Shunned - Part 2
Filed Under: Short Stories
Date Created:05 Feb 2015
Last Modified:07 Jun 2017
Number of Views: 1709
“She is diseased. She is mentally unstable.”
“Insane, you mean?”
She hesitated. “Well, yes.”
“Mom, Rachel is the most intelligent person I know. I never ever imagined her being an apostate. If she is one now, then she must have a very good reason for it.”
“So you are siding with her? Do you want to be disfellowshipped as well?”
“No, I am not,” Nancy said defensively, “what I am saying is that it is totally unfair to call her insane. She is an intelligible person. She has always been the smartest in our family. We have always been close. She is not just my sister, but my friend. We could have allowed her to attend the wedding at least.”
“You know what could have happened if we did,” she responded.
Nancy shook her head. “We worry too much about what they think. I am more concerned about what my dear sister is feeling.”
“She’s selfish!” her mother barked, her voice charged with emotion. “She never cared about us and our feelings. She went right ahead and left the organization without considering how we would feel.
“How does she expect us to feel, huh?
“I can’t associate with my own daughter and how do you suppose that makes me feel?”
Nancy thought she saw tears in her mother’s eyes. Speechless, she looked away, her own eyes watering.
Daniel sat on his bed, biting the end of his pencil. It used to be a long pencil; but now it was a mere stub. His eyes were bloodshot. He sniffled.
“We understand you and Rachel were close,” Brother Justine said with a searching gaze. He was seated opposite him, on the other bed. He looked odd without his jacket; in fact, he looked smaller than usual.
“Yes, as close as family,” Daniel said, avoiding his penetrative gaze.
“I hear she used to spend some time at your room… is that true?”
Daniel’s heart raced and he shot Brother Justine a quizzical look. “She did use to visit.”
“And you’d be just the two of you?”
Daniel felt inclined to lie; but he found himself nodding his head. He cast his eyes to the floor.
“Did you engage in petting or kissing—”
Daniel felt his chest heat up. He breathed in deeply, his eyes still to the floor, he said: “No. Not in the slightest.”
Brother Justine smiled and placed his hand on his shoulder. He caressed it gently. “Don’t worry, Daniel. I am not accusing you of anything. But you understand we have to investigate all possibilities. Rachel was disfellowshipped; so we have to make sure you have not been compromised in anyway. Bonds like the one you formed with her can be particularly hard to break.”
“I loved Rachel. That’s why I reported her; because it was the loving thing to do. She needed help. Perhaps when she sees how bad it is out there, she will return to the protection of the organization.”
“You did a recommendable job, Daniel. You were firm on her. We should be firm against apostates. We should not entertain them at all costs.”
“So even if she was to return—”
“I wouldn’t entertain her,” Daniel spat out, cutting him short.
“That’s very good, Daniel,” Daniel gave him a sideward glance and noticed that Brother Justine’s face was literally glowing from pleasure.
There was an awkward moment of silence. Daniel wished the ground could just swallow him.
Go already! He thought.
“I think it’s about time I left,” Brother Justine said getting up to his feet. “I have other shepherding calls to make. You know this is a big campus and there are so many of you!”
“Yes, there are,” Daniel responded, relief clearly discernible in his voice.
“Which is somewhat odd,” Brother Justine said, rising to his feet.
“Well, the faithful and discreet slave discourages us from pursing higher education, don’t they?”
“Yes. They do.”
“They say mingling with worldly people and learning teachings contrary to the Bible can derail us from the truth.”
“Considering what has happened to Rachel, they are very right.” Brother Justine walked slowly to the door as he spoke. Daniel, out of courtesy, followed him slowly behind. Brother Justine was a tall, huge man with broad shoulders. He felt like a dwarf standing next to him; and he was among the tallest in his class.
“If only we could fully obey,” Brother Justine continued.
“You know it is a challenge with these hard economic times,” Daniel said in a servile voice, his hand on the door knob, which felt quite cold.
“I know my brother.” He smiled down at him. Creases appeared on his large, square forehead. “It is hard to find a decent job without a diploma or a degree.”
Brother Justine paused contemplatively; and then his eyes glowed as if he had just recalled something of great value. “You said you loved Rachel?”
Daniel was caught off-guard. He stammered and coughed. His eyes watered. “Um… errr… yes—I did.”
“Do you still love her?”
He bit his lower lip.
What an unfair question. He thought. A very, very unfair question.
“I guess I do,” he said carefully, his eyes hovering around Brother Justine’s shoes.
“Do you think it is wise to love those who show disdain for Jehovah and his organization?”
Daniel shook his head.
“No, it is not,” Brother Justine Continued. “Because if we love them; if we entertain warm feelings towards them; we shall be inclined to rationalize what they have done so that we could be with them. And that could be very dangerous.”
Brother Justine’s voice sounded far away, and Daniel’s mind drifted. He saw Rachel. He saw her smile and he heard her laughter. He felt her warm breath on his lips. And then he heard her whisper.
“I will help you find Jesus, babe. And then together, we shall get out and follow Jesus. We are going to be free babe. Free in Jesus.”
He shook himself and found Brother Justine walking out of the door.
“Always remember that, Daniel,” he said turning to smile at him.
“I will sir,” he said closing the door slowly.
“One-two-three,” Rachel counted.
She shook her head. Her face was glum—almost expressionless.
“One-two-three,” she opened her mouth and tossed the handful of pills into her mouth. She collapsed onto her bed and closed her eyes.
“One-two-three… four,” she said in a slurred voice as the world slowly melted away into a thick blackness.
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