When I awoke the next morning...
I opened my eyes slowly. Instead of white ceiling, tree branches hung over my face. My hands grasped leaves and dirt, instead of soft down comforter. Throbbing head, churning stomach. I sat up, with some difficulty, and viewed my surroundings. Where was I? My mind raced as I tried to recall the previous evening.
Cassie Callison. The young woman had shown an interest in me. Beyond the drugged iced tea and enthusiastic sermons. I was sure of it. One step closer to seducing her and she stopped me. The truth of the matter: Cassie was a news reporter and had infiltrated my
cult organization. She was using me and this angered me to no end. She screamed and yelled. I tried to make her stop. I hadn't seen the person creep up behind me. It felt as if my skull had been cracked open. My vision grew blurry as I lost consciousness.
But how did I get here? I slowly stood and clutched my head in pain. My hair was matted with a sticky substance, which as I pulled my hand away I came to realize was blood. I aimlessly wandered from the wooded area. It felt as if I'd walked for hours. Small buildings came into view: a gas station and a rest stop. I spotted a bench and sat, weary from my travel. A newspaper lay abandoned at my feet. I lifted it and was startled by the front page story:
"Mitch Laurence, cult leader and ex-con was found dead today, a bloodied candlestick by his side. One of his most trusted disciples claims to have seen Cassie Callison deliver the fatal blow. Miss Callison has been arrested and awaits trial."
The paper slipped from my hands. How could this be? Had I really been dead? I'd ruffled so many feathers in Llanview. Perhaps this was my chance to start over? I'd let everyone believe I was dead. I could care less if Cassie was convicted of a crime she didn't commit. I vowed to return someday... and I did, but that's a story for another day.
[Note: the events described took place in 1986.]