By FRED FAOUR
Another short story, this is a Dexter-type tale of a vengeful priest. As with all my stories, the content is pretty graphic, so keep that in mind before you read it. I wrote it during Hurricane Ike when I was locked in my apartment.
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned,” the Killer hissed. “It’s been 30 years since my last confession.”
Monsignor Benetti grimaced in pain from the knife jabbed deep into his right leg, squeezing tears out of both dull brown eyes.
“Have mercy,” he cried softly. “Please… have mercy. I am a man of God.”
The Killer sighed deeply, exhaling the cigarette smoke in a swirling cloud of gray. It hung there briefly, seeming to form the shape of a snake, then an angel, then wisping away on the wind, floating toward heaven.
He took another deep drag, then pulled the knife from the priest’s leg, casually wiping the blood on the Monsignor’s now-stained collar.
The killer smiled, Marlboro hanging loosely on his lips.
“Mercy is for the weak, Father,” he hissed. “You told me that once.”
The pain in Benetti’s leg was now shooting into his hip, his right side. The Monsignor thought he might black out, but he stayed focused. His arms and legs were bound in the chair, duct tape tight against him. He tried feebly to move, but knew there was no hope.
He was trapped. For better or worse, his fate was in the hands of a man he didn’t recall. He seemed so familiar, but Benetticouldn’t place him. He had been given something, and it was affecting his mind.
“I don’t remember you, son,” he whispered, almost hopelessly. “And I would have never said such a thing.”
Benetti’s face was old, ruddy with alcoholism, his eyes blank and hopeless. He scrambled his memory, trying to remember this man, but it was a blank, lost in waves of bourbon and the fresh pain in his leg.
“Son…” he whispered.
“Don’t call me that again!” The Killer screamed, grabbing the Monsignor’s throat, holding the knife against his target’s nostril.Benetti could taste the rubber gloves tight against his lips.
“Never call me that again!” the Killer hissed, unable to control his anger. “I am not your fucking son.”
He loosened his grip, pulled the knife away slowly, exhaling fresh smoke in the Monsignor’s face.
“No mercy, Father,” he spat. “Not this time.”
Benetti wracked his brain, trying to remember this man. The Killer’s features were hard to discern. His hair was
dark with hints of gray, but most of it was covered by a Yankees cap. He wore dark sunglasses that reflected the Monsignor’s scared eyes. A black hoodie was pulled slightly over the baseball cap. The killer was a large man, a little overweight in the middle, but not unattractive. There was something very familiar in him, but Benetti couldn’t quite place it. So many little boys…
Oddly, he found himself aroused.
That ended as he felt the knife against his lap, piercing his left testicle. He tried to scream, but his mouth was suddenly filled with cloth.
This time, he did pass out.
The Monsignor awoke to find himself face down on the floor, his robes pulled up over his back, leaving him exposed. His pale legs and hairy, boil-stained ass were cold in the dawn air.
Benetti couldn’t tell where the pain was coming from – his leg or his testicle. He was gagged now, and struggled to breath through a nose that had clearly been broken.
“You don’t remember me at all,” The Killer said, somewhat bemused.
Benetti tried to respond, but his inaudible grunts were immediately dismissed.
“Quiet, Father,” the killer said. “No one can hear. Just like when I was here before…”
He lit another cigarette and smiled.
“You don’t remember me, but I remember you,” the Killer said, almost beaming. “Right here in this room. On this floor. Right where you are now. Shall I remind you?”
Benetti squirmed and grunted, but the knife against his ass stopped him cold.
“My name was Tommy,” he gasped, drawing closer now, whispering in the Monsignor’s ear, pulling his body against the Priest’s. “Tommy. Little Tommy, you called me. Little Tommy, your SON, you called me.”
He shoved the lit cigarette into Benetti’s ear, and laughed at the muffled scream.
The killer seemed irritated the cigarette had gone out. He relit it and took another drag.
“You brought me back here after mass, and gave me wine. Lots of wine. Remember?”
Benetti already knew the story, even if he didn’t know the man. This Tommy could have been one of a hundred boys.
“The blood of Christ, you said…” The killer’s voice was now sharp, cold, as if he had gone into a trance, going back to a place he didn’t want to be.
Even so, he was enjoying himself.
“You said the wine would make me forget…make me part of God’s special children.”
He took another drag.
“God’s special children,” he whispered.
Now, the Monsignor could hear the anger in his voice.
“I did forget,” he said. “For years I forgot. Put it out of my mind. Lived a normal life. That wine did make me forget. You were right about that.”
Again, the smoke hung there, this time around the killer’s face, mimicking a skull.
“And then I saw you on TV…You and the Bishop, and your lawyer. And how you were falsely accused, and how that poor boy was disturbed…”
Benetti tried to speak, but they were just grunts in the cloth, which was starting to gag him.
“You’ve gotten fat,” the Killer said casually.
He got up, and casually grabbed a bottle of wine.
“This is the blood of Christ,” he said, and began pouring it on the Monsignor.
He then took a sip. And Benetti started the think the Killer might be drunk.
But The Killer was rolling now, comfortable.
“I hadn’t tasted wine in 29 years,” he said. “I was out with a friend one night, and she gave me a sip of her wine, and it all came back to me. All at once.
“I threw up.”
He smiled again, his thin lips pulling across his face. Despite his girth, his face was gaunt, like a ghost long dead come back to life.
“You put me on the floor, right there where you are now. You shoved yourself inside me. It seemed like forever. The winedidn’t dull the pain. As small as you are, it hurt me. And you kept whispering, over and over…”thank you, son. Thank you, son.
“Thank you, son.”
He paused, took another drag. He looked at the cigarette briefly, knowing it was bad for him, and clearly not caring.
“Then you wiped yourself off on my altar boy robes, washed your hands in Holy water and prayed for forgiveness. And you gave me more wine. And took a deep drink from a bottle of Jim Beam.
“And twenty minutes later, you did it again.”
He held the gun lovingly. “Do you remember me now?”
The Monsignor was sobbing, unable to respond. He still didn’t remember this particular man. But that story had played out so many times.
He tried to say “forgive me,” but the words wouldn’t come out. The killer seemed to understand him.
“No father. No forgiveness. No mercy.”
And he shoved the gun deep into the Priest’s ass, as far as it would go, violently, over and over again. Benetti’s muffled screams made the killer laugh.
The killer pulled himself closer to the Priest, whispering in his ear.
“Thank you, son.”
He smiled, satisfied, and wiped himself off on MonsignorBenetti’s robes.
Again, the Monsignor passed out.
Benetti woke up in the chair again. He was numb all over. The killer had given him something to make him relax. He felt only a dull ache in his backside, in his testicle, in his leg. He was no longer gagged, and he was completely naked.
Benetti thought about screaming for help, but suddenly the gun was in his mouth, and the taste of his own feces made him gag.
“Shhhh, father.” The killer whispered. “We’re almost done.”
Monsignor Benetti noticed the candles. There were 26, all lit. One giant candle in the middle surrounded by 25 others.
“Why?” he whispered. “The word took a long time to get from his brain to his mouth. Clearly they were strong drugs. The wound in his leg didn’t look real. He wanted to laugh at it.
“One for each of us. All the altar boys who were here when I was. And one big one for all the others I know nothing about. Including that little boy you said was disturbed.”
The Monsignor began to sob again.
The Killer was wearing Benetti’s robes. It made him look even more familiar. He casually moved closer.
“I will hear your confession now.”
Benetti started crying. And then, they all came back to him, one by one. He gave names, years, what the boys were like, what he told them to say. And yes, he remembered Tommy Shea.
He stared at the flickering candles and sobbed.
“I’m sorry, Tommy. God made me this way. Please don’t kill me.”
The Killer smiled, and placed the tape recorder on a stand next to the chair, gently switching it off “record.”
“This is where I am supposed to say, ‘three Hail Marys and do a good deed for a stranger and you will be forgiven,” the Killer crooned.
“But do you remember what you told me when you finished with me?”
Benetti sobbed and offered a muffled, “yes.”
The killer glared. “I was weak. No mercy for me. I had to be cleansed.”
He shoved the shit stained gun deep down Benetti’s throat.
“Mercy,” said the Killer, “is for the weak. YOU have to be cleansed.”
He slowly pulled back on the trigger, watching Benetti’s cold, broken eyes tear up as the inevitable blast drew closer.
“Oh yes,” the killer whispered as the Mosignor sobbed.
“Before I forget…”
“Don’t tell anyone about this. God will punish you if you do.”
The .45 exploded, spraying brains and blood all over the room. What was left of the Monsignor slumped in the chair, his grotesque body almost a parody with the bloody mess that used to be a head hanging over it.
The blood was everywhere. The Killer was amused in the way that it covered the stained glass window behind the corpse.
The Killer smiled. The sunlight was just starting to creep through the window; the stained glass Jesus was covered in blood. Only the eyes were visible. The Killer stared at them for a long time, then took off the robes, threw them on the floor and set the on fire. They would not find his DNA at this scene.
The Killer pulled his pants back on, but left his shirt off. On his chest was a large tattoo; an angel. The Angel of Vengeance.
The Killer smiled, pulling a tattoo needle out of his bag. He quietly added a drop of blood to the Angel’s sword. He went slowly, methodically, like he had all the time in the world. It was his fifth drop of blood.
“Say hello to Satan for me,” he whispered to the cold dead corpse.
He put away his needle, pulled on his shirt and put out the fire as the robes flickered to ashes.
Again, he reached into his black bag, pulling out a small book. It was a diary.
He opened it to the last page, which was bookmarked with a newspaper article.
The broken cursive was hard to read, as if the author had been drunk when he wrote it. “Father, I hope God forgives you,” it read in broken cursive, surrounded by splatters of blood.
“Because I don’t.
“Burn in hell. I’ll be waiting there for you.”
The signature was in blood.
The Killer tossed the diary on Benetti’s ruined body.
The corpse looked fake. It seemed cold, empty, almost surreal. Soulless.
The Killer was dressed now. He took one more look at the newspaper article, then left it on top of the book.
It was a news story about Tommy Shea, 42, years old. Survived by two children and an ex wife. Found dead in his apartment, apparent suicide, brains blown out with a .45.
The killer picked up his bag, quietly. He took one last look at his work.
“Vengeance is mine,” he whispered. “Vengeance is mine.”
He lit a cigarette, walked toward the door. He turned back briefly, picked up the bottle of Jim Beam, and put it in his black bag, easing out the door.
Father John Scales found the body a few hours later. He called the police, quietly waited as the investigators did their work. He said all the right things, helped the officers. No, he hadn’t heard anyone come in. He didn’t hear the gun. He took pills to help him sleep. He didn’t know until he had walked into the room shortly after 9 a.m., and immediately called the police. He was new here, had only been assigned there for a week. Barely knew the Monsignor, really. He was just a young priest, one they moved around a lot. He never knew Tommy Shea.
Then he prayed for the Monsignor. And for the Killer.
When the police left, he went out behind the church and lit a Marlboro. His chest was still sore from a recent addition to his tattoo. He leafed through a new diary. Bobby Rigby. Poor Bobby Rigby.
He looked skyward.
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned,” he said, rubbing the diary lovingly. Father Todd would soon be reunited with Bobby Rigby.
“And I will sin again,” he whispered.