Obey Your Earthly Masters

It was morning. Ever since Daniel left the room I didn't sleep. I witnessed the moonlight by the window slowly turn into sunlight.

Pastor Adams walked into the room with both Daniel and Abigail. Both the children wore black t-shirts and shorts. Daniel stood next to his father. The young boy looked like he wanted to keep his eyes away from me. He stared at the ground. The pastor walked up to me with the children by his side.

"I'm going to keep you alive," said the pastor, "but you'll never be allowed to leave."

I thought about what he said, wondering whether being locked up and denied freedom was better or worse than death.

"Can I speak to my family?" I asked.

"No, you can't."

"Why do you want to keep me alive?"

"You have no value being dead," said the pastor. "I have chores that need to be done here, such as moving bricks or shredding paper. By getting you to do some of my menial work I'll be able to spend more time doing important things. Over time I think you'll grow to appreciate being here."

I didn't have anything to say. The thought of never seeing my family again didn't please me, but I was happy to be alive.

The pastor bent down to talk to his children. "You kids go off now."

The children walked out of the room, leaving me with the pastor. As soon as the children left, the pastor's voice deepened. He stared at me, his eyes wide and passionate.

"Let me tell you something, Keith. Don't think you can escape from here. I'm going to chain, tie, and shackle you. You are to obey me. If you misbehave, I'll whip you. If you continue to misbehave, I'll cut off your fingers."

"Why do you do this?" I asked. "Aren't you a Christian?"

The pastor turned around and walked towards a table. From this table he picked up a syringe with a long needle attacked. With no subtlety, he plunged the needle into a nearby jar filled with a clear liquid.

"What are you doing?" I asked, afraid of the syringe.

The pastor walked up to me with the syringe in his hands. "Keith, do you envy me?"

"What do you mean?"

"You may think you're wealthy, Keith, but my income is a lot higher than yours. Don't let my car fool you." Pastor Adams smiled. "You envy me, don't you?"

"No, what are you talking about?"

"Don't lie, Keith. The Bible says, 'Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.'"

"Are you doing all this so you can rape children?"

"You'd do the same if you had the opportunity."

"I wouldn't."

The pastor didn't reply. He plunged the needle into my arm. I struggled but couldn't move my limbs, which were tied down tightly to the bed frames.

"Don't struggle," said the pastor. "Just let go. You have no power."