Cash flexed his shoulders. He wanted to sleep as much as she did. He leaned forward and whispered in her face. “Your life in the temple has been nothing but a lie, Patricia.”
“It’s not a lie,” she snapped. It was her first words of retaliation that showed the possibility of some thought. “It’s not a lie,” she cried. “The money we raised went to help the poor who need our help.”
Cash smiled to himself. He would win this one, too, it was only a matter of time and patience and he had both.
Suddenly she hurled herself at him and tried to push him off the chair. She screamed, “You’ll see. They are coming for me. I know we were followed. It’s what they do.” She collapsed into a fetal position, cradling her head in her arms and drawing her legs up to her chest. Footsteps ran to the door outside and waited, then could be heard walking away.
“You have been told lies, Trish. The Bible doesn’t call our parents evil. It says to honor your father and mother. He fed you lies and inadequate food, He took advantage of the confusion in your life. I have another picture you need to see. It is of Michael’s house. It is where he runs to get away from the cult. Here it is, a large stone rancher, set on a spacious property in Atlantic City. Think about it Trish, he would be gone for days. This is the house he goes to. He must be using real silver ware and china and crystal, instead of the plastic spoons and paper plates and cups you guys use. He lives like a king while you grovel.” He held it out to her and she ignored it, only stealing glances when she thought he wasn’t watching.
Finally, she picked up the picture and tore it shreds. Her cropped hair fell into oily strands around her weary face. “This could be a picture of any house, another one of your tricks.”
“Your father’s friend took the picture. They have been helping me. Your father is waiting to see you.”
“I never want to see him again.;”
Jim had returned to the door as though by instinct. It was his fault that Trish was suffering. If he could just take her home, everything would be all right, he thought.
Simmons opened the door as Jim was going to take the knob in his hand. “Let me go to her, Simmons. I know I can set things straight.”
Simmons stood back. “I was about to call you to tell her about the pictures. She tore most of them up.”
“Trish,” Jim held his arms out as though he expected Trish to run into them.
She ran to him, slapping his face and pulling out of his grip. “You devil, don’t touch me. Don’t ever touch me again.”
Jim reeled as though he had been struck again. “Oh, my God, my God.” He held his face where she had scratched him with her fingernails. His eyes were wide with shock. The pain he felt was not physical.
Simmons quickly assessed the situation. “What did you expect? This is not unusual in commune life.” He pointed to the door. “I will call you again, later.” He softened slightly. “Jim, you must try to understand that Trish is not thinking like you knew her. They controlled her. They took over her mind.” He heard the man’s sobs as he left the room.