A young girl is initiated into a secret society of which Father Jamie Cordain believes she will be the leader of. But will she accept his charge, or create her own path to greatness?
“Can I ask you a question?” The man in the brimmed straw hat smiled as he walked around his compound. This was his domain, and he adored it even if it was in a hayfield next to a shoreline. “What are you here for?” He laughed into the microphone, his brown eyes looking around the crowded field. “A new job, working for a boss that doesn’t care about you?” He walked forward and backward, caressing the microphone gently, putting it back to his lips and staring with his bright brown eyes. “My momma, she used to say ‘James, why do you worry so much of what others say? Why do you allow yourself to suffer?’ And I, I looked, into, her eyes and I said ‘Momma I am not gonna take it anymore, screw you,” He smiled at them, the sheep, dancing in rhythm to his voice. It was time to take it to the next level.
He moved up to them, face to face, and swayed back and forth, raising his voice to a fever pitch as he yelled “I said ‘Screw you! I am out of this hellhole!’ And I became something that day that even the Almighty Himself could not imagine!” He paused as a raucous “Hallelujah” came like a thunderclap across the fallow field. He paused, to let himself breathe in this moment, like fire. He bent himself backwards, holding the microphone in one hand and doing a handstand with the other. It was as though the fire had possessed him, and as he let himself up, he let the Spirit take over.
His voice had become little more than a whisper. “I became free. I went through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and I feared no evil. Why? Why did I fear no evil?” He laughed again, turning and now walking in a circle, playing with the microphone in his hand. “He who is free has no masters to chain him.” Silence filled the congregation. He raised his voice once more "He who is free is a God among the sinners trapped in their cages, and lambasting against the steel, cry out that they have nothing but their shallow existence that they themselves created! Haha, it is a tragedy formed from sheltered tears and splattered blood! And all those people who murdered your hopes and your dreams, they are nothing. They are nothing but ghosts, living lies, living in a dreamland that they themselves hold true. Every moment we lie in wait for rapture, a revelation of the truth. Vertias! I pray you receive it in your heart and in your soul that we as a people rise in hope and glory, that our brethren fear no evil, for we ourselves,” he paused, staring into the crowd. They weren’t alive yet. “are the creators of our own master plan with the Lord as the provider! ” He heard someone yell amen loudly in the corner, and grinned. She had been the only one to say it.
“Come up sinner and let yourself be free from the bonds that did shackle ye! For He hath said 'I am the Door!' Come through child and become one with Creation,” he said, raising his free hand out and pointing directly at her.
The girl, not yet 17, walked silently through the hundreds of people before her. She was alarmed by their sudden deafness. The crickets chirped as she pushed her way to him, downcast eyes from the odd people staring at her. “What did I do,” she thought, as she pushed through the hay that separated Father from brother and sister.
“Be not afraid,” he whispered to her, “For I am with thee.” She smiled sheepishly, and blushed. “Little girl what is your name?”
It was by all intents and purposes a simple question, but the girl had no reply. She opened her mouth to speak, squeaked and then closed it, blushing harder and putting her pale face down as the crowd snickered and laughed.
“Do not humor yourselves at her expense!” Father yelled furiously. “Do you not know what the Lord sayeth about children?” He touched the girl’s shoulder and mouthed “Stay.” The man, who had at once been the loving caring Father, now spoke in a rage as he pushed through the hay directly into the cattle, every word a bullet accentuated by a pause with the last word sounding like a bomb. “Suffer, little, children, and, forbid, them, not, to, come, unto, me: for, of, such, is, the, kingdom, of, heaven! Matthew Chapter 19 Verse 14!” The crowd of people now stared in shocked silence, their pastor’s eyes full of fire.
“This lass,” he continued, his voice returning to normal, “is precious. This lass is vital to the survival of our community for she is the way to Heaven! Her silence is her bond, her calling to the Word of God Almighty to whatever He hath planned for her! We should hail her because she is the Mother of Compassion our Mother Maiden and so she shall be Mary!” The crowd cheered as though on strings. “As we baptize her into our fold we say our Mother's prayer.” The girl gasped as all of this makeshift church came together and prayed in unison:
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum, benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus.
Sancta Maria mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.
The girl, bewildered by all of this, watched as the moon hung like an intruder glancing at the forbidden fields. Cyprus trees cascaded the landscape with a foreboding gloom that pervaded the land. Out in the middle of the ocean behind Father, on an ancient looking sailboat stood a man dressed in crimson robes, his hands outstretched to the moon as if in tribute to it. The stars hung like spider webs amidst the waves which were crashing in syncopation with the eyes of this vagabond stranger. He turned his head, and within a cloak of shadow, he spoke in a low reassuring tone to the girl, just low enough for her alone to hear. “I’ll be waiting for you, ma petite.”
She smiled and nodded to him, and when the commotion died down, went back to sleep in the barn house until she knew she could be alone with the Marquis.