The reporter shifted uneasily on her chair and smoothed the grey skirt of her formal austere dress in an unconscious movement. The man in front of her didn't bow to piety, nor did he believe in God the Almighty's regency. Of that she was sure. As sure as she knew that he definitely wasn't afraid of the Antagonist, either.
The man on the other side of the table in front of her didn't look like he'd passed a hundred-and-thirty two years ago. A little silvery ash at the temples of his otherwise golden hair was the only visible sign that the man before her was over thirty. He focused on her with eyes of an almost obscenely bright green, contrasted by his pale skin and pitch-black clothes.
The Fallen One's servant... undoubtedly. She'd never met someone disdaining the god-given – and government controlled – order of dress with such flagrancy.
But what did she expect when interviewing the man who still stood by an atrocity of mind-reader, calling the ungodly creature his wife?
Her hand trembled when she put the recording device onto the table between them. "Do you agree to a recording?" she asked in the low, devout voice she'd cultivated for her job.
His mouth twitched. "This interview would be useless if I disagreed, wouldn't it?" He snorted. "The officially indoctrinated sanctimoniousness doesn't believe in people's memories any more."
"People's memories are too easily violated by the Fallen One's servants," she reminded him icily.
"Only if you let them," he shrugged.
The Fallen One's servant... indeed.
She'd volunteered for this interview, volunteered, for it was likely the only chance to learn something about a past now gone for more than her nineteen years of life, about a past where mind-reading atrocities lived among God's children, where the ancestors of the children today had mingled with God's creation... wreaking havoc, serving the Antagonist.
It was a dangerous interview, and she knew she'd have to spend long weeks in seclusion afterwards to cleanse her soul from these influences – and the haughtiness that kept whispering in the back of her mind, that she was the best for the job, that her name was going to be remembered as the one who'd interviewed–
"Are we going to start sometime?" he interrupted her thoughts rudely.
And she started. "Yes..." she replied hastily and he began to speak, told her of the past, of the achievements of the League and that it had been their work that had secured Earth enough for...
She wanted to stop him, to end this sermon of lies, but she didn't dare. It wasn't right to interrupt an old man's memories and so she listened, and began to fear that it wouldn't be weeks but months she had to spend in retreat afterwards...
But she was here to learn, to listen... and to bring back the information the righteous government's forces needed to finally end this threat. Though she wondered about the fear a 132-year-old caused in the divine rulers...
A crash came out of the darkness in the back of the tiny house, something moved clumsily there, and he was up and at the woman's side in a blink of an eye, reducing her doubt about the dangerousness of a not-old-looking old man to nothing. The pious government was right to distrust such a predator among their sheep.
She watched him steady the stumbling woman with the shockingly uncovered hair, helping her to the rocking chair she'd left a moment ago. Someone with hair that red should always wear the appropriate coif.
The woman looked towards her out of veiled bluish-green eyes. Veiled! She gasped. That had to be the atrocity living with him...
He whirled round, reminding her that it was said he himself could be a mind-reader, but though he was tested every week, all the tests had been negative. Now his eyes glowed predatory cold, zeroing in on her face, assessing her expression, dismissing her.
"Leave. Now." The voice was threateningly calm. "Your isolating drugs have done her enough harm. She doesn't need your–" the following word was beyond God's horizon of acceptance "–hate in addition."
And she fled the house with inappropriate haste...
The task force, storming in only an hour later, found the little house abandoned.
A handwritten note on the table, secured with a violet orchid and a sleeve insignia showing a growling wolf's head, read:
Thanks for confirming that the world we gave our oaths to doesn't exist any longer.
Seven hours later, a small, armed ship asked for landing clearance on Andor.
And was welcomed...
In the wake of tightened registration and immigration rules for people of the Islamic faith in most of the Western countries, we should all keep in mind that it's not Islamic fundamentalism we have to fear, but fundamentalism in general. Any religion capable of evoking strong faith in its followers can be turned into something dangerous if we aren't careful. In this story I used an unspecified sect of Christianity because I know it best, though I am not religious in any way. I don't intend to hurt or offend any specific religion or church with it. I just want to cause a little thinking.