It was a quiet morning in the Cairns household. Mrs. Cairns was preparing breakfast for her family of five and her husband sat at the head of the table with his nose in the newspaper. “Look at this Mary,” Mr. Cairns said, angling the newspaper towards her.
Before Mrs. Cairns could answer look at it, their children came tromping down the stairs. They raced each other to the chairs as Mary laid the food on the table. “Good morning, boys.”
“Good morning, mum and dad.” The three boys chorused. They started to eat.
“Ow! Mum, Ben’s fork poked my hand!” Gregory, the eldest, said.
Mr. and Mrs. Cairns looked at the youngest child. “His hand was in the way of the last pancake!”
“That’s because I wanted it!”
“Could you just eat in silence?” Michael told his brothers. He was looking at them in exasperation. Honestly. Ben and Greg were always bickering. “Just stop it guys.”
With that, the fighting stop and the only sounds were from the clanking of their silverware against the plates. After a while, Mrs. Cairns spoke up. “What was it you were going to show me?”
“Something about Relegion. It says here that there are only a few people left who refuse to join.” Mr. Cairns read. “I just don’t understand why they just don’t conform. What’s so important in their religion in the first place?”
“Can I be excused?” Benedict asked. With a nod from his parents, he got up abruptly from the table and practically ran out the door. He ran and made his way to the park.
Anna was waiting for him there with her left hand clutching a piece of paper. When Ben was close enough, she showed it to him. “Look at it,” Ben finished reading it and Anna smirked. “He’s coming earlier than we thought.”
“Shh!” Ben looked behind his back. Of course, there was no one there. The only people who visited the park were him and Anna but one could never throw away caution. They began to walk together. “How long has everyone been waiting?”
“Just for half an hour.” Anna said as she opened the door to the house they were using. “You better have a good explanation why you’re late this time.”
Benedict didn’t answer and went down the stairs. His heavy feet silenced whatever conversation was going on. They watched Ben and Anna descend and make their way to the platform in the middle of the room. “Have you heard of this?”
A voice called out. “We’re not ready!”
“Who says we have to be?” Ben challenged the speaker. “All we need is ourselves and that’s enough to start a war.” A hush fell as he uttered those words. “If you want to back out you can say it now.” No one spoke. “Now, the Speaker is coming tomorrow and he’ll be passing through town. Has everybody got their assignments?” Everybody nodded. “Good. Meet back here later and we’ll go about the strategy one more time.”
Everybody dispersed until it was only Ben and Anna left in the room. He sat down and put his head in his hands. Anna nudged him. “Come on, daily worship is starting in a few minutes.” They left the house and made their way to the town square.
They made it just in time. The alarms blared and everybody dropped to their knees. Anna and Ben followed to keep up the pretense. “Omnes unius religionis principes.” Everybody chanted three times. One religion to rule them all. Ridiculous. Another alarm blared and they all stood up to dust of the dirt on their clothes. They then walked to the temple for the daily sermon their town speaker. “Three years have gone by since Relegion has begun. Now, our town will be rid of the last protesters at last. The Speaker will arrive tomorrow to watch us catch the last rebel and end it all.”
Ben traded glances with Anna and she tried to shake her head. It was blasphemy to make any movement during the sermon but since they were in the last pew, a few movements would go unnoticed. The sermon ended and everyone hurried out of the temple. Ben and Anna walked to the park. “That was a really weird sermon.” Ben remarked.
Anna nodded and looked behind her. “Yeah really weird. Listen,” Anna stopped walking and Ben did the same. “My parents are out. No one’s at home. Want to come over?”
Ben thought it over. “Sure. We can discuss the plans for tomorrow.”