The little sunlight from the part of the window uninhibited by the curtain woke our Father up. He checked the time on his wall clock. 5:47 it was. Around 15 minutes early for Father’s normal wake up time, but he didn’t mind. “For the faithful shall forever be in service of their Lord”, he thought. He picked up his monocle which lay above his Bible that he’d spent memorizing last night. He cleaned the monocle with his undervest and put it on his left eye, stood up from the bed and stretched.
There was a long day ahead.
A solemn looking man our father. A man in his late 50s with jet black hair, moustache and chin strap that he used to dye every week. Tall and well-built for his age, our Father must’ve had the women oozing in his twenty’s. Unless of course, if he hadn’t devoted his life to the Lord.
Father took his bath, said his prayers and fed himself to his regular breakfast of egg salad and coffee.He then went down from his quarters to the confessional, took a broom from the store and cleaned the room. He then cleaned the Church Hall and wiped the effigies of Mary and Jesus. He took some time to wipe off Jesus’. He then went to the lawn and mended the Tulips. Father loved the smell of his Tulips. He then put the white powder in the soil. Said it was good for his tulips. He mowed the lawn, stretched his back and went back inside the Church hall.
The Hall felt chilly which reminded Father he had to feed the Central Heating Fireplace, but he was too tired to do that now. He couldn’t go out in the forest woodcutting, he was too old for that and the store which sold firewood was almost 3 miles away. But Father had other options. He did wanted to buy those electrical Heaters they made these days but the Church didn’t have enough funds already. Besides it was a Tuesday and almost nobody came on Tuesdays. Not that many people visited on other days but on Tuesdays the Church was dead silent, which allowed Father to do the cleaning chores.
Sometimes Father had thought of hiring an apprentice, but then not too many young men these days would give away their lives of fornication and merry making and join in the league of forever single Gentlemen in the service of the Lord. Father then went down to his usual sitting place on the confessional and started memorizing his Bible.
As Father proceeded towards Isaiah 13:11 , he heard someone walking down the Church Hall.
“Father fo’give me fo’ I have sinned”, a thin, scrawny man, probably in his early 30s, with a heavy auburn moustache and beard that covered his entire face, appeared before the window of the Confessional. His thick Southern accent was almost imperceptible and Father could detect that stench of Scotch even from a distance .
“Tell me your sins, my son”, said our Father.
“Fatha I….I…” the man said as his voice cracked.
“I lost all the money I had on me on gambling, Fatha”, he gulped, “Ma wife and me ‘ad a fight when she knew abow this. I then beat her”. He broke down now. Tears streamed down his scarred, lean face as he continued. “She then went away. Took the kids and went away. I now ‘ave no money, no wife and no kids. I don’t even ‘ave money for the confession. Forgive me Fatha. I beg redemption. Lord forgive me.” He then held the bars of the confessional window and wept.
Father didn’t say anything. ‘The usual’, he thought, ‘They’d probably confess hear and then go back to the same sacrilegious lifestyle thinking the Lord has wiped away all their previous sins and now they could start afresh.’ He thought about the Heater he had to feed and that how much he needed someone for it.
“I don’t want your money, my son.”, he said, “However, if you may help this old man with one thing, the Lord may accept the act of kindness and grant you forgiveness”
“Anythin’ Fatha Anythin'”
“Well then come on in. We have a Heater to feed.”
The man hurried inside the Confessional as Father opened the door. He then followed the Father as he opened the store gate.
“Go on”, said Father.
The man went inside the store and switched on the lights. He saw the large Heater at the end of the store and the pipes which carried the steam to the Hall. He then looked around and said to the Father who stood right behind him “Where’s the wood?”
“Oh we don’t need wood”, said the Father as he slammed a metal cross on the head of the man.
He then dragged the man towards the centre of the room, below the ceiling fan. He took a rope and tied his hands and legs. He then took a piece of duct tape and covered the man’s mouth with it. He brought the rope from the side of the store and a chair with it, tied the rope in a hangman’s knot, checked if the knot was tight enough and tied the other end to the ceiling fan by climbing over the chair.
He then lifted the man. He was a bit heavy, but then our Father had had heavier. He tied the rope around his neck and made him stand on the chair.
Father then went to the confessional and brought his Bible and the Holy water along with it.
” Father my Lord, my saviour”, he said as he sprinkled some holy water on the man. The man woke up and after being aware of his surroundings, gave out muffled screams.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
The man stared petrified at the priest. He screamed against the tape, but to no avail.
“And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him”
The man now started shaking the chair with his feet. Then he realized that the poor thing held on to his life and decided against it.
“For behold, the Lord is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain.”
The man now started crying against the tape and begged for dear life.
The priest kicked the chair off as the man dangled around helplessly.
“Forgive me for my sins my Lord for I am but a man” said the priest as he sprinkled some Holy water on the man’s dangling body. ” And accept my sacrifice as I come abode in your service”
Father looked in the eyes of the man. The eyes that stared wildly back at him. Eyes filled with terror. Eyes that would almost gorge out of the sockets. Eyes that were now giving up. Eyes that now saw the Grim Reaper making its way towards them. Eyes that had now accepted their fate.
“For in death shall I find Life and forgiveness and repentance”
The man now hung still. His eyes lay wide. Blank.
“Amen, my Lord. Amen!”
The priest then climbed up the chair. “Mmm.Pretty strong”, he murmured to the fan as he untied the rope from it . The body fell to the ground with a thud.
He then put the rope on the chair and his Bible on top of it and untied the man’s hands and legs.
“Gamblers, Cheaters, Fornicators” he kept mumbling while doing so.
” Sinners all of them.” He strapped the duct tape off his face. A few facial hair came off with it.
” They don’t have laws for them”, he mumbled while dragging the body towards the Heater.
“Its not killing if its the will of our Lord.” He opened the Heater gates. There were still ashes remaining from the last time. He emptied the white powder in a bucket
“Ashes are good for my tulips” he said with a contended grin on his face.
He then put the body, head first, inside the Heater. Poured some kerosene over it and set it aflame. “Thin, weak fella”, he said, “Wont even last the week” He then closed the gates and picked up his Bible from the chair. “But then, we don’t have much shortage of sinners in this world do we?”
He went to the Confessional and locked the gates behind him.
“Father I beg forgiveness for my sins”, said a man’s voice from the window, almost startling
“In a minute my son”, said our Father. He cleaned his monocle and dusted off his robe. He stretched his knuckles and his back and sighed. ‘Another one of ’em’, he thought as he went towards the window and sat on his chair
There was a long day ahead……