Mercy House by writerforever

A Note From the Writer:

I just wanted to point out to everyone that may read this story that I am not prejudice against Catholics or any other religion. I'm sure I'll get accused of putting Catholics down but I do not mean too. So please do not think that I hate Catholics or other religions. Some religions are for some people and some just aren't. This story will probably be very different from anything I've ever written. So I ask you to please not be offended by anything in this story. Thank you.

-writerforever

Chapter 1

Maryland 1993

I was sixteen-years-old when my parents sent me to Mercy House. It wasn't exactly a house, it was more like a mental institution, or that's what it looked like to me. It was a tall brick building with a few windows. I had never been so afraid in my life to enter such a place. I sat in the backseat of my parents' old station wagon, my hands clasped together tightly in my lap.

"Now, don't be so afraid Jacob. As soon as you are healed you'll be released," my mother said glancing back at me from where she sat in the front seat beside my father.

How can I describe my mother and father? They were definitely a unique couple. My mother, Gail, with her long brown hair tied back by a ribbon, and her steel gray eyes, sometimes found it hard to soften her heart to anything. As for my father, Josiah, with his black hair and cold blue eyes, never relented for anything and always carried himself in a superior manner. I had been born to them, the only child. I gained my mother's brown hair and my father's blue eyes. But unlike both my parents who were tall, I had got the short end of the deal.

My parents were devout Catholics and had been for as long as I could remember. When I was but a small baby they took me to the church and had me baptized and from then on I was brought up into proper Catholic procedures. I accompanied my parents to mass and I went to confession when it was needed. And when I was old enough to attend school my parents didn't send me to a public school but instead they sent me to the Catholic school that our church had. It was a rather large school and I was excited to begin as most young kids are. But as I grew older and became a teenager things started to change for me.

As most kids who have been raised in a religious family usually do, I began to question the religion that I had so faithfully devoted my life too. I met a boy, Marcus, who was sixteen, a year older than me, one day while at the local library in town. I still don't remember how our conversation started off but somehow we got into religion.

"I'm a Christian. How about you?" Marcus asked me as we sat at a table in the middle of the library.

"Yes, I am too," I replied.

"That's great! God is so good isn't He?" Marcus said smiling.

"Yeah," I said a little hesitantly, a little confused by Marcus' actions. He acted so excited about God and Christianity. I had always been taught to express my feelings and to be proud that I was Catholic but…there was something different about Marcus. When he talked about God he made God seem so…real! I didn't totally understand it and I was itching to ask him what his religion was. But I held back, not wanting to get into a debate if he was of a different religion.

"So do you live close around here?" Marcus asked.

"I live just a few blocks down," I said.

"Cool. Maybe we could hang out sometime," Marcus said.

"That'd…be nice," I said hesitantly.

"Okay. Hey let's meet here tomorrow evening. Will that be cool?" Marcus said.

"Sure," I said.

Me and Marcus became real good friends and he shared with me his beliefs on some things that I had been having doubts about. I finally found out that he wasn't Catholic like me because he had such different views and beliefs. I found some of his beliefs a bit far fetched and he did the same with my beliefs but we would discuss them and try to make sense of it all.

One evening while Marcus and I sat in the library talking, Marcus asked me something that would change the course of my life forever.

"Hey Jacob, why don't you come to my church tomorrow evening? We're having a revival and it would be cool if you could come," Marcus said.

"I…don't know about that," I said.

"Aw come on. It would be fun," Marcus said.

"I'd have to ask my parents permission if I could come," I said.

"Okay, that's fine. Call me if you can go. Here's my phone number," Marcus said writing down his phone number.

I approached my parents that night about attending church with Marcus and they weren't too thrilled about it.

"I'd really rather you not get involved in anything that isn't right," my father said.

"But it wouldn't be like I'd be converting to another religion. I'd really like to go and just see what it's like," I said.

After much consideration my parents agreed to let me go to church with Marcus. And after I did go to church with him my life changed. I experienced something at that church that caused me to see that really I didn't know God like I thought I did. That night I converted to a new religion and I was very happy but I knew that I would have to keep it a secret from my parents because they'd be furious. It was hard keeping my new religion hidden because I longed to tell everyone that I knew Jesus Christ and that he was my Savior.

But troubled really started when I turned sixteen. At my church it was a custom for all of the teenagers to pick a patron saint that they would strive to be like and to pray too. I talked too Marcus about this the day I heard that I would have to choose a patron saint.

"What do I do? I don't need a saint to protect me do I?" I asked.

"No, not necessarily. You have Jesus Christ in your heart now. He'll protect you," Marcus said.

"I know. So…what do I do tomorrow? I can't tell the people at the church that I refuse to pick a patron saint," I said.

"Well having a saint as a role model isn't all that bad. But…I don't think you should put your trust in the saint," Marcus.

Unfortunately when the day came for me to pick my patron saint I sat in the classroom and watched as Mr. Thomas asked everyone which patron saint they had picked. When he finally came around to me I sat motionless, not knowing what to do.

"Jacob, tell us who you have picked," Mr. Thomas smiled.

"I…I…haven't picked anyone. I'm…no longer Catholic," I managed to blurt out.

Mr. Thomas raised his eyebrows and looked as if he didn't know quite what to say.

"Well…I….suppose that's fine," he finally said. He began to ask the others which saint they had picked.

My heart was pounding in my chest and I let out a sigh. Naturally Mr. Thomas talked to my parents about my conduct on that day and they began to question me. I finally admitted to having left the Catholic faith.

"You really don't mean that do you?" my mother asked.

"Yes…I mean it. I'm no longer Catholic," I said taking a deep breath.

My parents took me as soon as possible to the church to speak to the bishop. Bishop Radford led me into his office while my parents sat outside the office.

"Sit down," Bishop Radford smiled pointing to a chair in front of his desk.

"Now, I understand that you have turned from the Catholic faith," he said sitting across from me.

"Yes…I have," I said.

"What brought on this…urge to turn away from your faith?" he asked.

"I…saw the light," I said.

"The light?" he asked raising his eyebrows.

"Yes, I…saw the light. A friend of mine showed me the truth," I said.

"And who exactly was this friend?" he asked.

"Marcus Leakey. I met him at the library and he took me to his church. And…God saved me there," I said.

"Well you were already 'saved'. You have been ever since you were but a wee babe," Bishop Radford said.

"I…don't agree," I said trying to remain calm because my heart was pounding.

"Jacob, I realize that sometimes we all want too…rebel against what we have been raised up in. But that doesn't make it right," he said.

"Bishop, with…all do respect…I don't know why we're having this conversation. I'm…never turning back to the Catholic faith. I love the religion I have now because…well I have God in my heart," I said raising my eyes to meet his.

He stared back at me thoughtfully.

"Very well. You may go now but send in your parents. I must speak with them," he said.

I stood and told my parents to go into the office. I sat outside the office and suddenly I heard my mother crying behind the closed office door.

"It is for the best Gail. Mercy house will be just the place for him. The people there can help him," I heard Bishop Radford said.

My heart seemed to stop dead at the mention of Mercy house. I had heard about that place. They sent teenagers there who had problems, such as trying to commit suicide, or who had been 'corrupted' by a religion, or who were gay, or who simply were rebellious. And there was many other cases that had been sent to the Mercy house. If they were healed then they were released. But if not then usually they had to stay there for a very long time. Mercy house was founded by no certain domination, it was simply just there and that was something I did not understand. Who could have started such a place?

That night at home my parents told me the news. I was to be 'enrolled' at Mercy house as soon as possible and I would be staying there until I was 'healed'. I was furious and completely helpless in the situation. I had no choice but to attend to be cured of my new religion.

And that is how I ended up at the front door of Mercy house with my blue suitcase clutched tightly in my hands. My parents led me to the front door and my mother broke into sobs.

"I can't take this!" she said turning and running to the station wagon.

"Well…goodbye son. I will see you soon," my father said reaching out and giving me a hug.

He left me standing there with a middle aged man known as Mr. Kenton, the overseer of the boys' ward of Mercy house. I had never felt so alone, or scared, in all my life.

"I'll beat this. I will, I will! I'll get out of here as quick as I can. They won't change me," I said determinedly to myself.

To Be Continued…