As I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Should I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
By your side through night and day,
Never shall I turn away;
Should They take my only home,
Ferry me to Kingdom Come.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”

Father Andrew knelt in the confessional and clutched the two halves of a golden cross strung around his neck as if protecting a newborn baby. They glinted happily in the dim light, and he smiled down at them. Before him, the confessional window slid open. How long has it been since he—a small-town priest—had been to an honest Catholic confessional?

“What is that brings you here, my son?”

Father Albert looked up through the screen at his fellow clergyman and swallowed his words like a lump of bitter fruit. He didn’t know why he came to confess, he only knew that he had to say what was on his mind.

He stroked his cross absent-mindedly, his smile falling as whispering words filtered through his ears.

“I think that God is dying.”

Father Albert steered through the city streets, staring blankly at the lines whizzing by below him. The golden cross pieces clinked around his neck, the noises swimming through the air and weaving him a story.

Find the others, it said. God wanted him to find the others, or else… Or else… If he didn’t find the others, he couldn’t save God.

Wife and Son had wanted him to get rid of it, but they didn’t hear God’s call. Forbid that they might be blasphemers. He tried to get them to hear the words that he heard, the call of the Lord through the sacred cross, but they heard not. They only continued to cry against him. Words wouldn’t silence them. Prayers wouldn’t silence them. Only the cross would silence them. Half an hour ago, they stopped crying against him, and they would cease their blasphemous words forever. He absentmindedly wiped a fleck of blood still remaining on one of the pieces.

Lights flashed in his rearview mirror, and he let his eyes flick from to the mirror and back. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. He kept driving. The sirens kept going. The lights kept flashing. They dulled out the glinting golden light of the cross. He became annoyed.

When he pulled over, the police officer walked to his window in a professional manner. Father Andrew’s lip curled in disgust. How high and mighty he held himself, but he was not above God. He was not above God’s men. What right had he to tell him that the world of God was wrong? He turned his eyes from the guiding light, like so many others. So many sinners. Only he heard the voice.

“Can I get your license and registration?” Father Albert gave him two bullets in the right eye.

He hardly noticed the gearshift click, only that he was speeding down the highway again. He swerved through the lanes, dodging traffic, but it felt smooth to him, natural. Like a salmon swimming upstream. He dodged the obstacles to reach his goal. The voice of God called out to him.

They never found him. He sped down a rural road and grinded to a halt on dead-end gravel. He stepped out the car and looked up at the sight before him. The structure was tall, much taller than the trees. The rotating ivory arms scraped the blue sky far above him. Three of the turbines stood before him and he stared up in awe. They spun slowly and silently, hypnotizingly.

They couldn’t keep him from his mission. Wife, Son, Police. They did not understand the will of God. God was dying. He needed help. The voice in the cross was fading. He clung to it tighter. He must coax the voice back. He would help as much as possible. He bent over and cuddled it, whispering to it and praying to it.

Soon, he said, soon will the Kingdom of God be wealthy again. Soon, the goodness of God will be everywhere.

He looked back up, and the sky was red.

“No,” he murmured, reaching up into the sky. “Don’t bleed, Lord. Don’t bleed. It’s not too late.”

His eyes moved to the black sun behind him. Was he too late? Had God blown his brains out? Was it over?

The cross quivered in his hands, as if it was scared. He looked back down at it again and his eyes widened. He wasn’t dead, he was scared. The enemies of God were clawing at the doorstep. The armies of Satan had come. The wind turbine screeched behind him, and he turned to see that the blades were no longer ivory; they were blotched with black. Tar clung to the blades and weighed down the wings that continued to try and claw at the sky. The windmill tried to reach up to god, but the Tar built and built until it slowed and stop. The great machine ceased as the black substance clogged the turbine and slapped to the ground below.

The forms rose from the Tar and turned toward Father Albert, who took a few steps backward and raised his gun. He didn’t know if it would work against the spawn of the Devil, but he must defend the cross. He fired three times with his antique revolver, but it seemed to only make it madder. It advanced on him and brandished long claws. He raised the cross pieces and placed them together.

“In the name of the Lord, I command you to—” He couldn’t finish his command due to a punctured lung. The Tar creature withdrew the claws and in one swipe, severed the chain that bound the cross pieces. They fell away, as did Father Albert. The cross fell into the Tar’s grasp, and Father Albert fell to the ground beside his car. He reached out, but the Tar was already moving away. Others like it lurked nearby, waiting. Waiting as they brought the Object back. Albert shuddered and stammered as they took the voice of God from him.

They had taken God from him. God was dead. That, like so much else had been taken from him. His friends, his family, his following, his freedom, his sanity. It had all been taken from him. He knew he took his family’s lives, in cold blood. He suddenly knew it, and for the first time that he could remember, emotion flooded him. He felt cold, he felt alone. The gun rested in his hand, with one shot remaining. He held it to his temple, and with the one remaining bullet, he ventured away once more, seeking his Lord.

Categories: | Featured Stories | Those Who Seek |

Last modified on 2009-10-11 17:30:27Average Rating: 5 / 5 (3 votes)Viewed 11916 times

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