This is my perspective of Easter. This is not a good picture. This is not what people expect. Mostly it began on Good Friday, which wasn’t. It was a day in the Woods, again. An overcast day. Dark clouds and rumblings. A twilight day. Mother wasn’t there. She and my little brother went somewhere, I guess. Just Dad. He said this was going to be a special special event. I had misgivings about that. But I didn’t object anymore. I didn’t say anything. I just did as he expected. I just did as Grandfather expected. It was easier in the end, less painful I imagine. I knew I was just getting what I deserved. I did tend to be a bit obstinate and ask too many questions and not do things as quickly as they wanted, mostly, I guess, because somewhere inside me I disagreed, but I never let that show anymore. Nope. Not at all. I could tell in their minds how worse this could get. And I know that you think already it was worse. But I tell you, I saw what was in their minds. You don’t know the half of it. And of course I didn’t know how to protect my little brother from this. He would be part of it soon. Maybe that was why he was with my mother. Maybe she didn’t want him to be part of it either. I wonder what excuse she used to not be here. Part of me was glad; part of me was angry. Nobody was trying to not have me part of all this. But I just found a way to just get it over with, not remembering, building little houses around each thing… more like coffins I guess… and burying them away. I knew all answers that Grandfather asked at meetings. I memorized them well.
And then it was Easter time. Something about bunnies and eggs which made no sense at all. That was in the stores. But that’s not what the Leader said. He said that Demons made the bunnies to distract people from the truth. He said the Truth was that people died for their sins, and then got to go to Heaven if they said sorry. Mostly he said most people would go to Hell, because they did such bad things that ‘sorry’ wouldn’t do it. He said that most people would burn in Hell, but only a little at a time, so they could scream and burn forever and never die, just burn. And then it would be worse for worse sinners. I don’t know how it could be worse, but if Lucifer had stuff in his mind like the Leader, well, then, I guess it could be. The Leader said that God demanded that people die for their sins, just like Jesus did. He said that Jesus said you had to be like a child to understand, so that was why a child had to die for the sins of the parents. I was a child, and I didn’t understand. I made the mistake of saying that once. Only once. That iron bar heated up so much inside of me, that I learned to say I understood a lot of things. Especially that I was stupid and foolish and sinful and bad, and an abomination to God and Jesus, and would surely burn in Hell whenever God told him to send me there. He said Hell would hurt worse, because he was doing this for my own good and because God said to. He said in Hell, Lucifer would just do hurtful things for the fun of it, and never stop. He would say what a good man he was to stop when God said to. I was very glad whenever he stopped too. But I learned awful slow. And I learned very painfully what was right.
Anyways, there was this Friday meeting, getting ready for Easter. And he was looking for parents that needed to fit this sacrificial time. An Elder whispered in his ear. His Demon was grinning. He pointed to the parents of a boy I knew from nursery school. His name was Nathanial. He was a tornado boy. He never sat quiet. He never took a nap. He was always moving, running, talking, climbing, and getting into trouble with adults, and sometimes accidentally with kids. He didn’t mean nothing by it. He was just that way. Anyway, two men went and took Nathanial from by his parents and brought him up to the Leader and the altar. I don’t know why his parents didn’t do anything. I don’t know why. Maybe they were more afraid for themselves. A few parents who objected never came back to the meetings, but I don’t think they were allowed to leave either. Nobody ever saw, but everybody kind of knew, there would be no missing persons report filed… or even if there were, it would never do anything. They never found nothing, no one, anyways. Grandfather was smart.
Ok, anyways, they brought Nathanial up to him. Nathanial didn’t “get it” right away, you know. And then, the Leader asks him if he was thirsty, and of course Nathanial said ‘yes’, because he was always thirsty and hungry. At least when he was at the nursery school. I wanted to yell at him not to drink the stuff, but I had learned the hard way that things would continue anyway, and in addition I would be hurt painfully as a sinner that needed to be de-possessed again. Still, I wanted to. But of course Nathanial he just up and drunk it. The opium cocktail. He collapsed to the ground. He was picked up and put on the altar and the bindings put on. He mouthed his silent screams, as they all would, and you could tell how terrified he was… by his eyes. I could hear him screaming in my head. As if he knew. I clapped my hands over my ears. But it didn’t help. And then I did the unthinkable. I wrenched out of my father’s hand, and ran to Grandfather, and yelled, “Stop it!”
He was caught a bit off-guard, and then quickly put himself back on track with the people. And turned on me, with a nasty, nasty smile. He took my actions and turned them all around wrong. He told the people that, of course, as was only proper, and this being Easter and all, that a child should do the service, and who better than his granddaughter. Now I was confused. And frightened. Just what exactly did he mean?
And then he picked me up and put me on the small boulder behind the large nasty one. So that I could see Nathanial; I could touch him. His fear threatened to overwhelm me and make me throw up. That would be an incredibly bad choice. Grandfather said that people that throw up are just getting demons out (which you think would be good) but he turned it around to where it showed that you HAD demons in you. And they, of course, needed to get out or be gotten out, in whatever fashion God told him to use.
Then Grandfather showed his trick of the razor-talon. He took it from his hand and put it in mine. Sharp shiny piece of metal. I still didn’t understand the magic it held to do such things to people. Then he told me that I was the honored one; that I got to do the sacrifice; that God would forgive me all my sins if I did this; that all these people gathered here today would be doubly blessed because of my choosing to do the sacrifice. But I wasn’t choosing it. I didn’t want to be up here. I didn’t want that evil thing in my hand. And I surely didn’t want to use that magic on Nathaniel. My mind wasn’t doing so well. My body wasn’t either. I wanted to throw up, and I didn’t know why. I tried to give the magic razor-talon back to Grandfather. Boy, that was a big mistake. He squeezed my hand around it so hard that it bit me. I tried to let go, but his grip tightened. I could feel wet stuff in my hand, and saw blood beginning to seep through my fingers. I could feel the evil energy in it start to wind around my hand and work its way up my arm. I knew it would eventually infest all of me, and I tried to struggle and get away from it.
Grandfather whispered in my ear, “If it thinks you are evil - because you resist it, it will cut into your skin and go into your brain and rip you up inside every time you move and breathe.” I could not counter such magic. I stopped moving. “Good girl,” he said.
Then he looked out at the people. “Now is the time of the crucifixion. Now is the time of our own sacrifice. Can we do any less than our Savior?”
And all the people yelled, “No!”
“But our gracious Lord does not require all of us to die for our sins. Just one. Just like him. To die for our sins. Can we do any less than our Savior?”
Again, they yelled “No!”
Somedays I thought maybe they must drink a bit of that cocktail just to get through this service. Somedays I wished that I could, too. I know my father and mother did.
“Now is the time!” he yelled again. As if I had forgotten, or was deaf. I guess I was supposed to do something, but my mind had gone blank, and I was being stupid again. I didn’t get what he wanted to be happening.
“Use the razor-talon, girl!” he whispered. “Start there.” And he pointed to the side of Nathanial’s neck. “And draw a line to there.” And he pointed to his private parts. Well, I couldn’t do that. Then, things got bad. He whispered hoarsely in my ear, “If you don’t do this, and do it now, I will call Satan, and we will finish what we started at Halloween. Now, just draw a line, that’s all.”
I convinced myself I was just drawing a line. Shaking, I put my hand with the razor-talon in it up by Nathanial’s neck. His screams were reverberating off my brain walls, almost enough to disintegrate them. I told myself to just draw a line, nothing else. Just draw a line. That wouldn’t hurt much. I was furiously giving myself disinformation. Fear can do that, you know. I put my hand down on Nathanial’s skin, and started to draw the line.
Suddenly, Grandfather’s hand was on mine, drawing that line, but drawing it too deep, too deep. I tried to pull up, but he wouldn’t let me. With his hand covering mine, we drew a line all the way across Nathanial’s body. But it was too deep. There was blood everywhere, and some of it spurting out like a fountain, and stuff showing when the line had been drawn too deep. Then I did throw up.
Grandfather whispered, “I’ll take care of those demons later.”
And then to the crowd, he said how great this had been. How God had told him that this was the best sacrifice, next to his own Son, of course. He said how Nathanial and his parents were assured a place in Heaven, now. He went on and on, and I just drifted away. In my thoughts, of course, he had a hold of me good.
Then, I realized I could see Nathanial’s spirit coming out of his body. And nobody else could seem to. He was very sad. He didn’t know what to do or where to go. I told him he could come stay with me, until he was feeling better. That cheered him a little. I opened my shield-door for him to come inside with the Others who lived there, and join the family. He thanked me, and went in.
Then, I realized that Grandfather was done speaking and all the people had gone, and they had even taken Nathanial’s body somewhere and wiped down the altar and everything just looked normal. There was just him and my father and me left. “Hank,” he said, talking to my father, “you better work harder at getting the demons out of this girl, or I’ll have you up here next.”
My father just said, “Yes, sir” and took me away with him. That night he began working up ways that would save me from the demons, and save him from his own father. But that’s a different story.