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2. The Cult

1. Altered Fates

The Cult

on 2005-06-22 02:21:31

476 hits, 7 views, 0 upvotes.

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A young man with a slightly blank stare looked through the items at the garage sale. He was poor, having given all his worldly possessions to Guru Paul, leader of the Family of Truth, but the leader was generous enough to let him keep enough money to occasionally go out in the outer world, where he could bring the teachings of Guru Paul to the masses.

But when he read the instructions with the Medallion of Zulo, he knew what he had found. The Guru would want this! He didn't even consider the possibility that the medallion might be fake, no matter how cheap it looked; the same gullibility that led him to join the cult in the first place led him to easy belief in such things.

Guru Paul sat in his palatial lounge, counting the money his followers had made for him, and anticipating his nightly session with one of the attractive female members of the "Family", when a timid rapping on the door interrupted him.

"Come in," he said.

The door opened to reveal a college age man in the robes that all members of the cult except Guru Paul wore. Of course he would exempt himself from any restrictions like that, and the fools ate the idea up.

"Guru Paul!" said the young man. "I have a gift for your graciousness! Only you have the wisdom to use it properly." The man gently placed a box on the table, and bowed profusely, then backed out of the room.

Paul didn't know what gift it was, but he was no stranger to the idea of getting gifts from his followers. He opened the box to reveal a medallion and a strange note.

Paul never had believed in magic, or even miracles. He ruled over his followers by standard psychological trickery--peer pressure, sleep deprivation, stoking the desire for conformity.... Sometimes he told the Family he was doing miracles, but it was all fake.

Still, it was such an elaborate setup, and probably not a trick--those idiot followers of his wouldn't dare try any tricks on him. It couldn't hurt to test the medallion, could it? Paul went to his closet and searched for some old clothes. Finding a suit he had last worn fifteen years ago to his brother's wedding, he put on the medallion while touching it to the suit.

It worked exactly as described. He could see himself getting younger just looking at his hands. He had been getting bald, but now that he used the medallion, his bald spot filled in. He felt healthier, younger. There was no doubt that he had stumbled onto one of the greatest secrets of the ages.

And if he could get where he got just by taking advantage of mundane human weakness... what could he do with his cultists now that he possessed an item like this medallion?

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