Opposite Cults
By Deandre Sanchez
Date: September 21, 2017
Ch. 77

She was scrambling through the bushes to get a better look at the man who was panting by the gates. He somehow seemed familiar to her and there was something about him. She could not explain it but her gut instincts asked her to keep a watch upon him. Despite the illogical explanations about how she might be related to the man, she went with her instincts and she had watched this man come every day to church. Usually, he came to the Church with somebody, sometimes an elder, sometimes a young girl who she was sure was not his daughter, sometimes a woman sitting on a wheelchair.
She had first thought that she was smitten by the handsome young man. Love was the only true explanation to her behavior. But there was always something inside her telling her not to trust love, that it was a fickle thing. She tried to brush aside that thought but the other force was stronger.
A small worm crawled on her forehead bulging the skin wherever it went. It was the eel she knew. Ever since that unfortunate incident in the forest, she had felt it under her skin and wherever it went, it brought an itchy feeling. Sometimes, she would have a fit and it would feel like there was another force residing inside her, stronger than her, taking possession of her at its will and somehow the eel was related to it. She knew it but she could not do anything about it.
She slowly took shelter amidst the bushes that grew close to the main road, expecting that he would come out through the main gate. He did. Her gut feeling was right.
She knew he had lost his wife. O! She had made her inquiries. In fact, she had just purchased a house right opposite his so she could watch over him.
Sometimes even she wondered how she had been able to purchase such a big house when she had no money. She suspected the influence of the eel. Perhaps the crawling eel gave her some powers that her conscience which was constantly fighting, was unaware of. She had no money. She had no bank account, no means to pay for anything. Her money had dwindled and she had become bankrupt. She ran far away from her home to ask her family for any but would they have aided her in her current plight, especially after what she had done? She did not think so.
A car or two zoomed past her. She scrambled to get a better view of him. He was still bent. He looked weary. What was his name, they said? Roger. She thought it was a good name.
Footsteps sounded on the graveled path. He had finally caught wind of her. She knew she had to get out. Speaking with him was not exactly a solution. The force inside her however wanted to speak. It wanted to know more about this man who was now approaching near. It figured the only way: be close to the person himself.
She was shy in front of boys. They scared her and that was because most boys she had met in school or elsewhere were bullies who would prey on the weak just for their sport. She did not like them and weighed all of them on one scale: the scale of fear. But something in her had awoken later on and when the need was dire, she had managed to get hold of some courage to face what she once feared. She had begun to speak with boys. She had managed to get to know their kind.
She quickly scrambled out of the bush and saw with a shocked face the person who was named Roger approaching her. She knew that Roger had recognized her. Where from? She could not place it but she assumed that it had to be one of those parties hosted by her neighbors to which both were invited. Faulkner was a small town after and everybody knew everybody. That was the norm.
Not willing to speak to him, she sprinted into the lands behind and for the first time, she was happy. She had successfully fended off the other force. The eel crawled under her skin again, the itch growing stronger.

She chose to remain as inconspicuous as possible for the next few days. He had seen her and would probably be keeping a look out for her. He would have felt it strange that she should lurk inside a bush. No sane girl would have done that.
After four days, she did continue stalking him. The other force was getting stronger again. It had begun torturing her and the fits had come often the past few days ever since she had defied its wishes.
She was like silent shadow. Like a black alley cat, she followed him, never revealing herself. If he saw her next time, she could not be sure that she would successfully defy what was inside her again. Any more defiance would lead to more torture and her body could not handle more of it. But she desisted going too near him and reveal herself to him.
He seemed afraid of people. Even though people constantly hailed him, he would just reply with a short nod. He had lost his wife, true, but like many others, she expected him to move on, to let go. But he didn’t. She had not believed in true love before but now she had a doubt about the reality of what she believed in. She sensed that living here in the town would change many of her beliefs and ideals. She did not like change but it was inevitable she knew – like most things in life.
It was not until the sixth day after he had caught her skulking in the bushes that they finally bumped into each other in front of the Church. He was taken aback but calmed himself down.
Emily grew a little nervous in front of him and she was almost sweating. The leaves around them , the ones which had fallen upon the ground, were getting swept by the cool breeze that gusted about them. She wanted to initiate the conversation but the words always stopped in her throat.
The sun was not hot but she shielded her eyes as if the rays were penetrating it. Roger would have found that strange otherwise he would not have asked.
“Is something wrong with your eyes?” He looked puzzled.
“No.” She stuttered in her answers. “Why do you say that?” she asked.
“You are shielding them as if the sun is reaching out to them.”
“No, nothing. It is just I am short-sighted and to see long distance, I have to cover my eyes.”
He nodded. He turned to go away but turning back again, “The other day I saw you near those bushes.”
There it is.
“What were you doing there? And when I saw you, you just sprinted away.”
“Er, I was scared. Strangers scare me.”
“Ah, I see. Do not you worry. I will not hurt you.”
She nodded and with as much glee as she could muster, she said, “That is really good to know. Now if you excuse me, I have to reach my home.”
“As you wish. It was nice meeting you.”
“Same here, and I am sorry to hear about your loss. It must have been heavy upon your heart.”
“Yes it has been. I have not been that easy.”
Emily nodded. She knew how much losing a family felt. She had lost her entire family.

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