Adam looked into the glass then at the men milling around each with a glass of the wine. He carefully took a small sip. It was good. He drank more of it. Sy was removing some bread and other things from the baskets. They were getting ready for a picnic.
Adam heard the sound of hoof beats in the distance. He looked over at the forest edge and saw three more horses and riders trotting along after the first horse.
Just then Sammy came up to him and asked “Did you enjoy Califano’s sermon?”
“No” answered Adam, “it was full of death and destruction, fire and brimstone. I think he’s an old fool.”
“You’re right, he is. After you left I became a disciple of his for a while.” Semyon unbuttoned his shirt and opened it to show a chest full of scars. “See. I wore the barbed wire for a time. I believed him about the pain. I tried to be conscious of the agony as a cleansing of my soul. I adhered to the torture. I tried to embrace the pain, to love it. But one day I saw the light. I remembered something you had said about long robes and long prayers. I saw Califano for what he was, a hypocrite, power hungry and mad. He is so dedicated to his asceticism that he has not a single finger in reality.”
“The why, how does he have a congregation?” asked Adam.
“He doesn’t” said Sammy. “He is the archbishop of the diocese and they will never remove him, he has too much power, but the people only put up with him. After he left the church this morning they returned the floors and the pews, covered the dirt and replaced the alter and the regular items of worship.”
“That’s hard to believe” said Adam. “But them everything I’ve been through lately is unbelievable”
Sammy simply said “Yes.”
“But what about that sermon? Are any of the things he said possible, are they going to happen or was he just making stuff up?”
“No, he wasn’t making anything up”
“You mean he was telling the truth?”
“But is today really the end, Armageddon, the Apocalypse, the end of the world?”
“If you say so.”
(To be continued.)