Father Caleb heard a penitent settling onto the velvet cushion in the booth next to his own.
Suppressing a sigh, he waited patiently for the screen to slide back and for another round of Confession to begin. He closed his eyes and prayed for guidance from the Almighty to shepherd another lost soul back to the flock.
The work of the Lord was never done and for this, he realized, he should be grateful. At once, he felt warm and embraced by the glory of his Calling.
The screen screeched in protest as it was roughly forced aside.
“Forgive me, Father,” a husky voice purred, “for I have sinned. It’s been fuck knows how long since my last Confession.”
Caleb grimaced at the gleeful disdain in her tone.
He should have known it was a woman, a harlot. Why hadn’t he sensed her, smelled her rancid carcass?
He could detect sin a mile away and it poured forth from this heathen like sacrificial blood. He longed to see her bleed for her abominations, which, he imagined, were no doubt grievous, but knew it was not yet time.
His time, Their time, was soon approaching.
For now, he had to be content with whatever he could do for this unfortunate whore. Perhaps his wisdom and insight might save the soul of this wretch before the Reckoning.
“Tell me your sins, my child,” he ground out.
He heard the sharp intake of breath and sought to prepare himself, divining he would be disgusted by what was to come.
“It’s these voices in my head, Father,” came her whisper. “Telling me to do things, say things, to hurt people.”
He quirked a brow. Things just got interesting.
“Continue, daughter,” he instructed. “Only though Confession shall you attain absolution.”
She hesitated a moment, and then cleared her throat. “I guess I should start with the small stuff, huh? Well, I take the Lord’s name in vain a lot. I don’t even know when I do it anymore. It’s like second-nature now." She paused. "And then there’s the cussing. I cuss all the time, but that’s not so bad, right? I mean, in the grand scheme of things? There’s a lot worse stuff in the world, but I’m probably guilty of those, too.”
He said nothing, his silence serving to encourage her, though he was appalled by her indifference.
“I’ve fucked a lot of guys. I don’t even remember all their faces, let alone their names. Some of them, I’m not even sure I ever knew their names." She grunted. "I couldn’t stop myself. It’s like I needed them to fill me, to make me not empty, you know? It helped at first, but then hunger grew and grew and now I can’t satisfy it.
"The last guy? He was nice, usually the type I don’t go for, but he was cute if a little dorky. Great dick, though he didn’t know what to do with it. I steered him around the curves. But then he got all weird and wanted something more, like mind-shattering orgasms weren’t enough." The petulant anger in her voice became more pronounced. "What the fuck was he expecting? Violins and poetry and shit?"
Caleb mouthed his own expletives, furious at her lewd frankness, at how she so casually spoke of these things, reveling in the sins of the flesh, of defiling her own body. More terrifying and unwelcome was how excited he was becoming by her admissions, the cursed organ between his legs pooling with blood and lust, wanting to reach through the screen, hold down the wanton slut next to him, and fill her until they were both sated. No matter how long it took.
“So the only way I could get rid of him,” she continued, “was to toss his stupid ass out of my room while he was still in his underwear. The dumb fuck came back though, carrying his big bag of bullshit, wanting to help me and save me from myself."
She snorted. "What a crock. I wanted to shut him up, so I pushed him down on the bed and started riding him. He was wicked freaked, but he was getting into it until I started choking him. I guess I would have killed him, I dunno. Sure as hell wanted to.”
The priest became, if possible, even more aroused by her words, of the indifference with which she spoke of holding precious life in her hands and her willingness to snuff it out. He closed his eyes and pictured the scene as she experienced it, replacing her unknown face with that of her victim, his own hands wrapped around her throat, seeing her pleading eyes begging for mercy yet knowing he would not grant it; of writhing against her, his heat seeking her own, grunting like animals, reduced to nothing but baser instincts.
Fuck and kill, fuck and kill.
Life and death.
“Is there anything else?” he croaked.
He could almost see her feline smile.
“Yeah, there’s this girl, a real bitch. She’s like me, but can’t admit it. Won’t admit it. Can’t face the darkness of what’s inside her, so she tries to hold me back, hold me down, as if shutting me up will stop her voices. But it won’t, and she knows it. Fighting me is all she knows how to do. What I wouldn’t give to be inside her. Inside her body, her mind, her soul. To know her, to force her to know herself, to realize that we’re the same in every way.”
A groan escaped him. Another, there was another like her. A strong, powerful woman in desperate need to be shown the way, to be confronted by the righteousness of the Savior, delivered of course, by he himself. Again he remembered, however, that it was not yet time for him, but when it was, he would find these two whores and make them suffer for their arrogance.
“I don’t know why the hell I came here,” she suddenly added in a voice rife with confusion and disgust. “There’s nothing you can do for me. Not even sure I’d want you to, but, hey, I was raised in the Church. Never bought into the bullshit, but I thought I’d give it a go.”
He knew there was much he should say. He should advise her to turn herself over to the authorities, to take responsibility for her crimes against the law and her sins against the Lord.
As he had told her, there was no absolution without restitution, but he had an unerring sense that this woman, like Eve, would not listen, that she was somehow beyond the law. But she would never be beyond the Lord. He would eventually smite her, and Caleb knew at that moment more than any other that he was to be the instrument, the Hand of his God.
“Child, say fifty Our Father’s, one hundred Hail Mary’s, and go in peace.”
“There’s other stuff.”
He could feel her shrug.
“I’ve lied, cheated, stole, manipulated, and fucked my way across the country. I do what I want, I say what I want, and I don’t give a shit who likes it or who don’t." She laughed derisively. "Not even God."
His rage became palpable as she mocked him, his Lord, his Calling.
“There’s just one more thing, Father.”
“Yes?” he hissed through clenched teeth.
“I love every minute of it.”