And then, Father Seth. Micah felt Father Seth’s presence as he had that first day, his eyes moving from the white priest’s collar around his neck to the silver pendant bouncing against his chest. The Garnet – three interlocking triangles that Micah would come to recognize as the symbol of the Church. The priest’s dark eyes glinted dangerously as they roved Micah’s small, battered form.
“What’s your name, then?” Father Seth addressed him. Chills shot up his spine at the sound of that voice, high and syrupy sweet.
“Micah. Such a pretty name for such a pretty boy.” The priest reached out with slim, long-nailed fingers to caress Micah’s cheek. The touch made Micah feel sick with dread. He watched as Father Seth withdrew a long chain from under the collar of his shirt. Upon that chain was a key that he used to unlock the gate, opening an entrance behind the bars. “You are a lucky boy, Micah. Today, the president has decided to clear the weeds from the garden and make it beautiful once more. And tomorrow, my little weeds will be given new purpose, pruned and re-established.”
The gate clinked shut, and Micah heard the scratching of the key in the lock. He was trapped. Trapped. Trapped. No. No. No.
Micah woke covered in sweat, trembling and shaken to his core. His stomach clenched and churned, threatening to upend its contents. Micah forced himself to find center. Countdown from five, Micah. Five.
Four. His breathing grew steadier.
Three. His heart resumed its steady pace.
Two. His mind blocked out the painful images.
One. His body ceased its trembling.
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