The Point
Brandon Hobson

She says she'd fallen into a cult as a teenager. It had happened quickly. She left home, getting into a van with four other young women. The head guy was a man who went by the name of Hadrach. A name meaning the point. Also meaning joy of tenderness. A sign from God, she believed. A man who drove her and four others in a van across the southwest plains, through Oklahoma into Arkansas. She didn't go into specifics but she sometimes still felt panic if left alone for long periods of time. She was programmed to respond and believe certain things. Hadrach was a man whose purpose was to teach, she said. Susan and the others were reprogrammed to respond and believe. They had a defined purpose, memorizing words and names. They were taught to obey, recite, believe. In this difficult world they shared a defined purpose. They would dedicate their life to Hadrach's teachings. Prophecy arrived in all forms—prophecy, teachings, silence, obedience. Defined purpose. He loved them unconditionally, he made sure they knew that. They were obedient.

It took months for her to come out of it, she said. Brainwashed, programmed to believe in Hadrach. His real name was Carl. They put him away, finally, after one of the girls was discovered wandering down a deserted road near the highway. Susan had to be deprogrammed.

"All that happened several years ago," she told me.

I wasn't sure how to respond, or what I needed to say. An important moment just hanging there. To think of that moment.

"There's a point to all this," she said, and I tried hard to see it.

Brandon Hobson is the author of THE LEVITATIONIST, a short novel (Ravenna). He has stories in or coming from NOON, Web Conjunctions, New York Tyrant and others.

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of wadew6.

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