Writing Prompt #3

“This is an unusual age. It is an age of cultists.”

Steve looked up from where he’d been doodling in his notebook. The word cultists had pulled him from his daydream of being an incredibly rich man, living a life no one in his family had ever experienced. Of course, there were girls. There were always girls. Hot, beautiful tall blonde girls hanging on his arm and acting as if they cared about what he was thinking. Steve snorted.

“Do you have something to add to this, Steven?” Mr. Garrett asked. His brow was furrowed. By the time he looked up at the man, he was shoving his black rimmed glasses up his nose. “Do you not agree with me?”

“I have hardly agreed with anything you’ve said since I’ve started taking this class.”

Steve paused momentarily, hardly believing he had said it. He’d been telling others about this nonsense. This man, Mr. Garret, was supposed to be a history teacher. Instead, he seemed to be an anti-religion teacher. Steve didn’t care one way or another whether a person believed in God or not, he just didn’t care to have their beliefs shoved down his throat.

“Tell me how I’m wrong then,” Mr. Garrett said, still indignant with having been interrupted. “Tell me how all religion isn’t just a bunch of cults. If you can tell me that I’ll pass you.”

Steve took in a deep breath. He should have kept his mouth shut.

“I don’t feel that believing in a higher power is a cult, Mr. Garrett. The reason being is that these religions and churches have been around for centuries. The people need to know that there is more to life. Who’s to say that there isn’t a Heaven or a Hell? Have you seen either of them? Have you died and been resurrected? If you have, well, then I might be more inclined to believe the bullshit spewing from your mouth. Until then, these things you have been teaching us, well, it’s just your thoughts, not based on actual facts. This is a history class, Mr. Garret, not an anti-church class. I did not sign up for that.”

Several students applauded him and started berating Mr. Garrett. Steve sighed heavily. Well, this isn’t going to go well, he thought as he stared at the man growing angrier and angrier by the moment.

And then, he was talking again.

“You asked me to tell you how religion isn’t a bunch of cults, well, here it is. A cult puts something else in an equal position with Christ. Furthermore, whatever they place there, person or object, it will also have a ritual equal to Christ. Churches and most religions say that Christ is our Savior. Cults teach that salvation comes through Christ plus their way, whatever it may be. Also, I have to say that some cults don’t even acknowledge Christ.”

“Are you finished, Steve?” the man asked through clenched teeth, shaking his head.

“Not quite, sir. Cults typically try to introduce fear into their followers, and I’m not talking about through sin as the churches do. They like to say that if an individual leaves them, they will lose their salvation. That isn’t true. Whatever happens is between you and God if you so choose to believe in God. Also, Cults try to gain power, money, or influence from manipulating people.”

“Don’t churches do the same thing through their donations? Isn’t the belief that donating money is a good thing?”

“Yes, but it doesn’t erase your sins. Confessing them doesn’t either. Confessing them is merely acknowledging that we have committed sins and have asked for forgiveness. Donating money to a church is to help the church and its members.”

“Well, time is up,” Mr. Garrett said, glancing up at the clock above the tiered seats. He looked to Steve and smirked. “This was a good discussion. Tomorrow, we will continue our discussion of how the ancient Grecians are still influencing society today.”

Steve hurried from the auditorium, afraid Mr. Garrett would catch him away from the others. There was something odd about the man. A few of the other students had waited for him, congratulating him on saying something. Steve merely nodded and passed through them on his way to his part-time job at a grocery store where he would ring up people’s orders for the next six hours. Yay, him, he thought.

*****

“Get up.” The rough command came right before the thump to his side.

Steve groaned. He had stayed up late, reading the chapter that had been assigned in one of five classes he was taking. It seemed he could never get enough sleep. The light flickered on beside his bed. For several moments, he blinked, trying to see who was sitting on the edge of his bed. It took a moment for him to realize that no one should be sitting there. The windows were locked and so was the door. That was the part he loved about central air. By the time, he could see, he was frozen in place. Sitting there, wearing all black clothing was his history professor.

“Follow me,” Mr. Garrett said. “You need to see something. Perhaps then you’ll see my concern.”

“What are you doing in my apartment?” Steven asked, furrowing his brow.

“Come on, we haven’t got all night. I have a class to teach in the morning and you have a class to attend. Come on.”

Steve remained where he was. “I’m not going anywhere.” He reached for his phone.

“You don’t want to do that.”

“No. I believe I do. You broke into my house. What did you expect would happen?”

“I was hoping you’d have enough sense to come with me. There is something important I need to show you. The reason why I say religion is a cult. It doesn’t have to be. It isn’t yet, but it could easily become one.” He paused for a moment. “You’re the only student in years that I’ve deemed worthy to even show. Now, get your ass up, get dressed, and follow me.”

Steve stared at the man, curious. He set his phone back on the nightstand and dressed himself in the clothes strewn across the chair.

The car ride to wherever they were going was done in silence. Steve kept glancing over at his history professor, wondering if this had been a mistake. Suddenly, the car sped up. He glanced over. They were doing ninety and accelerating.

“What the hell are you doing?” Steve yelled. “Slow down! You’re going to get us killed.”

Mr. Garrett simply grinned over at him and pressed the petal to the floor. When Steve looked back, there was a mountain in front of them and a curve in the road, he knew they weren’t going to make. He thought about jumping from the car. At least that way, there might be a chance he could survive. He wouldn’t survive crashing into the mountain.

“Please,” he heard himself whisper.

“Relax.”

“How can I possibly relax! We’re going to die.”

Mr. Garret simply laughed.

Steve closed his eyes just before the car hit the mountain. When no collision occurred, he opened his eyes slowly. Oddly, there was a large city sprawled out in front of him. A deep frown captured his face as he stared at what seemed like floating lights in the dark. Something passed them from overhead. As his eyes followed it, he realized it was a car, hovering. His throat tightened.

“Where are we?”

“The future.”

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