Green Messiah
William Tarkovsky
We are part of the great, thrusting project of evolution, within which we shall never be alone, as part of which we have not just one life but a thousand million lives.
May 2009
Without a legal framework for coercive extraction – for forcibly freeing someone from the clutches of unscrupulous individuals like the Agnowskis – Graham’s first line of attack is always persuasion. Sometimes it works. Sometimes he wishes he could take a more forceful approach. He looks at the girl. Dressed in a plain shift, with a pattern of flowers and stems embroidered at the sleeves, she is barefoot, bare of make-up and probably naked beneath her shift. Her hair is woven into a plait and drawn forward across her shoulder. Her gaze is utterly composed.
‘Happy?’ Graham asks, returning to an earlier conversation. ‘You think this is happiness? Define happiness. Tell me what you think happiness really is.’
The girl says nothing. Graham twists in his chair to look over his shoulder. Madame Agnowski is leaving the hall. He hears the door click shut behind her – the cultist is that confident of her grip upon the girl. Unoccupied now apart from Graham and Rachel the hall is strangely silent. It is some sort of gymnasium: wooden bars up one wall, a stack of mats in one corner, a box of ropes beside the mats – skipping ropes, perhaps, with handles at each end.
It is some sort of gymnasium, and also a chapel. The floor is wooden, polished and unmarked. The walls are whitewashed and bare. A stained glass window, occupying much of one end of the hall, depicts the First Ones, their alien faces mooning down from on high, a glint of something melancholic and childlike in their eyes. The place reeks of piety and abstinence, of incense and polish and creepy religion. ‘Come with us,’ the First Ones seem to be saying. ‘Come with us to Atlantis.’
Their message of serenity is emblazoned in coloured glass.
Graham hunches his shoulders. Just the hint of a shiver travels the length of his spine. He’s aware, totally aware, of the cult’s absurdity. That’s a given. That’s his job. But emotionally he can’t help but sense the cult’s creepily seductive power.
Deep down in the hidden reaches of their psyche everyone hungers for escape.
Rachel is nineteen. She is Australian – travelling in the UK in her gap year before going to Melbourne university… before being intercepted by cultists.
Now she’s a convert to the Church of the 3rd Veil.
There are only two chairs. Wooden, unadorned.
The one Graham sits in.
The one occupied by the girl.
‘Your sister is literally ten minutes’ drive from here,’ Graham says. He thinks, You don’t see me as human, do you? All you see is the human variant of a toad, amphibian-ugly, cruelly atheistic, scrutinising its victim with a predatory eye.
He tries again. ‘Your sister is taking the plane back to Sydney tomorrow. Early. Five a.m. or something like that. All your sister wants is to talk to you face to face, for a few minutes, for ten minutes, fifteen, no more than that, before she goes. There are important things she needs to share with you. She has a message from your parents. And she’s desperate to see you. She’s desperate to see you because she loves you. But that’s not why you should see her. Not out of love. I accept that. Your needs aren’t her needs. Why should her needs take precedence over yours? No, you should see her because you need to know what she has to say. Before you make any final decisions, before you irrevocably turn your back on all the things that used to be a part of your life, you should know both sides of the story. You should have all the facts before you. Surely that makes sense? And it shows that you’re not just running away from something or hiding something from yourself. Seeing your sister will show that you’ve got the strength to make up your own mind, without having some guru or guide standing behind you with their hand on your shoulder. If you can’t look your sister in the eye, and tell her why you’re doing what you’re doing, then maybe you’re not doing the right thing. Think about it.’ He stands up, surveys the hall. And if we get you out of here, you’re never coming back. Taking his mobile from his pocket he taps 15 mins. Then he picks up his chair, carries it to the side of the room and sets it against the wall. He says, ‘You haven’t found happiness here, no matter what you say. No matter what they tell you… I can see it in your face. All you’ve found here is deception. Deception is the Agnowski’s greatest gift to mankind. As if…’ He cuts short a sarcastic chuckle. ‘As if humanity hasn’t inflicted enough deception upon itself already.’
The girl smiles serenely at him. Her smile says, Your words mean nothing to me, toad. She is waiting for him to leave.
© 2012 Luke Andreski. All rights reserved.


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