Harvester Of Sorrow (Day 2) – Feind Gottes

Day 2 The room is dark, not a shred of light is getting in. I stand naked in the pitch black shaking with fear. I know what is coming, I’ve been here before. I may not be able to see my hand in front of my face but I know where I am. The chair before me is covered in crushed red velvet and painted gold and then I hear the click of the bolt he locks the huge oak door behind him. The brief flash of light from his entrance quickly fades to grey as the darkness returns to the room. I am naked and no longer alone. My heart begins to beat in my chest with the fear of what’s to come. I begin to take rapid, short breaths as I hear him moving behind me. I tense for the touch to come hoping that somehow this time it won’t. Hoping beyond hope that someone will open the door even if by accident and stop this nightmare but no one ever does. I know the door is locked anyway. In my mind he is circling me like a lion circles its prey. Tension has led to shaking as I cross my arms across my chest and begin to rock back and forth slightly, unconsciously. I dread the feel of his cold, dry hands and the feel of that crushed red velvet chair beneath my fingertips then face even more. The waiting seems to last an eternity. He likes to savor the fear. Does it turn him on? I wonder. I stand rocking myself for a calmness that won’t come. There is only fear, dread and misery in this room and then there will be pain, always pain. I’d sooner be rammed with a red hot poker than by what is coming. Blind in the dark and shaking in fear, I feel the predator’s eyes on me. As inescapable as the all seeing eyes of the God he tells me see all but can’t seem to penetrate the darkness in this room just as they can’t penetrate the darkness in the heart of the beast. Then it comes. His icy touch is on my shoulder. I hold back a scream for I know it brings no help and will bring a considerable increase in pain to come. The icy grip forces me to bend over the chair and the dreaded feel of crushed velvet meets my fingertips once again. The icy hands run up and down my sides as I imagine the beast licking his lips in anticipation. I close my eyes praying for death though it will not come. Then I feel his breath on my neck as he leans down to whisper in my ear as he did every time. “Repent ye sinner. Jesus saves.” As he whispers the words in my ear I can almost taste the vileness of his breath. His cold, icy hands grip the sides of my buttocks as he inhales a deep breath. Then in one mighty thrust my eyes burst open as the word shoots from my mouth, “Stooooooooooooop!” followed by the white hot pain of penetration. Then I am awake. It takes me a few moments to shake off the nightmare and realize that I’m an adult again. There is no icy hand on my shoulder and there is only the feel of satin sheets greeting my fingertips not crushed velvet. I am alone. I am in my bed. Sunlight is erupting through my window threatening to burn through the curtains. The darkness is gone taken by glorious sun beams. The echo of my scream is gone in an instant though the echo of my dream still fills my head. It fades slowly as always as a ship slowly descends over the horizon. Then I remember what today is and a smile comes to my lips. Today is the day it all ends. I leap to my feet with the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning. Today is going to be glorious. Today is the day I’ve waited for so long to come. Today is the end and a new beginning. Today I am the powerful one. Today I control destiny. Today I control the suffering as I try to drive my own to the grave. Today is the day of reckoning. Today is my day as no day before it has been. I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl about to get her first kiss as I practically dance in the shower. The water has never felt better on my skin cleansing away everything. The very air seems alive around me as I towel myself off. The hair of my arms stands on end as though my toe were plugged in the electrical socket behind me. I try to rein in the titillation I feel coursing through my veins to no avail. There is no hiding my excitement today. I have dreamt of this day for so long and nothing, absolutely nothing is going to spoil that for me. I want to run to my rooftop and shout at the world, “I am free! I am motherfucking free!”, but I am not free. No, not yet anyway. There is still work to be done before that becomes reality. My fears are tied to a chair in a warehouse across town and until that fear is dead I am not free. But today is the day. Today is the day I find my freedom, freedom from the nightmares that plaque me night in and night out. The fear is still alive and somewhat well but not for much longer. I already see the world with different eyes. I don’t want to be afraid any more so to that end there is still work to be done. I begin to wonder how the priest enjoyed his night and the smile returns to my face. Blaring death metal and rats have kept him company for the night. Hopefully dread has fully set in. I want him to know what it feels like to be bereft of hope, what it’s like to know that no help is coming and that all hope is gone. If he isn’t there yet he will be. He will know that feeling before the end. I want him to know what it’s like to pray to God only to realize there is no God. There is no one there to care or save you when terrible things are happening to you. There is no savior. There is no salvation. There is only fear and pain. Pray priest but know there is no one there to answer you and there is worse to come, so much worse to come. You will suffer to your last breath if it’s the last thing I do. Mine will be the last face you’ll ever see and you will find neither mercy nor salvation in it. You will only find undying spite in this face, pure hatred. I arrive at the most non-descript warehouse I have ever seen. It’s the perfect place for complete and utter privacy. It’s not old and dilapidated as anyone thinking of such a place would picture in their mind but rather looks fairly new by dilapidated warehouse standards. The gun metal grey aluminum sides show only the faintest signs of rust and from a distance it doesn’t give the appearance of an abandoned building at all. It looks as though a truck could pull up at any moment and start loading or unloading. The only thing setting my building apart from a million other similar buildings in any city in the world is its seclusion. It was built away from everything which is what most likely led to it being abandoned in the first place. I keep the grounds in decent shape as to encourage drug addicts and drifters to stay away as the building had the appearance of functionality. It was isolated not desolate ensuring my privacy. As I exit my vehicle, the soothing tones of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher’s guttural howls greet me like an old friend. I’m fairly certain the priest has not found it quite so soothing a thought that brings a smile to my face. A mega-millions lottery winner couldn’t match my happiness right now. Maybe the priest has found an appreciation for the finer things in life like death metal now though I doubt it. This thought makes me laugh out loud as I reach for the door handle only to stop keeling over in near hysterics as I hear Corpsegrinder belt out the line “You fucked with me and now any trace of you is completely gone” from the song Evidence In The Furnace. I can’t help it. It’s just so inappropriately appropriate. I couldn’t have timed my arrival better if I had tried. My gut begins to ache from my laughter so I take a deep breath as I try to regain my composure. If I had any doubts about what I was about to do they were now completely gone. Today is going to be a great day I just know it. The door creaks loudly as I enter but the priest can not hear with the two speakers blasting him from either side. I see his head is collapsed into his chest and hope the son of a bitch didn’t find a way to sleep through the raucous noise spewing out at him. As I get closer my fears are allayed. The dried up trails of his streaking tears show on his face. Though his eyes are closed I can see he is not resting peacefully as his hands and feet are in a nonstop struggle with their bindings. Well, more like feet and hand as he is careful not to move the skinned and burned hand at all. I walk over to my makeshift table completely unnoticed. The few items I need are laid out just as I left them and I set the paper bag I carried in down as well. I grab a pair of rubber gloves, a small silver spoon and prepare to bring my priest back from the dark into reality. So that the priest is aware of my presence I turn off the music. The immediate silence is deafening but my priest seems unphased. His eyes do not open. He does not lift his head. Perhaps he believes this is just a pause between songs. It’s time to kill that delusion right now. Sodium hydroxide is very a versatile chemical much like the salt that has swollen the priest’s eyes and burned the exposed muscle of his flayed right hand. It can be used to make soap, drain cleaner or oven cleaner. It has been used to cure foods like green olives, mandarin oranges or lutefisk. And for the criminal element it is used to manufacture methamphetamine. But today its use will be primal just a chemical being a chemical reacting to its surroundings just as the sodium chloride had. Sodium hydroxide is commonly known as lye and anyone who knows anything knows lye plays poorly with skin and blood whether inside or outside out bodies. It has also been used for centuries as a means of rapid decomposition of dead bodies but there will be nothing rapid for my priest today. No, he is going to feel every agonizing second that passes today. My priest sits with his eyes shut presumably content for the reprieve from the death metal that has blasted his brain for the last eight hours or so. He may even have fallen asleep for a moment and I can’t allow that. He is still struggling against his restraints as I creep to within inches of him. I can hear his labored breathing almost echoing in the now silent warehouse. It would be so easy at this moment to just snuff out that breath leaving him here like so much discarded meat to rot and decay but that would not satisfy me. No, that wouldn’t satisfy me at all. I brought him here for punishment and it is not even close complete yet. He will die, horribly, but his journey to eternal damnation has only begun. I have many places to guide him and this path is a long one. “Wakey, wakey, child fucker.” My voice is calm as I tap the silver spoon over the exposed nerves of my captive’s skinned hand. The lye goes to work immediately. I can actually hear it sizzle like bacon on a hot skillet until the priest’s glorious screams drown out all else. A firm backhand does little to quell the terror in the priest’s eyes but his screaming ceases at least for a moment. I stare into the abyss of his soul seeing nothing but black. This thing has no soul. It does have fear though. Fear because he knows there are only two things left in his pathetic life, pain and death. And then, of course, he still has hell to look forward to. “Billy! Stop this madness, please, I beg you.” New tears follow the dried trails of yesterday’s as he makes his anew his pleas for mercy. “Madness? I don’t think you can lecture me about madness Father. Who is more mad, Father, the man taking revenge on his abuser or the man preying on innocence for his own pleasure? I wonder what your God would say about it but I don’t think either of us has to wonder do we, Father? No, I think we both know the answer don’t we?” I tap a bit more lye onto the priest’s exposed hand to emphasize the point. Fresh screams fill the empty space of the warehouse from one end to the other, floor to ceiling as I turn my back on the human filth strapped in the chair. I set down my spoon full of lye and grab the gallon jug of water from the shelf. It’s time for my priest to make a choice. I turn back to face the screaming beast flashing him a most wicked smile. “Priest!” I yell, snapping my fingers to get his attention, “You have a choice to make but fair warning, choose quickly or I choose for you. Would you like a drink to quench your most assuredly parched throat or would you like me to pour this water over your hand to stop the burning? Stop the burn in your throat or hand? Three seconds. Go.” I can’t help but smile feeling almost mischievous rather than devious. “Billy!” “Two.” “Billy, please.” “One.” “Hand, pour it on my hand.” The priest makes his choice. “Final decision?” I ask in my best Regis Philbin impersonation as if he were a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. “Yes, yes. Just do it, please Billy.” Fresh tears burst from his eyes as he begs me once more. I take my time walking back over to the chair savoring the moment. The priest is begging me. I like this. I like this very much. Unscrewing the top I look to the priest’s eyes relishing in the terror I find there. I hold him in my hate filled stare as I begin to pour the water. I see the reflection of my smiling face in his pitch black pupils as he realizes his mistake. The water hits the priest’s unskinned hand while the light of hope dies as he realizes there is no relief coming. The burning continues and his dry throat feels more raw than ever. He made his choice and he can choke on his own despair for all I care. “Why?” The priest is barely able to manage the one word question. “You know fucking well why. How many, Father? Do you even know? Do you care? Why, you have the balls to ask? Maybe we’ll have to fix that mistake before the day is out as well.” I can’t hold back my undying spite for this pig any longer. “Our father who…” The priest starts a prayer that I cut off with a right hook that nearly breaks his jaw sending another tooth flying across the desolate warehouse floor. “Oh God, please save me from this madman. Please Lord Jesus save me from the fate I created. I was an evil man but if you get me out of this I’ll be a saint. I repent. I repent. Please forgive my trespasses Oh, Lord! I’ll do anything just make this madman stop. A-motherfucking-men!” I mock the priest as he sits; head slumped, with tears rolling down his face. “There is no God to save you priest, nor any man for that matter. You are mine. You taught me that God is no savior. You taught me what it is to be completely helpless. You taught me there is no God and you taught me well.” I spit the words at the priest trying to get the taste of that word, “God”, off my lips. It tastes as disgusting on my lips as the smell of the pig tied before me. I prayed and prayed for God or anybody to save me as the priest violated me time and time again. My parents couldn’t understand why I started getting sick every time we went to church. I knew they wouldn’t believe me if I told them what the priest had done and was doing to me. They thought of him as a saint. They even called him “a blessing” from Christ. I prayed and prayed with my face shoved into that crushed red velvet but no help ever came. He would quote bible verses as he stole my youth, as he murdered my soul. Father Soulcrusher was all he was to me. He was nothing but the father of pain and misery to me. God never saved me from his own servant. Jesus never returned to defend me. I was alone. He was learning that feeling now. I was the soul crusher now. I smile because if there is any justice in the universe, this poor bastard still had hell to look forward to and it was my task to send him there. I wanted to make him long for it as I had so many times. This is the day I had dreamed of all those years ago. As the priest pushed my face into the crushed red velvet of his own chair eventually I stopped praying for salvation and began dreaming of revenge. For years I dreamt of shoving a red hot poker up this man’s ass to show him how it felt. I read about medieval torture devices used by priests themselves during the days of the Inquisition. I read about torture techniques from China, Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia. I found there was plenty of information available. Man could be very inventively cruel when he set his mind to it and man had definitely set his mind to it frequently. I wanted this thing to pray for a death that wouldn’t come until I was ready. As he still had delusions of being saved by a non-existent deity, I knew he wasn’t ready yet. He would get there I just had to do a better job of convincing him that there was no hope to be found in these desolate, isolated surroundings. He would learn and I would teach. He should consider me a tutor of hopelessness and damnation. He will learn if it kills him and, of course, it will, eventually. I look over at the priest who is nothing more than a sniveling mess at this point. The lye has formed a bubble in the raw and tender flesh of his skinned hand. It’s the biggest blister I’ve ever seen. It stands a full inch off the surface of his hand and I can only imagine how much it burns. Poured onto normal flesh lye can cause massive damage but on the raw meat of a flayed hand it appears to be even worse. I let it burn a few moments longer watching the priest’s face twist and contort in immense pain taking no small amount of pleasure from it. That is the look I’ve dreamed of seeing on the priest’s face for years. He hasn’t suffered enough for me to let death take him yet but he’s getting there and he’s not going to like it when it comes though it is the only salvation he’ll find in this place. “Priest! Come back to me boy. I’m not done with you yet.” The light in the priest’s eyes comes back to me as I give him a sharp slap across the cheek. “There you are. Don’t fade on me yet, Father. The day is still young and we have miles to go yet.” “Billy, please. I’ve suffered enough. Stop this madness. Please.” The priest’s begging brings a smile to my face again like no birthday or Christmas present ever had. I take a tissue from my back pocket and gently wipe the tears from the priest’s eyes. I wipe them away with all the tenderness of a mother wiping away the tears from her child’s face. It is still early and I want my priest to feel there is some hope of reprieve before I crush the life out of him. He had taught me this as well. He didn’t violate me every time he took me back to his chambers. Sometimes he would bring me there just to give me candy but there was always the fear, the fear that he would lock the door behind him and I’d feel that red velvet against my face once again. He knew exactly what he was doing. I could see it in his eyes. He could smell the fear in me and I think that’s what turned him on. It was power, the absolute controlling power over another. He was slowly learning how it felt to be on the receiving end of such power and I wanted to savor every second just as he had in those moments when he gave me candy instead of crushed red velvet against my face. “You never answered me priest, just how many children’s lives have you destroyed? Or is the number beyond count?” There was no anger in my voice as I asked my questions this time; I truly wanted an answer. “I… I…” “You don’t know, do you?” I saw a look of shame wash over the priest’s face as tears flowed down his cheeks anew. I feel no sympathy for the bastard. He made this bed and must lay in it. How many tears had he created in his lifetime? That number is probably without count. I didn’t know how many little boys’ souls this thing had crushed but he had been a priest for decades and it had been over twenty years since he had stolen my innocence. One was too many but there would be no more. His soul was mine to crush now. “Well priest?” I wanted an answer badly now. I wanted him to say “I don’t know”. “Billy, please just stop this. It’s not too late.” The priest’s exhausted plea was falling on deaf ears and I could see he knew it. “How many, Father? Is it too many to count or do you just not care?” He was going to answer or I would make this a very painful lesson. “Does it matter, Billy? It’s your pain I regret. I’m sorry Billy. I’m so sorry.” The priest was just blubbering now. “Does it matter? Are you fucking kidding me right now! It’s the only thing that matters in here priest! You’re fucking sorry? You have the fucking nerve to be sorry now! And only sorry for me! You’re not sorry at all. I can see that now. There is no remorse in you. How in the fuck can you call yourself a man of God? My anger was starting to boil out of control now. “I am sorry Billy. Please believe me.” The priest knew how to feign sympathy and regret but he didn’t feel it yet, he was not repentant. I stepped away from him taking deep breaths to quell the anger rising up inside me. It was not time for him to die yet. I had to remind myself of that as I stepped back to the shelf that held the few tools I had brought with me. I grab the scalpel I had purchased just for this occasion. I need to help the priest remember. I needed to help him pull the names from his memory banks since he wasn’t willing to give them up of his own free will as I had assumed he wouldn’t. Feeling the cold surgical steel in my hand I knew how to make him remember. I also knew before I entered today that it would come to this. That knowledge brought calmness back to my mind like I was sliding into a warm bath. As I stand there, holding the scalpel in my hand, one of the many rats in my warehouse scuttled between my feet letting out a little squeak. Its mangy brown hair reminds me of filth and disease. I had been bringing rodents I had trapped in the city here for months. They scuttled all around the warehouse and were no more afraid of men than I was of a ladybug. They were fearless and hungry. I needed them hungry but they would serve their purpose later. I don’t think the priest was going to like it though. No, he was not going to like it one little bit. I grab the wooden chair sitting beside the shelf. I want to get comfortable for this. I let the chair legs scrape along the floor sending an eerie echo through the empty space of the warehouse. The look on the priest’s face shows me the “nails on a chalkboard” sound is having the desired effect. I want him filled with dread. I want hope to die in his eyes. He still has hope that someone will come to save him. He still believes his God will intervene on his behalf. He hasn’t come to the realization yet that there is no God and there is no help coming. This is my house, only I can save him but salvation isn’t what I’m selling. I take my time dragging my chair just inches from the priest’s throne which is bolted to the floor. Sitting down the priest and I are at eye level with one another. I can smell the fear oozing out of his pores which brings me no small amount of pleasure. He deserves to be here strapped naked to a chair fearing for his life. He put himself in this place through a life time of being a vile, disgusting waste of human flesh. I have no more sympathy for him than I would a cockroach. He is a human cockroach. Maybe I should dissect him for scientific research. But there is nothing that could be gleaned from that. No, he is here to suffer and then suffer some more and then die horribly. “Have you come up with an answer priest?” I shouldn’t give him another opportunity to answer but I know he won’t anyway. “Billy, please just stop this madness. I may have harmed you but there is still salvation to be found through forgiveness my son. It’s not too late to stop. Billy please, I beg your forgiveness.” The priest’s final plea is just as pathetic as the first to my ears. I don’t say a word. The priest has given his answer and deserves my reply. I show him the blade letting him wonder what I’m going to do with it. I wag it back and forth between my fingers letting his imagination run wild. The fear shows in his eyes immediately. I don’t know what he expects but it isn’t what I’m about to do. “Well, I know there’s me, so that’s one.” I grab his flaccid penis slicing a short line in the tender flesh. His scream fills the warehouse with a glorious echo. I had pictured this moment in my mind thousands of times before today but it was so much more satisfying in reality. I had considered slicing off the tip and working my way down the shaft of his penis until there was nothing left but I read that a man can bleed to death very quickly through the penis. This bastard didn’t deserve a quick death. Plus even now the priest still had some hope left in him. That would change before the end. “Can you remember how many now? I thought we could count them off together. What do say, Father, shall we count them off together?” I was enjoying this too much but after years of dreaming of this moment I think I deserved the satisfaction. “I can’t. I can’t…” The priest squeezed the words out through clenched teeth. “Can’t what? Remember? Well, I tell you what you human sack of garbage. I’ll keep counting off and when you think I’m close you let me know. And just so you know, I know you’re a fucking liar.” I give his flaccid penis a good hard squeeze and begin. I add a line, “Two”, and another, “Three’, and another, “Four”, and another “Five”. My priest yells through gritted teeth begging me to stop between breaths. I know he has stolen the innocence of dozens so I have no intentions of stopping until his pathetic piece of man-meat is covered top and bottom with marks for the innocent. “Pardon me a moment Father. You’re bleeding all over the fucking place and I’m afraid I might lose count. You know what that’s like, don’t you Father?” I stand up and step over to my shelf a moment. “There we go. This should do the trick.” I’m smiling from ear to ear once again as the priest erupts in fresh screams of agony as I rub a handful of salt into the slices on his manhood. He may not enjoy it but I did as I rubbed the salt deep in his wounds. “Ready to give me the real number or do I have to continue to guess? What number are we on anyway, was it 20 or 25? I forget.” “25! Twenty five, you bastard!” Again the priest spoke through teeth clenched to his pain. “Father, for shame, I’ll not have you resort to cussing. That just won’t do at all. What would your God think?” Mocking the priest was just too much fun. Then I leaned as close as a lover to the priest’s ear whispering, “Swear again and I’ll cut out your fucking tongue and let you choke on your own blood.” His eyes went wide realizing for the first time in several minutes that there were things worse than what he had yet experienced in this empty, desolate space. I enjoyed seeing him so afraid. This man, who had been the monster of my nightmares for over twenty years, deserved more than I could ever do to him. His many victims cried out for vengeance. I wondered how many of them had killed themselves unable to deal with the fear, pain and humiliation. How many had become abusers or molesters themselves? We all had one thing in common: we had all dreamed of revenge at one point or another. We all wanted our childhoods returned without the horror this man had shown us. We all wanted the memories and nightmares to go away. All I could do here was make him feel, for at least a moment, the helplessness that we had all felt at his hands. I needed to show him the horror of what it is to have no control over what is happening to you and that no one, not God not anyone, was coming to rescue you from your fate. He will suffer, he may or may not repent then he will die, horribly. He had been the bane of my existence and there was a price to pay for that. He would pay now in full with interest. I sat back down facing the priest wiggling the scalpel between my thumb and forefinger again. He didn’t notice though, not with his eyes clenched shut to the burning pain emanating from his burning, swollen cock. I relished in his anguish a moment trying to decide whether to mark off more destroyed souls on his destroyed manhood or move on to something else. For the moment I just enjoyed watching the human filth that he was writhe in agonizing pain. A glance to his skinned left hand brought a fresh smile to my lips as the lye had really done a real number on the exposed meat. The blister that had stood about an inch high was now oozing yellowish pus and emitting a distinct foul odor. This gave me an idea I hadn’t thought of before entering the barren warehouse today, a thought that widened smile on my already grinning lips. “Come back to me, old man, we need to talk.” I said slapping the priest hard across the cheek. “Billy, please.” The priest’s plea had all the energy of a yawn. “I’ve decided I need to give you a choice priest. You remember choices, right? I don’t remember you ever giving me any but I think we can both agree I’m the better person here, can’t we?” I wasn’t expecting an answer but he would have to answer in a moment. “Billy, I’m so sorry. Please stop this insanity.” The plea was weak and the priest had no idea the mistake he had just made. “Insanity?! You have the fucking nerve to sit there being the mountain of shit that you are and call me insane! Fuck you! You made me priest. If this is insanity then it is what you have created and, as you were once so fond of saying, you reap what you fucking sow mother fucker!” I felt not anger but pure rage boiling up from with in me. This piece of human garbage had the gall to sit there and call me insane? A man who had sexually molested more young boys than he could even fucking remember. Deep breath, find your control. Don’t let him foul up your plans. You planned this out for so very long; don’t let him fuck up your revenge. Don’t let anger lead you astray from the task at hand. Today is the day you get your revenge. Get your revenge and get it your way. He’s just trying to goad you into ending it early. Take a deep breath and calm the fuck down. It takes me a moment but I regain my composure turning my attention back to the naked priest strapped to the chair I put him in. I think about how I had meticulously skinned his hand, dumped the lye still burning on that hand, knocked out a few of his teeth, and wasted his manhood with twenty five slices now on fire from the salt I had rubbed in the wound. Not to mention his eyes which remained near glowing red from the salt rubbed in them yesterday. He is suffering. He is in agonizing pain. He’s going to die and he still has hell to look forward to. The solace of that knowledge slowed my heart and I felt my anger ease back once more. “I apologize for my outburst, Father.” I had completely regained my composure now. “Your insolence needs to be punished, you understand? I’ll let you keep your tongue for the moment but you may want to choose your words more carefully the rest of our time together. I know we were talking about choice a moment ago but first things first.” I couldn’t have spoken more calmly if I had tried. The priest’s eyes alight with fear as I grab his right nipple pulling it toward me. The scalpel slices through the skin like a hot knife through butter and it comes off in my fingers with ease. I hold it up for him to see as his screams once again echo through the empty warehouse. Before the sound drowns out I drop the limp skin onto his thigh landing with a small plop. I grab the other nipple in the same fashion as the first and with a slice it is limp in my fingers as well. The priest stops screaming just sitting there a blubbering, crying waste of space. All his hope is dying but I don’t believe it has been completely driven from him yet and then he confirmed that thought. “Jesus help me. Please God, save me.” The priest blurts out to the dead air. “That’s it call to the imaginary man in the sky for help priest. Go ahead scream it out. I beg you, oh lord, if you want this man’s suffering to cease just send me a sign. Strike me down with your mighty lightning, oh lord. Strike me down so this piece of garbage can live. Oh lord. Lord? Lord? Are you there? I’m waiting.” I can’t help but laugh yet the priest doesn’t seem to find the humor in my plea. “Well, Father, old buddy, it looks like it’s just you and me.” “Billy you need to stop this son. Just stop now. You’re a better man than this.” The priest begged. “Better? Well, maybe better than you, but how the fuck do you know what kind of man I am? I’m here to kill a demon, priest.” I could see the priest recoil at the thought that he was evil. “That’s right priest you’re a demon, Satan’s little helper. If there even was such a thing as demons or Satan. They are as false as the God you pray to save you. I know exactly what you are, priest. You are a wolf, a predator preying on the weak. You are my demon. You are my boogey man. But you know what you made me, priest? Do you have the slightest God damned clue? Answer me priest, do you know what you made me?” The anger was crawling up my spine once again setting my blood to boil. “A monster, Billy. I see now; I created a monster in you. I am so sorry son. I’m so very sorry.” Fresh tears rolled down the priest’s cheeks with his words. “I’m a monster? The only monster in this room is strapped to a chair bleeding and broken. No, priest, I am not a monster. You have that distinction. I am the monster slayer. I am the slayer of demons. The vanquisher of evil, if you will. I’m here to kill the boogey man and I’m staring right at him.” I felt a confident power wash over me for the first time in my life as the words rolled off my tongue giving me quite a rush. “But you’re not ready yet. You still hold out hope that God or the police or someone will walk through that door behind you and save you but no one is coming, Father. See I used to pray too. I used to pray that someone would stop you from raping me again and again but they never came, did they Father? No one ever came to save me the way no one is coming to save you either.” I wanted the futility of his position to sink in. I could see it fading but it was still in there. “Billy…” The priest had lost the words. “Now we were talking about choice. You have a hand that is completely useless and burning, and quite frankly it’s starting to smell. Then you’ve got your little piece of man meat there that is burning and bleeding. You’ll never use either one of them to hurt anyone else again but I’d like to give you an option that may bring you some relief to your few remaining moments on this mortal coil. Now remember you’re not walking out of here and no one is coming to save you, so here is what I propose. I can remove your hand or your little, flaccid man meat there (I wriggle my finger at his crotch scrunching up my nose). Now it’s your choice since it’s hard for me to judge which one is causing you more pain. So it’s up to you Father, do you want to die handless or dickless? I’ll give you a few moments to think about it and when I come back, you will have an answer for me or I choose for you and I have to warn you, I’m poor at decision making so I may choose to take both.” I stood at the end of my proposal looking down my nose at the pathetic, blithering idiot strapped naked to a chair. “Billy, please. You can’t. You wouldn’t.” The priest’s bewilderment and appeal amused me greatly. “I think you know better by now Father. I’m going to go outside to smoke a cigarette and when I come back I expect your answer. I’ll leave you with a little thinking music.” I turned my back to the priest walking over to the stereo and hitting play. As I walked to the door the sweet sounds of death metal greeted our ears. If nothing else maybe I could give him an appreciation for the finer things in life before he died. I chuckled at the returning thought and pushed through the door pulling my pack of smokes and lighter from my pocket. Lighting up I take a deep pull on the cigarette leaning my back against the door. All the anger I felt in front of the priest disappeared. I was calm. I was in control. I was going to kill the boogey man soon. If this didn’t end the nightmares then perhaps there was truly nothing that would. I had to hope. Head shrinker after head shrinker had been unable to stop the night terrors that haunted me. This would either work or nothing ever would. I stood there smoking my cigarette, back to the door, savoring the few minutes without the sight of the priest. He had tormented my youth and now tormented my dreams. I longed for one night, just one night without seeing his face and feeling that damned crushed red velvet against my skin. Night after night he came to torture me and now it was my turn. It was my turn to show him what torment and torture really were. Nothing could take back the damage he had done nor could it replace my stolen youth. But if I could prevent this predator from hurting even one more child then maybe I could sleep without waking in a cold sweat ten times a night with the phantom feeling of crushed red velvet on my face. Maybe, just maybe I would have some relief. I was truly growing tired of torturing this thing but I had to give him that feeling of utter helplessness that I had for so long. I wanted him to look forward to the hell he had bellowed about from the pulpit. I wished Satan was real so that he could meet him when he got to hell. He had suffered so far but not enough. He still had hope in his eyes. I needed to take that away from him once and for all. I tossed my cigarette to the ground grinding it out unconsciously. I take a deep breath and prepare for the finale. I almost prayed for the strength for a moment then laughed at the thought. Exhaling I push the door open and step inside. This would be the last time I enter here. It was time to bring the story of “Billy and the Priest” to an end. I could hear the rats scampering all over the echo chamber that the warehouse was even with the music blaring. I had been bringing them here for months. There were hundreds of them, perhaps thousands by now. They did breed awfully fast. I had brought a few bags of grain in every week to keep them from wandering off. I had a purpose for them. As I approached the priest I hit stop on the stereo leaving just the faint echo of rat claws on concrete buzzing the air around us. I smiled as I noticed one of the bolder rats sniffing around the priest’s feet causing him to writhe any which way he could trying to get it to leave him alone. Once the rat saw it was in no danger of being swatted away it crept closer and closer attempting to climb up the priest’s leg. “Billy, please get him off me. Please Billy!” The priest was practically shrieking the words as if the rat were a bear about to tear his face off though, admittedly, the rat was the size of a small cat. “Ahhh, it’s just a harmless rat, Father. Aren’t rats just another one of God’s creatures? Maybe he’ll show you a little respect if you pray with him.” The look of terror on the priest’s face was absolutely priceless and I burst into laughter once again. “Disease ridden filthy animals are what they are. I think them more the work of the devil than God. Just get him off me, please, I beg you.” The priest was clearly repulsed by the animal as I could see he was cringing from the rodent’s touch. “That’s right. I think I remember you telling me once how frightened you are of these vile little creatures. I seem to remember you practically breaking your leg to jump up on a table in the rectory to get away from one. Now that was fucking hilarious. I remember thinking; I hope he falls, breaks his neck and the rat eats out his eyes. Do you remember that, Father?” I could barely stop laughing enough to remind him of the incident. “Yes, yes, I remember. Now please, Billy, get him off me!” The priest’s shriek echoed through the warehouse. “Alright, alright, ya big baby.” I said as I shooed the rat away with my foot. The rat, being the rather tenacious creature it was, gave me as much of a dirty look as it could with its beady black eyes before scurrying back into the shadows. The priest was right; they are nasty, disease ridden creatures. Some say when the world ends the only thing left will be cockroaches and rats; I tend to agree with that. But eventually it will just be the rats since in that scenario they will most assuredly eat the cockroaches and anything else they can bite into. Rats are as non-discriminatory as any animal can be, they’ll eat anything. All they do is survive no matter what nature, man or future alien visitors may throw at them. Reminiscing aside I dropped my smile concentrating on the task at hand. My priest had a choice to make and it was time for him to make it. Regardless of his choice I was confident the priest was not going to like the end results of his decision. I was curious which he would choose though. Would he sacrifice a hand or his manhood? I was guessing the hand but who knows what could come out of his pain and sleep rattled brain at this point. I was more than a little surprised he wasn’t just a drooling mass of flesh by this point. I’ll give it to the bastard he certainly could take a large amount of suffering. It was all coming to its conclusion soon. I hated this man with every fiber of my being and he deserved what I had done and would do a thousandfold but there was a limit to how much more of myself I could let this man steal. I may not believe in a heaven or hell, a God or the Devil but that didn’t mean one’s soul couldn’t be damaged by his own deeds. These events may weigh on me the remainder of my days but if I could bear what this man had already done to me then I could bear this, to a point. I was like the rat; I was a survivor and nothing more. “So what is your decision? It’s time.” I spoke as matter of factly as I could muster trying to mask my anticipation of his answer. “Billy, what it is time for is time for you to end this nonsense. God sees you Billy and he still wants to save you from yourself. Let’s go home son.” The priest just couldn’t resist one last ditch effort. He still had hope. “I’m growing tired of your bullshit priest. Mention God one more time and you’ll suffer in here for days, weeks, months, maybe years. There is no God and you fucking well know it as much as I do.” My anger was building and I needed to control myself. I take a deep breath and continue, “Hand or cock, your choice. Fail to choose and you lose both, Father. You have about 3 seconds to decide and I already started counting.” I turned away almost hoping he would say God one more fucking time. I grabbed the scalpel and a rusty hacksaw I had brought for the occasion. Turning back to my captive my hate for this man crawled up my throat like lava surging up a volcano. Pure hatred was burning me from the inside out. I wasn’t sure I could hold back my need to kill this man much longer. I wanted it all to end, his life, my nightmares, his pain, my pain; all of it. I was in front of him in a flash ready to commence. “One!” I yelled out. “Do what you must, Billy, but I will not choose for you. I know I’m going to die in here so just hurry the hell up with it, why don’t you?” The priest’s defiance held my hand at bay for the moment. I took several deep breaths attempting to quell my anger though my attempt seemed in vain at first. My eyes were bulging as I felt myself wanting to just cut the beast’s head off and be done with it. Finally after what seemed like hours I found control of myself. Lowering my head in what must have seemed to the priest like prayer I felt my heart slow back down. I was in control of my faculties once again. A few more deep breaths and I was ready to proceed and the priest was not going to like having enraged me so, no, he was not going to enjoy this at all. He had tried to goad me into giving him a quick death but I had meticulously planned out his death and it was going to be far from quick. This was my day of revenge. I will have it my way. “You’re lucky, I’m feeling generous, Father. Last chance, I need your choice now.” The calm I felt wash over me in that moment sent a chill up my spine. I feared I was starting to like this too much. “Billy, I can not. I have suffered here as you suffered all those years ago but I beg you to find mercy in your heart, child. I beg you to end this. Set me free either with death or with both of us walking out that door together. I know I will find forgiveness in heaven as I forgive you now. Find the mercy I know is still buried deep within you.” The priest had caught my calmness as if it were contagious. I couldn’t look at him any longer but I forced my eyes to meet his anyway. “You say I suffered years ago and I should show you mercy now, mercy that you never once showed me? Tell me, Father, when exactly did my suffering stop? Please tell me, I’m curious. You may have stopped raping me many years ago, physically, but every night I feel your breath on the back of my neck. Every night I smell your stinking breath. Every night I hear you slide the bolt on the big oak door to your chamber. Every night I feel you press my face into your chair. Every night I feel you violate me over and over. Every night you come and every night you bring suffering with you. So tell me, Father, when did my suffering cease?” I had become sanguine now. Calmness was washing over me like a flood of warm water from a hot spring and it was not receding this time. The priest was left with no more words to say. Did he feel guilty about what he had done? I’m sure he did in this moment but I wondered if he had ever been racked with guilt through the years. Given the sheer volume of his crimes he should be but I doubted that he ever was before this moment here in this empty warehouse with me. Whether he felt guilty or not no longer mattered for he was here to suffer and lose all hope that it would ever end. “Billy, I…” The priest spoke my name ever so softly. I couldn’t take it any longer. It was time to do as I had promised. I held the scalpel up before his face. Blood from his now serrated penis was still on the sharp blade. It had dripped down smearing across the handle affecting my grip. I needed to wipe it down before using it so as not to slip either getting myself or him too deeply. I set it down slowly on the chair making sure he watched building my anticipation and his fear. “We’ll come back to that.” I flashed him an evil grin staring him dead in the eye and lifting up the rusty hacksaw for him to take in the horror coming his way. I seriously considered just hacking off the bastard’s head with it for a moment but he wasn’t getting off that easy. I place one hand on his right forearm to hold it steady bringing the rusty serrated blade of the saw to rest where hand turns to wrist. I drag it gently back and forth a few times with no pressure just to fuck with the priest’s head before the pain comes. His screams fill the air as I slowly apply pressure to the blade. The blade is about as dull as a blade can get more ripping than cutting the flesh of the priest’s wrist. His screams continue as I slowly apply more and more pressure. Sawing through the bones of his wrist is slow going and I take my time letting the priest feel every second, every millimeter of it. The priest’s screams begin to annoy me so I stop with the blade about half way through the task to turn on the stereo. I lower the volume as to not blast myself out and return to finish the job. Slowly millimeter by millimeter I saw through his wrist as he screams his throat raw. I’m enjoying this far more than I should but I can’t help it. This is the hand that the priest would place on the back of my head pushing my face into the crushed red velvet of his chair. It was also the hand that would force my head into his crotch when he forced me to satisfy him orally. I hated the hand as much as the man himself. He deserved to feel every agonizing second of this. I was making sure he did. Finally after several minutes that seemed an eternity to the priest, his hand fell to the floor audibly. The severed limb was gushing blood all over the floor so I needed to act quickly to quell the flow. I didn’t want the bastard bleeding out on me, there was still more suffering left for him. I move quickly back to the shelf holding my supplies grabbing a plastic bottle I had brought precisely for this moment along with the book of matches. The priest has stopped screaming at least for the moment, his head flopping down as far as the neck restraint would allow. I tighten the strap on the chair as tight as possible forming a tourniquet to quell the blood flowing profusely out of the stump. Then I pour the black powder from the plastic bottle onto it and quickly light a match. The black gun powder ignites in a glorious flash of light and heat searing the wound closed or at least good enough. Another scream erupted from the priest’s raw throat echoing thru the empty warehouse which continued for a moment after he finally passed out. There was still a slight trickle of blood leaking from the burnt stump but he wasn’t going to bleed out from that and I didn’t need him to hang on that much longer anyway. The sweet smell of cooked meat filled my nostrils as I leaned my head back sucking it in with a deep breath. It had attracted the attention of the warehouse’s beady eyed denizens as well. I could almost hear them licking their lips in anticipation of a juicy meal. I thought to myself, “so that was what cooked human smelled like”. I was struck by how similar it was to the smell grilled steak, repulsive thought but also one that made me hungry. I push that disgusting thought from my head for the time being. With the priest passed out for the moment and no longer screaming I shut the stereo off letting silence return. I light a cigarette to relax while I let the priest enjoy this slight reprieve to his suffering. The smell of blood and cooked meat had drawn the attention of the warehouses main residents. As I looked around I could see the glint of hundreds of little, beady black eyes all around. They may be filthy, diseased animals but I had brought them all here to serve a purpose. The smell in the air now was wetting their appetites nicely. A few of the bolder members of their number were creeping up to get a taste of the blood that had pooled around the feet of the priest. I took a long drag off my cigarette inhaling deeply as a smile came to my lips. I was near the end now. In a short while I would end this and years of planning and dreaming would come to fruition at last. I toss my cigarette into the pool of blood where it goes out in a puff of smoke and slight sizzle. Grabbing another tiny plastic vile from the shelf I stand before the priest popping off the top. I wave it under his nose and wake him with a sharp slap across his swollen cheek. “Wake up, Father. We still have work to do.” I say; my voice full of disgust and annoyance. His head lolls back and forth as his eyes begin to flicker open. If I didn’t know better I’d think I was waking a man who had just spent the night in a drunk tank. The priest moaned slightly coming back to reality ever so slowly. He blinked his eyes several times as the reality of his situation came back to him. Grogginess turned to horror as he looked down at the stump with still slightly trickling blood out of the charred mass. He didn’t say anything seeming to be unable to find any words as he just stared down at the blackened and bloody stump of his left hand. I let him take it all in for a nice long moment before breaking the silence. “That’s right, Father, take it all in. Does it surprise you how much it smells like a nice fat T-bone in here?” I see his eyes light up in horror at the question, “Don’t worry I’m no cannibal but I do have to say I’m surprised by how appetizing you smell. Does it surprise you, Father? Are you salivating?” I try but I can’t stop myself from mocking him. He stares up at me trying to give a look of disgust but he is still too groggy from the loss of blood for it to have much of any effect. He looks from me to his stump and back again as if unable to believe his own eyes at what I’ve done to him. I can’t tell if it’s just the loss of blood but he looks more confused than horrified. Finally he just hangs his head unable to look at either. I almost feel pity for him for a second. He seems resigned to his fate now. If his hope isn’t dead it is surely in its death throes. “You’re not looking so good, Father.” I continue mocking him, “Would you like a drink? You look downright parched.” I grab a bottle of water and offer it up to his lips. He accepts the offer gulping it down as I pour. I feel like a new father feeding his newborn for the first time. Not exactly the feeling I was expecting to have but it reminds me that I’m still human regardless of what I’ve done here. I’m not really surprised that I feel no shame from it but the fact I can empathize with this beast repulses me slightly. “Better?” I ask. “Yes.” He finally speaks, “How much more do I have to endure, Billy? How much more to satisfy you, my son?” I can’t help but laugh, “We’re almost there. I didn’t expect you to be so eager to get to hell, Father. Your journey is nearing its end then you can join your comrades in eternal damnation.” I try to squeeze the last ounce of hope from him even though I can see the only hope he has left is hoping for death. “Just make it quick, Billy. I think I’ve suffered quite enough. I’m ready now.” He is almost slurring now as if asking to go home after a long night of partying. I turn away to set down the water bottle but also so that he doesn’t see the sympathy on my face causing him to regain some hope. Hope appears to have left him now so no need to bring it back. I take another deep breath preparing myself for the final tasks before he begins his journey into hell. The thought that he still has hell to look forward to brings a smile back to my face. I feel whatever sympathy I was feeling slip away in that moment. The thought of the priest in hell makes me very happy indeed. It is said the road to hell is paved with good intentions but a wise, old, Catholic woman once told me it is not. She told me the road is paved with Catholic priests putting an image in my mind I still savored to this day. I’d give Satan another for the road if hell truly existed as I hoped it did just for that reason. Walking back to the priest I bend down grabbing the scalpel off the chair where I had left it. I twirl it between my fingers hoping to bring terror back to the priest’s eyes and he doesn’t disappoint. “Billy, I beg you please stop this madness! If you’re going to kill me just do it. Why do you need to torture me first?” The priest begins to cry once again as the futility of his question and the situation set in. “I’m exorcising my demons, Father. Isn’t that what you once told me when I asked a similarly foolish question? You said you were just exorcising your demons as if God needed you to fuck little boys to hold Satan at bay. Well, now you are here to perform a real exorcism. But there are no demons here, Father, just you and though you are my demon; you are not a real one. You had to know you’d pay for your abuses eventually. Did you really think a creature as vile as yourself would ever be allowed in heaven if such a place even existed? You make me laugh, Father. You truly make me laugh.” But there was no laughter left in me as I said the words. “Billy, I’m sorry, truly I am. I’m begging you.” The horror conveyed in the priest’s voice gave me immense pleasure. “I’m sure you are now, Father. But tell me, were you sorry all those times you locked your chamber door, forced me to bend over or kneel, and had your way with a boy too small and too young to fight you off?” I almost spit the question at him. “Billy…” He said in bewilderment knowing there was nothing he could say to stop what was coming. “That’s what I thought. You’re nothing more than a pig and now you’re going to squeal like one.” I let my anger come through in my voice but I was as calm as a summer evening on the inside. The time for words was done. Now there was nothing left but pain, suffering, screaming and death. I held the scalpel gently as I started the final steps toward the pig’s death. I make little slices all over the priest’s body, no more than paper cuts really. I start on his legs and work my way up stopping at his neck as his screams fill the warehouse once again. With his anterior covered with hundreds of little cuts, I unstrap him from the chair for the first time since I placed him in it. The priest is completely devoid of strength as I roll him onto his belly and hog-tie him. With him lying on the floor and secure, I start in on his posterior. I start with the bottoms of his feet which cause screams that would have carried for miles if it weren’t for the confines of the warehouse. Again I add hundreds of little paper cut-like slices across the entire service until I’m back up to his neck again. Unlike his front I continue up his neck and the back of his head. He is a bloody mess by the time I’m finished but none of the cuts are deep enough for me to worry about him bleeding out. I stand back to inspect my work feeling extremely gratified. The rats are getting bolder now, edging closer and closer. They can smell his blood in the air but it’s not time for them yet, soon but not yet. I shoo them away for the moment though I know I won’t be able to hold them off much longer. They are hungry and that will overwhelm any fear they have of me soon enough. The priest is almost ready though, just a few final touches to go. The priest stops screaming for a moment while I grab the rest of what I need from the shelf. I can see him looking left, right and forward laying there helpless on his belly as the rats inch closer and closer. Their beady black eyes stare back at him unafraid. He is the only one afraid in here as well he should be. “You asked me a few moments ago to just end this, Father.” I reach one hand down to hold up his chin so he can look me in the eye where he finds no mercy. “Do the rats scare you? Because they should.” The coldness of the statement is palpable between us. “Billy, please just kill me. Just kill me, please!” He begs. “I am. Would you like to know how you’re going to die?” I ask him with a smile on my face. “Billy, please.” He begs once more. “See the funny thing about rats is, well there are a few funny things but we’ll get there soon enough. The first funny thing is rats will eat fucking anything. In a pinch they will even chew through metal. Did you know that? Rats will eat things that would make a billy goat puke, Father. You see where I’m going with this don’t you? They are going to eat you, Father. You are going to be nothing more than rat shit in an abandoned warehouse in the end. But hey, if you’re lucky you’ll still have hell to look forward to.” I took no small amount of pleasure explaining to him what was going to happen to him. “Billy, please don’t. Don’t let them eat me Billy.” The priest was blubbering through tears but it was like trying to plead with a hungry bear as you’re pinned under its claws. It really was quite pointless. Ignoring him I continue, “The other fun fact about rats, Father, is they can’t lick. Did you know that? They can only bite with those nasty little teeth. And you’re going to watch as they devour you. There will be no closing your eyes, Father.” I lifted the scalpel before his eyes to emphasize the point tapping the blade against his forehead. “But before we get to that there is one thing I have left to do. I don’t think you’re going to like it.” The act behind the words is as devious as the words themselves and I drop his face back to the floor. “Billy! What are doing? Stop this!” The priest yells as I step behind him out of his site. I grab the last two things I had brought with me off the floor where I had set them. I insert the funnel between his ass cheeks and pop the top on the jar of honey I had brought with me. The rats will prefer this to his flesh but with so many rats in here there won’t be enough for all of them to get at it. I make sure to jam the end of the funnel firmly into the priest’s rectum causing fresh bursts of sobs and begging. Then I pour the honey in until the bottle is drained. That task completed I toss the funnel over by a pack of waiting rats to wet their appetite. A feeding frenzy ensues as there is hardly enough to go around. They bite and claw at each other scrambling to get to the sticky sweetness of the honey. While they’re busy I once again brandish the scalpel kneeling down by the priest’s head. I lift his chin to a painful height to make sure I have his full attention. “That was honey I poured in your ass, just in case you’re curious.” I couldn’t help but smile at him once again watching the terror fill his eyes. “Now for my last task before I leave you alone with my fine, furry friends here. I don’t want you closing your eyes and missing any of the excitement so I’m gonna have to remove those pesky eyelids for you. But before I do I wondered if you remember your Latin, Father?” I was enjoying this very much. “Fuck you, Billy. I’m glad I fucked you. I’m glad I fucked all of you dirty, little bastards. You hear me, Billy? I’m glad I fucked that tight little ass of yours Tell me, how did my dick taste?” The priest was trying to goad me into just slicing his throat now and it nearly worked for a second. “Nice try, Father, but this is not going to be quick. Since you insist on being an asshole though I think it’s time we lose that fucking evil tongue of yours. I hadn’t planned to do this but I guess it’s what you want.” I feel only calm knowing he was only trying for a quick death. I can’t really blame him on that front. I grab him by the hair and pry his mouth open with my foot. The scalpel is so sharp it slices through his tongue with ease. Letting go of his hair I kick the little piece of meat a few feet away hoping to further wet the rats’ appetites. Then I carefully slice off the pig’s eyelids not wanting to damage his vision so he can see them coming for him. I complete the task and the priest was ready. Picking his head up by the hair once again I whisper in his ear, “Per Aspera Ad Inferi.” Though he could not reply I could see that he knew what the Latin phrase meant. “Through hardship to hell.” I smiled at him then dropped his face to the floor. It was over now save for the dying. I walked away to let the rodents clean up the mess. I could hear the hundreds of scampering little feet as I toward the door. I began to whistle to myself as though I were walking through the park on a sunny day. I was happy, not that it was over, but that he was about to suffer more than just about anyone ever had and then he was going to die. I didn’t know if my nightmares would end but I knew I was no longer afraid of the dark. Then I remembered one last thing. I can’t even believe I had almost forgotten. I ran back to the shelf grabbing the last remaining item from the bag sitting there. I grabbed the priest by the hair lifting his head one last time. I slid the crushed red velvet cushion under his chin. As I dropped his head back down I saw the first of the encroaching rats start to crawl up his backside to the sweet honey. I smiled one last time and turned away whistling all the way to the door as the screaming filled the empty space of the warehouse. As I opened it to leave I turned back for one last look. The priest was awash in a blanket of rats scrambling over one another to get to the fresh meat. I can’t remember ever being happier in my life. “And remember, you still have Hell to look forward to.” I yelled out to him then shut the door on him forever. As I stepped out into the still bright sunshine of the dying day I raised my head to the sky basking in the glorious rays of light that I once thought of as the fingers of God. They were in their way. Something in those rays told me the nightmares were over. I was truly free. I whispered to the beams of light warming my face, “Thank you.”

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