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People Who Play Sheep

Updated on March 16, 2017
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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.





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© 2014 Frank Atanacio

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    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you shegetscreativ :)

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Well written (as usual) -- the legion of sheep in the world today is exactly why it's so easy to say "this could definitely happen."

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you samuel :)

    • samuel hodges profile image

      samuel hodges 3 years ago from Winston-Salem NC

      I'm just trying to catch up on a lot of reading of whom I'm following, and this I find is a very good story. You know the kind of story where you're not quite sure how it will end. The kind that pulls you into it with wonder.

      My writing coach once told me, "You want readers in the end to say, 'that could happen,' "

      Frank, that could happen.

      Good job!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you DDE

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Yourstory says it all about life itself and in a perfect act of writing.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thanks mylinda :)

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 3 years ago from Louisiana

      Wow, how horrible. Good story.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much A-C ...:)

    • Ariel-Cal profile image

      Evelia Veronica Rivera 3 years ago from Bridgeport, CT

      this was very dramatic :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      wow, LOL sun spits its heat at them? LOL thanks Uban :)

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 3 years ago from Lagos

      saddening indeed of how people get easily deceived by filthy-minded fanatical sects/persons whose objective in life is to manipulate others in the name of God for their selfish and self-aggrandizing reasons. I pray the sun spit its heat in them all.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much Annart for reading my sheep bless you :)

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 3 years ago from SW England

      Awful, these cults that persuade people to commit suicide; brainwashing in the extreme. It does make one want someone to blame and to be punished.

      I've often observed that those who send out the suicide bombers never take that action themselves; I wonder why? One of the cowards like this one, I guess.

      Great writing, all the more so because it gives each one of us a dilemma; how would we react in this situation?

      Enjoy the weekend! Ann

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Christine I appreciate you and look forward to checking out your writes when you make them available.. bless you my virtual friend... and Darksage thank you for adding your comments to my sheep...:) Frank

    • Darksage profile image

      Khen Ramos 3 years ago from Philippines

      Again, another amazing story Sir Frank Atanacio! Wow, I have read some of your stories, this one could be my favorite. It is pretty short but it was really interesting and compelling, the way you tackled what could have been a mass suicide, became a mass murder from a man with a religious belief and a collar. Another wonderful job once again!

    • profile image

      Christine Marie 3 years ago

      Frank, thanks, I appreciate being able to gentle ask these kinds of questions when I read an authors works on Hubpages, read it again, and sometimes feel a need to gently question it, not often, but yes, this time... a puzzling crime is how it came across to my person. I continue to comment on Hubpages, void of writing on it at this time because the availability to converse in this way is a good learning experience for me as I think about publishing someday. Keep writing, your's is extraordinary, if I may say necessary; and will continue to go somewhere all the time!-for good!

      Christine

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you tobusiness and msdora for stopping by and commenting bless you both

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Staying alive and facing the consequence of his actions seem more difficult than ending it. Anyway, religious fanaticism makes people unreasonable/mad. Again, Frank, your story is very true to form.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      OK...so now you've put me off KFC I have to think of something else for lunch. :) Excellent work, I could never understand why people would allow themselves to be led like the proverbial sheep, to do thinks their conscience must tell them is so wrong, and all in the name of religion. Once again you've not only shown us the horror of the crime scene, you gave us some insight into the people who have to face the horror. Nicely done.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you CMHyono :)

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 3 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Its scary how far people will go to avoid making their own decisions and being responsible for their own lives. Giving your power away to anyone isn't smart and as your story so graphically shows putting all your trust in one weak, cowardly man can be literally lethal

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Its good to have you add thoughts to my stories... your questioning ways almost hit it right on.. and I respect your opinions, thoughts and remarks.. bless you Frank

    • profile image

      Christine Marie 3 years ago

      This is a good read and a puzzle.

      "...“I don’t want to see what’s down there.”

      Peter O’Brien ...leaned back against the foundation.

      O’Brien ... couldn’t carry the weight of that crime on those shoulders.

      "... A visual he would most likely take to his grave.

      Allow me to share/ask?

      Just thoughts, not necessarily

      what is really going on:

      Are you OBrien and somehow

      trying to convey a deeper meaning to your

      audience, something life changing that

      you've learned about religion and its'

      outcomes?

      "...No matter what scale of destruction it left behind, it’s always bigger when it’s in your own backyard..."

      have you died to some of

      your 'once held religious beliefs?

      Thoughts, perhaps true:

      The story as told bows to the title

      of this contemporary religious

      epic…you are speaking to the times!

      People ARE playing Sheep and

      many are dead already even while they

      liveth.

      More thoughts:

      "...littered people..."

      After re-reading this for a third time,

      I somehow got the feeling its all a word

      play on life and death under religious vows.

      Again, please accept these as

      somewhat random thoughts.

      This is mysterious sort of read.

      I think you've got a lot of

      underlying things going on here.

      Good stuff.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      always exploring thank you for stopping by.. Jackie.. ahem I think I gotta start watching you..LOL and Jodah thanks for your comment and you are right it is easier to blame God..

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      anyway, flourish... again thanks for being on my pages.. bless you... and Becky Katz thanks for the comment

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
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      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      Alastar again great to see you and thank you so much for commenting :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Great write Frank. I know how Peter O'Brien must have felt, torn between sending this evil cowardly man off to meet his maker, or do his job and uphold the law. Hopefully his time in prison will give him a different perspective. So easy to blame everything on "God".

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Since this is just fiction anyway; I think I would have shot him.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Wow! The dirty coward. Some people are soo into religion they forget the ten commandments and blindly follow in cult fashion. The Detective did the right thing, maybe the good Reverend will spend the rest of his life behind bars. My kind of story, short, mysterious and really good..

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 3 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Extremely disturbing story. I have had brushes with this kind of cult, and they are scary as heck.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      So vivid, Frank. No wonder that detective brought back up that KFC. People can get themselves into terrible situations by not thinking for themselves.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 3 years ago from North Carolina

      Reading this the images of Jonestown, the Solar temple people, and the ones that suicided with that dude who said there was an alien ship going to pick up his congregation and take them to paradise or something...the ufo supposedly behind that Hale-Bopp comet in the 90s. Disturbing but good write, Frank my friend. Share, awe and up, with triple pleasure bro.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      bless you always :)

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      awww ! now I am bashful. You are most welcome.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you dear Phyllis :)

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Good grief -- and there the coward stands in his own self-made world of horror. Fantastic story, Frank. Chilling and such a plausible scenario in this wacky world of fanatics. Well done.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much Faith and it does sound like a Jones situation.. LOL thank you for reading too:)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Whoa, sounds like one of those Jim Jones occult situations. Scary stuff there for sure. How Jones got those people to drink the poison back then was that he gave them a diet free of protein and when the brains goes so long without it, it is easy to brainwash people. Your character certainly was no Godly man. They always claim that, but they are very far from God. Great and creative write once again Dear Frank. Up and more and sharing. Blessings, Faith Reaper