I wrote this after re-watching the second season of The Umbrella Academy again, and was focused on the idea of “The Prophet” and a cult. In season 2 Klaus ‘accidentally’ starts a cult, and I went another direction, deliberately starting a cult for the money and having it turn into something more. This is what I got.
What I started was not a cult! It was an alternative spiritual group, and I will be the first to admit that I started it for the money.
I grew up in a household so fiercely religious, that when I turned 18 I ran and never looked back. Then the money ran out. I took odd jobs, and quickly realized that I could talk my way into a lot more than most people really should have given me.
By 28 I had a rap sheet, and I wanted to try something new, so when I took a free seminar on spirituality, I realized I could do this. I could be this. A few days at the library had given me a rough idea of what I would need, from then on it was just word of mouth.
I changed my looks, grabbed some crystals, and the next seminar I went to, I went from attendee to leader as those around me ate up my act. The key, was telling them I wanted nothing. The more I let out little tidbits and denied compensation the more they chomped at the bit to give it to me. I restricted their access to me, they started tracking me down. I sold my empty one bedroom loft as a life free from material burden.
They started begging me to take their material goods, to use it to benefit them, to un-tether them from their earthly goods. I was reluctant, but I took all their money, and put it back into promotional materials, staff, a facility. There were people who did this, launched alternative health shit, and they were right on board helping me sell the image of the prophet and I just sat back and chilled. My following grew in droves, and the more there were, the less I saw most of them, it made them think it was real.
When I went global, shit got weird. The “prophecies” I gave, they started coming true, and when they did, the devotion exploded, and thats the moment I realized I had fucked up. I was staring at a glowy dude welcoming me to the pantheon, holding half a morning glory muffin.
“Congratulations David, on your ascension! It has been many years since one of your kind has undergone the transition.”
“The what now?” I asked, what the fuck was this dude on.
“The transition to godhood. You have spread your word, gathered devotion, and when you sparked, you fanned the flame rather than snuff it out. Gave prophecy to help guide the life of the lower beings. You are now one of us.”
What the fuck was in that muffin. LSD? The guy was starting to look a little pissed, and I was a lot of things, but a fighter wasn’t one of them. Ok David, you can do this, this is your jam, diffuse the tension. I threw a huge grin on my face.
“Dude, that’s great. I, uh, am sorry about being so weird about all this, I just didn’t expect it to, uh, happen so fast, you know?” Smooth David, that was real smooth.
It did seem to have placated the large glowy dude. “Ah, I can see where that might be a bit of a surprise to you. It was rather a quick transition, you are ready to abandon your mortal life?” He kind of asked, well, it wasn’t exactly a question if you know what I mean.
“Uh, ya, as I said, it was a bit of a surprise, is there, um?” I was stalling, first to admit it.
The glowy man heaved a great sigh and it felt like the ground shook. “Fourty Eight hours is the most that can be given. At the end of which, you will shed the last of your mortal coil, whether you join the pantheon or the afterlife, it’s up to you.”
I could still here his voice echo for minutes after he was gone. I threw out the muffin, never eating worshiper muffins again. Worst trip Ever!
I knew it wasn’t real, it couldn’t be real, that none of it was real, and I held onto that for the first 24 hours. That was when I legit turned water to wine, and either I was a god, or I had had a psychotic break, and I didn’t know what was more terrifying.
So I started putting my affairs in order, and had three different people ask if I was depressed. It was hard to explain why a perfectly healthy person puts their affairs in order, but what was I gonna say, ascension to godhood. They would put me in the nut-house…or they would believe me, and both options were pretty bad.
I made it 44 hours before one of my “worshippers” over heard me talking to myself about ascension. I spent my last 4 hours on the mortal plain locked in my office, with my oak desk barricading the door.
I managed to down half the bottle of scotch, when I heard the voice. “It is time” And I went with it.
It felt like I was on fire, the whole room glowed, like I was a fucking a bomb, and then, then I wasn’t, and yet I was.
I was there, and everywhere, all at once. I could see my followers pushing away the desk, and then falling prostrate on the ground when they found my windowless office empty.
I could feel them, the power swelling within me as they began to pray, and as my last shred of prior self was burned out of me, I had had this thought. This is so not how I thought it would end.