The next evening Erkan prepared himself for church. He started with a shower. It wouldn’t do to go smelling of blood- or sweat, or anything else. He may not have been the type to wear a suit to church, but being clean was still necessary.
It was only a short drive and then he found himself heading inside.
“Good evening,” the greeter extended his hand.
“Good evening,” Erkan shook it and nodded. He wasn’t sure why he expected things to be different. As usual, there weren’t too many people. That was how Saturday night services worked. Most people went on Sunday morning or didn’t care enough to go at all. Mostly the latter. That said there was always a small group of those who were consistently busy in the morning or just preferred evening services.
Erkan stood through the opening worship. He wasn’t much for singing himself, though he could appreciate it. Some of the songs had lyrics that didn’t make much sense if he stopped to think about them- regardless of their intended context. He supposed there was always artistic license.
Then there were announcements. They were always recruiting people for bible studies. They were usually in the evening or morning… but often while he was working or outside of his normal hours.
The sermon started off slowly, and Erkan’s mind wandered. He still considered himself a Christian, even if he wasn’t particularly devout. Perhaps that would change. He had to think about why he was a Christian to begin with. The simplest answer was that his parents were. He’d gone to church with them, so the natural result was to be a Christian too. However, he’d still been convinced that it was the truth. He believed Jesus was a real person- not only real, but he had performed various miracles as recorded by the many authors who wrote the books that made up the New Testament. More importantly, Jesus was the son of God. Otherwise the rest of everything was pointless. Erkan had a scientific mind, but most of modern scientific ideas and Christian theology weren’t incompatible, no matter what some people said. Of course, there was the origin of everything at stake.
Erkan realized he should probably pay attention more. The pastor wasn’t boring, but it was hard to sit and listen to something not specifically designed for entertainment. Especially with so many other thoughts on his mind.
“…then they were to take the blood of that lamb and spread it on the doorposts… on the side and across the top. Well… it was a good thing they were planning to leave, wasn’t it?” the pastor laughed, “It would have been quite some effort to clean that up.”
Erkan nodded. It sure was a pain… it liked to stain things. Even the brushes Nico used were stained and he had special cleaning methods. The pastor continued to talk about passover- it was the turning point of the most important event in Israelite history. That was important because Jesus came as a sacrifice for their sins, one that would last longer than lambs or other animals. That was a whole thing in and of itself, but Erkan found his mind drifting down that road.
What it came down to was that blood was important. It represented life- it was life. It was also magic. Erkan wasn’t willing to make a quick judgement on the situation. Eternity was at stake, after all. It was worth considering carefully. Except maybe there wasn’t eternity, but in that case he still needed to be certain. Though they might appear similar, magic and miracles weren’t necessarily the same things. In fact, if miracles were real an understanding of magic would make them even greater. Miracles would be things that couldn’t be accomplished by people- even with magic. Things done with the power of God.
Or it was all just magic to begin with and everything was a farce. However, that deserved some thinking. Maybe he would ask Nico and talk with Savina more. After all, if they had access to information he didn’t, they could inform his decisions. He needed actual facts, not just speculation.
During slow sections of work the next night, Erkan couldn’t help but scribble runes idly. He didn’t know what the meant yet, but he did know they only did anything if drawn in blood and were intentionally activated. Otherwise, he would have been more careful. He had a reference and was familiarizing himself with the shapes as well as the names for them.
“What’s that?” Akio asked, leaning around Erkan.
“Stuff from a game,” Erkan answered. That excuse was the reason he wasn’t worried… though it was a little awkward to say.
“You play games? I never hear you talk about them.”
Erkan shook his head, “Not much. Not a lot of free time, really.”
“Yeah I know the feeling…” Akio shook his head, “Can’t wait till my thesis is done.”
“So what, you can double the amount of time you spend in the lab?”
“You make it sound so bad. Besides, they don’t let people work more than like… 12 hours.”
“Just don’t become a workaholic.”
“What else is there to do? Go out with girls?” Akio scratched his chin, “How’s that going for you anyway?”
“Hmm? Oh… well, I’m not sure.”
“I thought you liked her.”
“I do but…”
“But you’re not sure if she’s right for you? I have no advice for you there.” Akio shrugged, “Don’t worry about it too much, and don’t let your parents pressure you into anything.”
“…Aren’t you the one who was considering an arranged marriage?”
“Hey, just because I’m fine with my parents pressuring me into stuff doesn’t mean you should be. Besides, we’d meet up before deciding.”
“Right… sounds completely different.” That was something Erkan hadn’t considered. His parents, not arranged marriage. They had been very worried about him as of late. To be fair, Erkan had been worried about himself. Being hospitalized twice in quick succession did that. He should probably call… or at least send an email. He wasn’t sure he wanted to be caught on the phone for a couple hours.