The woman, likely in her 40's and average looking, stood in front of Reverend Bill with her head down. She was lost and scared. She shivered at the thought that the probability that everyone would be dead in a few weeks was high. She didn't want to die alone and was fixated on the void that loomed. 

Reverend Bill was yelling at the top of his voice as he held the woman's head with his left hand. He screamed of false prophets and demons that roamed wild outside of the hall. The twenty or so people that were gathered, save the trio of musicians, were lost in spastic movement, crying and shouting. None seemed to be aware of each other. 

The woman shut her eyes tightly and did her best to concentrate on Reverend Bill's words. As loud as they were, short montages of her life crowded them out. Her at the abortion center, 19 years old and numb from the weeks of turmoil to end her pregnancy. Next, sitting at her desk where she'd spent most of her adult life, shuffling papers and taking phone calls, all done with false enthusiasm. Then, at one of the hundreds of bars that she spent the second most amount of time, cradling a glass of red wine as a strangers hand slowly rubbed her thigh. Suddenly as a child, peering through the keyhole as her drunken father beat her mother about the house. The screaming; one of anger, the other of terror rang in her ears. 

The Reverend Bill slapped her across the face. The screams were real now. The others voices as they whirled, twirled and flopped about the hall. She raised her head and opened her eyes. Her entire field of vision filled with the greasy thick lips and oversized teeth of Reverend Bill moving constantly in all directions. She closed her eyes and opened them quickly in order to focus better. 

The Reverend Bill's mouth larger, louder and moving faster than ever. The images started receding as she grew transfixed on that mouth and the howls that came from it. There was nothing familiar about the sounds. They were disjointed, sometimes in a fast rhythm, others in a chant like fashion. Spittle flew forth as the incantations suddenly penetrated the woman’s mind. She found herself unconsciously moving her mouth. There were no words, only sounds, grunts and trill screams coming out. She started moving uncontrollably, shaking back and forth until she collapsed in Reverend Bill’s arms. She knew she had found a home. She would never be alone again. She looked up and Reverend Bill’s mouth once again was all she could see, now smiling broadly, from ear to ear.

Fred Vee