People Who Play Sheep
The history of the planet was littered with situations where religious fanatics had been out of control. Wars had been fought; coups enacted, entire religions were trying to be wiped out of existence all in the name of religion supremacy. No matter what scale of destruction it left behind, it’s always bigger when it’s in your own backyard.
Detective Peter O’Brien leaned against the basement door dreading what he had to do next. He lowered his head and said glumly, “I don’t want to see what’s down there.”
Officer Victor Cruz and Alfredo Fuentes walked around the edges of the scene, and thought collectively, what the hell was wrong with this picture? They stood around the make-shift church looking over a mass suicide. They couldn’t understand, what was that perfectly righteous moment that sent these people into frenzy? They seem to latch onto a religion and hold on to it for dear life. Fuentes couldn’t understand the reasons people follow fanatically. He knew that you could throw as much street corner psychology as you can at the people who play sheep and they would ignore it just to keep following.
When they are all dead, who is the suspect? Who should they scream at loudest? Who gets to leave the interrogation room as witness or suspect? Who is lying, and who is telling the truth? Who gets set free and who gets locked up for the night?
The mass suicide had given them the myth of the raging pursuit. Everyone in the state goes around pointing fingers, and giving their expert opinion on why and how this could have happened. They also explain that the police could only get there after the bodies had fallen.
Then the other religions’ representatives make comments on how their God would not have allowed the mass suicide. In their religion, there would be no fistfights, deaths, or early graves. They promise a golden gate to the most perfect place in the world. Disease free lands with plenty of food and vigorous living. Age would only be a number that has no significances, but in truth there was no proof of such a place, so how would they know?
O’Brien finally made it down the basement and he couldn’t hold down his lunch. The smell was so rancid he bellied up two heaping mouthfuls of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Trying to understand the visuals went beyond academic degrees and special training or even simple book learning, because all the theory in the world means nothing when it comes to littered bodies with self-inflicted wounds.
Peter O’Brien rubbed his bleary eyes and leaned back against the foundation. He had fidgeted with his face by putting both hands on it and pressing trying to relax the muscles, as it creaked in protest. He then scoured the basement looking at all the bodies that sprawled along the concrete floor. Somewhere in his heart there was an extra beat every second, but with so many loud spirits floating away from the scene, the bodies were quiet.
O’Brien was a big shouldered man, but no matter how big his shoulder was he couldn’t carry the weight of that crime on those shoulders. Then down the basement hall a man wearing a religious collar emerged from one of the adjoining rooms with a bible in one hand and a knife in the other.
O’Brien just looked confused.
“My son, I couldn’t go through with it,” he sing-songed.
“Couldn’t go through what?”
“These were my good sheep,” he continued. “We all agreed to meet God half way, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.”
“You… you made these people take there own lives?”
“No, it was the message I got from God.”
The disgust and hatred that was building up in O’Brien’s heart seemed to be growing in size and complexity with each passing second. Around him were littered people who trusted a coward, and there stood the coward. Directly in front of him in a dead end so to speak. Fuentes and Cruz were upstairs with the crime technicians and he was alone with the creator of the mass graveyard. Necessary questions about why this happened nonetheless seemed stilted when it came to the hideous act of suicide. If the religious man’s suicide pact carried a weakness, maybe O’Brien could find it in his aching heart to help him along. O’Brien thought about lighting him on fire and swears on a stack of bibles that he was in the throes of spontaneous combustion. Maybe he could fire two shots into his chest and tell everyone he was attacked by the nut carrying a knife. However, Detective Peter O’Brien’s job was to make an arrest and put that tragic ordeal behind him. A visual he would most likely take to his grave.
© 2014 Frank Atanacio
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