“Please, don’t call me by that name. I’m not that monster who used to eat meat anymore. I am now enlightened” Barbara answered.
“Oh, yeah, sorry…” Helena tried to recall whatever ridiculous name Barbara wanted to be called by, but it had been too long, and it had not stuck into her memory. She would have to manoeuver awkwardly, making sure never to be in a position to have to use the name.
“It’s OK, Helena, it’s OK. You are back where you belong now. And your connection… it’s even more powerful than it was before!” Barbara commented, closing her eyes and moving her hands around Helena, almost like a ritual.
Helena held Barbara by the shoulders. “Look… I know this is awkward, but whatever connection you think I have with nature… It doesn’t exist”.
Barbara was quiet for a few seconds, and then she smiled as she opened her eyes. “Denying your connection to not make others feel bad. That’s so humble and wise of you, Helena” she threw herself to her knees. “Please, teach me in your ways!” she begged, kissing Helena’s feet.
Helena moved away. “Please, stop it. I am not a chosen one, or anything. You don’t need to do this”.
There were sudden screams outside, and Helena ran to the bamboo balcony. Some soldiers were forcing a crowd in front of the bamboo building. There were hundreds of people, and Helena was looking at them, bewildered, wondering what was going to happen. Barbara had followed her onto the balcony.
“Oh, the ritual sacrifice is about to start” Barbara commented.
“What ritual sacrifice?” Helena asked.
“Our troops have been victorious in Africa and in South America. Most of the Pacific, too, but there is quite a large Australian resistance in the outback. North America and Asia are just a matter of time now” Barbara explained. “And now that we have you to guide us in our spiritual connection with the world…”
“What?” Helena was bewildered.
“Look, this is our holy mission. We are cleansing the Earth” Barbara continued.
“We need to stop the killings” Helena said, as she ran into the room and looked for the exit.
Helena opened a door that led into a corridor, and found the corridor crowded with men and women bringing flowers and other gifts. When they saw her, they cheered happily. She tried to close the door, but it was too late: the crowd came in like an unstoppable force. Helena ran on the opposite direction, and found only the balcony. She noticed the building had not been built very professionally, which gave her an idea.
If there was one talent that Helena took pride on, that would be climbing. She had always loved climbing, and practiced every week. She walked out into the balcony and checked the bamboo walls. It would be a rough descent, but it was better than nothing. She started to climb down, as the crowd inside the building tried to hold her desperately.
“Our prophet wants us to climb down this wall, as a symbol of our descent from the heaven to Earth in our holy mission!” Barbara screamed.
They soon started to follow her. Helena was afraid of what could happen, and jumped the last couple of metres directly to the floor. She saw her pursuers struggling: they did not have the upper body strength required for climbing, in part because they had never climbed before, and in part because they followed an unhealthy diet with no protein in it. Most of them fell to the ground, killing themselves right there. Helena was horrified, but ran towards the sacrificial crowd.
It was too late. The soldiers started to fire their machine guns against the crowd, until none of them was left. Helena saw them, horrified by the massacre. Meanwhile, Barbara climbed down the building and joined Helena.
“Isn’t it beautiful, Helena? Everyone is doing all of this just for you” Barbara marvelled.
“What the actual fuck?” Helena could not contain her reaction. “Are you crazy? Several people just got killed! This is horrific!”
Barbara looked down in shame. “I’m sorry, lady” she threw herself to the floor, crying. “I’m sorry! Please forgive me! I am not worthy of your compassion, but I beg of you!”
“Many innocents died. This cannot happen again!” Helena shouted.
“Of course, you’re right. It’s all my fault. It’ all my fault. Please, forgive me” Barbara whimpered. She was, however, not thinking about the same innocents as Helena.