Brad went to sleep. His ordeal in earlier years with Teyata would have barely tested his energy reserves, let alone leave him so utterly exhausted. His eyes snapped open with the tolling of the bell. A glance at the gloomy room informed him he had slept through until night. The rushing of footsteps sounded outside, familiar to him. Strange how his mind became so analytical of scents and sounds after a single jaunt outside Haven’s walls.
“Brad,” called a boy from outside.
He berated himself for not knowing who stood outside before he spoke. Samson, Heather’s younger brother waited on the other side of the door.
“Yeah?” Brad called.
“Pastor wants you to come to the gathering place.”
It wasn’t his turn to preach, but Pastor wouldn’t have asked for him unless it was important.
“Tell him ‘I’ll be there in a minute!”
Brad ignored the rushing away of footsteps as he rolled from bed and quickly dressed in homespun clothes. He exited the door, grateful for the cooler air, shedding the weariness from his body. Torches burned around the log benches; not that anyone sat on them. Haven’s residents had formed around the small pool set aside for baptisms. They hushed into silence as Brad made his way to the pool’s edge. Pastor stood beside Moriah and her parents.
“A lot’s harppened whiile ya slept,” said Pastor. “Chris arnd Shauna huv become Christians. Ii’ve just baptiised thum arnd welcomed them into our fold. But noo, we’arre all wairting for ya te baptiise wee Moriah.”
Brad leaned close to Pastor’s ear.
“Is she a Christian?”
“Doon’t worry; I wouldna be doing thus if Ii werrn’t sure. She gave her heart to Jesus just an hour agoo.”
Brad nodded compliance and removed his shirt before getting into the pool. Pain alerted him to new bruises as they made contact with the water. Pastor handed Moriah to him. With Moriah cradled in his arms, she looked up at him, her body semi- submerged.
“Do you, Moriah, believe that Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation?”
She looked at him quizzically.
“I meant; do you believe that only Jesus can take us to Heaven?”
“Yes,” she said meekly.
“That we can’t get there ourselves by being good?”
“And have you made Him the Lord…. have you made Him the boss of your life?”
“Then I baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Saying that, he lowered her into the water. He raised her a moment later and lifted her into the arms of her father.
Pastor raised his arms. “Todayy, Hairven is three more!”
A loud cheer arose among the community. Brad climbed out of the pool and gratefully accepted a towel lobbed at him from one of the women. He toweled himself off and put his shirt back on, instantly removing the chill from his skin.
Pastor clasped a hand on his shoulder.
“Come wi me, lad.”
Together they made their way to the cornstalks and through to their favourite spot by the wall. Brad waited for Pastor to speak, anticipating another night of Biblical teaching and surely a recap of the day’s events. Not long after, he realised something was wrong, when Pastor didn’t take out his pipe.