I guess you could say I grew up backward. Although, I read all the old, beat-up books in the commissary. I mean all of them. I was at the top of my class, which isn’t saying much. Mostly I just walked and played in the woods, alone, drinking out of clear streams that came from springs inside the mountain. The sanctuary was surrounded by a gate made from rusty aluminum panels, lined with barbed wire on the outside, which ran haphazardly between twenty-foot wooden poles driven deep into the ground.
“ Our great Father, you see, guided the first elders to protect us,” one of the current elders said at our thrice-weekly assembly of the congregation.
We sat in chairs scattered around the inner yard under a red cloth covering, that stretched from one side of the gate to the other. When the sun shone through, it looked like everyone had been dipped in the blood of the Lamb. Children sat with their parents, so as not to be a distraction, and everyone shared between them the five Bibles that had been salvaged from the End Times, that the community was very proud of. You could check them out of the Commissary, and it was from this book I learned that good and evil were very mixed up together. The great warrior kings, ordained by God, seemed to pillage and slaughter randomly whenever they felt like it, and it wasn’t quite clear why God had chosen them over their enemies. Sunday’s were the worst. I had to wriggle on the hard chair for two hours on that day.