it’s actually kind of expected for people to lie so it’s not something we get in trouble for.

“That’s great. Well, I’ll make sure to get you back in enough time for that.” He claps me on the back with a big creepy smile. I just smile back and nod before standing up and going back up to my room. I grab a backpack out of my closet and start packing my clothes and then I grab a cross and my bible. I then go and lay across my bed on my stomach and let out a huge sigh. I reach down under my bed and grab my notebook from another little secret compartment. I flip over and rest on my elbows as I start to work on my journal entry.

8/22/2022

Today starts a new journey in our lives. I have the lives of five other people riding on my shoulders and I’ve never been more scared of doing something than I am right now. But I trust that God has a plan for this expedition and that he won’t lead us astray. We are following him blindly down this path of almost certain doom. I have prayed about this moment for two years and now that it’s finally happening I’m so freaking scared about it. I have to trust in my own knowledge of the bible plus the wisdom that God bestows upon us everyday.

May those who
love us, love us
And those that
don't love us,
May God turn
their hearts;
And if he doesn't
turn their hearts
May he turn
their ankles
So we'll know them
by their limping

 

I decide to add that last part in because it is something that I have memorized and it seems to fit in this day and age. I close my notebook and stuff it into my backpack also. I hang my backpack up in my closet and close the door. I change into my clothes for a ritual which is all black and then I wear the cloak because my father is the “priest” of this religion. I finish getting dressed and I see that it’s already 10 which means that we are probably going to be leaving soon. I walk down the stairs and see my father just finishing getting all of his needed materials together and throwing his cloak on.

“Are you ready to go?” He asks me. I nod and he walks past me and starts heading out the door so I follow behind him.  “We are initiating a new kid into the religion today. He just turned 21 and his parents have asked me to bless him and do a few different rituals with him to get him accustomed to our ways. You don’t need to participate but I want you to stand there and watch so that you know what to do when you take over my position.” He explains to me. I tense up at the mention of me taking over for him but I just keep silent. We walk in silence for the rest of the hour that it takes to walk to this house and then he quietly and quickly sets up all of his different rituals. The parents bring in their son and make him sit down in front of my father. “Are you prepared to be brought into this religion?” My father asks in an uncharacteristic deep voice. The boy smiles and nods his head. I keep my head down and start reciting prayers and anything that I can think of but not out loud and distracting to the ritual that my father is performing. I look up to see the boy convulsing on the floor with my father standing over him chanting something. This is what they do to newbies, they make them get possessed and then cast the demon out so that the kid knows what it feels like. I start saying an exorcism out loud and the kids head snaps towards me.

“You are not a worshipper. Why do you come into this house?” The demon asks. I take off my hood and stare directly into his eyes.

“I’m not old enough for this fun stuff yet. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to expel demons.” I answer him confidently. My father had stopped his chanting and both of the kid’s parents are staring at me.

“Expulsion of spirits is not supposed to be something that we know. And where did you learn Latin?” My father asks me as he stands up and comes to stand over me. He’s trying to intimidate me but it’s not working.

“I studied. Is there something wrong with that?” I ask. He glares at me for a second before turning away from me and going back to his work.

“Please leave this boy, he will now be your vessel for whenever he is willing to let you in.” My father orders. The boy turns back to normal in a matter of seconds and sits up. He looks around at all of us with a confused look on his face. “How do you feel?” My father asks him. He looks questioningly at my father before getting a look of recognition on his face.

“I feel great. I feel really powerful now.” He replies. My father smiles and nods.

“Good. Now I will brand you with the mark of our religion.” My father pulls a poker that is shaped like a pentagram out of the fireplace and places it on the back of the kid’s neck. I cover my ears as he screams in pain as the heat burns into his skin. My father removes the iron after a few seconds and stands up to talk to the parents. “He is now part of the religion. Guide him well through this early stage of his rebirth.” He tells them. Then, he turns and starts packing down all of his stuff which takes about thirty minutes and then he walks toward me. “Let’s go son.” He walks past me and out the door. I nod to the parents before following him out the door and heading home. I make sure not to walk up with him because I’m not prepared to get chewed out for standing up to him like I did. I arrive home about an hour later and my father had already gotten here about thirty minutes before me. I walk through the front door and start up the stairs to grab my stuff and head to my spot but my father stops me. “Do you think it’s cool to stand up to me like that?” He asks in a dark voice. I turn around and see him sitting at the kitchen table.

“No. I guess I just wasn’t thinking about where we were or what I was doing.” I answer him. He nods with his lips pursed as he thinks about something, probably a punishment for me.

“You won’t go tonight. I want you to stay in your room for a while and think about what you’ve done. I might invite you down for dinner.” He tells me. I just nod and act like I’m really upset about not being able to go. I run up the stairs and slam my door shut and lock it. I grab my phone and see that it says 5:30 so I grab my backpack and climb out my window. Once I reach the ground I run as fast as I can out of view of the house. I reach the edge of town and then I slow to a walk as I head through to the center trail of woods. As I approach the trail I can see Danika bouncing from one foot to the other as if she’s nervous.

“Danika!” I yell her name as I get closer. She jumps and turns around only to realize that it’s me that called her. She lets out a sigh of relief and as soon as she can reach me she smacks my arm.

“Don’t do that! You could have given me a heart attack!” She yells at me with a smile on her face.

“Sorry. You just looked really nervous.” I tell her. She rolls her eyes and then gives me a ‘no duh’ look. I laugh at her trying to lighten the mood because I’m also very nervous about this. “Well, shall we go ahead and get started or do you want to wait a bit?” I ask her. She looks between the benches and the trail before putting on a brave face.

“Let’s get started.” She nods in determination. I nod at her and then grab her hands.

“Let’s pray.” We both bow our heads.

“Dear Lord, guide us through this uncertain time. Help us to know what you want and not just do what we want as we follow this dark path to our salvation. May we prove that our faith is just as relevant as theirs is. And may we turn some hearts once we make it to the capital. Give us strength and guide us through this valley and may we come out on the other side victorious. In Your Name we pray, Amen.”

I raise my head and look at Danika she still has her eyes closed. I squeeze her hand and she opens her eyes to look at me. I see tears pricking in her eyes so I pull her close to me.

“We will make it through this.” I tell her as I squeeze her tight in a hug and then release her. She gives me a weak smile and nods. “Do you trust me?” I ask her and she looks at me with wide eyes.

“Of course I do. I’m just really nervous.” She tells me. I smile and nod at her.

“Me too.” I tell her. She smiles and shakes her head. She grabs my hand as we start to walk down the path. I grab the flashlight out of my pocket before we get too far down our path. We walk in silence for about fifteen minutes before we hear a sinister laugh coming from beside us. I accidentally drop Danika’s hand and she gets pulled into a giant body. He has his arm wrapped around her neck.

“Well well well, what do we have here?” The guard asks. He looks between the both of us. “Are you guys run aways? Because you know that’s not allowed.” He explains. I stand up tall even though the man is probably two whole heads taller than I am.

“We are defending our faith.” I answer him. He looks at me and then grips Danika tighter.

“Oh really? Then I’m going to test your knowledge and hope that your friend doesn’t run out of time while you’re answering. What is faith?” He asks me. I know this answer because before everything went to hell this is the one thing that my parents drilled into me.

“Faith is believing without seeing.” I answer shortly. The man sneers at me and drops Danika. I run up and help her stand while slowly backing away from the giant.

“Get out of here.” He tells us. We walk away because Danika is in no condition to run.

“Are you okay?” I ask her. She gives me a look that says ‘what do you think?’. I give her a sad look before coming to a stop at an old abandoned house along the path. I open the door and help Danika in and to the couch. I lay her down and she falls asleep almost instantly. I sit in one of the lounge chairs across from her and slowly doze off before falling into a deep sleep.

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