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A Touch Of Lust

By:Michelle Horst

Everyone ignores me as they all watch Elijah talk the remaining girl down from the balcony where Rosie's body is hanging from.

I cling to Rosie's legs with all my might, holding her up so the rope won't strangle her.

Finally, the other girl removes the rope from around her neck and men rush forward to cut the ropes loose. Rosie's body slumps into me and I quickly lay her down. I rush to untie the rope from her neck and only once I've yanked it over her head, do I look at her.

Her lips are blue against her pale face. There's a harsh burn mark around her neck from where the rope strangled her.

I don't know how to feel for a pulse, or how to give CPR. I look up at the adults around us, hoping one of them will help us, but they all just stare at me with morbid faces, some even glaring at us with disapproval.

I place my hand over Rosie's mouth, hoping that I'll feel a burst of warm breath, but there's nothing.

A man takes a step closer to us and it makes me grab Rosie to my chest. "Don't you dare touch her!" I glare at everyone, wishing I could kill them all with just a look. "It's all your fault. You're a bunch of fucking monsters!"




Mark pushes through the crowd, his lips pulling down in disgust.

"We need to place the bodies outside the property. Sinners aren't allowed on holy ground," Elijah says.

I know what that means. I might be sixteen and grief-stricken, but I know what that means. They are just going to dump them outside the gates.

I stumble to my feet with Rosie in my arms. The dead weight of her body makes my arms burn.

The people give way as I start to walk with shaky legs. I carry my sister off the property and even though we pass through the gates, I keep walking.

I need to get Rosie home.

I just need to get home.

Tears stream down my cheeks as I carry the body of my baby sister back to our father.

What haunts me most is not the fact that I failed to protect my baby sister – but what horrors she must've gone through to be forced over the edge. What really happened to Rosie to make her take her own life? What did they do to break her?

I refuse to believe that Rosie was weak. I refuse to believe that she took her own life because of what Mark said.

With every passing day we stayed on that property, Rosie turned more into herself. She would never talk to me about it, but I could see that the cult was getting to her. I just never thought it was so bad that she would commit suicide.

It haunts me every single second.

I hate the cult with a raging passion. I want revenge for Rosie.

Thoughts of vengeance keep me going in the days following Rosie's death.

(Age fourteen - Name of cult – Order of The Promised Land)

Mila~

There have been talks of Outsiders coming to the compound. Prophet David says it's so they can see that we live a holy life, so they'll let us live in peace.

I've had my doubts about The Order for a long time now, but now that Outsiders are coming, it's solidifying the feelings of doubt and frustration. Prophet David never felt the need to defend our way against Outsiders before, and it's worrying that he doesn't have such a tight hold over everything anymore.

It's always been us and them. Only the Unblemished Brothers get to leave the compound. They say that they protect us from the evil outside the gates. That's why I don't understand how Prophet David can allow The Outsiders to come here now.

When you look closely at him, you can see the fear in Prophet David's eyes. I think he's losing control of The Order he created and that scares him.

I'm scared of what's coming. I can feel it in the air – the tension, the fear, the suppressed panic.

"We give thanks for Prophet David."

Everyone repeats Brother Jacob's words. We do this four more times as all the Unblemished Brothers take turns to honor Prophet David, and then they form a line behind the podium.

All the women kneel while the men remain standing. This is to show that we're not worthy of standing in the presence of Prophet David. The Temple is also the one place The Outsiders aren't allowed to come into.

They arrived yesterday and have been talking to many people. They have been recording our way of life.

They call themselves journalists. Prophet David thinks they are evil, here to test our faith.

Prophet David takes his place behind the podium and then his eyes slowly trail over all his followers.

"I've had a revelation from the Divine One," he calls out with an almost frenzied eagerness to his voice. It's a total change from the almost depressed look he's had the past few weeks. His eyes are wide and a feverish smile envelops his face.

"I'm so excited! I can barely contain myself. My fellow believers, Brother William is to take his ninth wife." He keeps quiet for a few heartbeats, letting the suspense build as his words sink in.

We've been led to believe that Prophet David talks with God, that he's a direct descendant of Jesus Christ. I'm not so sure that the voice in his head is actually God's. I'm starting to think it's only Prophet David's inflated ego.

I've come to realize that he loves being at the center of everything. He's nothing more than a power hungry mad man.

"Mila has been chosen. This news is sacred and not to be shared with The Immoral that have come to seek our destruction."

My heart stutters with shock. I knew this day was coming, just not so soon. I was hoping I'd be gone before things got this bad. I'm to be married to Brother William.

I keep my head low so no one will be able to see the absolute horror that I'm unable to hide.

Panicked thoughts start to whirl through my mind. Have I waited too long? I have to run! I have to think of a way to get out today. How will I survive? What's on the outside of the compound? Will I be better off on the outside, or are things as bad as everyone says?

I r

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