Whenever Elijah Hawkes stepped on the pulpit, his son pulled his back straighter than a ruler. His father’s arms would branch up in the air as if calling God to bless the festering of sin. Barry studied his father’s stance, allowed his words to melt through the grate of his heart. “Jesus is the author of salvation, and we--as unworthy as we are--have been given the mission of bringing the salvation to souls: we are missionaries of redemption.”
Barry blinked away the moving image of his father preaching until his back was bent, until time peppered his dark hair to grey and until God called his preacher back home. “And to us has been entrusted the sublime duty to effect and complete that ineffable mystery of universal salvation; to us has been given the mission.”
God called for an offering, Barry obeyed and now the son stood in his father’s stead.
He spoke lesser of the end of days upon them. It was apparent enough that these latter days were going to become the echoes of their eternity. “To bring Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him, to wash them in His blood, to enrich them with His merits, to extend the blessed Kingdom of God to the whole world. When the time is ripe, we will speak more concerning this mission...” Barry excused himself and returned a more calmly man. He stood before this brethren, as if another person, speaking in a kindly tone about what rewards were in store, rewards incomprehensible to mankind, simply waiting for them if they worked, they toiled in this life. They would reap their rewards and come off conqueror against the adversary. The preacher of their congregation closed their meeting as they started it. Their hands linked with one another as they offered a word of gratitude, a word of forgiveness, a word of hope in prayer.
Barry stepped away from the pulpit as his people dispersed from their rigid boxes, mingling with fellow folk, minding the little ones. He nodded at Roslyn as she took the littlest Hawkes in her arms, paying no mind to the prickling gazes of those who called themselves ‘members’ of The Fellowship. His knees were weak and he gradually looked worse for wear. His words had sunken into his system. Now the confusion followed. “Donovan,” he called out. “May I have your company to gather supplies from the storage?” Barry knew nothing save what God told him in dreams, visions obscured by false memories, that his father was evil and spent his life teaching his son how trusting someone would eventually lead to pain and grief. “I’ve asked Darius to watch everyone, keep them safe while we,” Barry grimaced. “We head back to the compound. It’d help clear my head a bit as well.”