- Chapter Thirteen
mariA returns to the Resource & Welfare Facility 4499 from the black market.
mariA is able to sneak past the guards and returns to the barracks from the hospital, beaten and confused. She cannot take her PM because she will miss almost three-quarters of the day if she does. The other miners lie asleep in their beds, their PM pill will not wear off for another few hours. mariA has no choice except to wait until the morning and take the AM pill like planned.
mariA lies in her bed and goes over what has happened to her that night. The words “I am your god” swim in her head. The lack of food, sleep, and an over abundance of toxins in the air cause her to hallucinate. The violence of the night mixed with the joy of finding the ten dollars in the dump starts to confuse her. mariA slowly fades in and out of consciousness from the sheer exhaustion of what happened during the night and from the concussion she received when her head hit the ground. Her hallucinations guide her to a trusting sweet voice saying “I am your god,” that slowly melts together with revelry and the words “mariA, can you hear me?” The revelry is a bittersweet sound in the back of her dreams. “I am your god. mariA, can you hear me. I am your god.” mariA comes out of her stupor slowly. Everyone that lives with her in the makeshift shack is standing around her. A fuzzy outline of a face comes into view.
mariA (says with a crack in her throat):
Lord, is that you?
The form comes into view; it is leO standing over her. mariA slowly regains consciousness, and notices a crowd of people around her. The question is; where is the food?
mariA, what happened? Are you alright?
Did you get the fruit?
Don’t play games mariA, where is the fruit, I have never seen an apple up close.
mariA did you eat everything? Where is the fruit?
Dazed, mariA pulls herself to her feet and falls to the ground.
I don’t know what happened. It is all a haze.
leO grabs her face and looks in her glazed eyes.
mariA, try to remember what happened.
I don’t know, I don’t know.
mariA starts to weep.
Where you attacked?
Were you robbed?
The group starts demanding to know about the fruit they were promised.
mariA hangs her head:
I don’t know.
No, no, no, no! No! No! mariA ate the food, and now we have none!
He runs out the door, mariA starts to follow but leO grabs her arm.
Let him go, he will cool off.
mariA starts to weep:
No, leO he won’t, he will run right to the Bishop. Let go of my arm.
mariA wrestles out of leO’s grip and runs out to the shared yard. She sees weaseL running towards the direction of the Bishop’s office. Realizing that she can’t catch him in time, she falls to her knees and begins to cry. leO comes out of the quarters, followed by others. leO kneels next to mariA. The group from the barracks follows.
leO looks at the group and states:
We all need to go to mass or we will be docked for the day.
mariA returns to her bunk and starts crying. This was too much trauma for one person to be able to put into coherent words. mariA can think of nothing else to do but cry. The rest of the miners exit the barracks and make their way to The Church located at the center of the compound.
LeO goes back for mariA:
Come, mariA. We need to go to mass.
The miners enter The Church one by one and take their seats in the pews and wait for mass to start. leO and mariA make their way to their seats. A loud organ plays in the background with music that is toneless and wearisome to listen to. weaseL comes in last, limping. He sits across from mariA and leO and looks at them with contempt. mariA looks at leO.
They cannot hurt you here. Let us pray.
The droning music stops. The precession music starts, five altar boys enter followed by Bishop Lamb. They walk to the Altar and proceed with the rituals of the mass. Bishop Lamb looks directly at mariA as the organ music comes to a slow stop. Bishop Lamb starts his sermon staring directly at mariA.
mariA looks shocked, knowing that weaseL has told the Bishop about the money and what she had done.
You are a thief!
Bishop Lamb pauses and mariA starts to cry. leO grabs her hand and squeezes it. Bishop Lamb looks at the entire crowd and continues.
You have all stolen from the Lord. You are all thieves; you steal God’s love and offer nothing back…
mariA looks at leO and breaths a heavy sigh. The mass continues as usual. At the end of the mass, leO and mariA exit The Church and are greeted by two guards.
The Bishop wants to see you in his office.
They take mariA by the arm and lead her to the office, leO follows. When they arrive in the office, weaseL is there as well. The Bishop looks at leO.
leO? I did not call for you. Why are you here? Leave.
No! She is the woman I am going to have a son with, I will stand by her side.
No bother, stay. mariA, did you find a ten-dollar bill in the dump mines yesterday?
weaseL; please hold your tongue or I will have a guard hold it for you.
No Bishop, I found a five-dollar bill yesterday.
Where is it!
mariA quickly pulls the bill out of here pocket and hands it to him. The Bishop looks at it.
Are you sure it was not ten?
No, only five.
Will you swear on the B.I.B.L.E.?
This is not necessary, you have the money.
Guards, restrain this miner, and if he says another word cut out his tongue.
The guards grab leO. leO just stands and watches knowing it is out of his hands.
Deep in mariA’s womb the unborn daughter of mariA and John Walker grows.
Bishop Lamb holds out the mechanical B.I.B.L.E. and a trembling mariA places her right hand upon it.
Swear to me that you found only five dollars and nothing will happen. The B.I.B.L.E. will bring salvation one way or another.
mariA places her shaking hand on the B.I.B.L.E..
I gave you five dollars.
That was not the question.
Dear Lord, please forgive me.
I ask you again, did you find ten dollars?
No, it was only five.
mariA closes her eyes but nothing happens. The Bishop, weaseL, and leO are all somewhat shocked.
leO (in a demanding voice):
Can we leave now?
One of the guards strikes leO across the back with his baton.
There is a moment of silence. If she was lying, the B.I.B.L.E. would have surely taken the sinner to hell, but the B.I.B.L.E. cannot take an innocents life. The unborn child in mariA was the only person in the room that was truly innocent. The Bishop slowly turns and walks to his desk. Everyone in the room is stunned and silent.
Well, it seems you have not lied, so why didn’t you turn this in at a station?
Thieves. There are thieves everywhere. Like in your sermon today. And I was hoping there might be a reward if I turned it in.
A reward? There is no reward for not turning The Churches property over to The Church. Although you did not lie, your reward is that you will not be punished.
The B.I.B.L.E. has cleared her name, now may we leave?
leO, you are lucky you still carry some privilege from The Church or I would make you swear on the B.I.B.L.E. as well. Now get out.
leO mumbles under his breath and then turns to leave with mariA. Bishop Lamb hears the comment and stops them.
The Bishop turns and picks up a small package.
leO, this arrived for you today, it is your seed.
Thank God. When is the scheduled insemination?
Your punishment for being so insolent is this – it is not going to be injected in your whore.
The Bishop throws the package to the ground and steps on it, completely destroying the contents. Inside the package, the muffled sound of a glass vial can be heard as it shatters.
Now, get out of my sight, you vile miners and get an altar boy in here to clean this up.
Bishop Lamb turns and walks to his desk. leO falls to his knees screaming.
Nooo! What have you done!
leO stands up and starts to charge the Bishop. The guards grab leO, subdue him and drag him out of the building. mariA follows crying and trying to help leO.
weaseL (to the Bishop):
So, is there a reward?
weaseL turns and runs out.
The guards throw leO out of the building and he falls weeping, insanely crying. mariA tries to comfort him but to no avail.
It must not have been God’s will.
leO looking into the sky starts to scream.
Why do you mock me! Why do you come to me only to mock me!
weaseL walks past leO and mariA.
I don’t know how you fooled the B.I.B.L.E., but you still have me to deal with. You better watch your backs in the barracks tonight. I always get mine.
leO’s sorrow quickly turns to rage. He springs to his feet with vengeance in his heart and hatred in his eyes, and approaches weaseL.
Don’t look at me like that. You brought this upon yourself.
weaseL realizes that he is in trouble and starts to run. He is at a disadvantage since leO can run faster. leO chases after him screaming. weaseL knows that he must get away but has no allies in the camps. weaseL has hurt everyone he has met in his life one way or another. He runs to a guard.
I’m on break.
The guard turns and leaves. leO catches up to weaseL, punches him in the face, and breaks weaseL's nose. Blood explodes from weaseL’s face. weaseL regains his balance.
What are you doing! You can’t do this.
According to the first commandment, paragraph 8, subsection 7, I can do this.
And leO hits him again this time so hard that leO looses his balance and falls to the ground as well. weaseL staggers and falls to the ground at the feet of another guard who is positioned at the gate of the compound. The guard just looks at him. mariA tries to hold leO back.
You have to help me.
Aren’t you the one that turned me in to the Bishop for smoking during work?
leO pushes mariA away and she stumbles backwards. leO picks up a large rock from the compound’s ground and stands up. Breathing intensely, he walks towards weaseL. weaseL looks at the guard and pleads.
I am sorry, please help me!
With what? I see nothing wrong here.
The guard turns away and lights a cigarette. weaseL backs up to the gate and cowers.
leO walks past the guard and raises the stone above his head and screams.
He without sin cast the first stone.
The stone strikes weaseL's head with all of leO’s rage. Blood splatters everywhere. leO falls to his knees and weeps as mariA just stands and stares in shock from what has happened. The guard looks at weaseL on the ground and at leO who walks away. No one seems to care. weaseL is dead.