The empty church was stuffy. I squirmed in the pew as my bladder griped. I nervously gnawed on a hangnail.
Father appeared looking flushed. He sat beside me and took my hands. He smelled like Mrs. Newton’s perfume.
“Beulah, has your mother ever shared her feelings about me to church outsiders?”
I hesitated. His grip tightened. A tousled Mrs. Newton appeared and left without a glance.
“I won’t lead you astray.” He held out a candy bar. “Good kids tell me when their parents sin. Do you want to be good like the other kids?”
I guiltily took the bait. “Yes, Father.”
I’m sure most of you know the story of Jim Jones and The People’s Temple. Allegedly, one of the ways Jones controlled his followers was to coerce them to inform on each other. He used the children to inform on their parents and in return rewarded them. It’s said that he also made sexual advances to members. You can read more about it at PBS.org.
My story is a work of fiction and in no way portrays any actual persons, living or dead, or events. I merely used the history of Jim Jones and The People’s Temple as inspiration.
Be sure to read the other stories for the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle for being such a tireless host. (P.S. I’m two words over the 100-word limit. So sorry!)