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    WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

    EXIT INTERVIEW by Vincent Cleaver
    April 3, 2011  Short stories   Tags:   

    Exposure. That was what they called it in Mother Constance’s Kingdom of God. God ruled and Mother Constance was his Primate, Holy Reverend Mother to her people and a shepherdess to her flock. Wolves in sheep’s clothing were to be exposed and put out of the fold. Exile by any other name in the Zombie-Apocalypse was just as cold.

    It was murder.

    “What’s the matter? You couldn’t round up two thieves to hang on the cross with me?”

    “Shut your profane mouth!” one of the lesser body guards spat.

    “Mr. Sheridan,” Mother Constance said. She was a tall gray-haired woman dressed plainly but severely in a dark green dress. A small silver cross was pinned above her heart. “I appreciate your suggestion, but unfortunately you are wrong. You are not being persecuted, ‘crucified’ by an unjust secular authority- this is the Kingdom of God.”

    “I agree! This is the world that Almighty God has made, and the day! The King of the Universe rules over the sinful as well as the saved.”

    “Nice…” said her chief body guard, a man with a katana worn over his shoulder. “Been working on that all night?”

    “I had an epiphany.”

    “I am listening, Mr. Sheridan. Enlighten me.”

    “There are none so blind, or so wicked, as the willfully ignorant, sister!”

    “Ah, am I then, still, your sister in Christ?”

    “You are my sister; just a Cain was Abel’s brother, or Saul of Tarsus, on the road to Damascus…”

    “Let the scales fall from my eyes in the Lord’s good time, Mr. Sheridan. Please proceed.”

    “What I have learned is that the Bible is God’s instrument, just not the road map you perceive it to be. It is full of God’s ideas and Good News. It’s also a schizophrenic document, a serial journal of the last three thousand years. Five thousand, if you prefer.”

    “I do. What is the Bible’s purpose then, Mr. Sheridan, if not to show the way?”

    “But it does. It is an illustrated guide to the moral progress of the children of God. A sort of moral I.Q. Test. You only pass if you take what you’ve read and learn from all of mistakes and failures.”

    “God is love, Mr. Sheridan. Sometimes it is a tough, fierce and unyielding love that calls for sacrifice-“

    Sheridan laughed. “I am a prisoner about to be executed. Only I can choose to be a sacrifice; anything less than a life given freely in service to God and my brothers and sisters is a lie!”

    Mother Constance’s face was as stone and she motioned mutely. The prisoner was cast down into the throng of undead below the gate. She stood watching as things proceeded to their inevitable conclusion, and the man with the katana waited at her elbow. When it was done and she turned away, he asked her, “What were you thinking about, Ma’am?”

    “I was reminded of Daniel, in the lions’ den, and wondering…”

    “Ma’am?”

    “I have no doubts, Cal. But my heart was moved to mercy.”

    11 Comments

    1. Interesting. I like how the religious aspect is more prominent as it most likely would be in times such as that. Keep em coming.

      Comment by Terry Schultz on April 3, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

    2. Wheres the zombie?

      Comment by FRANK on April 4, 2011 @ 5:06 am

    3. I love that story. It creates a great little scene of the possible way of the future after a ZA. Good stuff Vincent.

      Comment by Pete Bevan on April 4, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    4. It was too short!

      Comment by Barrett on April 4, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

    5. Nicely done, Vince, but a bit more depth…more of a glimpse of Sheridan’s journey to that end…might have brought it up a notch.

      Comment by Mica Corradin on April 5, 2011 @ 7:50 am

    6. Read it the first time and wasn’t that impressed, re-read it and it made a lot more sense. I agree that on a zombie fiction page there wasn’t much to do about zombies in it, and it could have used a little more depth, but the dialogue and descriptions in such a short story are to be commended.

      Comment by Phantompooper on April 6, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

    7. I’ve got to avoid the hit and run stuff. Thanks all around for the comments, folks… a much longer one is coming at you, about 6K words, IIRC.

      Sorry I didn’t show the guy getting munched this time. And I’ll try to lay off the religious angle, I’m not a holy roller or anything.

      Comment by Vincent L. Cleaver on April 6, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

    8. I think this shows the hypocrisy in some religious leaders and the intolerance they have . Good job.

      Comment by Brian on April 9, 2011 @ 5:56 am

    9. Loved the writing. though a bit scarce on the ambience.

      It seems like something that would happen in the US Bible Belt, after the Zombie Apocallypse.

      It’s a good thing not all countries are as screwed up, religionwise, around the world.

      Then, again, in the event of a ZA… we wish we had the seemingly endless supply of guns the US seems to have,

      Comment by Fer Vazquez on April 9, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    10. I really liked it. I didn’t think it had anything to do with theology. It was just the instrument. I think it dealt more with perseption. The subjectiveness of concepts of faith, justice, and sacrafice. It was direct and pondering. Nice job Vince!

      Comment by RandyB on April 13, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    11. Uh, FRANK?

      “Mother Constance’s face was as stone and she motioned mutely. The prisoner was cast down into the throng of undead below the gate. ”

      There’s your Zombies…

      This was great – although a little short for my taste.

      Comment by John on May 10, 2011 @ 1:43 am

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