Once the sinners set a foot in the purgatory, what actually awaits them? An adventure by choosing between heavenly heaven with its sacred ending of their eternal ethereal souls or otherwise agonize by dwelling in the depths of the scorching hell with its demons, anticipating the recently arrived sinner in his new home.
What’s the destiny of a person especially a former inhabitant of the mortal world, who wasn’t actually a saint?
An ex-man of the cloth, known for his celibacy, blinding, lunatic divine Rome dream once he shared with his cryptical love interest who had intense, discreet love feelings for him by the way she smiled to him, nurtured him and shared such pieces of prominent, sweet moments together, pictured in their coq-au-vin Friday night dinners as usually. Nevertheless, the reason for his unholyness was not only the demon’s violation towards him by depriving his virtue as it resembled temporal gold dust in the vacuum, but also his false promises to the love of his life who was in center of his mind even seconds before committing suicide as his remorses resurfaced in his mingled, hectic mind behind Briarcliff’s investigation, Dr.Arden’s mysteriously disappeared patients and most of all, Jude.
His Jude. Once he had by his side as his own chosen right hand, calling her proudly, encouragingly a rara avis. His rare bird. Thanks to her foes, the rare bird lost its value in his own scintillated chocolate brown eyes. Scintillated by Dr.Arden, once their favorite young nun and the serial killer, known the best as murderous Santa Claus Leigh Emerson’s pretty, sweet lies as they lingered as lights on his eyelids, blocking his view in front of the ugly truth which Jude has incessantly told him and was even telling him. Not only he imprisoned her in the asylum where they shared dreams along, further, his ego and Rome dream were his salvation from the truth, she has already told as if it’s a whisper in the barren desert. As soon as he was no longer in Boston and Briarcliff was being sold to the state, hence, he didn’t keep his wits about the woman, who played a major role in his remorses. Years later when Lana’s return finished him with Briarcliff’s investigation and the unanswered questions behind the sadism towards patients took its place in Briarcliff once, he did have limited opportunities. Hesitating between accepting the relentless, criminal consequences of his actions and deeds and probably return for the love of his life or otherwise his salvation by ending his life in the bloodiest way, leaving lack of tracks behind its unsolved mysteries of the investigation. Due to his apprehension, consequently he has chosen to slit his wrists by finding the best solution for concluding his bland, full of hazards life.
His palms caressed profligatingly stones as he felt something underneath his mammoth hands something solider than cotton. Even worse. He just laid on his stomach as laxly shut his eyelids like blinds. His motionless baby pinkish lips didn’t move a single muscle even motion. Dim breeze played even fondled his chestnut hair as if his lover was stroking gingerly his hair by pleasuring him. Little did he know where’s his current location after dying in the bathroom by slitting his wrists in the face of God’s judgmental glares.
Well, the former man of the cloth, felt nothing. Neither a rough headache. Nor anything else. It was oblivious for him when it was the last time when pain has swept his organs even muscles and body. Even when the juvenile holy man slit his wrists, the last thing he can recall was actually contemplating spurting thick, marvelous blood of his slashed wrists, feeling no pain. Feeling almost nothing but the gore pooling his feet as if a sculpture was standing on the marble floor in immobile manner. His eyes fixed on the ceiling, feeling the shame gnawing him even eating him alive without averting his eyes from the ceiling for a single second, in fact, he didn’t want to witness his gradual downfall, losing insane quantity of blood.
As soon as Timothy came to his senses, he set free an unwilling gasp by opening his eyes as his vision appeared initially blurry until he rubbed with his fists his drowsy eyelids, waking up from the death’s coma.
“Where am I? What’s this place?” His chocolate brown eyes turned at each side of his surroundings which encircled him as the young man wondered where the afterlife sent him right away.
When he got from the ground where his corpse laid, it took him a while to scan the place just like how it looked like. A grand goth, old castle was a several feet away from him. Grayish, bleak yard encompassed him as if the plants and trees were already dead. Withered. Absence of life and color in them. In front of his iron obsidian black in Victorian style gates secured the goth castle’s residence. Literally it resembled a hell or even more the place of the death as if he hasn’t repented for his sins and crimes.
When Timothy took a quick, nonetheless studious look into his colossal, surprisingly smooth hands, there were not any gore marks, bruises even scars imprinted on his flesh. He was beyond flabbergasted by the sight of perfection which he saw in his physical appearance as if he was raised on a pedestal as a top model.
“Hey, you buddy! Come over here!” The sudden sound of opening grandiose double onyx doors drew his attention in no time as Timothy, himself, was ultimately perplexed and disorientated by shifting his gaze to the unknown figure, whose voice echoed.
Despite the former priest’s heart raced in his ribs, he just obediently, docilely followed the echo as he took steps forward through the gravel pathway, escorting him up to the castle’s stone stairs as they were lacquered in specific color. Perhaps ebon one. As he proceed with the walking process up to the stairs by towering them, the person who actually echoed to him was no longer there as if an illusive spectral convinced him to come otherwise.
Moreover, the young man felt even more bewilderment, invading his frozen mind, factly, the least predictable spooky moments awaited him inside the goth castle.
“Where are you?” Timothy questioned puzzled by creasing an eyebrow as he stepped on the threshold by standing in front of the monumental double door of the building. No response. No action.
Then he took a deep breath, seconds before tapping on the double door as his heart was about to spring up of his chest, sensing prejudices by keeping his wits behind the future consequences of the events which might chill him to bones or even worse. Regret for better or worse.
As soon as his clutched fist rapped a handful of times on the huge double door, emitting sounds by signalizing its inhabitants there’s somebody waiting outside. An uninvited guest, of course!
He waited a several seconds for response and subsequently nobody opened the door. Even footsteps haven’t being heard by ringing into his sensitive, vulnerable ears. Then Timothy commenced to wonder what’s the matter with this gothic castle. According to him, it was alook like a godforsaken place or ghosts have actually resided it.
All of a sudden, the double door opened by itself unexplainably as if somebody has opened it specially for him, although he didn’t know that at all. It creaked and creaked as it was peculiarly obvious for him it was pretty old.
“Hello? Is there anybody here?” In the interval, he just stepped up inside the gothic castle’s hall as its door shut by itself instantly within seconds later after he arrived inside at last.
The hall was exquisitely furnished though the amount of furniture weren’t as much as an ordinary room at all. For example, a polished, ivory coat hanger as a few hats and coats were hung on them. Grand French windows partly illuminated the somewhat dark corridor. A crystal, however, sublime round mirror was in the middle of the hall. A couple of doors surrounded him as an additional detail to the goth castle. A handful of big, life-like creative, oily painted pictures hung on the dark walls as the walls’ color were basil green, matching with its modestly adorned lobby. Wooden, cherry wood stairway with its railing caught his eye without further ado. The chateau sunk in muting silence which disturbed the former holy man, causing him an inordinate distress even apprehension emanating from his instincts, warning him.
“Hello? I need an explainati-“ As he verged to resume his utterance, sudden as swift as lighting bolt sneaks caught his attention promptly by glimpsing as his glimpse was transfixed on the location in front of him where shadow, unknown figures snuck within milliseconds. “Who are you?”
“Shu, shu, shu, Timothy!” An unknown, howsoever, feminine voice came from the other side of the corridor as the unidentified woman stepped alongside him as she has recently emerged from nowhere, startling him. “Everything is alright.” She proceed with her utterance by shushing by placing an index finger as a gap between his soft, luscious lips by trying to reassure him, relieving him though he seemed cool outside but inside burning apprehension befell him.
“W-Who are you, ma’am?” He opted to be as polite and affable as possible without appearing brash and haughty from first sight as he turned to the woman, who was as the same age as his. His mouth was agape by witnessing the unknowingly spectral feminine figure encountering a timeless soul in a purgatory.
“So many questions, a few answers on them!” A raspy chuckle escaped her ruby-coloured lips as she took a first drag of her mint cigarette by eyeing the ex-priest’s handsome, palish complexion. Her piercing aqua blue eyes were as honed up as gorely dangerous blades. “It seems you don’t know me at all which I know it. But I know ya, buddy! I was who was on the threshold, yelling at you to come.”
“F-From where do you know me?”
“Everybody who’re once in the purgatory are like readen books for me. Each page of the book as its spread won’t be re-read, besides this question of yours is interesting, Monsignor.” A second drag of its nicotine length was pulled between her lips gap, blowing unhallowed dim somewhere else, overspreading in the partly pitch-black hall of the chateau. He felt somewhat uncomfortable when he was addressed with his ecclesiastical title which he once wore until he became a Cardinal of New York. “Or to be exact, Cardinal Timothy Howard! Right?” The former man of the cloth just nodded plainly, affirming her words though he didn’t acknowledge her real name eventually. Even the touch of her index finger that indexed his lips’ gap rendered him to shiver as it sent shivers down his spine and body of immense embarrassment and apprehension. “I own this gothic chateau and I’m Esther Ivy!” A smug, pleasant smirk danced across her ruby-coloured lips as she offered her hand to handshake his as he extended his, shaking one another’s hands for a split second until they concluded with it.
Esther Ivy was actually a woman, no older than in the beginning of her 30s with pale as ghost skin tone, as black as ebon ringlet of old Hollywood curls, shoulder length with fringe, covering her forehead. Brutally honest, sparkling aqua blue orbs, fulfilled with particular intelligence, wit and merry energy, oozing from them. Her plumpish, well-shaped lips were bloody red as a fiendish forbidden fruit. She was as short as 5’3 only, possessing slender body structure as she wore a crimson velvet vampiric gown with long satin sleeves and plunging neckline, revealing partly the fresh flesh of her bosom as its gown hem dropped down to her ankles. Classy black stilettos shoed her small feet.
Furthermore, a rose fragrance emanated from the young lady’s essence.
“It’s nice to meet you, Esther Ivy! You already know me.”
“Fair enough, Timothy! If you just don’t mind to call you Tim or Timothy.”
“It’s your choice!”
“Great! Do you want a drink?”
“No, no thank you, Esther! I don’t want to renounce my vows all over again.” Timothy stammered as they headed towards one of the chateau’s rooms where’s located the bar as he escorted the owner of the gothic mansion without hesitancy. Meanwhile Esther arched an eyebrow in quizzical way once he emphasized the last sentence.
“Oh, come on, Tim! You should relax and savor it its sweet taste of something which will taste damn good for you at least once in your goddamn afterlife.” The black-haired woman evoked mildly irritated by taking a puff of her cigarette as Timothy helped her to enter first inside the bar by pushing for her the door, stepping aside. “Thank ya! You’re such a gentleman.”
“No need to!” A sheepish, sympathetic smile honed up in the corner of his dry lips as he followed Esther by sitting on the high bar stools. “It’s a sin the alcohol. I have had enough with fighting tougher demons than ever. Even if I shall call it an afterlife.” Then she gasped frustrated as they sat next to one another, whilst in the bar played goth music, contributing its atmosphere.
“I've been out walking! I don't do too much talking these days
These days, these days I seem to think a lot about the things that I forgot to do!” Nico sung in the background as her eloquent, calm voice sailed in each field of the bar, where the former member of the clergy and the aristocratic owner of the property seated by themselves in the bar.
“It’s an afterlife, Timothy! Believe me or not, it’s your afterlife, seeking a redemption and salvation not only for your own soul,” His chocolate brown eyes were transfixed on her aqua blue irises, listening attentively without peeling a single word as he swallowed hard when she began explaining to him there might be an occurring quest for saving one more soul, besides his until the bartender cut her off as his presence was bizarrely evident.
“Well, what would you like, Esther and this gentleman with you?” The bartender had actually French accent, accentuated on his pronunciation as he meant the gentleman the former devotional member of the church who accompanied Esther, narrowing his thick, fluffy eyebrows.
“Two cognacs for both of us!”
“Esther!” The younger man nagged though she ignored his protest by focusing her attention on the bartender’s question.
“What for example?”
“One Hennessy for me, while he gets the Remy Martin one!” The gothic, eccentric woman ordered the bartender the alcoholic beverages without fluctuation as Timothy felt beyond powerless to halt her from ordering cognacs for both of them.
“Just a minute, Esther!” The barman prepared two scotch glasses by pouring its cognac liquor in them, afterwards pushing them towards his both clients.
“And all the times I had a chance to I've stopped my rambling! I don't do too much gambling these days! These days, these days I seem to think about!”
“Thank you!” The both younger adults expressed their gratitude to the French man as they raised a toast as Timothy didn’t want to appear loutish and ungrateful, due to her hospitability which he didn’t even deserve. “I told ya, it’s pointless to reject a treat especially from the hostess. The owner of this gothic mansion.” She turned to Timothy, locking up his stare.
“As you say,” He paused as they sipped of the sinful, sweet liquor which burned the corners of their mouth as their caverns savored its alcoholic sweetness, lingering on their tongues. At last but not least, Timothy didn’t regret his first sip of Remy Martin’s cognac which felt goddamn good for him. For his needs. “Mmmm!”
“It’s tastes…This is good!” In the meanwhile, the black-haired hostess couldn’t help but release a light, half-hearted snigger by taking a final drag of her cigarette, seconds before stubbing it out in the glass ashtray. Thereafter smirk cracked on her milky as ghost complexion.
“I’m truly happy you like it, Tim! It’s one of the best cognacs I’ve ever drank in my life.”
“Aren’t you a ghost, are you?”
“How do you think? What I actually look like?” What it was tiresome for Esther was the dumb, clueless questions coming from somebody who she considered as extraordinarily schooled person.
“How all these changes came about my ways and I wonder if I'd see another! Highway I had a lover! I don't think I'd risk another these days! These days,”
The juvenile, aspiring man’s chocolate brown orbs wandered up and down as he scrutinized the gothic chateau’s owner, taking his time by admiring her grim beauty.
“You look like a ghost.”
“Look like? Ha!” Another chuckle escaped her ruby lips, seconds before they were wrapped around its insubstantial scotch glass, sipping her potation. “I’m a ghost. I’m already dead for approximately 5 years and I still live in this mansion as I’m a damned soul, in fact, I’m an unholy woman. Awful things happened which I did with my own hands and actions.”
“Oh!” In the interim, Timothy sipped a small doze of his alcoholic beverage, without taking his eyes of Esther’s aqua blue though he didn’t have any kind of a thrill to his peer. “I’m not a saint either, Esther! I just did as worse things as I should have redeemed myself much earlier rather than killing myself by slitting my wrists as I took a bloodbath.”
“Well, it’s known for me you aren’t a saint. Nobody is a saint whether if you are in a purgatory or in the real world!
“And if I seem to be afraid to live the life that I have made in song! It's just that I've been losing so long! La, la, la, la, la, la, la!”
“I know that. Just tell me why do you consider yourself an unholy woman?”
“Oh, Tim, Tim! You will be exceedingly disappointed and would think me of another psychopath as I’m definitely.” Then she sighed unwillingly as her fingers idly, absent-mindedly caressed its scotch glass, filled with cognac as its acute aroma taunted their tender nostrils. “I owned this mansion since my birth as my parents used to be aristocrats, known for their wealth. But they were so selfish and self-centered. They didn’t give me a chance to get along with my daughter our heirloom property at all as if my husband should possess it otherwise, whilst once he passes away, then my goose is cooked. On the last family ensemble, we discussed about the heirloom of the gothic chateau. I plotted to murder them in front of my daughter and husband’s eyes as my daughter watched in horror, while William, the love of my life just contemplated their death scene as if they didn’t actually exist.” Esther Ivy hissed by gulping in a single sip the remaining quantity of liquor as she licked greedily, gamely her lips as a wicked chuckle was emitted from her throat as the former holy man paid utterly attention to her words.
“It’s not only that. Throughout police sirens were being heard as William and Estelle were killed by my hand as I ended my own life, not giving myself to the cops.”
“And that’s why your damned soul is imprisoned in this mansion for eternity?”
“I've stopped my dreaming! I won't do too much scheming these days! These days, these days I sit on cornerstones!”
“That’s what I’m talking about damned souls. We’re all lost souls, aren’t we?”
“Indeed! What a spiritual philosophy!” Timothy evoked out as he chewed his bottom lip. “I think you regret for what you did before committing suicide.”
“If you think so, where I would be then?” The black-haired lady furthered as she posed a rhetorical question as the both adults snickered jubilantly at her joke. “In the paradise?”
“Of course, not!”
“Due to the fact, I murdered my family, that doesn’t means I’m a horrible person. You aren’t even a horrible person at all. You did it, because you were as naïve as a little boy and being blinded by these bastards.”
“Exactly! Purgatory is the exact place for our atonement.” Then he realized when he mentioned the word purgatory, Timothy choked with sipped cognac as he commenced coughing by throbbing his chest with a palm, whacking it as the former priest earned Esther’s concerned look, inked on her face. “W-Wait a second! Is this a purgatory?”
“It’s! Welcome in the world of the afterlife, fellah!” Once he heard the word fellah, it molted his heart as Timothy felt beyond special for Esther though not as a romantic interest at all. But also when she emphasized the word purgatory, she earned his dumbfound look which he wore on his face.
“And count the time in quarter tones to ten! Please don't confront me with my failures! I had not forgotten them!”
All of a sudden, the bar’s door opened, as a result of presumably another arriving client in the wee hours of endless midnight. Perhaps she might not be a regular client or who knows? It was a blond woman, who was a tad Timothy’s seniors. The frequent, recurring sound of clicking heels instantly got his attention within seconds by focusing his gaze on the walking woman by eerily recognizing the feminine figure as she ambled up to the bar, approaching it with every step. Who she was lastly?