The coroner's assistant slid the drawer open and stepped aside. The Father shivered in the chilly air and moved forward. His expression was blank as he gazed upon the bullet-riddled corpse before him. His eyes smoldered as he made the sign of the cross over the body. Even in death, the face of the dead man held a look of agonized terror. He faced the attendant stiffly.
"So, you know this guy or what?" The man was young and stood with impatient boredom waiting for an answer from the priest. Dealing with the dead daily, he had no notion of the implications of what his drawer held. All death was the same for him, just another day at the office.
The Father pierced him with a look of barely masked contempt. The attendant shifted uneasily and closed the drawer. "No, this is not the man I thought it was. I'm sorry to have troubled you." The priest held the younger man's eyes for a moment, challenging him to question his reply. When the man pulled his gaze away and studied the floor, the Father's mouth twitched in a hidden smile. 'Weakness' he thought as he turned away.
He considered the dead man as he drove back to his church. 'No, not the man I thought he was. Weak fool...' Still, he had gained something from the seeker's efforts. What should he do with the knowledge? His anger rose up within him, begging for the release of long-held vengeance. He wrapped the vice of his will around it and summoned his patience. 'Soon, soon...' he told himself, 'but not yet, not until the victory is guaranteed.'
Back in the rectory, his eyes fell upon a heavily wrought cross that hung near the door. He reached up and stroked it almost tenderly. The action clashed violently with the murderous hatred that flashed over his face. He knew he should call on the Order, share his information on the demons. They would send others to help him. He sneered. "No!," he spat through clenched teeth. He held the hope of his victory in a greedy grip, guarded it as jealously as a husband watched over his wife. He would not fail her so again...
©Sonja Torres 1997