Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.
I just had to leave somewhere and shake off the dusts of my home town, even for a while. My rusty Toyota was leading me along the asphalt road in middle of endless forests. I had no idea where I was, since I just had aimlessly started to drive to the north, and I had never before been in these parts. My last cigarette was gone more than hour ago, and the need for a new one started to become overwhelming. Should have thought about that 20 kilometers ago, when I passed that gas station. Usually there were 90s hits playing in my car, but today I wasn’t on the mood for that at all, so the radio remained silent.
Far ahead, there was someone standing in the crossroads with a sign in his hands. A cardboard plaque that said “NORTH” in big letters. Dull place to wait for a ride, and I could enjoy someone to talk to.
The hitchhiker turned out to be nice guy, even though he was little too talkative for my taste.
We had been driving for a quite while and it was getting dark as we passed a big lake and ended up in a village that had few blocks of densely built two and three-story buildings. There was no living soul anywhere and only some parked cars. Many of those cars seemed ancient and like they have been standing there for a long time. The few shops that this place had, seemed closed, some even permanently.
Further in the back shone large, bright white church.
“Looks like a ghost town.” Said the hitchhiker.
“I wonder where we are?”
“No idea, but far from the main road”
After we tried few doors and found them all locked we decided to return to the lake and camp there, since we weren’t going to find a place to sleep in the village.
The hitchhiker started to set up his tent, but I was more fond of my hammock. The lake was large and beautiful, so I found it strange that there was nothing on its shores. No houses, no cottages, no boats, nothing.
The hitchhiker fell asleep right away and started snoring loudly. I am a light sleeper myself so I had to move my hammock further. A quite lot further since there weren’t many suitable trees nearby.
I didn’t sleep well at all. I guess it was the lack of nicotine and the bizarre dreams that I had. When I walked back to the car and hitchhiker I noticed that latter one was gone. Could he have continued his journey? Or went to the village? My suspicions rose when I found two tent stakes from the ground. I doubt that a poor hitchhiker could afford to leave those behind like this.
I took the stakes and headed for the village. This time there was some movement, a few people and the shop seemed open as well.
A small bell rang as I opened the door and an old women appeared from the backroom. The woman stopped and looked at me with her eyes wide open, but she could hide her surprise quickly and said “Good day”, in official tone.
“Good day to you too, would you have cigarettes and something to eat, please?”
“Cigarettes! Sinner!” The woman shouted with visible shock and was about to continue when a stone-faced man came from the backroom.
“Maria! I’ll take it form here!”
“Please, forgive my wife, we get outsiders so rarely and our community values healthy habits.”
The stone-faced man continued
“Maria, go to the backroom and make something for the good sir on the road, as he is now departing, aren’t you?”
The way he put pressure on his words was so threatening that it wouldn’t have come to my mind to object.
The old woman glanced at me until she disappeared to the backroom and returned shortly with some sandwiches. As the door to backroom opened I noticed bright yellow backpack. Exactly similar as the hitchhiker had
“It’s on the house” Said the man and pointed me towards the exit.
I thanked them and left.
Outside I sat in my car and with a little doubt started eating the sandwiches while I was planning my next move. It was clear that I was not welcome here, and that they had something to do with the disappearance of the hitchhiker, but now I could not do anything but drive away, but I would return by dark.
I left my car few kilometers away from the village and went rest on foot. The sky was cloudless and the moon lit the mossy floor of old spruce forest that suppressed my footsteps. As I got to the corner of the village I was scared to death as the bell of the big white church started suddenly ringing. Had they noticed me? I ran behind a hedge and with increasing panic I watched how the villagers came out from their houses. Apparently there was some other reason for that since they started heading to the church. As the streets emptied, I started cautiously proceed to the shop. The doors, as suspected were locked. I circled to the behind of the house, watching windows for curious eyes, but saw nothing. Through the backroom window I saw nothing relating the disappeared hitchhiker or his yellow backpack. The solution must be in the church.
The moonlight reflected from that overly large and pure white church, lighting the churchyard almost as bright as the sun would. There was no gravestones but even more wooden crosses. The stone wall surrounding the church provided me with cover to approach the place. The yard was empty so I climbed over the stones and sneaked closer. As I was moving along the white wall I heard distant preaching. I tried the door of the sacristy and it was open! I entered the room that was empty and pitch black and now I could clearly hear the voice of the stone-faced man preaching:
“Then Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.”
Then I heard the door behind me banging shut and I was grabbed to the other side. The church was as bright white in the inside as it was on the outside. As my eyes accustomed the light, first I noticed the stunned villagers, then this strong guy holding me and then the stone-faced man behind the altar.
“Tonight, our bells have led this stray sheep to us. Come! Join us and enjoy the supper with us.” he said while waving me to come closer. I didn’t think that I had any choice so I naturally I complied and got closer to the altar that had wine and small pieces of meat. First I took the meat “My flesh is food indeed” and then the wine “And My blood is drink indeed.”
I dropped the chalice and spit everything from my mouth as I realized it was blood.
“What the hell!” I shouted and shocked murmur filled the church, both because of my reaction and my choice of words. Even the stone-faced man displayed his first reaction.
“Is… Is this human?!”
“Of course it is. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.”
I started coughing and wiping my tongue as it would have undone what had just happened.
“You are crazy! Cannibals!”
“Blasphemy! Get the sinner!”
I tackled my guard in the ground and rushed towards the sacristy and out of the church, opposite direction from my car and heard the villagers coming after me. I lost track of time and had no idea how far I ran. My heart was pounding and branches were scratching my face as I ran through the forest until the ground disappeared and I fell down a steep cliff.
Then everything went black.
I woke up in a bed in a white room. I heard someone talking and got a glimpse of some woman leaving the room. Shortly a middle aged man appeared.
“How are we doing in here?”
“Where am I?”
“In a hospital, you were in quite rough condition and were unconscious for few days.”
“What happened to me?”
“You were found from a ravine, with your car and hammock nearby. You have probably tripped down in the dark.
Everything was so confusing.
“Do you have any villages nearby with big white church?”
“Won’t come to mind, why?”
“I’m not sure myself
Could I have had just imagined all that?
After short monitoring the doctor looked from the window as the tail lights of the Toyota disappeared in the horizon and picked up his phone.
“It’s me… No, he won’t be causing any more problems… Indeed, sinful meat isn’t suitable.