(From the official documentation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, to Rev. Donald Augusten, from Brother Neil Keller, C.F.C.; dated September 2, 2134.)
The following concerns the disappearance of Brother Sebastian White, reported missing on August 12, 2134 AD from his street ministry in Haddonfield, New Jersey, United States of America.
As you know, Brother Sebastian was assigned to establish a street ministry on Albert Street in Haddonfield, an area frequented by drug users, prostitutes, and other unfortunate victims of the ills of modern society. He arrived in Haddonfield on June 16 and promptly rented a suite of rooms above the local pharmacy for lodgings and a small church, where he ministered without incident (or so we believed) until August 12, when he failed to submit his weekly status report to our office.
We attempted to reach him by email and telephone, without success. On August 19 we sent Brother Francis Hurrell to Haddonfield to discover what was wrong, only to have him report that the rooms Brother Sebastian had rented had been in the possession of other tenants for several days, and that Brother Sebastian had disappeared.
He had, however, left a small bundle containing his journal and the following letter of confession in the care of the building's landlord, who gave it to Brother Francis.
Its contents are extremely disturbing. There seems to be little hope that we shall ever see our dear Brother Sebastian again, although we shall continue to pray for his eternal salvation through the grace of God and the hope of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother Neil Keller, C.F.C.
Camden, New Jersey
July 14, 2134 AD, Haddonfield, New Jersey
I write this confession not for myself - I have chosen my bargain with the Devil, and am already beyond all hope or grace save his - but as a warning for the Brother who next tries to establish a house of God in this lost and sinful place.
Read these transcribed pieces of my journal and learn from them, and above all do not repeat my own fatal errors of judgement: to linger after the first siren call of temptation lured me from my pure love for God, and to underestimate the power of the Adversary to find my weaknesses and thus overthrow me in my pride.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa... yes, I am guilty, utterly and ecstatically guilty, but it no longer matters. I have made my choice. May God bless you and keep you, my Brother, as certainly as He has abandoned me.
A brief account of my fall from grace, revealed in excerpts from my daily journal, follows...
***June 23th, 2134***
I have been only a week here in Haddonfield, and I thank God that I am making good progress.
The Diocese sent me here to minister to the people of this town's poorest street, to lead them by help and by example from their lives of chaos, violence, and sex - in short, to save their souls. It is no small task, but I am confident in my ability to reach them. I have devised a small but adequate church in the living room of my apartment over the local pharmacy, and each day (or should I say each evening, when the creatures that shun the day emerge to hawk their wares and flaunt their debaucheries) I step into the poorest street in this dying town to spread the word of God
A few have come to my Sunday services, some of them still drunk from the night before, some with the scars of drugs down their arms, some lost, some mad... and I comfort them in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and show them as best I can the tenderness of His mercy.
They look to me with desperate eyes to lead them to salvation - but how, oh how can I even pretend to do so, when my blood burns just as laciviously as theirs?
I have been here only a week, and the serpent of this garden has already struck me with its sweet venom.
It is said that the Devil has many forms, and certainly this is true. He plagues and tempts and seduces mankind with a million various instruments, physical and spiritual and emotional; there can be no overestimating the inventiveness and cunning of his evil.
But surely among his most infernal creations are the mecha, those constructs of base elements that mimic the depth of the human mind without wit or understanding. Articulated and articulate, they mock the uniqueness and sanctity of God's highest creation with their very existance. Truly, as His Holiness Benedict XVII has decreed, they are the dearest children of the Prince of Lies!
I thought the evil fantasies that plagued me when I was a younger man - the desire for other men - had been extinguished through the grace of my covenant with God. Every day for the past eight years I have prayed for strength and been given it without measure. Every night I slept a cool and peaceful sleep, free of dreams rooted in the feverish flesh and the secret whispers of luxurious sin.
Until now. For the past four days the sickness has burned in me with new flame, mocking my long hours of work and meditation and prayer - an Achilles heel that the Adversary has struck a true and telling blow.
In this town of the damned there is one demon who is more cunning than all the others put together, who challenges my piety every night and every day: a creature as beautiful as he is soulless, a mecha prostitute that the street people call Gigolo Joe. Surely his body is the earthly dwelling of a demon sent by the Devil himself to wage merciless war on my state of salvation: how else can I account for the turmoil he arouses within me? The sinful feelings that I thought were dead, rising hot and anew?
I see him every evening from my window when he leaves the brothel down the street and sets out on the town, jaunty and long-legged and confident in his stride: always dressed in black, and sometimes dancing. I have watched him being cheerfully greeted by the various denizens of the street, and greeting them in return with a perfect smile. He is shamelesly immaculate in his artificiality, his skin smooth and free of blemish, his black hair sleek against his head, the slightest tint of rose in his sculpted lips... he reminds me of one of the seraphim painted on the ceiling of the Rouex Chapel, with an eternal and inhuman beauty that is both masculine and feminine - although there is certainly nothing else holy about him.
His eyes are as pale as emeralds, and they seem to see everything that goes on around him, in front or behind. Only two days ago I saw a child throw a stone at his back as he walked; quick as a cat he spun and caught it in his hand and fired it back at the boy, who was not so quick and got a sharp hit on his shoulder before he could duck.
Joe went on his way, and I have not seen anyone bother him thus since.
The weather grows oppressively hotter with each passing day. Only mecha are abroad in the daylight: humans wait until full dark to pour out onto the street and do their disreputable business. It is a busy time for me, too, regularly checking the alleys for the indigent and despairing and the drugged, to bring them back to my apartments and give them a safe place to stay for the night and the greater gift of the Word of God. Some of them have prayed with me, and a few, a precious few that will become a congregation in time, return every day for prayers, and to talk about the salvation they might find in Jesus.
I cannot forget the first time I saw him.
Actually, I heard him before I laid eyes on him. It was June 19, at the peak of the night when the sidewalks and streets were crowded with scantily clad bodies. I was sharing the Word of God with an old bag-lady beside the tattoo parlor when a sound caught my attention above the babble of the crowds, very near and very distracting. A soft succulent whisper of cloth against - what? Somehow, even then, I knew it was too fine to be human skin.
I turned to look, and he was passing right beside me.
Words cannot convey the first shock of that utterly perfect complexion, or the sleek black gleaming hair, or the clarity of those jadeite eyes. He did not seem to notice that I was looking, or perhaps he was merely so used to being looked at that he took no notice of my stare. Within a second he was past me, disappearing into the crowd. The bag-lady took the opportunity of my distraction to slip away, but I'm afraid I didn't notice for several seconds: I was still gazing after him, the tall pale man all in black who moved so gracefully, even merely walking, that it made my breath catch in my throat and my organ stir longingly and my traitorous heart beat faster.
But within a heartbeat I realized my mistake. He had been too beautiful, his eyes too clear - he was a mecha, just one of the robotic whores who worked the strip. There was nothing there to save. He was no concern of mine.
But that night, after all my prayers and my solemn devotions to God, I dreamed about him.
He came to me, graceful, delightful, and leaned his lovely mouth close to mine and laughed softly at my horror. With his jeweled eyes he challenged me, and I couldn't move: all I could do was close my eyes as his breath warmed my lips, but he did not touch me, and somehow that was the worst part of it all. If he had touched me -
May God forgive me! I wanted him to touch me. I wanted his experienced prostitute's hands to find all the places of my body that were forbidden and awaken them, teach them, command them as I knew he could.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!
But all he would do was smile at me, enough to drive me mad.
I awoke in a sweat, and went at once to the church to pray. After a little while in front the altar I felt the much calmer and returned to bed. The rest of the night passed without incident.
Every night I have watched him from my window, setting out to do his work. It's easy enough to do because he leaves at the same time every evening. I can set my clock by him.
And I have, every day for twenty-five days.
Every night for twenty-five nights he has been in my dreams. Every night I have awoken in sensual fever of a greater or lesser degree, and every night I have prayed for my immortal soul to be set free from this hellish snare.
This evening was different. Tonight, as I stood at my darkened bedroom window and watched him step onto the street, something happened that I should have forseen.
He had stopped on the sidewalk immediately across the street from my apartment to speak with two other mecha in his same foul line of work, when suddenly - for what reason, I do not know - he sensed me there in the shadows, watching him. He turned and looked up at me, and took a step toward me, his lips parting a little - oh beautiful black-shod foot, oh perfect mouth! - and from across the crowded street our eyes met for the first time.
All of the strength of God flowed out of me like water from a broken vessel. For one bright, searing instant there was only him and me, and what transpired between us was a covenant of lust. With his infernal serpent's eyes he saw into my soul and recognized his own reflection.
And he smiled at me.
God be praised! I found my wits again and fled the window. In the darkness of my little room I fell to my knees beside the bed and prayed more fervently than I had ever prayed before, until the jewel-green of his eyes began to fade before my sight and I was able to control my shaking. I prayed until my vision had fully cleared and my flesh was cold and chaste again.
But it is never cold when I sleep...
God, where is Your strength? Why have You forsaken me in my hour of torment, when the Adversary is about to claim his prize?
Last night he appeared to me again in a dream, and this time revealed a little of his true form. It was not the demon I had been dreading. As he stepped forward from the window he unfolded his wings a little from the back of his coat, long black feathers singing like silk over silk, the way I had heard his clothes whispering against his body the very first time I saw him. Now I could recognize him for what he was: a fallen angel, as lovely as any creature God ever made and as wicked as the darkest dreams of Hell.
And I was utterly in love with him.
This time when he came to me I could not even close my eyes as he stretched his long body next to mine on the bed, one gleaming wing arcing over me to cut me off from the light. This time when he leaned over me I could only watch as he paused, his perfect lips ever so slightly smiling, his green eyes bright and enthralling. When he laid his long fingers on my cheek and held my chin still with this thumb and dipped to my mouth with his soft, parted lips (so hot, so unbearably sweet!), I rose willingly to meet him.
I awoke shaking, my whole body on lacivious fire, my member as hot as a poker held in the furnace. This time I made no effort to quell it. I lay there, clutching the blankets around me, shivering as the fever of the dream slid deliciously through me, until of its own accord it faded and left me as cold as the ashes of a wildfire.
Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima, maxima culpa...
I will go mad if I do not have him.
Can I help it if God made the Devil so much stronger than the man? I would trade my own salvation for one night in his arms, when I know that for anybody's dirty money he belongs to his next customer... and, heaven help me, that only makes him more desirable and delicious and forbidden.
The word on the street is that there is nothing he will not do, and nothing that he doesn't know how to do. Will that knowledge be up to what I will demand of him? Can he give me a night, one night, worth being eternally damned for?
It will take some time to save the money (his price is high, as befits his reputed skills, and to reserve a whole night with him from dusk to dawn costs a small fortune), but much may be gotten by selling my furniture and the trappings of the church, and I can be patient. I have waited this long to have him, and now that I have yeilded the struggle I can at least satisfy myself and imagine how sweet it will be to have him sate those desires instead. He has taken my soul, but I intend to make him pay for it in full - I will have him and enjoy him passionately, ravenously, utterly, so that even in a fallen angel's dreams he will never forget what I have done to him, or what he has done to me.
One night of ecstasy, in exchange for my eternal soul.
I suspect he will make it worth my while.