Before the cult, p.9
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       Before the Cult, p.9

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  “I can already imagine CPU coming in here and cuffin’ us.”

  “That would be embarrassing.”

  They went silent, imagining what they discussed. The activity was accompanied by stifled laughs and giggles. Macfearson’s game was a spontaneous exchange of rare unrealistic ideas. Whether it fed our desires or aggravated them was shunned, not to be contemplated.

  “What if Sandy walks out of that room changed? In a way this is a brainwashing institution,” Macfearson started, the fun absent in his voice.

  “You mean how?”

  “Say he comes back and he suddenly believes he is just sick and can be treated for a mental illness or whatever bullshit they teach here. He starts asking us to join that little cult of his,” Macfearson said.

  “What are you saying exactly? What are you asking of me?”

  "Would you believe him?" Eyes on the floor, his voice damp with suppressed emotion.

  “With reason, Fearson. I can’t imagine anything that will lead me to forsake the crop. Even God failed, for crop’s sake!” Macxermillio smiled.

  “I don’t trust these people here and I am not saying this because I wanna go back to sampling. It’s as if evil spirits roam around here. It feels like it’s spellbound. There is a lurking evil here, and it drones. As it drones my skin shrinks. It’s not pleasant at all. The Cheryl looks like a goth devil worshiper.” Macfearson scowled.

  “We have done far more unpleasant things in our quest.”

  “I disagree.” Macfearson shook his head. “This is far worse. I feel it.”

  “I respect your intuition and I will keep that in mind. I will urge him to be careful. We can’t just stop and call it off now.” Macxermillio replied.

  Macfearson’s jaw jerked and he spoke through his teeth, “I see.”


  “What is wrong with me? Do you know what this thing is?” I asked Cheryl.

  Right then my removed self, the watcher, was astonished by all the agony in my voice and how a sob-like sound tainted it. As much as we were desperate for answers, groveling wasn't how we wanted to go about it. My lips began to tremble as if to emphasize how much control I was losing. It was always shameful to cry in front of someone else. Maybe it was not shame but how frightening being vulnerable was and the self-loathing that came with being hurt because you trusted someone. I hated myself enough, I did not need another reason to. I was tormented enough by thoughts of my flawed being and misfortunes that the will to sustain my life in this plain of existence was waning to microscopic proportions. The only reason that was not enough for me to end it was because of the uncertainty and the lack of trust I harbored for suicide.

  I broke-down because no one can withstand such a grand deal of loss and hopelessness.

  A frown formed on her face, grave and disconcerting. She stared at the floor for a while. “Personally I don’t like to put labels on things but it seems you have a severe case of depression. The lethargy, suicidal thoughts, negativity, hopelessness, a dark mood, lack of pleasure or interest and all these things are signs of depression. In your case, there might be some anxiety involved and distorted perceptions or delusions. I think it is necessary to run some tests before we settle on a diagnosis."

  As the whole world jolted to chugging pause, I thought, maybe that is the word they use for the calling. Depression the word for the universe twisting our souls to annihilation with its weight and with the calling somehow taking part.

  I had to ask. “How do you cure it? How do you get out of it? Can you really help with that?”

  “It’s something that can be treated, not really cured. It also depends on your own situation. Depression is a disease of the brain, a mental illness, usually treatable with therapy and some medication or some lifestyle changes."

  What? That cannot be the calling. Some psychological issue or brain problem does not account for this. I was wrong to think she could help. I don’t have a mental illness, she should see that. I should take the stupid test so she sees it, maybe be it is a process of elimination.

  You were wrong to think a mere lifeling would understand us or do anything to help. All they are preoccupied with is themselves. They don't care. She does not care about you or has any interest in saving us. If she did she would at least try to understand you and not pass ignorant judgments, my thoughts took the flaming voice of Macfearson , It is subtle rejection, Sandz!

  “I have seen you for like four weeks this is what you give me? Do you even really care or see how much this is hurting?” I asked, on the edge of breaking into a sob.

  She nodded, calm and almost unaffected. “I see how that can be upsetting to you.” She glanced at the clock as if she had somewhere to be and was finished with me.

  I felt my body start to tremble as I fought the surging emotions in me. Then the world became fuzzy through my eyes, I realized with , disbelief and confusion, that my eyes were tearing up.

  What the fuck is going on?

  I sobbed. "I can't go on," then I sobbed even harder, cowering into dark places within me like a tortoise. I felt exposed. "The waiting is killing me, Cheryl! I need something to make sense, some answers. I don't think I can keep on living. The calling is too strong, not even Macfearson or Macxermillio can save me from myself at this point. Each road I cross I'm tempted to jump. Images of my dead body are my only comfort…and maybe this place." I paused as the next wave of tears hit. My thoughts racing and my heart a boulder in my chest. The world grew gloomy, I could sense a sly smirk and a mischievous leer from it. A deep hatred that I was not sure I deserved. My head dropped, shoulders slumped and my will was sucked out of me.

  Wearily I spoke, “Why can’t I just die? So many people die every day. They are very fortunate, I don’t know why the world mourns them. I envy them. I’d just like to disappear, that is better.”

  “Sandy, look at me.”

  I reluctantly lifted my heavy tired head and emptily stared at her.

  What can you say to make it any better?

  “I’m sure there are people who care.”

  “Like who?”

  “Your family and friends.”

  “I don’t have friends and my family does not understand. I think sometimes they forget I exist. I think they would be glad if I didn’t exist.”

  “Then what about Macfillson and Maxmillio? They aren’t your friends?” she leaned forward.

  I contemplated, somehow the sobs had become gentler. “I guess.”

  “Look, we about to run out of time. I will give you some homework for the weekend as a step towards understanding this, then maybe next week we will look over it and work from there, okay?”

  If I make it next week.

  “Okay,” I nodded.

  “You can start tonight if you want, it’s Friday,” she enthused, a smile on her face.

  Cheryl’s Notes

  Patient: Sandy Macxermillian

  Session one

  Struggling with suicidal thoughts

  Tough time adapting to the environment

  Constant negative thoughts

  Feelings of loss not belonging

  Session two


  Spends most time alone/dislikes his peers--why?

  Has anhedonia

  Pessimistic about the future

  Crying spells and deep sadness “pulling him inside”?

  Major depression?(should remember hm)

  Session three

  Loses track of thought, long silences – spacing-out?


  Lacks trust

  Session four

  Long sleeve shirts always, self-harming maybe? Winces a lot

  Unhygienic/insomniac/ lethargic

  Expresses apathy

  Session five

  Delusions? The calling?

  “lifeling behaviour?

  Rmbr : ask what is “lifeling” +“calling”

  The crop?

  The calling = depression?
  Socially inept

  Cnt. Speaks of death and killing

  Macfeerson and Macxermillio derivatives of pat. surname. Hallucinations?

  Not found in the univ. Records = Not students/not real/townies?

  Rmbr : Give homework (social hm) =CBT

  Spends all time with M+M (only friends mentioned)

  Nts: should follow up on M+M

  Chapter 6


  Time: Sometime

  Place: Nowhere

  A relic of truth.

  Blood waters the crop,

  Fertile red soil,

  Heat rises from the furrows,

  The sun casts red light,

  Horizon to horizon,

  Oh, the fumes! Oh, Deathiculture!

  Here all questions are answered. All makes sense all fits. There is peace and happiness here in the fields and crops of infinity.


  I awoke to a soggy and salty pillowcase. I realized, in a sluggish train of thought, I had cried myself to sleep again. A headache wriggled through my brain. My temples throbbed. My wrinkly shirt now plastered with cold sweat. I could not get myself to think more or do anything just yet. I waited for my heart to stop and to cease breathing completely. I lay there, not knowing what time it was, only knowing with strong conviction that in the next few moments I would surely cease to breathe.

  An hour passed, I couldn't tell for certain, but that was how it felt. It felt like a lifetime. Thought I was paralyzed and stuck in limbo (between life and death), a gradual death. With all my senses, I clenched onto it. Gnawing at the rusty hinges which tied me down to my life-force. At last I saw my life seep out, ashes upon ashes of burned fuel in liquid form.

  I snapped out of my fantasy to an ambient guitar solo.

  “Six am Christmas morning

  No shadows, no reflections here

  Lying cheek to cheek in your cold embrace… “

  Marilyn Manson’s voice seeped out the speakers. His raspy voice accompanying the melody and the lyrics to perfection. A song of diabolical true love burned off its bones. An eclipse of sorrow and pleasure.

  “…She pressed a knife against your heart.

  Saying ‘I love you so much you must kill me now’ “

  It felt like I'm floating. Giddy, it took every ounce of my will and strength to swing my legs out of the bed and touch the cold wooden floor with my toes. Even when that was done a huge part of me stayed behind crippled on the bed. An old wrinkly man with white hair coiled up like a frightened child. He was pale and weak, incapable of controlling his bowel movements. He trembled in the cold and heat, whimpered in the night and day because his anguish and the horrors he has seen never ceased bombarding his mind. He would have gotten out of bed if he could, but he was petrified to severe anxiety. Poor fragile joints and bones that ached with every turn and moment. Because life and nightmares became no different from each other. I carried him with me.

  My shoulders slumped and my head heavy, it all started coming back when I stared at the bookcase in front of me. Although with no complete certainty.

  I am in my room, I thought, not quite convinced yet.

  Couldn’t shake the touch of uncertainty off my back. It would take turning my lights on and scanning the room, looking out the window to see where I was and what time it was, walking into the hallway to check the room number with my name underneath and the two doors besides mine (as if rooms uprooted themselves and moved). Half satisfied, I would return to my room have a glass of water and look under my bed. Then I would sit and brood until the haze is slightly lifted.


  The bottled water tasted like salvation. I sipped it instead of downing it in one go like most, a habit of mine. As I watched out the window two girls passed by, the one on the further side captivated by what the other was telling her and suddenly she laughed. Her cheeks glowing and by chance she looks up at my window and she paused until out of sight. Was it my starry eyes that caused that? Perhaps sensing my foul nature pouring onto her. I couldn’t tell. I didn’t give a fuck.

  “Staring still at the thin fabric of reality?” Macfearson said. I had mistaken his entrance for a note being slid under my door, he was stealthy like that.

  “Not really…just thinking.”

  “That’s the look of a dark lord you’re wearing, deathling,” He grinned. ”I love it.”

  “And I guess you’re here to tease it.” The emotion surging within was pure antipathy and love at the same time.

  “Wish I could hate it!” He ambled over. His eyes peering into my heart. He pulled out my scrapbook from under his trench coat, opened it to a specific page and gave it to me. “Lesley Sebeko died in a car crash last Saturday. I added him to the list,” his tone bland. He was not used to suppressing his feelings, he was trying. It was as uncomfortable as putting off going to the toilet to him, he had to relief himself and the only time he did was when my lust was visible. We harboured ill feelings towards each other. We pretended the tension did not exist although we sensed it in the overtones.

  I scrolled down the names, newspaper articles, pictures and headlines but could not miss or dismiss the highlighted lines. I had to read them twice each like smelling roses.

  Alexis Dune

  Raped, eyes gorged and a shattered beer bottle shoved up her vagina.

  Thabang Dithebe

  His genitals severed and face peeled off.

  Mpho Violet

  Her head severed and staked through her breasts.

  Julia Storm

  Baked in the oven just when she turned three…

  Hape Juliet…


  Page after page, it was appetizing.

  “Do you have an idea what we will be looking for today?”

  Reluctant to look up from the book I absently replied, “We’ll find out.”

  I felt his questioning look on the back of my neck.

  “It will make sense when we get there,” I said.

  “Are you sure she’s not just assimilating you into one of them?”

  “I don’t think so.” Truthfully her intentions weren’t clear to me.

  He snorted. “She is sending you to a goddam bar.”

  I looked up, a scowl on his face. “She is sending us.”

  “You told her about us?”

  “No, but we are all in this together aren’t we?”

  He shook his head. “I never agreed to any of this.”

  “I also never signed off on the sampling. I followed. Thought you would be over this by now, seriously.”

  He clenched his fists on the side of his legs and manically grinned. “Alright, alright! I’m coming with you to the bar tonight.” Eyes bulging from his shaking head, stray hairs trembling over his forehead. “Enjoy your book. I’ll see you tonight!”


  The university, a place which its prime objective is to sell and create new information, failed to solve the problem. Questions which I had assumed were only natural and answerable appeared downright insane. Discovered how lost this place was, declaring the truth to be relative. How could one live in a growing abyss like that?

  Intuitively I knew something was off. The calling was all the proof I needed. The wrongness in the world and life itself seeped deep into the cracks; my burden was knowing it.

  The calling grew audible with each passing sand of time.

  “Jump. Head first, snap your neck and dissolve into bliss. The nothingness, the not being. It is the only way out. You better off dead. No one will miss you, no one will care. The misery, the pain, and the confusion it will slide away. What is life anyway? What is existence?” the calling enticed with its voice, transfixing me.

  “What is death? What does it mean? The end of me or bliss and peace?” I asked, staring out the window as the entity slithered beneath the thin fabric of reality.

  Then there was a cringing pause. Just then the pain of the calling consumes me. Broody, I cried. Hating myself f
or existing. There was a bottomless sadness and grief over being so undone.

  “No one understands you. They don’t get you. They don’t see you. You are invisible,” tears race down my cheeks as the calling whispered from within. “You don’t deserve anything. You are a freak. A wandering mistake, unlovable, and nothing. Not even the gods who created you can love you. All you give will be taken from you. You will always lose friends and carry this unbearable pain in your soul.”

  “Why can’t I be happy?”

  “You are incapable of it. How can you even know what is happiness when you do find it if you have never felt it before? You will always be lifeless, lost, and dead inside. Come, come, jump!”

  “What’s wrong with me?”

  “Your very existence.”

  “Will death extinguish it?”

  “Come, jump!”

  “Will it be painful?” My heart thudded.

  “Yessss… sweet explosions of pain. It’s the most beautiful thing. No drug can make you feel that good. This does not have to go on. You must break to become less fractured. “

  “Will I go home?”

  No answer.

  “What is the crop?”

  No answer.

  “How can I trust you?”

  Silence, then it slowly spoke, “Look inside yourself.”

  “How do I get to the crop?”


  “You lie, right? You’re lying,” I bawled, trembling to my loins


  I picked up the razor blade from the windowsill and started slashing my wrist. That way it would leave me alone for a moment. A moment of strange incomplete and murky peace was worth the trouble, always. The hopelessness and helplessness lingered like drug abuse shame.

  Chapter 7


  Dark sky grumbled above, thrashing us with sweet vomit and turning the world into acid. As green as Scarleton was tonight something was flooding the life in it. It was not the water that raced down from the hills or the rain, carried by the gale that beat down mercilessly. It rendered the streets quiet and desolate, an unusual occurrence in a city where Friday nights tremble with drunken commotion and congested with party people. Usually at the time cars boomed with party music roaming the streets, on the sidewalks drunk students chanting various bar songs, cheering girls, rowdy conversations, and vendors selling fast-food. It was the peak of freedom, rebellion and victory for these students and they were shredding it to oblivion every chance they got. Their minds and spirits were united in making mayhem. On those nights, the streets were bright, too bright. Tonight the streetlights were dead and in the shadows a darkness was lurking, scheming and conspiring. The sky unsuccessfully trying to hold in the rage and menace. Malevolence residing in the alleys, chilling. Eye balls quivered and darted their glances about, apprehensive.

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