Daily Archives: September 18, 2011
Linford brought me to a stop outside a small dark apartment building. I glanced up at it. There was nothing significant about it and looked the same as the surrounding buildings – dark, empty, forgotten.
“Be watchful what you say, warrior,” Linford said. “Rhema is more than she look. She know if you lie.”
“I won’t lie.”
“Many say such things. Many pay the price.”
“There’s a price for lying too?”
“Lying can cost lives.”
“Okay. No lies.”
Linford knocked the door with a gentle rap. It opened quietly. Linford made a gesture and the two men stepped aside. The entrance was in a similarly squalid condition like the other apartment blocks Linford had led me through. Dirt and debris covered the floor and ears of wall paper flapped in the cold breeze. On a wall someone had scrawled the words: Rhema Sees You. The door guards closed and bolted the door. Linford led me up four flights of stairs. The top and bottom of each flight was guarded by masked people who were armed with long knives that glinted in the darkness. When we reached the top I saw burning candles sat atop mounds of old candle wax.
The breeze on my face was warm and I detected an aroma of incense. The corridor was carpeted and clean. Pictures of trees and lakes were hung neatly on the walls. It actually looked like someone lived here rather than just survived. Linford knocked on a door at the end of the corridor. A pale-faced woman dressed in a thin red robe glanced from Linford to me then bowed and let us inside.
I didn’t know what to expect but a clean welcoming kitchen lit by electric lights surprised me
“Wait. I must speak to Rhema.” Linford gestured to the girl in the red robe. “Oshema, a nourishing drink for our guest.”
Linford parted a thick beaded curtain and left me with Oshema.
“Don’t suppose you’ve got a Budweiser,” I joked.
“The Lady does not allow it,” Oshema said. “I may bring you a tonic if you are thirsty.”
“A tonic of what?”
“Herbs, spices and fruits. It can revive even the most weary of souls.”
“Sure. I’ll try some.”
I watched Oshema prepare the brew. She went about her work in silence. I wondered how one woman like Rhema could command such loyalty. Oshema had that aura of dedication I hadn’t seen since the war. Her red robes whispered as she opened cupboards and fetched out ingredients. When she bent down I caught myself gazing at her cleavage as her robe billowed forward. Her milky white skin was stark against her robes. I closed my eyes and looked away. I felt guilty for invading the privacy of what I suppose was a holy woman. Those in Zone 2 knew Rhema had strange powers, that her followers were devout in whatever religion they followed.
With religion abolished generations had grown up without learning about what I consider to be a fundamental part of life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a believer, after the shit I’ve seen who could blame me? I’ve always had a hard time accepting the concept of a god but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some important moral lessons to be learned from religion. I would never mock anyone for worshipping their deity, but I do respect them for their devotion and loyalty.
Oshema placed a plastic tumbler on the kitchen counter. “You may find it bitter at first but the warmth that follows is worth it.”
I swished the liquid around and inhaled the vapours. “Smells like Gin.”
Oshema smiled. “So I have heard.”
“You don’t know what Gin tastes like?”