POSTCARDS FROM HELL: leaving the cult

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Once upon a time there was a girl named Anne who was born and raised on the campus of a clown university.

There were secrets and magic at the university. First of all, these clowns were no ordinary clowns. And the classes were no ordinary classes.

At this university, there was no classic training. No tramp, no auguste, no mime.

In fact, it was a cult masquerading as a university. And that meant everything that was taught was taught to support the singular self-serving ideas and ideations and delusions of the leader, the founder and CEO. The prophet Sir Gregory.

The self-appointed prophet had many wives and daughters and sons. Nobody gives a fuck about him anymore, though, not since the Feds infiltrated the cult and threw him into prison.

But some of the young up and comers in the cult had envisioned Greg’s demise years before the fall.

They began to work in secret to divvy up the inheritance.

You see, though these men would suit up and travel with circuses in public, what the cult really taught was metaphysical law and how to bend it.

These men were pulled off the streets and given shelter and food at their weakest, most vulnerable moments.

They were groomed based on their God-given talents.

Some were natural healers, others magicians, still others mediums and time travellers, shape shifters.

You name a gift and Greg had pulled it off the street.

Anne was betrothed at a young age to one recruit who was a talented telepathic. Her father chose him because he knew that unless he taught Basil how to handle that wild gift in the insane ego-driven world, the potential to lose his mind was always there as a way to control him.

But his skill came in handy. And he needed someone with flimsy morals to control Anne as she started to come into her own God-given talents.

The exchange was this: Basil would get the prestige and title of son-in-law plus a few other perks (like the keys to a certain purple basement room) and Basil would do the work of keeping Anne locked in an invisible metaphysical box with no windows.

At first Basil thought it was a little harsh, but Greg flashed the gold and he was charmed.

Anyway, as the cult began to fall, Anne’s marriage began to fall apart.

Other young men who had grown disillusioned with the lack of advancement in the ranks started making their own plans.

Many were sick of putting on their clown faces and going into the crowds like soldiers with no true purpose.

Anne’s father had never figured out a way to remedy that. In private, he cursed millennials for their strong sense of self and ability to know they deserve more when they are being cheated – either by themselves or those around them.

It was a truth he couldn’t distract from, take away from, turn into something else or hide.

As Anne was mourning the loss of something she once thought of as real, scheming and backstabbing was happening all around her.

She had no idea why anyone would want to spend time with her. She was the daughter of a tired old cult leader who was losing the respect of his inner circle, and the soon-to-be ex wife of a man who had never thought of her as more than a pay out.

But they did. They did want to spend time with her. She hated the fighting. She hated competition.

And one night, while she was sleeping, a man who was really good at being invisible put a magic hood over her head and transported her to his room.

Anne wasn’t aware there were magic hoods. She had been taught nothing. The whole reason for Basil was to keep her as far away from learning about her natural talents as possible.

But this hood was able to daze and fog any person. It made a person more susceptible to brainwashing.

He set her up in a bed. He told her she was sick and that he would nurse her back to health.

Anne was incredibly vulnerable at that time. As Basil was ordered to leave the complex, things that he had blocked from her mind started to flow back in. She started to feel terribly afraid of her father. And her mother.

The only two people besides Basil that she felt she could trust in her whole life.

The things that came in were so horrific and violent, Anne had trouble believing it at first, but the intense fear would not leave her.

Yves told her things were crumbling. He said that life would change but not to be afraid because he would always be with her.

She believed him. Yves was the first face she saw when he took off the hood.

Anne loved him, her savior. This man who picked her up and carried her away from trouble. She believed he would always keep her safe and take care of her. She thought he took the risk because he loved her.

But then Greg found out that Yves had betrayed him.

It became a war of manipulation and lies and defamation. They both took shots at each other’s futures using the dark power of knowing how to bend the universal laws.

Anne was stuck in the middle of the danger without even knowing.

Yves would go out at night and she didn’t ask any questions. It wasn’t her place.

She was raised to be complacent. Just curious and lively enough not to raise red flags with anyone Greg or his wife had to interact with outside of the cult.

Yves presented himself as a knight who would rescue Anne and her unborn child.

Greg didn’t know about the unborn child when he ostracized Basil.

Yves had had a vision about the child, though, and if Anne hadn’t been hooded, she might have questioned his motives.

But she was too vulnerable when Yves swooped in to do anything but be thankful.

As the war raged on, the years went by. Anne’s child was born. A beautiful girl. She named her Rebecca.

Yves said he would teach Anne some basics to keep her safe. He said she had so much innate talent, it wouldn’t take much teaching at all.

But he was always busy clowning. He said he had to or Greg would know for sure that he was the traitor hiding his daughter.

In the meantime, Anne enjoyed more freedom than she ever had in her life, and she really liked the new neighborhood.

Her and Rebecca would go for walks and play in parks. They would go out for lunch sometimes with the money Yves left for groceries. It wasn’t actually his money. But there it was, in a jar in a kitchen cupboard.

Anne wanted a burger. Back home, they used to eat burgers all the time. Even though she knew it was no longer a happy place, Anne still missed it. It was her home. All she knew. She had nothing else but memories and this tiny apartment where Yves had taken her and claimed her for himself.

On the street one day, as she and Rebecca headed out for lunch, she bumped into a man. Literally bumped into him.

She was looking away at Rebecca, and this man was looking down at a book.

He smiled. She smiled. There was something familiar in his eyes. But she didn’t know what to call it.

It turned out this man worked on that street. And more and more, Anne would find herself going into the store to say hello without really saying hello.

This new world was wonderful and terrifying at the same time.

People just spoke their mind. Without hesitation or permission.

There were no rules.

Anne wished there was rules. Only so she would have some idea of what to do, where to go, how much of herself to share.

She was used to giving all of herself to anyone her father had okayed as needing her gifts.

Which, as far as Anne could tell, was her attention.

But to give her attention without command was seen as blasphemous. A brazen overstepping of her role.

But Anne kept going back. She loved to play with the wooden and steel puzzles as she sipped her tea and watched the world.

Yves, of course, though he was away clowning almost always, knew that Anne had met this man.

He never said he would marry her, but he made it clear he didn’t want Anne to be with other guys.

It was all very confusing for Anne, but familiar as well.

She loved Yves and would do anything for him. Anything.

But she didn’t want to be her mother. Wife one of fifteen.

Yet, Yves had rescued her. And that meant something to her.

So, she kept her interest in this man platonic.

One day, Yves came home from clowning and told Anne they would have to move. He couldn’t keep her and her daughter anymore.

He had run out of money. He had nothing left.

Anne didn’t know what to do. She had never been in the world all by herself. She had Rebecca to take care of. She didn’t know what she could do to make money.

Yves said he couldn’t take care of her. He had to go. He was sorry, but she was on her own. He knew she could do it, though. He believed in her.

She stayed on her own in that apartment as long as she could after Yves left. But the landlord started threatening eviction after one month short. And money for food was running out quickly.

Anne had no choice. She had to call her parents and beg them to take her and Rebecca in. She knew that she would be punished. She knew she would likely pay for the rest of her life.

Part of her wanted to explain the situation to the man down the street, but the last thing she wanted to do was pull him into the clown cult.

She knew the best thing she could do for him was to keep him safe the only way she could think of.

Yves had never been around, so the man assumed she was fully single. And there was no way to explain the clown who had rescued her from the cult run by her father.

She started to wear a ring on her left hand. She had found one in a bubble gum machine and it looked realistic from a distance.

About two weeks before her parents came with a moving truck to take her back, Anne walked down the street while the man was taking a break.

Her heart was breaking but she was good at burying grief and fear. Rebecca wanted to say hello, but Anne said no, they had to go to another store.

He had an expression on his face that she couldn’t scrub from her mind no matter how many years went by.

The man never knew what came of Anne. And though Anne prayed for him, she never saw him in her dreams.

She did mail a letter before she left. But she had no way of knowing if it got to him, or if he would understand what she was trying to say.

(photo from madonna bible on Twitter)