Innocence

Father Matias cupped a freshly lit candle with his hand as he mouthed a litany. His eyes were dimly grey and full of troubled thoughts, his movements earnest, almost desperate. He placed the candle on the desk before him and sat down in his darkened office. He often did this after he was done; this was his ritual that was his personal means of banishing the shame of his actions. The darkness was a comfort; the light always carried with it the silent evidence of an onlooker, wordlessly scribbling in a thick book each deed. This was his hiding place. Father Matias unlocked the center drawer and removed a small thick, leather bound book. It had the appearance of a Bible, but it held instead his thoughts and recollections, specifically, those of a more peculiar nature. He undid the small brass clasp and flipped through the red crusted pages to a blank pair, and used a metal clip affixed to the binding to hold the position. From his pants pocket he brought forth a small vile of crimson, with which he would record the climax of previous evening, as he always did on the special days following his notable accomplishments. He began with a simple statement of fact. “It was bloody.” Detective Holland had only had to meet people of his personal acquaintance with professional concerns a handful of times. He has always made a point of ensuring his neutrality when business mixed with pleasure. This time however he was unsure that would be possible. Today he would be confronting the father of his own parish regarding the rape and murder of a small boy that had occurred only 3 days previous. Physical evidence was uncertain but indicated the priest’s involvement. Holland did not believe the man capable of such an action but deigned to be the one who would investigate the matter anyways. As he walked up the steps to the large basalt doors reflected on the many sacrifices and donations of time and money that the older man had conferred upon the community over the years. Ever since Holland could remember the priest had been an upstanding citizen, though not the most godly man. Surprising as it may be given his position, Father matias belonged to a rather liberal school of catholic dogma, one that was ever-present in this urban environment wherever Catholic scholars congregated. Holland strode into the nearly empty chapel, the clicking of his shoes singing around the vaulted corridor. Father matias turned from where he stood near the front instructing two choir boy , and motioned Holland forward. “Hello Donald, how can I be of service to you my son?” The priest piously intoned, dismissing the two pupils with a nod and a glance. Holland grimly lowered his gaze and began by informing the priest of the department’s suspicions. “You have been linked to a crime father. I’m going to have to ask you some questions.” “Me?” replied the priest, struggling beneath his robes and contorting his face into a passive look of displeasure. “Well, I suppose we should be seated then, although I’ll have you know that your demeanor disturbs me/” The old man said, sitting on the first pew and signaling and invitation with a gesture. Holland remained standing; his partner stepped through the front door and made his way towards the pair. “Father I will refer to you by your given name for the duration of this and any subsequent interview.” Holland said matter of fatly. His fellow officer took a seat in the second pew from the front, diagonal the priest, and withdrew a small notebook from his jacket pocket. “Matias, where were you on the night of blah de blah blah?”  “Three days ago? Well I was here-… oh you don’t mean-“ “Can someone confirm that you were here from x to y?” “Officer,” “detective.” “Yes of course; detective, this wouldn’t have anything to do with the death of that young man would it?” Holland frowned. “ What?” “Well the family has been here recently. I have been making efforts to console them regarding this recent tragedy. You are not implying that I had anything to do with his murder-“ “I am imply nothing Fath-… Matias. I only need to know if someone can confirm your whereabouts that evening.” “Well yes I am sure someone can. I was instructing a few of the new boys earlier, but was alone before and prior to the time in question. At least I think I was, what exactly do you mean by x to y?” “I mean x to y. PM. What is there to be confused about?” “Well, for one thing those are letters and not numbers, and time is well… you know, typically told in numbers?” The old priest had a worried expression on his face, not one that inspired suspicion but one that spelled confusion. Holland had seen it before, back in Vietnam… back when the pajama men were coming for them, and his buddy had looked up and screamed at the sight of their allies above. Holland didn’t understand his friend’s bewilderment. What was so bizarre about flying war hippos? They had been used as far back as the Spanish American war. Apparently 4 finger Fred hadn’t read his field manual, or his American history text book for that matter. … Uh anyways what am I writing about again? ///

Oh yes of course. Forget all that stuff about the time and skip forward a few conversations.

Father Matias smiled as his swiped through the rosary beads.  He was waiting in his office, waiting for the detective that had so foolishly dug too deep into the mystery before him. He had survived the cultists and unnatural gales that had peppered the city for the last several days, but soon he would be ended. Soon, they would all be swimming to their deaths, each and every unchanged man. Holland knocked on the door. “Come in.” Matais said with a wet piggish glee. “I have been acquitted detective? Or has the department found more pressing concerns amidst the bizarre weather we have witnessed as of late?” Holland nodded. “Both are true, the latter more so I am afraid. I am so sorry to have put you through this father.” “Father… yes it is good to hear that from your lips my son.” The priest turned about in his chair and retired something from the window sill behind his desk. “Throughout all of these false acquisitions-“ Matias’s lips squelched and clicked, his smile glinting in the candle light. He rolled the object around in his hand and turned back to the detective with a nonchalant expression masking his intent, “I have been aware of your noble intentions. I appreciate the sentiment but you were doing only what was necessary my son.” “Yes of course father. “ Holland glanced into the priest’s cupped palm but said nothing. “Curious are we?” said the priest. “Sorry?” “Would you like to see what I am holding my son?” His face grew mischievous and Holland was suddenly filled with a vile sense of unease. “Father?” “Yes Donovin. I AM YOUR FATHER.” With that the priest sprang up onto the window sill behind him. Graceful as a cobra, he let the silver sliver slide into his iron grip, and slid his thumb across the hilt of what was suddenly a solid bean of red light. A dazzling shaft of red that showered the room in crimson. Holland had known this day would come, and was ready. He pulled out the anti-material rifle that he always had concealed in his pants leg, and in a twisting dive from his seat, 360 no-scoped the evil bastard. The shot did not connect. “YOU THINK YOU CAN STOP ME?” Said the maleficent space wizard, collar bursting from around his neck. “HIGHLY ACCELERATED METAL CANNOT STOP THE SEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” It was at that moment that Holland recognized that the priest had not been a man, but was all this time a 23 foot long killer whale, angrily squeaking in its porpoise voice, spewing water from its blow hole. The porpoise space wizard cultist rushed at Holland with his bristling blade swinging in a flaying motion, and Holland felt the red burn clean through his sternum and then shear his head clean off. In his last moments of conscious observation, he saw the priest-whale impossibly lift his discarded head to eye level in its little dorsal flipper, and heard it religiously whisper: “squeak squeak squeaaaaak. Squeak…. S Q U E A K.” He wasn’t sure what it meant, but it sounded pretty damn profound.

The end.

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