Give And Take

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Cover image: Pixabay.com.

Give And Take

If you think it’s an easy life, you’re wrong. Being the leader of a cult is tough.

Think about it now. I have to put on an act the whole time. One slip and there’s no knowing if one of the sheep will pick up on it. And if one does, news travels fast among the flock. When I was overheard before, talking investments and returns, there was need for swift action. Cull and cover-up.

‘Yes, we let them go,’ I’d lied. ‘They really weren’t the right sort of people.’

I picked a group of the most gulli... faithful, and sent them out on a recruitment drive. It wouldn’t do to let the numbers dwindle too low, and there was always plenty of room for new investment.

Anyway, whenever the pretense grew too tiring, I’d disappear for a day. And I do mean disappear.

I never had to go anywhere, which was useful as I could keep up my vigilance. All I did was vanish, loiter and listen in. Amazing, the things I observed, for it was becoming more and more evident that when the leader was away the sheep would show their true colors.

I wasn’t the only one putting on an act. There were more than a few wolves in sheep’s clothing, just waiting to rip my throat out and usurp my position. Knowledge is a powerful thing though, and I had plenty of back-up I could call on while in my invisible state. Back-up that would not flinch away from the direct action needed.

“Are you with me?” I asked, and red eyes glowed, teeth bared and growls and grunts assented. “This evening, then. Be ready for my signal.”

I slipped back into view, much earlier than the hour of my usual return. I was rewarded with a few shocked looks before the wolves put on the sheep masks, muttering the correct responses as I walked among them. I uttered the standard blessing, while mentally placing targets on each head I passed.

This cult had had its day. It was time to move on, start again. I’d already worked out the basic tenets of my next ‘religion’, and I was so rich I could go anywhere, travel any distance, before making a new start. One thing was certain – there was always an abundance of fools willing to ‘believe’.

Did I feel guilty about what I was about to do?

I guess I had a slight twinge of a guilty conscience, but then again most of my followers would have been dead already if it hadn’t been for my stabilising influence. They’d have either killed themselves intentionally or through their own self-destructive habits. What was the saying? Something along the lines of: ‘The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.’ Well, I’d given them a few years extra, and now I was taking payment.

There was no need for me to kill them. Those who had remained truly faithful would do as I requested, without even pausing to question my motives. About two thirds of my flock obeyed when I said it was time for them to sacrifice themselves, using the knives I had thoughtfully left accessible. The rest of them were going to wish that they had taken the opportunity.

My ‘friends’ made themselves visible. The door was blocked by a handful of them, all hungry for the feast that I had promised just a few hours before. By the time the slaughter was discovered, I would be long gone, along with the demons. There would never be a full body-count of the ‘victims’.

A new identity was waiting for me. I had learned the spiel and was itching to begin again, until the need for time off increased again. For as much as there would be a plentiful supply of sheep, the demons would be waiting in the wings.

 


Submitted: April 22, 2021

© Copyright 2021 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Serge Wlodarski

That's why I have a peephole in the front door. When I see people on the porch with that brainwashed look on their face, I don't open the door.

Thu, April 22nd, 2021 7:28pm

Author
Reply

Haha! Wise move, Serge. I do the same.
Thanks for giving this a read.

Sat, April 24th, 2021 7:50am

Mike S.

An all-too-true tale, Hull

Thu, April 22nd, 2021 7:37pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mike.

Sat, April 24th, 2021 7:49am

AdamCarlton

Good portrayal. People join cults because they feel something lacking in their lives. Hard to see what a good alternative would be, though. Not the Scouts, I imagine!

Thu, April 22nd, 2021 7:40pm

Author
Reply

That's true. I've been doing quite a lot of research into various cults - hard to believe anyone would become sucked into some of them.
Thanks, Adam.

Sat, April 24th, 2021 7:48am

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