Violent rain laid sheets of water on the already weather-beaten facade of St. Francis de Sales. Slick, daggered fingers caressed the building with a day long temptation of eternal ruin. Peering out his office window, Father Molony stared at the smoky tufts creeping off to the east. “Heaven is crying today, Sister Catherine, and it doesn’t look like its showing signs of stopping.”
“It’ll be done when it’s good and ready,” replied the nun as she went about her way to the chancel.
“It certainly will,” Molony muttered with a brief sweep of the grounds. The trees were not yet coming out of Winter hibernation and a figure made itself known in between the barren branches of the oaks. It came closer at a hurried pace, splashing along the sidewalks and roads with little regard to the rest of the world. The long, drawn out complaint of a car horn came through the glass as the person was nearly hit by a Cadillac.
The curtain was dropped, and the priest made his way out into the vestibule. Molony’s face pulled taught as he reached the front door of the church. Cold weather blew in strong gusts, as he and his frantic companion forced the door shut. Letting the man rest a moment, he studied the figure now sopping wet from his journey. He seemed older, but only through stress. His panting gave way to a garbled greeting and gratitude.
“I need to confess, father. I’m torn apart!” Smoothing out his chestnut-colored hair made a few extra puddles on the marble floor. Turning his head to the priest, the pain in his grey eyes could only have come from deep guilt.
“Of course, my son. Right this way.” With an outstretched arm, he lead the stranger to the booths for what he thought was the lesson in adultery or some sort of sexual perversion.
Dark as it was, the booths were warm from the antiquated radiator a few steps away. Stuffy almost, as it seemed Malony needed to open the door a crack to let cooler air in. A step outside in this weather may be beneficial to a man cooped up inside for too long. It might even throw off this sluggishness he had been feeling as of late.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My greed has lead to the deaths of many. People have died for my comfort, and they will all be waiting in Hell when I die. They’ll be ready to exact their revenge upon my wretched spirit. Oh God, what have I done!”
“Yes, my son, what exactly have you done to believe this?” The priest was waiting for something melodramatic and a molehill rather than a mountain.
“I signed a contract with the Devil. In basic terms, he would teach me the secret of distilling the best whiskey on Earth and I would be rewarded with prosperity, fame, and the finest of women. Being that I was a divorced nobody without a dollar to my name, I didn’t care about my soul. I was in a state of desperation and apathy. By my logic, I was Hell-bound regardless of what I did. The chance to be wealthy for a hot minute was too much to handle.”
Molony tried very hard to weigh the truth in the man’s words. The whole thing sounded absurd, but he was in the business of believing all sorts of spiritual activity. His guest was not guileful; his words were as grave and sober as a judge. The energy from his visitor reeled him in like a fish.
“It was later revealed to me the whiskey was enchanted to drain the life out of all who drank it. This was a highly addictive concoction. It was slow enough to go unnoticed, but the person would eventually lose all will and become the property of Satan. His minions would be in charge of shipping the victims back to Hell for consumption as the Dark Lord sees fit.” The voice was now down to a whisper, as if he were trying to avoid sharing the secret with someone else occupying his seat. He shuffled closer to the window.
“The lackeys transport the souls back to Hell through water. Baths, sinks, pools… this rain! As we speak people are riding the downpour to the entrance of Hell! Their bodies are so weak in spirit, they dissolve and spend days seeping into the dirt. I’ve watched good customers melt like wax in front of me. It’s terrifying, and it’s all my fault, father! It’s all… all my fault.” Leaning up against the wall, he began to cry quietly. He’d committed a terrible evil among humanity and could only hope his repentance would do something to ease the pain.
The clergyman removed the hand from his mouth. “You have sinned quite deeply, my son. While Heaven forgives those for the sins of the past, no one can guarantee forgiveness in perpetuity. God may be merciful, but He isn’t blind. Your inability to prevent further mayhem will fall upon your shoulders, and you will have to face His decision on Judgment Day.” Without a sound, Father Molony found his pocket flask and rubbed it between his forefinger and thumb. He, too, had been drinking whiskey that day.
© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved
Sounds like something Satan would do.
The Devil is somewhat transparent, if anything.
I’m not sure Father Moloney gave him the comfort the man was seeking. He should have known there would be some fine print in making a deal w/ the devil. Good writing, as always.
Thanks, kerbey! Father Molony was having a bit of a reckoning of his own. The thought of your incidental killer sitting next to you would bring out the flaws in many people.
You have to title it The Incidental Killer.
I could, but then I’d have to pronounce it “A Suspicious Letter.”
Reminds me a little too much of my last trip to confession.
That good, huh?
I think the majority of the Jesuits who taught me were similarly addicted:)
I know it’s a little cliché, but there’s a reason it became a cliché.
And here I am with a very large, very delicious bottle of rye whiskey nearly full…