After the religious wars, Glenda stands in her temple
“The Gods of old were not remote, celestial icons. They were flesh and bone, sinew and blood,” she said, standing in front of the altar. She looked at the crowded nave. More people were entering. No one was surprised more than she at increasing numbers.
“Since we became aware of intelligences greater than our own,” she paused looking at an elderly woman standing to her right. “… their previous visits to Earth…” she continued walking forward between potted palms and stone columns. She reached out to people crowding on each side, touching outstretched hands. “…it became easier for us.”
She raised her face so she could be heard among whispering people clustered between columns.
“Glenda!” a man shouted from behind a column.
Other voices, female and male, whispering, shouting, “Glenda!”
“They defined us,” she shouted above their voices.
She became aware of Rick standing to her left, while Vyktorya stood on the right, walking ahead. She saw Rick’s face flush red, as he pushed two men away from her path.
Seeing stress and worry in his face, she resolved to hire body guards. Fundamentalists’ threats on her life were increasing. Rick was frantic. High tech devices installed at the temple entrance were not enough to detect weapons. The structure had been rebuilt, after the first one was destroyed by terrorists.
“They found an indigenous species,” she shouted, seeing others help Rick and Vyktorya push people back.
Looking straight ahead at the long walk to the temple entrance, she saw the sky darkening. It was late in the day. Night would soon fall. She glanced down at the sleeve of the garment she wore. She had several, all in the same style. This one was lavender, a color gay men once used to identify their sub-culture.
“They saw promise in our forebears. They trusted our natural tendency to share resources, food, and shelter.” She stopped walking. The way ahead was blocked by the crowd.
“They saw we were led by females who used sexuality to settle conflict. They saw we were a Matriarchy.”
“Please,” she shouted, “give each other room. Don’t crowd.”
She saw Rick’s face wet with perspiration. The numbers crowding to get inside, to get a glimpse of her, made it too warm. Thankfully, she smelled rain. Here in the Northwest, frequent rains brought coolness. She hoped the temperature would fall.
“They chose us” she shouted, gesturing to people crowding in front of her. “They chose us!” she repeated.
“We are,” she paused, looking around.
And, almost in unison, they shouted back to her, “…the chosen people!”
She smiled at their responsiveness. They had learned. They knew her phrases. She looked down at the floor realizing this is where she stood, two weeks ago when photographers from The Times had taken photos. In proofs she looked like a small woman approaching middle age, even though she would soon be 75.
She, Rick and Vyktorya struggled to find a name for their movement. Lacking an official title, others began to call it, The Order. The Times referred to her as “Leader of a new religion.”
She stopped at this point and gestured to those standing on each side, “Let us repeat the words of Anubis. The words given to us by the ancients.” She reduced her voice to a whisper as those standing around her, those crowding in front, and now, blocking the sanctuary behind her, repeated in unison,
“I spent yesterday among the First Ones.
I have cleared the vision of those who see.
I have opened the circle of darkness.
I am one with THEM.
I know those who live in the holy place.
I know those who took the harpoon of death
He of the cloth will transform himself into woman.
He will become she, the holy one.
He will become she, the high-priestess of men.”
She looked up at her followers. They believed she was the high-priestess the ancients referred to. They believed it was she who had been transformed from man to woman, who would lead them out of the world of sorrow they inhabited. They believed it was she who would guide humanity away from the brink of self-destruction.
Standing in front of her was a group of veterans wearing fatigues. Some stood, others sat in hover chairs. She saw desperation on their faces and remembered. There were too many. The religious wars drove them to her. Fundamentalists on both sides, murdering, killing, maiming the innocent.
“We offer a different path,” she said, smiling at a woman sitting in a hover chair. “Murder is not our nature. To kill those who don’t harm us is not only inhuman,” she paused as a man in desert military fatigues walked to within a meter of her. Rick walked quickly to stand in front of him. She gestured for her husband to stand aside. Seeing a glint of metal in his forearm she wanted him to come closer. His sleeves were rolled up, exposing new skin, like baby skin, covering metallic cables and chords. Both arms had been replaced.
“We are connected to each other,” she continued, gesturing for the man to come closer. She reached out, touching his cheek. “To kill those who do us no harm is alien.” She turned to her right, seeing a little girl holding a home-made doll by its arm. “To kill is not human.”
She turned back towards the altar. People moved away from the central aisle, giving her an opening to walk between them.
She raised her voice, continuing, “The Dusmanyu tried to change us. From time immemorial, they were here.” She turned around to face those who were gathering. “Implanting biological weapons in our bodies, traveling through time to change our DNA. But,” she said, annunciated the letter “T” strongly.
“But,” she said walking to the rear of the temple, “none of it worked.” She turned to the left. “None of it changed us. We are still who we were.”
She knelt down on a cushion in front of the statue to Auset, looking up at the face of the Goddess. The crowd grew quiet.
“Beloved Auset of the First Ones,” she began, kneeling on the cushion, with her palms turned upwards. “Dearest Mother, Queen of Heaven,” she said. A baby cried towards the front of the temple.
“Night is falling.
The Sun sets in the West.
The time of fear and shadows.
Unsure we will see the Sun again,
We battle demons in darkness.
Keep us mindful,
Your light lives within us.
Help us find you.
Help us grow and change,
Help us evolve,
Help us to love,
To move towards your light, as a seedling moves towards the sun.
Help us to hear your voice,
The voice of the First Ones within us,
The voice that conquers night,
The voice that rises in the East.”
She stood slowly and turned around to face her followers. She shouted, “We are ready. Humanity is ready. Let us join the fellowship of Genetically Compatible Races. Let us join with the creators!”