Nicole’s voice shocked Chester revelry. The silken cloth slipped through his fingers, the golden emblem’s touch ended cool memories. He inhaled sharply, casting a look over his shoulder that implied she caught him in an act of masturbation rather than recollection. He gathered his calm to respond forlornly.
“It’s that mantle your father put on me.”
Nicole offered the first touch of mingled intimacy and caring he felt from her in weeks. Her body was firm and soft in all the right ways against him. He leaned back against her as she spoke into the cup of his ear.
“You looked lost in it. What were you thinking of?”
“I was thinking of that day.”
“The last day you attended the church.”
“My parents weren’t fond of the teachings after that day.”
“I know.” He voice seethed then mellowed as she remembered she was bound to this man. “The girls are all tucked in. Tell me what you remember.”
“I remember it being the only piece of clothing I ever truly chose for myself.” Tears choked Chester’s voice, real unguarded emotion for once. “I remember being so enthralled with your father. The adults were all terrified of him but the way he spoke to us kids was entrancing.
“I thought it was wonderful. This prophecy of his, the world changing based on the actions of people of our generation. That’s what my parents hated. I don’t know why they sent me a tub with this in it. They must not have known it was still in the attic. I know they fled the church after that. My dad fumed all the way home about madness, and blasphemy and pyramid schemes. I never looked back to the church after that.”
“Not them, never them,” Nicole whispered enticingly. “What did you feel.”
“I remember the cool, smooth silk of blessed water flowing over me and pooling in that cloth, weighing me down into the pool. It pulled me into something deep, something important, something so much bigger than myself. Your father’s hands were rough of skin, gentle of touch and filled with love and compassion. Even then my soul screamed at the madness of his preaching but his voice was a gentle wave guiding me towards a better shore. I felt that and I felt…”
“Free, for the only time in my life I felt truly free and powerful.”
“You can feel that way again.” Her fingers traced his shoulders in a way that made him shiver.
“I should burn the rag.” He clutched at it.
“No,” Her fingers slid over his hands, causing his grip to loosen. “We will need it for our children.”
“Do we really want to bring them into this madness?”
“We must, the world must have at least two children from us. One boy, and one girl…”
“To lead the sides.” He whispered in lust and defeat.
Nicole nodded. They both knew there was no time like the present. They slipped to the floor together.
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