by Fantasy Towers
Martin was at work one morning, and decided to go outside for a smoking break. He was never one for spirituality, so whenever he looked across the street to the church he would scoff. It was such a waste of time as far as he was concerned. Who deals with the busy downtown traffic to talk to a being who may or may not exist? And why must everyone feel so bad about their “sins?” It depressed him.
He returned to his cubical and took his computer out of hibernation mode. His life was secure, he thought. Insurance, groceries, and all his other needs taken care of just a long as he came to the office everyday and filled out his reports. Martin had always worried first and foremost about caring for himself. Creativity, freedom, and acceptance always took a back seat to making sure everything was alright.
He came home every night to his wife Kristen and his daughter Danielle. Kristen had been a homemaker ever since she had married Martin right after they finished high school together. Danielle was about to turn fourteen, and was doing great at school. She had a smile which could light an entire room.
Martin was outside smoking the next day when a man came by and handed him a pamplet. A religous pamplet. He had seen plenty of religous pamplets in his life from people like Jehova’s Witnesses, Unitarians, and evangelical Christians. This pamplet was twelve pages long, making much longer than most. It was also written much better. Its ideas expressed the value of small communities, and how small communities had always been the foundation of every society until urbanization appeared. It argued that urbanization is what causes all the stress and pain of life. Everyone wants things, status, and money instead of basic needs being met and relationships with other people.
This half-way made sense to Martin, but he was still convinced that the industrialized way of life was necessary. After all, without the modern urbanized world health care would not exist, entertainment would be bland, and laws would not be as steadily enforced. These additions to his life made the stress worth it.
The pamplet then moved into the sect’s spiritual belief. They believed that they cannot every know the creator of the universe completely, but the faiths of the world contain good truths. This was one of the most logical things Martin had ever read from a religous pamplet, although he questioned how these people could know truth from fiction.
The next to last page showed a picture of a building with an address. This place was fourty-five minutes away, in a very secluded area. He knew he’d never visit this place.
Martin found himself suprised that he had even read the thing. He decided to keep it, to show him that there was perhaps some sanity in the relgious world after all. Upon returning to his office he threw it in his briefcase, planning to put it with all his other pack-rat nicknacks once he returned home.
Chapter Two: Changes
Danielle was at lunch while at school, sitting with her friends. She had always admired Bobby, dreaming of one day dating him. The had once worked together on a science project, showing the geological composition of the Earth. He would sit a whole table away, to her being half a world away. She worried about her algebra test, and how she be able to finish the three word problems at the end. She and her friends would go and see a movie every Friday if there was anything good out. She had an average life, which she enjoyed greatly while dealing with all of the troubles of everyone else her age.
Martin’s boss came to his cubical one day, telling him that company sales were slipping. It could not remain profitable maintaining all of its current employees. Martin’s job would be eliminated with his duties going to other employees.
Martin had such a hard time finding a new job. No other companies needed the skills which he possessed. What in the world could he do? He had a wife and daughter at home.
He seriously needed a break from his job hunting. As he rifled through his closet, he found the pamplet from the Humble Serenity sect which he had read a couple of months earlier.
He made the decision to travel to this place to see the people. Perhaps he could talk to them and find comfort. Maybe they could give him some tips on how to live more comfortably. After all, living simply was what the family would have to do with the lack of a steady income.
He drove the long drive. He saw acres and acres of corn, enough to feed entire nations.
He arrived at the very seculded building. Had it not been for the corn in the area one would believe that it was situated in California. There were palm trees, a tourist style architecture, and large lake in the back.
He walked up the walkway to the front door of the building. He thought it looked like an office building, like where you would go to talk about refinancing or such. The area in front which he believed to be parking lot was very small, with only enough room for eight to ten cars. He rang the doorbell, and as he waited he thought that this was quite a nice looking place, although it had quite an interesting reason to exist.
A man opened the door, said hello, and Martin explained who he was. He need spiritual and life advice, and he didn’t think anyone he knew in the city could help him. The man idenfied himself as Smith, and asked Martin to join him in the visitor’s center building in front of the main building complex. Martin followed Smith to the building, which was looked like a nice but small shak from the outside. Once they got inside a set of stairs led to a larger basement. It was so nicely furnished, and even had a wood-burning fireplace!
Smith explained that guests were not allowed into the main complex without a short orientation, such as what they were having right then and there. Smith explained that there were currently about thirty-five people living in the Humble Serenity spiritual group. Four men were responsible for going to nearby cities and buying all supplies the group would need. All expenses were paid by donations made to the organization. There was some discussion about having a few men work outside the community for financing, but this was still only in discussion. Women would perform traditional rolls such as cooking and cleaning. The property was all owned by Hank, the son of a man who owned this land until his death.
The children living in the area were all homeschooled. The religous beliefs of this community required that everyone abstain themselves from any possible evils. Any wrongdoing was to be avoided at all costs.
The logistics dazzled Martin. A thought which had been in the back of his head was developing rapidly. Why not live with these people for a few months? That way he wouldn’t have to go crawling to his relatives for money or shelter. His first impression was that these people were level headed, so why not learn a little more?
Smith told Martin to put on a guest’s robe, and cautioned him that their ways might seem a bit strange at first to an outsider. They then proceeded back to the main building. This time the door was opened by a woman. She was wearing a niqab, grey on the top covering her hair, and a white veil covering her mouth. She briefly looked at Smith and Martin, then looked down, remaining silent the whole time.
Martin was then given a full tour of the compound. He saw the living quarters, the school area where the children were taught, the kitchen, the commons area, and the storage area. Every woman he saw was wearing a veil. Only a few girls who had not yet reached puberty had their faces showing, but they still had scarves wrapped around their heads.
When Smith and Martin were again in private, he asked why the women were dressed like that. Smith explained that this group believed the dress of Arabic women to be most wise. It was a tenet they took from Islamic culture. Women were turned into sexual objects in outside society. This was a means of ensuring that women were not objectified within the compound.
Before Martin left, he sat down with Smith again in the Visitors’ Center. Smith put Martin under hypnosis, sespting him to agree with the cult.
Martin drove home, wondering about what he had just saw. He knew he couldn’t shame himself by crawling to his family, especially to his in-laws. But he couldn’t find another job, and he didn’t want anyone he know back in the city seeing him go to a homeless shelter. If it were just him, he wouldn’t have a problem living with these people for a while, but did he have the guts to tell his wife and daughter they would have to wear burqas because he was unemployeed?
He stopped at a motel for the night. He was really worried about Danielle and Kristen. His options were running out, and it looked like shame, starvation, or Humble Serenity.
Chapter Three: Decision
Kristen was worried about the family’s situation. Martin couldn’t find a job, and she had only been a homemaker for over fifteen years now. How could she ever find work, when her husband certainly couldn’t?
Martin didn’t return home that night. He told her that he would go away to look at something, but he did not tell her exactly where he was going. When he did return, he explained what he had done and everything which he had seen. Kristen shared her husbands desire not to be seen as sinking before friends, neighbors, or family. She trusted her husband’s judgement, and agreed with him that they must go to live at Humble Serenity.
Martin called Danielle into the kitchen to talk to her. He decided to tell her everything, including the compulsory veiling she would soon endure.
“No,” she was thinking. This could not be possible. Although aware of the family’s financial troubles, how could they make a decision like this?
Danielle considered divorcing her parents, but this would be impossible. She would not turn 18 for another four years, and no judge would allow a divorce over this. And where would she go if she could escape this fate?
The day came when it was time for the family to move. Martin sold their house but kept some of the money secret. He donated a lot of it to Humble Serenity. Danielle would now have to give up her entire life. She could no longer have her own room, go to school, or be with her friends. There was nothing she could do about any of this.
The family pulled into the small driveway of the main building, greeted by Smith and the veiled woman. She handed both Kristen and Danielle their new garments. Kristen and Danielle went to the Vistors’ Center to change their clothes, while Martin stayed outside to talk to Smith.
“Why must we do this,” asked Danielle.
“We’ve gone over this. We can’t afford anywhere else, and these people seem nice and have new ideas,” said Kristen.
Kristen stripped down to her underwear and then put on her robe. She then put on her headcovering, followed by her veil. It looked just like that of the woman who had handed the garments to her.
“We can wear different styles of this later,” she told Danielle, as she herself prepared to change dress.
Danielle put on her robe just as her mother had. It was soft and loose, flowing over her body. Now it was time to cover her head. She looked at her mother, knowing that in seconds she would look just like her. She covered her hair. Her mother helped her tie her veil at the back of her head, covering her face.
There was a mirror there. The only part of her body Danielle could see were her eyes. Her veil was more round than her mother’s. Her veil felt soft across her cheeks just as her robe did across the rest of her body. She could see the impression of her nose in her veil. It was hard for her to breath at first, and she hoped that this would go away.
Martin came down, seeing the two women most important to him niqab-clad.
Smith then led the family to the living quarters and introduced them to those they would be living with. Danielle met her new room-mate, Meredith.
Chaper 4: Life in the Cult
There were now thirty eight people at the compound, with twenty two adults and sixteen children. Danielle would learn more about the Humble Serenity cult the next day, but she had questions for Meredith that night. Meredith explained that the cult was created about fifteen years earlier after Hank’s father died and left the land over to him. He had a spiritual vision causing him spend all of his inheritance and fortune building the compound.
Meredith explained that she had been there since she was ten years old, and she was now sixteen.
The next day Smith re-explained what Meredith said the night earlier.
A woman’s face is a gift from God, and it is a great source of beauty. However, this beauty is not to be seen by the world.
Chapter 5: Staying Longer
Danielle saw a boy in the courtyard who remindered her of Bobby from her old life. He was rugged and hansome, with long dark hair. Apparently boys weren’t allowed to cut their hair here. Humble Serenity took more from Islam than burqas.
Danielle asked herself the question, “Why do women veil while men do not?”
She asked Meredith this question that night.
“Women have much different bodies from men.
Danielle hoped that her father would be able to find a new job and that they could all leave this place very soon. Certainly they could not enjoying it any more than she was, could they?
She need to have a talk with her mother. Kristen explained that the coverings did not bother her at all. In fact, she actually liked that she didn’t have to spend hours each day finding new clothes and putting on expensive make-up.
After a while, Martin just quit looking for a new job.
Danielle removed her veil one night. She looked in a mirror in the communal bathroom, seeing something she hadn’t seen in months. She was caught by Bruce, a strict and conservative member of the sect. He reported her to the counsol.
Bruce performed a ritual to cleanse himself after seeing Danielle’s bare face.
Danielle wondered what her friends back home were doing. Her friend Julie and Melody were wearing make-up, short skirts, and chasing boys. She was under a burka, and would be so for another four years because her parents had been brainwashed.
Much of the time spent during the day was devouted to learning the writings of Hank. The children spent some time learning other subjects, but not nearly as much as they would at a regular school. His writings weren’t sacred per se, but they were considered his divinely inspired thoughts.
There was a chapter in it about how women should dress. Chapter 21 clearly showed how a woman should cover herself, and it re-explained the reasons Danielle had heard over and over again.
News was difficult to come by. Humble Serenity did not consider newspapers or television news to be clean, so only a few were allowed access to it. There were only about three computers in the whole compound, and only senior members were allowed to use the Interent. Richard was one who did, and he would give edited reports in the form of tacked on material on a bulletin board.
Danielle would have three outfits which she could wear. The first was the covering she got upon arriving at Humble Serenity. The second was a soft black clock and veil similar to those worn by Muslim women in east Africa. It was her favorite.
Chapter 6: Peace With It.
Danielle had now been at the compound for four years now. The moment which she had finally waited for had now arrived.
Onto Humble Serenity: Danielle’s Tale… by Dave Potter
Onto Humble Serenity: David’s Tale… by GhostWriter
Or read Serenity Call Centre… by GhostWriter
Or read Meeting Old Friends… by Bo_Emp