Kyrie pulled the bottle out of the little wine fridge behind the bar. It was the last of the case she’d bought on her celebration trip to Napa a few years ago. Smiling, she thought back to that trip. She’d just gotten the job offer from AppWare with its amazing (for her) salary and benefits. This was what she had dreamed of since discovering her talent for writing apps that people loved and used. Her best friend, Kenzie, had gotten an offer as well from her dream company, and so the two of them had splurged and headed up to Napa for a weekend of spa time and wine tasting. Kyrie had indulged even further and purchased a case of wine from one of the fancier wineries in the valley. She’d been waiting for a special occasion to open the last bottle and figured this was it.

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The Dryad’s Garden

Stone bridge over stream surrounded by trees. Bridge is reflected in the still water.

“Very funny, you guys! Not!” Cassie yelled. “Now get me out of here!” She turned in place, staring around at the fantastical scene. Sunlight filtered through the dense canopy of trees giving some relief to the deep green darkness surrounding her. Spanish moss draped and flowed across everything, and little tendrils ran down the sides of the small tower sitting at the top of what looked like a sundial.

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Cult of Personality

Crowd raising hands in worship

These days we all know what a cult of personality is, and we all believe that we can identify them, and we all believe we’d never become part of one. Khrushchev first used the term when speaking about Stalin and admonishing the Communist Party that they must not allow such a thing to happen again. In the West we scramble backwards at the mention of the word “cult.” After all, a cult is a group that brainwashes its members into believing absolutely fantastical claims and performing strange rituals deifying the leaders. And nobody with an ounce of sense would fall for a cult of personality, right? Right?

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