I burned down the church and everyone in it. Pastor Hughes had just stepped up to the altar when the flames engulfed him. The funny thing is, no one flinched when the fire started. All they could do is watch with mesmerization, certain this was another of his performances, an exhibition of his devotion to God.
Let me tell you a little about the church before I go on. The Church of the Sacrificial Lamb prided themselves on their mission to cleanse the earth of sin. Pastor Hughes preached fire and brimstone and commanded his followers to cleanse the world of its sinful ways through whatever means necessary. Every Sunday they brought before the Pastor a new sacrifice, a debt owed to God. Pastor Hughes would read aloud from the Old Testament, commanding them to do deplorable things, such as sacrificing pagan children and offering them as a burnt sacrifice before the Lord.
I listened just outside the doors as the congregation worked themselves into a frenzy, descending on their pastor as he flailed about. I heard the sound of cloth tearing, followed by the wet noise of flesh ripping open.
If I told you I was proud of what I did, it would be a lie. I knew every person inside that church. My sister Alice danced in the fire, screaming her sins aloud. She was trying to atone for her own evils, but it was too late.
My best friend Thomas broke from the throng, suddenly aware of his own awful ways, and trying to escape. He beat and clawed at the doors, trying to make them open. They would never open until they were reduced to ashes, though, since I had bolted them shut and made sure no one could make it out, no matter how hard they tried. I stood on the other side of the doors, listening to his wails and wondering what he could have become if he hadn’t committed his life to such a terrible calling.
The flesh of Kiera, my own wife, filtered underneath the door as she burned inside. I couldn’t deny it was her. I could point out her flowery scent in any crowd. My love smoldered and burned, the smoke of her flesh rising to my nostrils and biting into my soul.
I destroyed all I ever knew that day. I should have gone with them, but I was too much of a coward. All I could do was destroy it and pretend they never existed.