Church of the Poisoned Mind

May 05, 2015:

Wanda discovers more salvation being offered…and some of what they are hiding.

M-Town

Characters

NPCs: The Preacher

Mentions:

Mood Music: The Church of the Poisoned Mind


Fade In…

The last time she encountered these people it was in an abandoned church. That building may have seen better days…and had been leaking like a sieve…but it still retained some of the awe and grandeur expected of a place to worship a god. But tonight Wanda is being guided into the cramped lounge room of a barely furnished basement apartment…though it does have a buffet table! The white-robed hosts of the evening are all warm smiles and earnest care as they welcome the shuffling mutants who have come to hear their words. Wanda hasn’t seen these particular robed ones before and the ones she saw last time are all dead…but then how did they know to send those metahumans after her? Not once but twice. So she keeps her head down and avoids any eye contact as she makes her way to the buffet to snag a few frankfurters before events begin. Unfortunately she does not have a lot of time before that happens.

The Preacher appears through the door to another room…probably the kitchen…holding out his arms in welcome. “Greetings. Thank you for coming tonight. You have been denied peace for far too long.” Wanda stares at the man. It’s the same Preacher as at the church but she saw his head explode. It’s a miracle! “All of us here…” the Preacher gestures to the other robed figures around the room that are conveniently blocking the exits, “…wish to help you find communion with the Lord. Drink of his blood and He will be part of you as you will be part of Him.” His voice is smooth and calming in a television evangelist way.

“I just want the Smooth!” yells out one of the mutants, a furtive, wiry man who scratches at his arms in turn. “I was promised Smooth!”

The Preacher smiles beatifically at the loud man. “All in due time, my child. But we do not offer ‘Smooth’, we offer the ‘Blood of the Lord’. ‘Smooth’ is the name given to His miracle by the unbelievers. By those whose minds and hearts are still closed to His truth.”

“Just shut the fuck up and give it to me!!” screams the man, his limbs writhing and swelling. The sound of cracking bones and stretching tissue echoing around the room as the other mutants back away. “I want it now!!!”

The Preacher’s smile has not left his face even as he makes a subtle gesture to some of the other robed persons. They nod in return before moving quickly to the angry mutant, lifting him by the contorting arms and legs before carrying him out into another room. “He will soon be at peace” the Preacher assures the rest of the congregation. “As will you all. What you have just seen is what happens when you partake of the Blood of the Lord without also accepting Him into your heart. It merely papers over the cracks rather than builds a stronger foundation. We offer peace…and family…and purpose, things that have been absent from your lives in this ghetto that is no better than a nature park; a place where humans can drive through and point at the captive animals. You are not animals, my children. Let us help you achieve your true path. But we won’t force you either. Please, enjoy some food and protection from the weather outside and if you want to know more, then chat with us as we pass amongst you.”

Wanda has heard it all before of course and sure it sounds good but where does those metahumans attacks on her and her friends fit into this? They seemed quite happy to force the Blood of the Lord on her. She grabs a plate of food and then slips into a corner of the room, watching the proceedings with interest. “I know they are lying” she whispers to the nothingness beside her. “And everyone says that Smooth is bad but so are these people’s lives. And if it can help them make it better…”

The yelling mutant re-emerges, now dressed in white and smiling happily. “I am at one with the Lord” he exclaims to the others, “And everything is perfection once more.” The robed figures that helped him from the room are now close behind on either side but they seem satisfied by the mutant’s conversion. Time for them to mingle.

Muttering softly to herself, Wanda heads for that other room. She makes her way through the chatting and eating crowd with stealthy grace and slips into the room unseen; it’s magical how people looked away at just the right time. She finds herself in a dining room, the table within seeming to have seen a struggle recently by the way the tablecloth is screwed up and shifted. Otherwise the room is empty so she turns for the kitchen door…and she sees something glint out of the corner of her eye. Wanda turns back, moving quickly and quietly to where a corner of wallpaper has curled upwards to reveal something metal underneath. She peels it back a little further. There looks to be a door here but how to open it… Subconscious mystical energy emanates from her, seeping into the wall and the hidden door, seeking out a way to access what is beyond. There is a click and the door slides open; making Wanda jump to the side with surprise and concern. Energy forms around her hands as she prepares to defend herself but there is no one coming. It must have opened itself.

Wanda warily goes through the doorway and finds herself in a metal walled room. Lights flicker on overhead in reaction to her entry and the door slides closed again behind her. The walls are covered with maps and photos of men and women. A metal, waist high shelf upon each wall is covered with folders. Wanda picks one up and flicks through it – ‘Cyclops’. She doesn’t know him so puts it back before looking through others. Some of the photos have ticks marked over them. Some have an X over them. Most of the people she doesn’t know but some she does – Bobby, Brinley, The Werewolf, Pietro. She studies the photo of her brother attached to the documents. It’s from long range and the photographer was obviously hiding but it is obvious Pietro’s smiling. He looks happy…and that makes Wanda happy too. Slipping the photo from the paper clip she slides it into her pocket before discovering her own folder. She doesn’t understand the words on the papers – it’s not English and certainly not Transian. But there are enough red stamped phrases on the pages to have her worried. It is about now that she makes an even more startling…and worrying…discovery. There are no voices in her head. For the first time in as long as she can remember the world is still. She taps at the side of her head to make sure she is still awake. Is this what peace is like? It’s…frightening. It is time to leave.

Wanda starts for the door before remembering the phone in her pocket. Was it Zatanna who gave it to her? Bobby? Nyx? She isn’t sure but she knows it has a camera in it and she thinks she can recall how to work it. The maps on the wall are photographed as best she can before the phone is pocketed again and the door is sliding open to allow her out. And the voices are back. Wanda winces at the sudden noise before nodding. “Yes…it is time to leave.” Not back through the lounge though, instead she tries sneaking out through the kitchen. It is empty save for bags of food, drink and…vials of the Lord’s blood. She considers for a moment, sucking on her lower lip, and then grabs a couple and stuffs them in a pocket. These aren’t for Bobby this time. These are hers.

There is laughter from the living room as Wanda reaches the door that leads out into the alley at the rear of the house. She turns to look at the closed door and wonders about the loving community that seems to be forming on the other side. Can it truly be as bad as her friends say? A deep breath before she opens the door and slips out into the cold, wet night and away from the ‘happy’ mutants. Alone again…naturally.

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