3 December 2022

01 – Time running slow

It’s been now more than an hour that Joseph explains us – once again – in detail the plan he has for the Project. As always, Faith seems to drink his words, her eyes absorbed by his moving lips.

Jacob mechanically turns his hunting knife between his rough fingers, nodding from time to time to indicate that he is following the conversation. The truth is, he doesn’t give a damn about this Project. He’s only following Joseph because he got him out of trouble. And also certainly out of fear that he can’t protect us.

Since we arrived here, the days follow each other and are all the same. I go from cleansing to cleansing, confession to confession, and atonement to atonement. To be honest, I am dying of boredom with my brothers. Joseph had promised me a new life and a reason to live.

Of course, the first few months have been a change from the legal paperwork of my Atlanta firm. Being a lawyer is not exciting every day. I found new momentum when I came to Hope County, but it has faded with routine and repetitive actions. I stay because I belong with my brothers. Because I owe my freedom to Joseph, and respect to Jacob, who is a U.S. Army veteran.

I secretly hope that Joseph is right about his damn prophecy. If only someone would come along and kick the bucket. If only Hope County could be the scene of exciting action, instead of a backwater where all the worst of America’s people are concentrated. Since we moved here, I haven’t touched an ounce of powder or a drop of alcohol. I’m sober and I fucking hate it. Sex is also forbidden to members of the cult, as are all the pleasant things in life. The only escape I’ve found from boredom is to torture the devotees as they pass through my hands. Pain. I love it. I like to see their blood flow. I like to see them beg and cry as I mark them. Those are the only moments that make me feel alive. This is what it’s all about. I am dead inside. And have been for many years.

I look at my branded watch to see that time is not moving forward. I unconsciously rub the worn leather strap, witness of years spent on my wrist and on someone else’s before me. The scratchy dial is also a testimony to the past life of this timepiece. It has lived more lives than I will ever have. And that’s fine. I dive into my memories to remember the young man who owned it before me.

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