The friar with the blue baseball cap stood on the hill, peering at the seven children freshly crucified. Pain was painted on their faces, there was blood dripping from their empty eye sockets. The ages of the children ranged from about five years to eleven years old.
The friar was smoking a cigar, holding it between his front teeth as his hands were clasped under his habit in a prayer-like repose. Brother Kurt prayed for the world, for the children and for the police who crucified them. There was one thing in common with all off the children – they were all descended of the Church of Minga, a new cult that was birthing from the ground up. No one knew what the cult taught except for those who were initiated.
Brother Kurt remembered back in the day, in the days of the Salem witch trials. He didn’t age a day since those years, and it was almost three centuries later when he stood on the hill now. He had grown to maturity, but not a trace of grey had touched his head, he didn’t know why, and nobody knew, period. He crouched, reminiscing.
Ain’t this what’s been going on for years now? he thought to himself. Fear – ha! People are always afraid and take it out even on the little children who know nothing.
He wandered to the bottom of the hill, greeting the crosses with the young corpses. Cinders from his cigar fell into his long brown beard. The wind blew them out. He placed it between two fingers of his left hand – he was a lefty, before his parents made him switch. He sat before the center cross, cocking his head to one side as he attempted to distinguish the face of that one. He could have sworn he knew him. He seemed no older than nine years old.
He found it funny that no one spoke up. Now a theocracy, America had turned into a country run on paranoia of anything different. There were no open homosexuals or any talk of their kind. Brother Kurt was a homosexual, only inside of the persecutor to protect himself. There was only one religion, which started out as Catholicism when the president started supposedly taking orders from the pope, but then it became known as “American Catholicism”, this religion bulldozing anything not in accordance.
No one was allowed across the border to leave or to enter. Everyone American was American, aside from the immigrants who came before the Great Conversion. Crucifixions were many then and they were many now, like an undying fashion statement. As Brother Kurt stared up at the emaciation sculpture, he pondered: Not even the children were spared.
He now recognized the kid. His mother and he were recruited he had heard through the grapevine, and his father was a government official who didn’t find out immediately but had them both killed as soon as he found out. Brother Kurt recognized the child from the street; he had handed out food to the poor, not seeking adulation. He had a smile that testified to the desire to do good in the world, no matter who to or who for, as long as it was truly good.
But no one ever noticed that anymore. They were more concerned with the label, like the one that was above the head of the decaying child: He Was Wrong.
Brother Kurt threw down the cigar in agitation and disdain. He knew if he didn’t he would have chewed the whole thing and spit it out for weeks. He wondered, Am I really right?