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Jedidiah Spring wasn't a traditional member of the Fifthist organisations. His Chapter could best be described, he supposed, as a cult. At least, that's what the media called them. The Western Seaboard Fifthists, it was a stupid name, and one he'd deeply despised.

He'd been a roaming preacher, spreading the word of their Cult far and wide, from the 60's til the early 00's. From the yuppie hippies, to the despondent ne'er-do-wells of California's largest cities, to the affluent, desperate celebrities. He'd got close to persuading Brian Wilson to record a song about the Great Starfish in the Sky, but the recreational drugs got to his head before they could thrash the details out, and Wilson passed out on the beach.

He wondered if that was why his band was called Beach Boys?

He settled down with the major members of the Church in the mellow town of Encinitas, and sang sweet songs to the folks there. When I Saw Her was his particular favourite, especially when it was sung whilst the smoke was piling up on high.

That period of his life had lasted a mere six years, but it felt like an utter eternity to him. Dancing with women, and men, half his age whilst drinking himself into a stupor, desperately clinging to the days of the yester-years. He was only sixty-two, but looked fifty-five - well, he thought this was how people looked at fifty-five, anyways.

And then, it'd been over in a snap. He remembered the news reports to this day.

Yes… Yes, we're receiving reports of varying veracity of an incident in Korea. There's a huge hole. My God… it's gone. There's nothing left.

The small TV in the corner of the lodge, that hardly received a signal if it was raining, had everyone's attention that night. They'd been glued to the screen, hugging one another, and staring. There were no songs that night, just fear. Only fear.

When Korea went up in flames, he thought that this was his moment. His Chapter had been preparing for this very moment for years, and years, and years.

But it wasn't his moment, it wasn't anybody's moment.

He took out his bong and set it down on the table, lighting it and watching the bubbles surface, and pop. A heavy mist and smoke filled the room.

Jedidiah got to his knees and sighed, dusting down the small TV and rummaging around under the coffee table, reaching outwards and picking up a remote. He switched on the TV, which was tuned to the same channel it had been six years ago.

'Senator Alexander DeVanse declared the latest Internal Defense Act to be the "greatest step we have taken thus far in securing a future for the American people in the wake of the Korean Peninsula Catastrophe."'

'His bill passed through the Senate last week and contained a series of unprecedented emergency powers that were granted to federal law enforcement and federal agencies. In addition, it will extend the period of National Emergency beyond 2019 and into 2020.'

"Fear keeps the people in line." He thought, as he got back to his feet.

There was nothing left for him anymore. His Chapter has collapsed into ruin and a new one had risen from the smoke. He glanced at the wall and felt his lips twist into a smile.

It was still there, dust covered and worn by the passage of time, and even stained by water in some places. But it was still there. Jedidiah pulled the frame off the wall and carefully slid the photograph out.

There had been two-hundred of them in 2013; now there was only him.

He dusted the photograph off with his fingers, slipped his wallet out of his tanned duster jacket, and folded the photograph in half before placing the photograph inside.

With that, he was done, and Jedidiah left the compound feeling the final moments of daytime brush his face. He pulled his moth-eaten stetson onto his head whilst slinging his guitar across his shoulder.

It would be hard, but he'd try once again.

He was Jedidiah Springs, the roaming preacher of the Western Seaboard Fifthists.

The Tales of Jedidah Springs, the roaming preacher of the Western Seaboard Fifthists.
Part 1 - Disillusionment | >> Part 2 - Indignitas

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