He stirred when the plane hit an air pocket, jogging him from his unconsciousness.
"I'm glad you finally decided to join us, Father Ryan. Welcome."
The man, Ryan, looked up to the voice and stared blurrily.
"Who…" His voice trailed off as he tried to move and found his arms securely tied to seat's arm rests. He instantly came awake.
"What's the meaning of this?" he bellowed, making quite a noise in the small cabin of the plane. The other passenger winced.
"Don't shout, Father. I'm only two feet away and not deaf." The man smiled.
"I'm Baptist. Don't call me father'" he snapped. "Only the Catholics call their priests father." His eyes darted around the cabin taking in the few cushy chairs, the tightly drawn windows, and the large dark man in the seat in front of him. "What's going on?" he asked, this time with more restraint.
"You, Father Ryan, are being taken on a little trip. To show you the error of your ways."
"What errors?! I'm a man of God! I don't make errors!"
The man just smiled sadly and shook his head. "We all make mistakes, Father. But sometimes, it is those we rely on to aid us in repenting who are the least reliable to help us. And you are very unreliable."
Ryan's eyes bulged with anger and his teeth ground against each other. "How dare you talk to me in such a way! Do you have any idea who I am?"
The man reached into his coat and pulled a small folder from some hidden pocket. He opened it.
"Ryan Harris Bellant, born August 21, 1967. Attended William and Mary University, Virginia from 1986 till 1990 when you began studying for the Baptist clergy. In 1997 you received your ordination and a congregation in New Jersey." The folder was placed back within the coat. The man now stared directly at Ryan as he spoke. "There you promptly began to preach the old fire and brimstone sermons and preached a very rigid and cruel form of religion condemning women, liberals, liberal conservatives, communists, socialists, gays, lesbians, foreigners, and especially non-believers. You quickly gained a following and quickly gained notoriety as another half- crazed religious lunatic. Am I missing something?"
Ryan straightened himself in his seat and glared at the man in arrogance. "What's your point?"
The man leaned forward in his chair and rested his elbows on his knees. "My point is that you have led a very hateful life and the only thing you have to show for it is a group of people who become more like you every day. You have poisoned the world, Father Ryan, and you must be punished for it."
"I have done nothing wrong and am ashamed of nothing! I have followed the word of God exactly as he said it. If you don't see that, then you will surely rot in hell, you bastard. Now let me go!"
The man smiled slightly and relaxed into his seat as he watched the reverend struggle against his bonds. He began to idly rub something between his thumb and forefinger. Ryan could not see just what it was and it was distracting.
"I will let you go only when you have learned humility, for a proud man laughs in the face of the Lord."
Father Ryan spat into the man's face.
"I am nothing but humble! I live my life according to how God wishes it, not how you think it should be!"
"And how do you know that, father?"
"Because I am a man of the cloth and I know God!"
"Really? You know God? Tell me: what's he like?"
"Stop mocking me!"
The man stopped smiling. "I only mock you because you bring it upon yourself: if you say stupid things, expect to be treated as if you were stupid. That is your first lesson."
"Lesson? Lesson!? How dare you lecture me on how to behave!"
"Let's get one thing straight here, father," said the man sternly. "In this plane, there is no one to listen to you but me, and I don't give a damn about who you are or what respect you think you deserve. I am in control here, not you; and it is I who is lecturing you. The sooner you realize this, the easier things will be for both of us. Second lesson."
Ryan was beside himself in fury. "I do not take orders. I give them."
"On whose authority?"
"The Lord's authority- the only one that matters."
"So if God told you to kill a man, you would do it?"
"What about the Law? You would be arrested."
"It does not matter- I cannot help it if they do not hear God's word. They are heathens and shall burn if they oppose God."
"Will they? That's interesting. What is it you have against 'heathens'?"
"They are ignorant of God's true word and unless they repent they can never reach salvation. They are evil and corrupt our children with their evil ways. Either they repent or they burn, simple as that."
"But do they deserve to burn? What if they are good people?"
"It doesn't matter! Good lord, you bleeding heart liberals are all the same: 'other people deserve their freedoms' and 'all religions are equal.' That's bullshit! What you communists don't understand is that there is only one God, only one book, and only one son of the Father! Christ is the only way to heaven- all others lead straight to hell! It doesn't mater if you're a good person or not! If you refuse the Holy Word then you are doomed to an eternity of damnation."
"So all Christians go to heaven?"
The Priest laughed. "Don't be ridiculous. Some of those supposed 'Christians' are just as bad as the heathens!"
"So just believing in Christ does not gain you salvation? How is that?"
"They refuse to follow the proper teachings of God! The Catholics especially rely more upon the stagnant form of the Church and Pope to live- only fools believe the pope to be the voice of God."
"You say you are the voice of God. How are you different from the pope?"
"Because God has chosen me! I speak the Lord's message without any deviance! My word is unaltered and pure!"
"Just as his is."
The man smiled slightly. "There is the problem. Both of you- you and the Pope- call yourselves the voice of God, each preaching His will. But you can't both be right, for that would force God to have more than one voice, and we know that cannot be true. So who is right?"
"I am, of course."
"Again, how do you know?"
"The Lord came to me in a dream."
An eyebrow arched in interest. "Really? What was this dream about?"
"Why the hell should I tell you?"
The man grunted and leaned back in his chair. "That's just what I thought. You had no dream; you're just like the others- a liar."
The priest hissed through his teeth. "You want a damn dream, I'll tell you a damn dream!" He took a deep breath and settled down in his chair as he remembered. "I was walking through a beautiful field full of flowers when all of a sudden a bright light came upon me and I was swept up in a whirlwind. I went up and up into the air until I came face to face with the sun. And then it spoke to me. It said: 'Father Ryan, it is your destiny to show the people the light and give them the word of my second coming so that their souls may be saved.' I woke up then and found that I was blind- I couldn't see for many hours. I knew then that this was a sign for me to continue my training for priesthood and guide the people in the proper path to Heaven."
"So you met God in a dream?"
"So when I dream about coming face to face with a man and then kill him- does that mean that I am supposed to kill him?"
"Of course not."
"Then why is your dream different from mine? They are both dreams."
"They are different because mine came from God- yours came from your evil mind."
"What if mine was actually a message from God that the man should be killed?"
"Why would God appear to a man like you to do his bidding? He would appear to a man of the cloth if anything- someone holier than you. And God would never command someone to be killed. He loves us all."
"God appeared to the Roman 'heathen' Saul, and transformed him into the holy Saint Paul. Perhaps He is trying to convert me?"
Ryan just snorted.
"And if God would never command someone to be killed, the why did you say you would kill a man should God ask for it? Your 'revelation' could have been nothing more than another product of your 'evil mind.'"
"You disgusting creep!" Spat Ryan. "You call me a liar? I have lived my life according to how God wanted me to! I am nothing but devout!"
"I am calling you a liar, Father. I am calling you the most unworthy of the habit of your peers. You have based your entire congregation around a dream that you had. You call yourself the most pious of men, yet you constantly abuse your powers and the faith entrusted to you and you warp the minds of all those around you. You push those who follow you into intolerance and ignorance; you force those who don't follow you into hatred of you and your kind. You are maybe not following God's word if you cause so much trouble. You are maybe following someone else's orders."
Ryan's hands were white from gripping the chair arms, his teeth ground together noisily, and his eyes radiated hate.
The man only smiled at this. "You wish me dead, Father- a very unreligious thing to think- yet you can do nothing about it. You have no followers and you are firmly secured to this seat. You have no power in this cabin. You are nothing here. There is only one end to this confrontation, whether God helps you or not." He paused to grin widely, his white teeth seeming to shine in the dim cabin light and his eyes shimmering. "You will die."
Suddenly a change could be seen within Father Ryan. He still shivered with fury, yet in the pits of his eyes, there emerged the glimmer of fear. He spoke quietly.
"God will see me through this. He always has."
The man was suddenly on his feet, face pressed upon Ryan's. "And where was God for all those who suffered at the hands of you and your kind?! Everyone everywhere in the world has been touched by what you people have done and you refuse to apologise for it! You people kill and spurn those you hate and all those who even disagree with you within your own faith! You are not a holy man, Father, you are a demagogue of hatred and a power-hungry madman! You are nothing without a following or a listening ear- you are NOTHING! You are going to die, Father, and where is your vengeful God?! Why has he not killed me with his powers and set you free? Where-IS-HE?!"
The two stayed pressed near each other for a moment, both breathing heavily but for different reasons. Sweat formed and began to trickle its way down Ryan's forehead. A drop fell into his eye, causing him to blink furiously. The man suddenly took a deep breath and straightened, relaxing.
He smiled at the look of pure terror on the face of the priest, his fingers again caressing something in his hand. His next words were spoken softly and calmly.
"For as long as religion has existed, there have always been two sides- those who believe and those who don't. This division has constantly led to bloodshed and hatred. Nations have fallen and whole populations killed thanks to religion. And the outcome is always the same: another religion comes along to replace the previous one. Apparently nothing lasts forever, not even Gods."
Father Ryan hung his head. His fear was growing steadily, yet he still managed to maintain his convictions. He was among the few who had. He spoke hesitantly but bravely in a quiet voice.
"You may hate me, but I know that I am in the right and no matter what you do to me, I will still always be with God's word. You can never change that."
The man frowned slightly but slowly nodded and sat down, saying nothing. A soft 'ping' sounded somewhere behind Ryan and the man buckled his seatbelt. The two stared at each other in silence as the plane began to descend. The man occasionally rubbed the thing in his hand between thumb and forefinger. The priest wished he had something to busy himself with. Eventually the plane touched down but with the windows closed, Ryan could not see where they had landed and so had no idea as to where he was or what was to come next. He only knew the ultimate destination, thanks to his captor. His mouth was suddenly dry.
The plane slowly stopped moving and came to a halt; the engines wound down and became silent. The cabin was still.
Suddenly, the man stood up and walked to a window behind Ryan. The sound of a window shade opening was heard and then it closed again with a slight grunt from the captor.
Then he was back in front of the priest.
"We have arrived, Father. Time for you to get off." With that the man reached down and unfastened the belts holding the priest to the seat.
As fast as he could, Father Ryan was upon the man, his arms flying in an attempt to bring the man to the floor but it was useless. With one deft motion, the man grabbed Ryan's arms and held them to his sides apparently using very little strength to do so.
He grinned and shook his head. "And just what were you going to do once you defeated me? Take off? The pilot's door is barricaded. The only thing to do is run away- and that's exactly what I want you to do."
With little effort, the man moved his captive to the cabin door and lifted the lock. He patted the priest on the shoulder.
"Goodbye, Father. Any last words for your family?"
"Why should I say anything?"
Shrug. "Some people like to do it. None? Great."
The door was flung open and a hand placed firmly behind the priest. A bright light flashed through the cabin, blinding the frightened man.
"Be with your own kind- a product of hatred!"
Father Ryan was shoved from the plane and out into the hot, bright light.
As he hit the ground several feet below the door, he caught sight of a multitude of peopleall dressed in a way frightening to the distraught man. A yell went up and immediately the crowd swarmed around and engulfed Ryan in a riotous, murderous, frenzy.
The man just stood at the door of the plane and looked down in pity and disgust as his passenger was torn limb from limb by the mob; the one whom he had dreamt to kill.
The man smiled briefly at the justice he was fulfilling and then returned to his seat in the cabin, once again ready for another passenger.