Saturday, July 11, 2009

Entry #52

Devine Truth
by Hadley Stevens

Father Thom Donovan knew a thing or two about deception, and how given the right circumstances, even the most vile of actions could go unnoticed and undetected— even before the eyes of two-hundred witnesses.

Friday evening mass at St. Bards provided the best circumstances. The white marble, heavenly murals, flickering candles— a pious disguise that held many secrets. Donovan was an expert at disguise. The silks of a priest robe concealed all manner of things.

Tonight, the pews filled with the young: young mothers and young college students, all looking to confess their sins before happy hour. Women used to attend church wearing dresses that buttoned up the neck. Now they came in t-shirts and shorts, their toenails painted colors that drew attention, leaving the onlooker no choice but to cast a glance down the body, back up again.

“Sinners flock on days of forgiveness,” Father Mahoney said, approaching Donovan.

Donovan’s gaze faltered. “And are they each forgiven?”

“Of course.”

Donovan watched him lead a woman to the confessional, and followed, counting to sixty before entering.

“. . .so that your sacrifice may be a pure one-“ Mahoney cut off, wine sloshing down his fingers. “Father Thom-“

“Actually, it’s Samantha.” From under the robe, she pulled out a badge and cuffs. “Detective Samantha Donovan. Thom’s my dad’s name. It’s a great name, don’t you think?”

She turned to the woman sitting, stunned, on the bench.

“I wouldn’t drink that if I were you. It’s not what it appears to be.”


Laurel said...

"all looking to confess their sins before happy hour."


Great last line.

laughingwolf said...

nice switch :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

Now here's a surprise ending I didn't expect. Brilliant set-up and very very original.

Chris Eldin said...

You have several brilliant lines in this piece. I love the ending too!

Unknown said...

Nice ending of the creepy priest's career. I'd love this to be longer so you could develop it more. It's a great idea.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Yes, longer would be wonderful. I had to read it twice to be sure I got what was going on. With more words, this could be amazing.

Hadley Stevens said...

Thanks to everyone for their kind comments.

Sarah: yes, I fought an extreme battle over word count and maintaining clarity. In the end, I hope I won.

Tessa said...

You definitely won, Hadley - very clever piece with sharply etched imagery.

Hoodie said...

Great twist. The completely unexpected ones are the best.

Terrific work.

BernardL said...

Good one. I was hooked

PJD said...

Yeah, now there's a twist that I didn't see coming. I, too, love the "before happy hour" line as well as the "no choice" but to give a body a once-over. I do like Samantha, though I'm not sure we'd get along all that well as she seems a little proper for my taste.

JaneyV said...

Oh niiiice twist. I love it when a lecherous priest gets his comuppence. Great characters and very well played out.

Terri said...

This is very cleverly written. Reading it the second time gives you get a completely different vibe - first time around I was convinced thet Donovan was the Baddie.
Very clever indeed :-)

Jade L Blackwater said...

Very well written, I especially like:

"Sinners flock on days of forgiveness,"

Anonymous said...

Quite a setup. Loved the description of the parishioners. And the painted toenails.

High marks for technical elements.