“I’m not your leader. I’m not your savior. I’m not anything!”
Jeff was getting tired of these people.
“It was foretold that you would deny your identity to test the unbelievers,” said Todd, the most fervent of Jeff’s followers.
They just kept saying stuff like that. For days now, Todd and a group of ten or so others had been shadowing Jeff. Everywhere he turned, they were there, and worse, they were mimicking him.
If he hopped on one foot, they hopped on one foot. If he bent over to tie his shoe, they bent over to tie their shoes. If he got a cheeseburger with extra onions at a fast food joint, they got cheeseburgers with extra onions and so on.
At first, it had been funny. After about twenty minutes, the novelty wore off.
Now, he needed to lose them for good.
Jeff was heading home from a long semester at Valley Tech University. He didn’t need them following him to his hometown. Jeff could only imagine what people would say when he returned as the leader of some kind of cult.
“Tell me again why you are following me,” said Jeff.
“You are the Chosen One. You will lead us to shelter in our time of need. It was foretold in the Letters of Bruce.”
The Letters of Bruce. Jeff remembered Bruce. They had been roommates two years ago during his freshman year. Why anyone would follow anything written by Bruce was beyond Jeff, especially after what happened that year.
Bruce was at the University on a full-ride golf scholarship. He took golf more seriously than anything, including the weather. So when the storm showed up while Bruce was seven holes into an incredible round, he refused to leave.
After the lightening strike, Bruce hadn’t been the same. For one thing, he didn’t blink. For another, he spoke in the third person. And third, he seemed to have lost all reference to time, speaking about things that happened in his childhood as though they just happened. Before long, Bruce stopped attending classes, lost his scholarship, and, Jeff assumed, left school.
“Did the Letters of Bruce mention how annoying you are?” asked Jeff.
“Grr,” growled Jeff. He couldn’t take any more.
Jeff turned around and ran. He cut through the frat house yards. He jumped over fences. He doubled back. He did everything he could to lose his followers.
When he boarded the bus at the station, he found an empty seat near the back, put his head between his legs and tried to catch his breath. He must have lost them, but he didn’t want to risk looking out the window just yet, in case they spotted him. It wasn’t until the bus was out of the valley that he sat up.
“Hi,” said Todd.
“Hi,” sighed Jeff.
“That was close,” said Todd, “but we all made it.”
That was when the earthquake hit, and the rockslide buried the campus and everyone on it.