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Chapter 1

Religion 180:

Apocalyptic Cultures


Question Everything


Curvy black lines, twisting and looping like a composition book’s pattern, framed the words. As she waited for the first class to begin, Cadence traced over the tattooed mosaic, and in the needled chaos, spied the outlines of a heart, lightning bolt, and a key. She pondered secrets whispered from the skin, the desire for pictures permanently inked on flesh, and did so until a tall man in a tweed suit and bowtie redirected her thoughts.

“If you hold an opinion—is it entirely yours?” A cascade of forehead wrinkles gave the impression he was waiting for an answer, but he wasn’t. He liked cranking the mental wheels into action and watching them grind painfully out from summer’s sleep. As a professor of religion, he was an expert at shifting ideologies from their supposedly solid foundations.

“Has someone handed you an opinion or a belief you’ve wholeheartedly accepted without contemplation? Provided so, why’d this person want you to have it? Who enslaves you and why?” He adjusted his silver-rimmed spectacles. “We’re all slaves, so how do we obtain the keys to unlock our freedom?”


The introduction jarred Cadence, and the familiar thrill of classes at Charlestowne College returned. As is the way of a good course, eyes widened, asses shifted in seats, and heads turned in search of comrades to navigate new territory.



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