The hover transport zipped along the barren rust-colored landscape, racing toward the foreboding compound where plumes of opaque, acrid smoke shone as a beacon for all to see, and fear. Approaching the electromagnetic shield, which pulsated with a pale blue glow, the hover transport whirred down, coming to rest at the imposing obsidian entrance. As the shield vanished, the massive doors thundered open, unveiling two rows of heavily armed sentries. Clad in mirrored black armor and marching in perfect rhythm, the sentries encircled the ship.
The interior cockpit door whooshed open, revealing a lithe and dashing man named Dalwyn who giddily gazed upon his cargo of paralyzed prisoners. The men, women and children were rendered immobile and speechless by a device with multiple antennas that was pressed as a thorny crown upon their heads.
Stepping into the converted cargo hold, Dalwyn triumphantly exclaimed, “Last stop before eternity!”
Scanning around the room he stated, “Oh how I love a captive audience.”
Dalwyn walked among the prisoners while commenting, “I’d like to take a moment to thank you all, because this will be my biggest pay day yet. With my take on this run I will have enough to retire.”
Pausing to flash a wide smile, he then began walking towards the rear hatch while continuing, “But I won’t, because I rather enjoy rounding up you Christians.”
Arriving at the access panel at the rear of the ship, Dalwyn entered a code that began opening the rear hatch. The rush of air caused his ebon cloak to flare out as he removed the neurological controller from his pocket and began calibrating it. Once the hatch had fully opened, the sentries ascended the ramp and took position next to each prisoner. As the last sentry stepped into place Dalwyn finished calibrating the remote which released the prisoner’s restraints.
Each prisoner was prodded like cattle as they slowly began trudging off the ship. Dalwyn stood beaming at the exit, offering handshakes or half-waves for each prisoner as they passed by. As the last prisoner, the group’s pastor named Paullel, approached the exit, Dalwyn placed his hand against Paullel’s chest while glaring squarely at the man’s aged countenance.
“I love the name of this place Pastor. Couldn’t have a picked a better one myself. Gehenna is just so fitting ya know? That unquenchable fire raging day and night, consuming all the trash…” he concluded with a chuckle. “So, are you ready to meet your maker?”
Holding Dalwyn’s gaze Paullel replied, “I already have.”
Thrusting his head back and laughing, Dalwyn then replied, “See that’s what I love about you Christians. You’re so delusional. You have actually convinced yourself into believing something that you have no way of knowing or proving if it is true.”
“Quite to the contrary,” Paullel forcefully replied. “I have proof that you have no way of disproving.”
“Riiight. The whole spirit-thing living in you,” Dalwyn mocked. “You do know that when you are taken before the council and tell them that you actually believe this foolishness, they are going to charge you and then sentence you to death. And we’re not talking about a quick, clean death…no, see they are going to throw you in the fiery pit with the rest of garbage. Are you really ready to lose your life for this?”
Staring into Dalwyn’s jade green eyes Paullel smiled then replied, “I already have.”
Dalwyn nonchalantly stated, “So be it,” then motioned for the sentries to escort Paullel out.
As the sentries began prodding Paullel through the door and down the ramp he called back to Dalwyn, “Why do you hate Jesus?”
Walking to the edge of the ship Dalwyn replied, “Nah, you got it all wrong there Pastor. I love Jesus. He keeps gettin’ me paid,” Dalwyn shouted. A malevolent grin slowly spread across his face as he activated the closing sequence on the rear hatch.
Before the doors fell shut he heard Paullel’s echoing reply, “I will pray for you.”
Dalwyn ripped a chair from the floor and flung it against the door while screaming, “Save your prayers for yourself!”
Stomping back towards the cockpit, Dalwyn noticed an archaic book lying on the floor. Realizing it was a Bible he randomly flung it open while saying, “Whatcha got to say God?”
Reading aloud the first passage he came to, he concluded, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
“Stupid fables,” he said, tossing the Bible aside.
Immediately Dalwyn fell to the floor and died.
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