Before the cult, p.2
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       Before the Cult, p.2

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  Does that mean if the act was murder the utilitarian would deem it fine as long as it increases happiness? I thought.

  Courtney raised her hand.


  Her raspy voice yanked me from the valleys of my mind and into the moment. “So what this means is that you can substitute the action in this example with any repulsive action and it would still be deemed correct because of the results?”

  The lecturer nodded. “Yes, that is what it means. You’re right.”

  And the mental affair between our two souls began, alive and enrapturing as ever.


  They had been waiting for me, set aside a chair for me completing the triangle formation. Having just walked in I was not in the mood for a little conclave. I conveyed my unwillingness by shuffling over to my designated chair and dropped my bag on the wooden floor. Took every opportunity to show my enervated state in my actions, breathing, posture and facial expression. Macxermillio was not discouraged a bit by my display of unwillingness.

  “Look, guys,” I suspired, “I’m a bit doped. Can we –“

  “What the fuck happened?” Macfearson interrupted.

  I sighed, clearly reluctant to explain, slightly because of the difficulty I sensed would come with putting some words together.

  “Do you find yourself troubled by the philosophy lesson today? I know it can be a tight noose,” Macxermillio said.

  “It’s not that.” I glanced at Macfearson. “Fearson did you kick Jay’s ass?”

  He shook his head. “Nah, that’s part of the reason we should have this meeting now. We think enough time has passed since the last sampling to take on the next one.”

  Macxermillio added. “The town has quieted. Does not seem to have gathered a lot of information regarding the disappearances. The whole thing has spun into senseless sensationalism that nobody cares about from some student newspaper and nothing major. The one that everybody always makes fun off?”

  “You mean The Active?”

  “Yeah, that one. Nobody is taking it seriously and everybody is circulating memes on the internet about The Active’s speculative article about the missing students which was not even close to the number we have nabbed. This means we have been extremely careful, having devised a new technique I think it is time for our next sample. Maybe our last before all of this catches fire.” Macxermillio paused. And later added, “This time it must work.”

  “You know I have been thinking about this a lot,” Macfearson said, wagging his index finger. “I mean the reason for these experiments is to avoid going to heaven or hell or staying in this calling haunted world. It is so that we end up at the crop where we truly belong.” He paused.

  The calling, an unfathomable being like time, everybody had an idea of what it was, but they were never quite sure what it entailed. Not of this world but interacting with this world. No telling if it was merely a deep feeling of loss and homelessness inside us or the cause of that feeling, whether it was an entity with the best of our interests at heart or a force of this world designated to choke and drive us to self-annihilation eventually cleansing this world of lunatics like us. For most of our time, we had known rejection and the unflinching arms of acceptance and love the calling embraced us with where suitably a subject of such doubt and scepticism. The calling had one promise: Do as I say and all will be alright. Just a string of words which never correlated to nothing tangible this far. Trust is earned or promises are subjected to tests like any hypotheses.

  “Yes, that is the reason we study their eyes when they transition,” Macxermillio said.

  Transition was just another euphuism for dying.

  “What if there is nothing wrong with how they transition. That we are missing an element. I propose this element is not control over their state of mind but control on the state of their soul,” Macfearson said.

  “This means what?”

  Macfearson hesitated. “I was thinking we lack an occult element. A ritual or a sacrifice of sorts. Something to manipulate the transition process. Then if it works we could use it on ourselves.”

  Macxermillio shook his head. “No, we can’t mess with the unruly forces and spirits and shit. Don’t wanna find myself in a situation I can't get myself out of. The occult is extremely dangerous it might require us to even add a stranger to our team, someone we can trust. Who even knows if deathling blood is very precious and on crazy demand for those occult lifelings? Let’s keep things within our vicinity where we can control it and remain safe and discreet. I hear you can’t even read an occult writing without inviting some spirits. We already have enough on our plate with the weight of the calling on our backs. That is as much as we can handle now.” Macxermillio paused and shifted in his seat. “It’s too much of a risk. Too demanding and not dependable.”

  Macfearson grimaced. “You have thought of doing this before?”

  Macxermillio looked away a degree. “Someone I knew tried. Let’s just say that.”

  “What happened to him?” I asked.

  He sighed. "Men came in the middle of the night where he slept. They dragged him out to the graveyard. Whipped him, flayed him and drained his body of blood. They took his soul too. Only these things weren't men, but spirits summoned upon him by studying the occult arts."

  “Was he one of us?”

  “I was too young to tell.”

  Macfearson nodded.

  "Now, as I was saying we are ready for our next sample. This time, I think we should strike close by. Three doors down from here and end the reign of Jay. His been a jerk to you and everybody else. People would be relieved his gone and we will be happy we got to break him. And when alarms start going off that students have been disappearing hopefully we will have our hands off.” Macxermillio turned my way with command and control, “We need you to have your lunch on the same table as him and his cronies. Find out what they have planned for the weekend.”

  I sighed. "You mean I should watch him until he goes to the dining hall and then go to eat," I complained. "I'm already starving, Mac. What if he goes there after an hour and a half because he has a lecture or something? Can't we do it tomorrow? It's only Thursday tomorrow."

  Macfearson intercepted. “We need time to prepare and gather resources.”

  “Why are you so cranky though?”

  I kept quiet for a moment, rubbing my neck. “It’s Courtney, Mac.”

  “Courtney?” He leaned forward. “What happened? You finally spoke to her?”

  “I tried. My words died in my mouth. I felt like such a fool.”

  Macfearson laughed.

  I continued. “She waited on me to say something but I was stuttering like I never had before. Then that pretentious class rep bitch interrupted us and ruined the whole thing. She chatted to Courtney and basically blocked me.”

  “At least she gave you the chance to escape,” mocked Macfearson.

  "Why now, though?" asked Macxermillio.

  “It just felt like the right moment to talk to her. She had remained an enigma for far too long. It felt right.”

  “Next time I guess.”

  “How will I face her tomorrow? I feel so embarrassed now. She knows I’m that weirdo guy who tried to talk to her. I don’t know what to do.” I jumped up and threw myself onto the bed burying my face into the pillow. "I don't wanna deal with anything right now I feel like such a loser.”

  “What?” they asked, having heard nothing but muffled ramblings.

  I shifted my head to the side. “I feel like such a loser. I feel quite sick actually. Hope I haven’t ruined the little thing we had by being such a freak. I was basically choking for about twenty seconds in front of her my mouth gaped like a…”

  “Like a?” asked Macxermillio, amused.

  “I don’t know! I don’t even know what I was gonna talk about or do. I wonder what she is thinking of me now.”

  “If she is a petty lifeling who cares?” said Macfearson.

  “No, she co
uld be more than that. She is quite unique.” I paused. “I don’t know how to explain it.”

  “It sounds like you ruined it with your dirty cursed hands. You are not meant to be loved or liked by any of those folks. They look at you and they just see waste. They don’t care about you. They would rather have you stay away than come near them. I’m sure you saw the disgust in her eye when you approached her. She might have signalled for the girl to block you away. She does not want you. Maybe you were wrong thinking there is any hope for companionship in this piss of a world. Isn’t she part of the very fabric that is so intolerant and coarse on our souls? She blends easily doesn’t she?” spoke Macfearson.

  I stayed silent for a moment. "Maybe you are right. She is just as superficial as the others. Nothing of substance there. Took being closer to her to finally see her true colours.”

  Macxermillio solemnly spoke, his hands clenched together in front of his groin. “It is such precious things that the world constantly denies from us. Twisting and driving us under the soil they tread upon. It forgets us and misunderstands us, judges us and reminds us we are of no value to it. But this is not a new thing to a deathing but a horrid truth like death that no one ever gets used to or gets over. I grieve for you, deathling. And this is exactly why you should have that lunch, we can’t be here any longer to endure such torment even souls as hard as ours grow frail.”


  For lunch I was served my favorite meal; baked hake, fried chips, cooked spinach with steamed carrots. As I had predicted Jay came to lunch during last thirty minutes of the lunch period (which span from 12 pm to 1 pm). The dining hall sparsely populated all around but the table where Jay and his friends and a few students from our house regularly sat was occupied from side to side and head to tail, except for one seat situated right next to him at the end of the table. I put my tray there and sat next to him. Strangely I was feeling confident and less nervous. Maybe because of the knowledge that his demise was nigh.

  “Hey, guys!” I greeted.

  They all stayed silent as if they had not heard me.

  Puzzled I repeated, a bit louder this time. “Hey, guys!”

  Still the same treatment, the little grin I had employed this time began to quiver.

  “Guys, Sandy, says hi,” Jay said ironically.

  A few responded with laughs.

  He leered at me. “Sandy, no one says ‘hey’ to another guy. It’s gay.”

  I giggled paradoxically. “But I always say ‘hey’! It’s a greeting. There is nothing girly about it.”

  The others laughed. One of his cronies replied, “Say somethin’ like ‘howzit’ or something.”

  “Yeah,” said Jay, spreading his arms. “For God’s sake, Sandy, stop being a bitch nigger for once.”

  “What’s that? What’s a bitch nigger?”

  Half the table exploded in laughter, laughter directed at me. A few voices going, “C’mon, Sandz! Yoh, everybody knows that.”

  “Sandy, you wish you were white don’t you?” said Jay. “I’m even surprised that you decided to sit with us today you always sit with the white guys.”

  “What do you mean I wish I was white? I am who I am.”

  “Guys, does Sandy speak, walk and act like a real nigger?”

  Half the table replied, “No!” While the other quarter exploded in laughter... The last quarter, bystanders mumbling under their breaths about how rude Jay was being but lacking the balls to confront him in case they get cauterized.

  "Guys, have you heard the music that Sandy listens to?"

  "No. what does he listen to?" asked one of the students at the far end, seeming genuinely curious rather than participating in the mocking.

  “He listens to that heavy metal shit. Like that devil worship kind. All you hear when walking past his room is screams and squeaks. You can’t tell what the fuck is going on. He is probably in there slashing his wrists or some shit.”

  The boys responded with a mixture of gasps and roaring laughs. Spat drinks and food flying everywhere. The bystanders covering their mouths with their hands and swallowing a few giggles.

  I attempted to stop it by using shock. I rested my elbow on the table and pulled down my sleeves to expose an array of cut marks across my left arm, descending to my concealed upper arm. The most recent cut still seeping. "You are right. I actually was slitting my wrists." I grinned widely. "Impressive isn't it?"

  Some scowled, some flinched, some stopped chewing and some spit the food in their mouths back into their plates. The silence swept the whole table, everyone just staring and some gasping at its sight. Then there was mumbling. They started looking at each other.

  “That is disgusting,” Jay said. “Put that away please.”

  I defiantly stared into his eyes. “No, let’s carry on talking. Are you gonna tell me black people don’t do this too?”

  “Sandy, please put that away dude. We are eating here. We are asking you nicely, okay?” said one of his cronies, his eyes watery.

  I covered it up and resumed eating my meal as if nothing had happened. I could sense their dumbfounded glances exchanging around the table and a select few just staring down their plates unable to shake the image of what they had seen, twirling and probing it in their heads. A significant number of them plainly dazed.

  “Sandy, if you ever go on a killing spree, because your kind does crazy shit like that, would you please not start with me?” said Jay with a tinge of sarcasm.

  A few people laughed.

  He addressed them. “I’m serious though guys.” He chuckled uncontrollably. “Sandy is some manic depressive freak, I tell ya. You gotta try be on his good side.” He turned my way. “Sandy, please just let me know, dude. If you just snap at least don’t start with me, okay? Be fair, give me a head start.” He chortled. “Okay, Sandz?”

  The whole offered some type of weak laughs, but the most vigorous were from him and his cronies.

  As the pain escalated and the shame worsened I bit down my tongue as hard as I can. I figured I could not ask him what he would be doing this weekend from here. With a bloated heart and enveloped by a veil of darkness, my lips began to tremble and tears blurred my vision before slipping down my jaws in rivers. The thought of sinking the table knife in his neck a very tempting one, I fought and trembled to let go of the knife and the fork. Images of blood spurting out his neck as he shudders and screams filled my mind. His shocked wriggling body waning and kicking the furniture around and the bystanders petrified and flustered at the sight.

  Soon, Jay, very soon you will know how it’s like, I thought.

  Quickly I arose and flounced out the place.


  Standing under the willow tree outside in the garden, I distraughtly wiped my tears burst after burst with my rocking palms, fingers, and fists. I would not walk to residence from there because I ran a risk of running into someone which would make the encounter even more embarrassing. Could not bear the thought of anyone else witnessing my desolation. The willow tree was where no one would think to look even with a mindless glance, not even a place where a stoner would want to be. It was damp and mosquitos whirred about. The self-blame started boiling up inside of me resulting into more waves of tears that rendered my hands slipper, I noticed that I would have to use my wrists if that continued. Against my pathetic attempts to calm myself stood the resounding insults inducing a sensation of a thin thread being pulled through my brain, leaving me with a pulsing headache. Another wave of tears began as the self-loathing gnawed at my state with its range of insults and commentary that perpetuated the feeling of being alone in this world and how it would be best for everyone if I slipped a noose around my neck. Mostly reminding me of how I can barely stand living underneath this scarred skin and how I would appreciate total annihilation of my soul. Too much hate and emotional hurt for one soul to carry without exploding. That is when the craving for a blade on my skin reached its peak and the ground beneath my feet ceased to hold. There was one way I only
knew how to help myself from being buried by the darkness that was eager to consume me. Pain, self-inflicted pain. I fiercely butt the tree’s trunk with my forehead three times or so.

  It must have been a few minutes or so when something warm and moist fell on my forehead. I opened my eyes and above me the sun shone clearly through the bristling branches. Distant voices, the rambling of vehicles on the road across the garden and the coming and goings of students by the stone cobbled walkways from the dining hall leading to an array of places eased me into consciousness. My shirt felt soggy on my back and mosquitos and flies buzzed over my body. I wiped my forehead with my fingers. Inspected them to find bird feces mixed with my own blood. I felt my forehead and discovered I had a gash right in the middle of my forehead. I figured I must have knocked myself out from banging my head on the trunk like that. Then I stumbled to my feet, looked around and it seemed no one had noticed. I brushed the leaves and grass off my trousers and started walking to residence.

  “How did it go?” was Macxermillio’s greeting when I walked into my room. Macfearson was on the computer surfing the internet. Eyes on the screen, all he could do was to echo Macxermillio absently.

  “Um…” I tried to speak then Macxermillio interrupted, “What the fuck happened to your face?”

  Macfearson looked up from the laptop. “Did Jay hit you?” Darkly, he smiled.

  Macxermillio tittered. “What happened?”

  “New form of SP.” I walked to the mirror by the basin to inspect the wound, it was swelling and seeping. “I banged my head against a tree. Too upset.”

  “Did not go well then?” Macxermillio asked.

  “I don’t know.”

  “What did they do?”

  “They got to me. Showed them my scars.”


  “Needed to shut them off.”

  “It worked?”

  I grabbed my towel on the rack beside me and started wiping the blood. “No. It only got worse so I went outside and did this.”

  “So nothing got done?”

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