This is the tale of seven churches: separate from one another but tied together by a mystery woman, disguised as a nun, and the events that would later occur.
Part 1. Paris
“The people have complained about their donations. They say we are not putting them to good use,” Father Thomas spoke in his falsified voice of wisdom.
“Nonsense. What we do is for the-“ What Father Adrienne was about to say was that they collected donations to help the people; a lie most likely, just as everything else about his ‘charitable’ career. But what stopped the two men in their tracks was something they could not explain.
A woman they had never seen before in the church, or town, was gliding towards them. She wasn’t gliding in a regal way, but in a way that made them feel like death was following her. She wore Nun’s clothing, so all the two men could see was her blackened eyes and sunken cheekbones.
She looked like death itself.
“You two boys have been very bad,” she boomed at them.
Father Thomas and Father Adrienne’s eyes widened- this was no mortal they were dealing with.
“Let us live. We admit our sin,” Father Adrienne pleaded.
“We will never steal again,” the other Father promised.
“Lies!” The woman shouted down at them.
All three of them knew that if nothing were to be done about their extensive greed, they would not stop stealing from the people who so wholesomely look to them for heavenly guidance.
Standing in the hallway of the church, the nun seemed to flick her wrist.
As she did so, the two men struggled to breathe.
One of them coughed, and with the cough spit up a mouthful of money: cash and coins together.
The two men coughed up endless amounts of money, until they eventually suffocated in wealth.
Part 2. Cambridge
Monsignor Alan peered over the churchyard fence to his neighbor’s green gardens. The grass is always greener on the other side, he told himself as he clutched the rotting and broken shrubs of the church’s lawn.
Oh how he wished to boast beauty, rather than destruction.
Each morning as the sun rose he would look over his broken fence at the lush coi pond, picnic chairs, and blooming daisies.
Jealousy consumed him.
On a chilly November day, as the Monsignor looked over the fence at the beautiful fall colors that filled his lawn, he almost screamed as a face stared back at him.
It was the nun.
“Your envy consumes you, my dear,” She said, in a tone that sounded quite condescending.
He couldn’t argue. He had known long ago that he wasn’t happy with what he had- a broken, decaying church.
“But what do I do about it?” He asked wholeheartedly.
“I can only think of one thing. You must boast on the outside what you feel on the inside.”
The nun blinked her eyes exactly three times and vanished.
When Monsignor Alan returned to his run down church, he was startled to see himself in the mirror, and that his skin was a hideous shade of green.
He was green with envy.
He was found impaled by the fence that divided him and his neighbor two days later. It was suspected that he had thrown himself upon it out of shame.
Part 3. Moscow
The church’s Pontiff could often be found at the local whorehouse.
He lusted after the women there.
And when he walked the streets of home, he lusted after the mothers and the daughters he saw.
And at church, he lusted after the women sitting beside him in confession; the women sitting in the pews at mass.
His lust had consumed him.
One day one of those women that sat beside him in confession was the mysterious nun.
“I have done bad things,” she admitted, for it was true. “I’m going to do more bad things.”
She left the confession booth, dragged him out as well, and promptly unrobed him.
She threw him outside, his bare ass lying helplessly on the snowy ground.
And she locked the doors to the church, leaving him out in the cold Russian winter, exposed and powerless.
He was found the next morning with icicles hanging from his lifeless body.
Part 4. Florence
Another Sunday mass cancelled after Father Tucci refused to leave his bed.
All he did was sleep and lie around; it was disrupting the functioning of the church.
It wasn’t depression or sadness that kept him inside all day- it was pure laziness.
Each time the church bells of the Duomo rang, he would take his pillow and cover his ears until the sounds would stop.
He didn’t think his actions (or lack-there-of) would have consequences, and so he rarely left the security of his comforter.
But one morning when he awoke, he was startled to find a strange woman sitting in the wooden chair beside his bed. She was dressed in nun’s clothing.
“Who are you?” Father Tucci asked, not fully awake yet.
“ Who are you is the better question. Sloth! Your laziness consumes you. You can no longer run your church,” she said. Her eyes were black as night.
He sensed darkness in her, and like any good religious man would, he took his first three fingers and made a cross by touching his forehead, lower stomach, and both shoulders.
It seemed as though the nun didn’t like this. ““You spend your life doubting the existence of god, thinking that your actions mean nothing- but when the devil sits before you, you pray towards god. Blasphemous.”
She got up from her chair slowly, like that of a predator approaching its prey, and laid a second pillow over the Father. He squirmed and jolted for a few moments until he didn’t.
Now he was left to lay in eternal slumber, where his slothfulness would no longer be a burden.
Part 5. Prague
It was midday, father Krakow knew, because of the way the afternoon light filled the wide corridors of the ancient church. Columns of stone that were once lifted and placed by the forced labor of slaves had glittered in the golden rays of sunlight.
The priest loved to walk this way, and admire his handy work (sure he didn’t actually do the building, but the design and the completion was all because of him, after all).
He passed the newly installed stained glass windows. Each window depicted a scene from the first chapter of the bible. The story of creation was told on the walls in shimmering blues and reds and yellows.
“You did it again,” the priest spoke to himself. He was proud of how the church looked- it did in fact look beautiful- but paid no mind to how the church had been functioning.
In the last few months, attendance had dropped, not just on weekdays but on Sundays, too. The clergy had all left for better, more loving churches in the area.
But all the Priest could do was compliment himself and his beautiful façade of a church.
As he continued walking down the corridor, the mystery woman stood waiting.
“Your pride has engulfed you. Your church has fallen apart from the inside.”
He didn’t even know how to respond-his pride had made him blind to the corruption he had caused. He didn’t beg like those before him- he accepted his fate, but didn’t expect what the woman would do to him.
She pulled a knife from behind her back and charged toward him.
He couldn’t seem to move. It was as if his feet were bolted to the ground.
The woman severed his arms, right at the elbow. It was a perfect cut, clean at the bone.
As he lay bleeding to death on the cold, hard ground, she spoke: “foolish prideful man- now you can no longer pat yourself on the back.”
Part 6. Brazil
“LOWER YOUR VOICES,” Cardinal Francis yelled at the young joyful family.
“NO ADMITTANCE TO ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 12,” He would yell at the young boy, eager to pray but turned away by the angry man.
All Cardinal Francis did was scream and yell. The members of the church are frightened around him. They complained- oh did they complain. But it made no difference, Francis’s seniority granted him the ability to shout at anyone he pleased.
Nobody dare cross him, for fear of being shouted at. Nobody except the mysterious woman.
She cursed him in secret, she too was slightly afraid of what he could do to her. But she cursed him nonetheless.
And so it would be, the next time he yelled, the next time he got angry, that little vein on the side of his neck that always came exposed- would pop and explode, leaving him, just as she left pride, to bleed out to death.
Part 7. Madrid
Father Elzar enjoyed the food. He enjoyed the delicacies that his home country of Spain had to offer: Tapas, Paellas, and Tortillas.
On Sundays, a grand brunch always followed mass.
But the brunch was not for the members of the church, it was for him.
“No admittance inside without a gift of food,” the sign that hung outside the main entrance read.
He feasted each morning and each night, and took advantage of the churchgoers, who all believed it was their Catholic duty to bring him food to eat.
Eventually he ate so much that he could no longer fit through the doorway of the church. He couldn’t pray, couldn’t lead prayer, and couldn’t get to the food. Instead he sat outside the door, night and day, waiting for the food to be brought out to him.
The mystery woman, dressed as a nun, came to the front door one day.
“I am a peasant in the eyes of the world, but rich with thought in the eyes of god,” she had told him.
“No food, no admittance.” Father Elzar was getting annoyed, but that’s what she was hoping for.
“Oh but if you let me in, I will feed your mind with knowledge.”
He pointed to the sign.
No food. No admittance.
He turned her away. The next day she returned. And the next and the next. A week later she came back with a platter of fruit.
Father Elzar was pleased, and she was allowed entrance.
The woman watched from the window of the church as Father Elzar devoured the apples and grapes, and she watched as he fell out of his chair, foaming at the mouth. She watched as his body lay still on the ground, the poisoned fruit platter beside him.
With her final kill done, the mysterious woman shed her nun’s clothing and slithered away back into Hell.