The Cathedral, Part 3

By Andrew Tyrrell, Editor-in-Chief

“I get it.” Mark said. The priest donned an expression of confusion again, though Mark was sure he was just trying to save his act. “I get it now. I tell you my story, you try to make me think that I’ve done something awful and then I lose my mind or something, right?” Mark stood up, now glaring at the priest. He could feel rage start to pound through his veins. That’s how the priest got in here. Mark had always been taught that demons couldn’t set foot in a church, but that was clearly a myth. Here was one sitting in front of him, wearing a priest as a disguise.

“That’s the game, right? You torment us and you murder us. You murdered Mike, and now you’re gonna torment me.” Mark started to walk towards the altar. The priest stood up, and turned towards Mark. He looked alarmed. Mark knew it was because he had figured it out. The priest smiled when Mark called him a demon.

“Mark, I think you’re just really confused and sick.” The priest walked slowly towards Mark, his hands up in a gesture that suggested openness and pacifism. As the priest kept moving towards Mark, some of the moonlight hit his face, and Mark swore he saw the priest’s eyes flicker red for a split second. The priest was within Mark’s range. His adrenaline started pumping once again, and this time he chose fight over flight. He reached behind him and grabbed one of the candlesticks off the altar and swung it at the priest’s head with all his might. Right before the candlestick made contact with the priest’s head, there was a look of sheer terror on his face. Mark was sure this was an act, as the sickening noise of a skull being cracked by hard metal echoed around the cathedral.

The priest fell to his knees, his face going from terror to blank as he did. Mark hit him again with the candlestick. The same noise repeated itself as the candlestick made contact with the priest’s skull, but it was a little wetter this time. Blood spattered onto Mark’s face and clothes. He hit the priest again, and again, and again. The priest’s body lay on the floor, his head a caved in, bloody, mess of splintered skull and pulp. Mark sat down next to the corpse, holding the candlestick. It was only once he had finished did he realize his mistake.

His body tried to vomit, but he swallowed it. Terror overtook him. He had killed a priest. Just a priest. But he had been so sure. The priest knew his name after all. Mark reached over to search the corpse, certain he knew what he would find. He took from one of the priest’s pockets the engagement ring that had previously been embedded in his left thigh. He turned it over, and between the moon and candlelight he was able to make out an inscription that bore his and Mike’s names. He hadn’t noticed it earlier. The priest must have picked it up off the floor while Mark was still searching the vestry for a weapon. It was pretty logical to guess that Mark was the owner of the ring once he had told the priest about Mike.

He swallowed vomit again. He was still hours from sunrise, when surely someone would come looking for him or the priest, and somewhere outside that door was a demon looking to kill him, for whatever reason. He suspected that was just what they did. Mark felt exhausted. He had just murdered the one person who could help protect him, and he wasn’t sure a candlestick would be all that effective against a beast of the underworld. At least he was still in the cathedral. His theory that churches would be impenetrable for something like a demon remained intact, and as a further precaution he had barred the doors with a pretty sturdy cross. Maybe he could make it to daybreak. Maybe he could survive.

Suddenly the remaining candle went out. A gust of wind hit the door with force, and it began rattling violently. Something was trying to get in. Mark heard a low, guttural, evil laugh. He could have swore the laugh came from right next to him.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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