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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: Father Rory is taken by surprise
By Gregory Kane


This story contains some adult content although not of a graphic nature.

"Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been seventeen days since my last..."

Rory's thoughts were elsewhere. The soft-spoken man hidden in the dark shadows of the confessional was his last penitent of the day. Afterwards he was looking forward to a relaxed, enjoyable evening, far from the consta`nt demands of his parishioners.

"I'm sorry, would you mind repeating that?"

"Of course, father. I was just explaining why I had to kill the man. It was unquestionably for the greater good."

Rory listened incredulously as the stranger narrated how he had stumbled upon a terrorist's bomb factory. "I was just following the pipes," he explained. "I'm a plumber and water was cascading down into Mrs MacDonald's flat. The man's door was unlocked, so I tried it. It took me a moment to take in what I was seeing."

"Why didn't you call the police?"

"I don't know. I just thought this was proper somehow— using his own explosives. Besides, according to his calendar he was going to bomb a school the very next day. That's why I was in a hurry. My brother taught me, you see. He had this contract blowing up derelict buildings. That's how I knew how to set the fuses. I waited across the street for the bomber to come home. The last thing he heard was a click and then boom!"

The priest pulled out a faded cotton handkerchief and mopped his brow. "You murdered that man in cold blood. You could go straight to hell for that."

"I understand, father, that's why I came here. To confess. But also to explain why my actions were justified."

Rory didn't know what to say. The stranger took his silence as permission to continue his bizarre tale.

"Maybe I should talk about the second bomb. Then you can forgive me for everything all at once."

"What? You killed someone else?"

"Aye, father, but it was the only thing to do. There was this drug dealer, you see, who lived on our housing estate. The police must have arrested him a dozen times but he had this smart lawyer who always got him off. Seemed that no one could stop him, yet he was destroying the lives of hundreds of people. That's when I thought about the two other bombs that I took from that terrorist's flat."

"What happened?" Rory knew that he ought to maintain a firm tone of voice, but he was enthralled by a tale that was radically different from the usual confessions of adultery, petty theft and debauchery. Besides, the victims had probably deserved their fate. Who was going to miss an unscrupulous drug dealer or some indiscriminate bomber?

Noting the subtle change in the priest's manner, the man took his time explaining how the drug dealer had been despatched: "The moment he opened the door, there was this click and then boom!"

"I am not unsympathetic," Rory conceded. "The police don't approve of vigilantes, but desperate times can require desperate measures. My question is, are you genuinely sorry for your misdeeds? Contrition is, as I am sure you understand, a precondition for absolution."

"I don't know, father. Part of me believes that I did the right thing. Can I honestly say sorry for doing something that I would readily do again?"

Something niggled in the back of Rory's mind. "You said that you found three bombs. What happened to the third explosive?"

There was no response. The priest screwed up his eyes and peered through the lattice that connected the small compartments of the confessional box. The man had gone.

"It was probably all a hoax," he said to himself. "Someone put him up to it to see how I would respond. All the same, there's no harm in leaving an anonymous tip for the police. I dare say they could trace him through that Mrs MacDonald."

Closing the shutter, Rory took a moment to collect his thoughts. If he left straight away, he could get to the orphanage just before the evening meal. He would speak with the boarding mistress and ask her to send one of the boys for private catechism instruction. Perhaps sweet, innocent Philip. It was about time that he was initiated into the pleasures of sex. That was the advantage of preying on orphans; they had no one to stand up for them.

With a firm shove, Rory pushed open the door of the confessional and stepped outside. The click took him entirely by surprise.

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This article has been read 569 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 09/16/10
I must confess to liking the motives of the MC and his "Git R Done" attitude. I think most of us get discouraged with the corruption and failures in our justice system today--but we must not forget that God is in control.
Patricia Turner09/16/10
Excellent dialogue and a compelling story.
Kate Oliver Webb 09/18/10
This was very well written. You were cautious with both dialog and actions, which I applaud. Of course I don't like the tale itself--I think we need to abhor the wickedness we are learning about particularly among the clergy. But it does need to be told, and you told it well.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/18/10
Wow I had a feeling that last bomb was for the priest, but I was still eager to find out. Even though I somewhat expected it, the ending took me by surprise. That's excellent writing!
Barbara Lynn Culler09/19/10
I have goosebumps. This was incredible and horrible.

So very likely to happen, too.
Loren T. Lowery09/21/10
I guess you couldn't argue that he wasn't warned. This read a bit like a Douglas Adams story from "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxies" and all I could think was Rory going up to his reward saying. "So long, and thanks for all the fish." Aside from that you've presented a very good moral dilemma in a moderately amusing but quite provocative way.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/21/10
I had a feeling this one might be yours. I love that you are bold enough to write about this topic and with this ending, but then I'm always a big fan of the different and daring. You once again did an amazing job and I'll be surprised if this isn't way up on the top of that list.
Cheryl Harrison09/21/10
Good writing. A little twist on "Be sure, your sins will find you out." :o) You kept my attention all the way through. Thanks!
Terri Schroeder09/21/10
I liked it, but then some people think I'm radical too! Is this a compliment? I think so.
Rachel Phelps09/21/10
Wow, love the way you structured the ending. Great story and characters. I got a little bogged down in the middle, but the momentum kept me going. Awesome.
Christina Banks 09/22/10
I wondered if the last bomb was for the priest. It's terrible what is happening in our world today. Still, I don't agree with the vigilante justice of the plumber. Well told tale.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/23/10
Congratulations for placing 14th in your level and 20th overall!