A GOOD START
Slipping his receptor goggles over his eyes the man once known as Brad Morton stepped onto the sand-stone pathway.
“Good morning, Missionary.” A pretty girl said pleasantly.
“G’day, Moriah.” He replied with a polite smile.
She was beautiful by any standard. He knew that she held out hope that he would look upon her with affection. It was something he knew he could never do. When he was young, a merge mutation by the name of Teyata held the same hope and to this day he regretted that he never acted upon the opportunity…there would be no other.
“I thought we could walk to church together.” She said, leading him from the guest residence.
“That would be nice.” He agreed.
A tinny bell sounded on the hill to be immediately followed by a sea of excited faces. People from all over the community of Haven rushed to the open air service. In a clearing amidst the huge gnarled trees, decorated with the flowers of the most vivid of colors, the residents sat on the grass. They faced a pulpit and like any thing else in Haven it was hand built to perfection.
A grey haired man mounted the stairs. His name was also his occupation. The gentle face of ‘pastor’ looked upon the several hundred believers. His dark brown eyes scanned his church, trying to take in each one.
“This is the day that The Lord has made!” he shouted, pausing for effect. “Let us rejoice and be glad in it! End of sermon.” He said curtly.
At first a silence ensued then one of the residents stood clapping. Cheers erupted amongst the elder residents. Soon the younger members joined them although uncertain as to why they should cheer. The cheering reached a deafening crescendo then tapered off gradually to be followed by a prayer, dismissing the service.
None of the people of Haven returned to their homes. Instead, they milled around the food tables while nearby the children played.
Missionary gestured with his open hand toward one of the tables. Moriah accompanied him to a punch bowl where he scooped the sweet liquid into two cups and offered one to the girl.
“I’m not sure I understood what the sermon was about.” She said.
A fond smile wafted over the Missionary.
“Did you notice that the elder members led the cheering?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Moriah replied.
“Like me we’re old enough to remember the old world. You do know about the war?”
The girl nodded.
“When they launched the missiles containing the FEOFF-7 gas it just about killed everything out right. It was a very hateful time. The gas that collected with the atmosphere fell in a chemical rain. It mutated everything.
We called them merge mutations. Every two plants closest to each other merged to become a whole new species, the same as any two animals.
Every plant that you see everyday and take for granted never existed in my time. Nothing of the old world exists for us. It was the day the world ended. That’s why we call those times the old world and today we refer to as the new world.”
“I know that!”
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to treat you as if you were simple. Of course it paints an ugly picture. It got even uglier after that.
Some of the merge mutations were deadly beasts that hunted survivors. Then some having already possessing a human intelligence formed factions. Some were friendly and some were threatening to human existence. Some people went into hiding in the derelict cities in ones and twos.
When I first began my ministry I realized that their lives could end any day in some way or other if their guard was down. I knew then that their immediate need was the salvation of their souls so I witnessed to them as I rescued them. Unfortunately this is the world we are given and must live in it.
Look around you Moriah. Manine children are happily playing with human children in the trees. I’ve seen human families invited to manog homes for dinner, instead of being dinner.
We’re part of much more than a church. There’s nothing that one member here wouldn’t do for another. It’s a place of love. I’ve watched it grow from a hundred to what you see now and I praise God that I’ve lived to see it.”
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