FlashFic: Blessings

As I walked to the podium, I looked out on the gathered. My flock, my followers. My sheeple. They came to me, usually alone and lost in the world. Poor things. Well, not always poor. They brought all they owned. They got hold of all they left behind. Into the “communal lockbox” it went. Good little sheeple. I helped myself and doled out bits for their basic needs.

It took hours of practice to teach my face not to grin at them, at their willing enslavement, when I came before them. I showed them my solemn and gratified expression now. It had become easy to call it up, it and other handy ones. “Friends,” I began in a tone that was warmth personified, “my friends, let us give thanks for the blessings that brought us together. Without those blessings, we would not bask in the glory of the Knowledge of Peace.” See, that was the hook. The “Knowledge of Peace.” They ate that stuff up.

“We think back to the situations in our former lives tonight. We remember the feelings that spurred us to leave those lives. Hopelessness. Despair. Worthlessness. We contemplate these memories and what brought them about tonight.” Ah, so nice to have them each a sad, lonely victim. Their misery rolled off them, bathing me in their desolation. I thrived, I soaked in it. Beautiful.

Time for testimony. This was my joy. It magnified the misery. I tried on the expression of sad compassion and found it fit well. Timothy came up to the front – I liked it when they came close to pour their guts out – and told of being fired from the job he loved for twenty years. A victim of new technology. His sadness was hidden in anger. By the end of his testimony, he was nearly spitting with rage. Others of the gathered cheered him on, many were in tears. Some just felt bad with him. Many related with their own anger. Delicious.

Bethany took his place as he sat down, clenching his jaw, anger hardly dissipated. She fumbled with a tissue. Already tears were trailing down her cheeks. This would be good. Bethany was always good for a tear jerker. Tonight was no different. As she spoke of her abuse at the hands of a wonderfully vicious stepmother, a woman so violent and creative that Bethany bore scars throughout her body to this day, many of the women and no few of the men caved in upon themselves. They were caught in their own private hells. Fear filled the room, fear as though years hadn’t passed since they were tossed around and raped by their own family members. Utterly delectable.

I had to turn away several times, my expression too difficult to maintain. As I shook with silent laughter, the flock saw their Leader overcome with sorrow for the afflicted. I pulled myself together, schooling my features before turning back and wiping a tear from my eye.

It was my turn for the psychobabble. “And so we give thanks for these things, for without them we would not be who we are. We would not have sought one another out and become the Family of the Knowledge of Peace as we are. Blessings upon those who have harmed us for leading us to one another. Blessings upon them.”

The sheeple bleated, repeating it each time I said it. “Blessings upon them.”  Their fear, their despair, their righteous anger did not dissolve. It blended exquisitely and flowed toward me, their focus. Their Leader.

It was too sweet. Truly, a kingdom of riches for me, feeding me. Inspiring me to go into the world to perform heights of the horrors that created sheeple like these. “Leader, you have returned to us!” they would cry when I appeared before them after an adventure. “Beloved Leader, we have done as you required. We gather each day to share our stories and give blessings for them.”

“ Good,” I told them. “That is how we come to the Knowledge of Power.” They basked in the praise. Such delightful creatures, as biddable as innocent children.

Tonight had been enchanting. To a person, there were tears, red faces of anger, mutterings and even a few rocking and keening. I was full up with their self-hatred and anguish. Time to go out and put my fix to good use.

“Now we bless what brought us together, my friends,” I intoned, my voice becoming a focus for all.

“You!” cried a voice. I shook my head and waved it away. No no, not me, I dissembled

“Yes, Leader, it is you! We bless you!” The cry was taken up, soon all were calling out blessings upon me.

Standing, tears still streaming down her pathetic face, Bethany called out, “You are our angel, Beloved Leader. Our angel in disguise. Blessings upon you, our angel.”

“Our angel!” called out another of them. Voices chimed in.

I was their angel. My halo is made of razor wire.

This story was inspired by the last line in bold. It was posted by @LukeRomyn, author of The Dark Path.

© 2010 Jessica Rosen

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26 thoughts on “FlashFic: Blessings

  1. Emma Newman March 12, 2010 at 10:19 am Reply

    Oooh I love it! Brilliant, compelling and deliciously dark. Shudder-tastic!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 12, 2010 at 10:39 am Reply

      I’m so glad you liked it. Thanks for the RT and for letting me know!

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  2. Diandra March 12, 2010 at 10:54 am Reply

    That’s where need too often leads you – even without creepy – uhm ,beings? – stealing your energy. The description of the energy in the congregation goes very well.

    Just one objection – I might have preferred it if you had waited longer to reveal the true person behind the narrator, would have liked to think of him as a true nurturer for longer.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 12, 2010 at 11:00 am Reply

      That would have been an interesting choice as well, you’re right. I generally like to do stories with that sort of twist at the end. This one felt different to me, more of a character study. Perhaps I’ll try writing it that way as an exercise, see what comes of it. Thank you for the kind comments and suggestion.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  3. Jen B March 12, 2010 at 11:36 am Reply

    Sheeple! Very nice. And what a terrific, awful leader. I found myself going with him, even if I didn’t like him. I was impressed by his power. Well done.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm Reply

      Thanks so much, Jen. I’m glad the character came across that way.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  4. mazzz_in_Leeds March 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm Reply

    Deliciously dreadful character!
    I like that we knew all along that he’s not a particularly nice person 🙂
    The only thing that took me out a little was the bold font on the last sentence – I realise why you’ve done it of course, and it’s probably very silly on my part to even mention this!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 13, 2010 at 1:22 pm Reply

      Thanks! I can see what you mean about the bolding of the last line. It’s not so jarring when it’s the first line, but does pop a bit at the end.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  5. PJ Kaiser March 12, 2010 at 8:36 pm Reply

    I love the concept – chilling indeed. I found some sections to be a bit repetitive – paring down to the bare necessities makes the impact even more intense. I’m ok with knowing he’s a scumbag from the beginning 😉 Well done.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 13, 2010 at 1:24 pm Reply

      Thank you. I thought about tightening it further, but wanted to give him opportunity to show the depths of depravity and drinking in his fill from both anger and sorrow. Perhaps I went too far doing that. I’ll have another look at it with that in mind. Thanks again.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  6. Da Rimini's Fool March 13, 2010 at 4:20 am Reply

    Um, who said the Leader was a man? 😉

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm Reply

      Hey you, have I ever mentioned you’re The Best? Because you are.

      Take care and stuff,
      Jess

      Like

  7. Jamie D. (@JamieDeBree) March 13, 2010 at 4:32 am Reply

    Deliciously dark, Jess – nicely done. 🙂

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm Reply

      Thank you, Jamie. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  8. donnacarrick March 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm Reply

    Well done, Jessica. Great story.
    Donna

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm Reply

      Thanks, Donna. Really glad you liked it.

      Take care, my best to Alex,
      Jess

      Like

  9. Marisa Birns March 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm Reply

    There are so many like the person in your story televising their “Knowledge” on Sunday mornings!

    Great piece. An evil Leader who practiced to make perfect, heh!

    Perfect last line…

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm Reply

      Thanks, Marisa. You may have guessed I have little patience for the type. Seeing him as truly evil was easy. The last line was perfect, wasn’t it? Luke posted it and I grabbed it for all it was worth. He’s a clever fellow.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  10. soesposito March 14, 2010 at 5:35 pm Reply

    “Sheeple”…I love this word! It really says it all. You captured the motivation of this “type” perfectly, imho! Great read.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 15, 2010 at 4:12 am Reply

      Thanks a bunch, I really appreciate the feedback. “Sheeple” is so appropriate for some, isn’t it? Baaa.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  11. Skycycler March 14, 2010 at 10:16 pm Reply

    Compelling profile of a sociopath, Jess. Good work!

    Your piece – and the prompt – reminded me of another piece of #fridayflash from Amy Taylor, take a look if you get time: http://adastra-poetry.blogspot.com/2010/02/fridayflash-falling.html

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 15, 2010 at 4:16 am Reply

      Thanks, that means a lot to me. I wrote another of a different sort of socio called “Vignette: The Want.” That was long before I found Flash, though. Wrote it some fifteen or more years ago. If you have a sec and you’re interested, it’s https://jessrosen.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/vignette-the-want/ – don’t mind the all lowercase, that’s how I typed at the time.

      Thanks for the referral, it’s definitely on my list of “to read” now. Going to have to devote a day to do that so I can catch up on Flash, too.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  12. Carrie Clevenger March 15, 2010 at 9:52 pm Reply

    Excellent and horrific in so many ways because it runs close to reality.

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 16, 2010 at 6:26 am Reply

      Thank you, Carrie. I was hoping that came through.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

  13. Cathy Olliffe March 16, 2010 at 11:48 pm Reply

    Nasty bit, this boy, eh?
    Let’s hope the halo doesn’t accidentally slip and poke him.
    Good words, Jess!

    Like

    • Jessica Rosen March 17, 2010 at 9:04 am Reply

      Thanks a lot, Cathy. Yes, rather a nasty piece of work. I loved writing him.

      Take care,
      Jess

      Like

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