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Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned.
From the heavens, clouds wept over the tragedies of a not so distant future. Their tears fell a thousand feet, landing gently on the streets of Liverpool, Texas where ever-racing cars rushed through. A small town with a population of nearly 500 and the destination of a 32-year-old white male. Middle of December. He laid his head upon the window of the cab, his hands tucked in his armpits. The chattering of his teeth filled the awkward silence between him and the driver. Black eyes, pale face, dark brown hair hanging over his forehead almost covering his eyes. His short beard, his thin lips letting escape breaths of despair. All part of a beautiful portrait of “The Perfect Man”. How then was it possible that upon one’s eyes his anatomy reflected imperfection? A once flawless man psychotically turned into a broken one, he seemed. Next to him, a black lab slept, dreaming what only a dog could dream.
Upon arriving at what appeared to be the smallest town in Texas, He stepped out into the freezing rain. Like needles, raindrops fell onto his head, his shoulders, his face, his back. His expensive coat ruined. His hair dripping drops of cold water down his straight face. Suitcase in hand, he stepped onto the broken sidewalk with heavy feet. His empty eyes followed the cab as it got lost in the darkness of the night. Sighing every other minute, he wandered through the dreary streets of Liverpool. His dog followed quietly behind.
“Diner”. Five neon letters over a small restaurant broke the darkness. Through the window: empty tables, empty chairs, and employees with empty countenances. As a fox would enter a chicken house in the middle of the day, our traveler sneaked cautiously into the building, leaving his pet outside afraid its stink would attract unwanted criticism. A warm rush of air hit him hard. Shaking his head, setting his suitcase on the nearest table, he sat. Tired. Exhausted.
A young waitress approached him, her ordinary hair resting on her ordinary shoulders. An ordinary uniform with an ordinary name tag that read an ordinary name: Laura. Ordinary lips showing an ordinary smile. Ordinary eyes. Ordinary skin. Ordinary nose. Ordinary. Ordinary. Ordinary. “What can I get you?” she spoke, interrupting his surely suicidal thoughts. Looking up at her, a dagger was stabbed into his heart. Blood now gushing out of him, staining the table in front of him. His muscles were ripped apart. His chest burst into flames. His skin torn off of his being.
“Sir?” she spoke again. An ordinary voice heard as an angel’s song through his ears. He came back to earth, nervously searching for words he couldn’t find.
Finally, his lips released, “A cup of coffee”. His voice noticeably one he barely practiced. “Uh please” he added with a shy smile. Away she flew, his angel. Away but surely to return.
He found it close to impossible to stay calm. To remain seemingly normal. In his eyes, the flame of his aching past could be easily seen.
Ah, she was back. She placed the coffee in front of him, the heat rising up and caressing his face.
“Care to join me?”, the words unwillingly slipping out of his mouth accompanied by his mild British accent. She obeyed like a frightened puppy. Yet, she did not seem frightened at all. His layers and layers of imperfection separated them, but she seemed to not notice.
Words flew back and forth between them for an hour. A few smiles. A couple laughs. No serious topics. No deep conversations. He enjoyed himself and for a moment almost managed to take his sins and regrets off his mind.
“The clouds, upset, they cried on this town upon my arrival. I was never one to be well received. Now that the sky is clear and it’s nearly morning, I must begin to look for a place to stay. How much is it? The coffee, I mean”, he uttered between sighs. As he reached into his pocket for money, she cleared the table and hurried for the check. As he opened his wallet, a picture fell out. He froze. Gulped. Looked over at the waitress. Looked down at the picture. Pain, regret, fear, anger, depression, rage. His emotions stirred a hurricane in him.
A black and white wallet-size picture. A woman, a man, a child. A happy family. Hard to tell, but the man was him. The woman his wife. The child his son. A powerful picture that pulls him back to his dark past. To the nights he spent researching a way to earn money fast, when selling drugs just wouldn’t do. To the book he found on Theistic Satanism. To the day he foolishly sold his soul to Satan. To the piles and piles of money falling on his lap. To the many women. To the fancy cars. And then to the young girl he met while visiting Rome. To her eyes. To her lips. To the warmth of her skin. To the taste of her kiss. To the night they said “I love you”. To the night she said “I’m pregnant”. To the night he converted to Christianity to marry her. After that only to tragedy. Only to arguments and tears. To gambling problems. To debt. To infidelity. To domestic violence. To the night everything came crushing down on their happy little family.
The police arrived by a neighbor’s call to find the bodies of his wife and son lifeless in the living room. Anthony stood shaking against the blood-stained wall. Handcuffs in hand, the officers approached him. He yelled frantically “IT WASN’T ME”, but only a fool would believe such a lie. Without any other option, Anthony was forced to run through the back door of the house, rushing into the near woods. Police sirens echoed in the distance. His feet carried him faster and faster, deeper and deeper into the woods. Branches, leaves, all hit his face as he came tumbling down, exhausted. Covered in dirt, he laid there, awaiting the police to come take him away. Panting, with a heart-beat racing nearly breaking through his shirt, he waited. Nothing.
A twig snapped. He turned, afraid, to find only a dog. A dog this far in the woods? Its black fur in the darkness made it difficult for Anthony to determine what breed it was. He stood up, struggling, still exhausted. It came closer, resting its head on his lap. Warmth was radiating off of him on such a cold night. Anthony simply cuddled with him. That night, he decided to leave the country.
Now, at the other side of the world, he looked across the diner to the ordinary waitress who was now walking back, check in hand. Tearing up the photograph, he smiled a fake smile, and took out a few American dollars and handed them to her.
The door opened. A grey-haired, overweight man walked in.
“My, my… I’ve not seen you around these streets, boy”, he exclaimed in the most cheerful voice as soon as he saw Anthony. “Why, you got a name, son?” he smiled a far too happy smile.
“Adam Parker”, he lied, as he got up from the table and winked the waitress goodbye.
“Ain’t that a perty name? I am the priest of this here village. Quite a delight, once the sun wakes up. Shame the rain caught you as you arrived”, he kept smiling, analyzing the suitcase next to the table.
“The rain is what brought me here, sir”, Anthony joked, but stayed monotone. Chuckles came from the man in front of him. After less than two minutes of chatting the conversation ended and Anthony was on his way to a motel.
His bony feet pressed on the hard concrete. The concrete of a bridge. He balanced himself and closed his eyes. “You can do this”, he muttered to himself, shaking in fear. Sweat rolled down his forehead. Tears down his cheeks. Wind blew through his messy blonde hair. His hands clutched to a pole. His pores screamed in anxiety. Below him, a river rushing faster than ever due to recent rain. It was deep. It was deadly. He knew that once he jumped, there was no way back. He gulped and forced himself to think of reasons why this was a good idea.
Suddenly, a sharp sound caught his attention. Similar to the sound of two knives dancing with each other. The sound was ever so close. Ever so loud. Footsteps! Heartbeats! Screaming voices! All getting closer. All getting louder. Racing shadows behind the terrified man. He turned, not a clue what we would find. On his left, Liverpool, Texas. On his right, the woods. He saw how a tall figure came out of the darkness. Different. Dark. An eerie smile spread across its face. Fear struck him, rushing through his veins. He didn’t hesitate. Jumping onto the bridge and racing back to the village was his plan. Barefoot, pain rushed from his feet to his head as he stepped on the uneven ground. Panting. Crying. Screaming for help. The man ran as hard as his legs would allow him. Afraid to look back, he maintained his eyes forward.
He could hear footsteps catching up to him. He could feel heavy breaths turning into maniacal laughs not far behind. “OH MY GOD! I AM GOING TO DIE! I AM GOING TO F***ING DIE!” the only thoughts in his head. PAIN! Oh, pain struck his right foot. As if caught in a bear trap, he wept. Closing his eyes, his hands in fists, looking down expecting a broken foot and a puddle of blood. Alas! It was a not a bear trap, but a hand. A hand with long pale fingers attached to sharp yellow nails scratching at his leg. PAIN! Oh, his other foot. Yet another pale hand. As thin as bone. As white as snow. As cold as ice. It burned his skin. Before he had the courage to look up at the owner of these hands, he was pulled away. Pulled closer and closer into the darkness. His face scraped the rough ground, cutting his skin and revealing flesh. His hands frantically searched for something to hold on to. His voice died out from so many useless screams. His tears ran out from so much wailing. And just like that, he was lost in the darkness of the woods.
Wagging tail and happy eyes, the dog rushes out the door with Anthony, who has just received a call from the mayor. “Laura tells me you’re a math teacher, yes? Well oddly, the math teacher at our high school has gone missing, I’m sure you’ve heard. It’s been a week. That poor fellow.” The mayor went on and on until finally ever so politely asking Anthony to be a substitute for at least a week. He couldn’t say no. A normal person would say yes. And that was what he was trying to seem. Normal. If only he’d come up with a better lie. An accountant maybe, but why a bloody math teacher?!
He made his way across the street, dog at his side, to Liverpool High School where he would pretend to know enough math to teach it. He was late. The hallways were empty. Leaving his dog outside, he scanned the classrooms through their small windows. Not many students. Not many teachers. After a short and too friendly conversation with the principal he was led to his classroom.
Three rows of desks faced him. All half full. Or half empty? He cleared his throat and introduced himself as Mr.Parker, a math substitute. As the day went on, no one seemed to ever pay attention, to his delight. His dark intense eyes intimidated the students. Their solution: to ignore his existence.
In the front row a beautiful young girl by the name of Rose sat drawing hearts and cursive letters on her notebook. Behind her, Erick, the oldest student in the class. They passed letters back and forth as Anthony observed very amused. They were oh so very different. She, a junior, a straight A student who went to church every Sunday. He, a senior, failing every class, who spent his afternoons attempting to steal cars and smoking weed.
The bell rung, awakening half the class. As if the building was catching on fire, they rushed out of the classroom, leaving Anthony with his dark secret thoughts. Through the window pointing at the woods he spotted Eric and Rose walking. Into the woods? After the disappearance of their teacher? Don’t they learn?
“C’mon, baby”, he whispered in her ear, making her giggle. Their fingers tangled together, their bodies pressed against each other in the depths of the mysterious woods. His blond hair matching hers. Their eyes locked on each other. Their lips tantalizing each other. Their heart synchronized. Just a couple of teenagers in love.
In the distance, a twig snapping. A man laughing. Footsteps approaching the young students. Heavy breaths interrupting their whispers. “What was that?!” she gasped as she caught a shadow lurking behind her boyfriend. He turned. Nothing. “I swear I – ”, unable to finish her sentence, she froze. Her eyes went blank in fear. Her body trembled uncontrollably. Blood dripping from her nose.
“ROSE! Wh-what’s going on?!”, Erick stepped back, disgusted. PAIN! He felt as though a spear had pierced through his chest, breaking apart his soul. His organs in flames. His bones shattered. He cried for help. He cried of the pain to stop, but it only got worse. A claw got hold of his head, its nails penetrating the skin on his forehead. “STOP! PLEASE STOP!”, he wept. The claw got tighter around his head. His eyes began to bleed like two ever growing rivers, drowning him in his own blood. The claw then turned into a fist, crushing his skull and ending his life.
Rose stood terrified, still in shock. The figure in front of her smiled, showing its teeth so white that they reflected her horrified countenance. PAIN! PAIN! PAIN! Blood on the trees, skin on the branches, hair on the ground, organs all around. Two destroyed bodies. Their blood mixed together. His skin as torn apart as hers. His life as lost as hers. Their souls absently synchronized. Just a couple of teenagers in love.
Sunday morning, Anthony finds himself in the town’s church next to Laura, the waitress and in front of two police officers who don’t seem to keep quiet. The priest is in the front giving a sermon on following the Lord’s path and avoiding Satan. Typical.
Anthony, with a mind somewhere far away, is brought back by a conversation behind him. “We was out looking in them woods for that math teacher”, an officer loudly whispers. Anthony listens attentively now. Nervous. “We ain’t got no damn luck. But I swear on my daddy’s grave when I tell ya this: we found the bodies of two of them teenagers. Completely destroyed. I ain’t kiddin’. Blood, skin, hair, all over the damn place. Somethin’ out there. We gone find it”, he muttered far too confidently.
“Any ideas?”, the other said in a normal voice. Silence. “I got a bad feelin ‘bout this here new kid. The moment he appears, bad s*** start goin’ down. Hell, I bet ya 20 bucks he ain’t no good”, Anthony got waves of anxiety crashing in his insides has he heard this.
“20 bucks? How ‘bout yo sister?”, the first officer joked, letting Anthony know the seriousness of the conversation was over, settling his uneasiness.
The mass was over and Anthony was expected to accompany Laura to her house. He couldn’t move. His fear of his sins being revealed were too much. “I’ll meet you there, yes?” he asked, trying to sound innocent. Laura smiled, but disappointedly agreed.
After the church was vacant, except for Anthony and the priest, he got up rapidly and rushed up to him.
“Why, Adam! May I help you?” He asked, smiling that stupid happy smile of his.
“I must confess, I’ve sinned an awful lot. I’ve sinned so much, I cannot think. I cannot sleep. I’ve sinned in ways I didn’t know I could sin. I carry, everywhere I go, a heavy load. My sins. They weigh a million tons and I drag them through the empty streets of my life. I am exhausted of feeling trapped in my own mistakes.” Anthony let down the walls he’d put up the moment he’d arrived and quietly wept. The priest was silent. Thoughts rushing through his brain, aching him. Filled with regret and sham, Anthony decides it’s best to leave. So he does, each step he takes heavier than the last.
Outside of the cathedral, his dog patiently waits in the sun.
“Are you sure?”, a sharp voice asked through the phone. The head of the police. A middle aged man with almost no hair.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure. That Adam kid. He’s the one that’s been killing all these folks.” Another voice responded nervously. It was odd hearing the voice anxious and not cheerful. After a couple of minutes of conversation in which the officer explained their lack of proof to arrest Mr. Parker, the priest hung up the phone and decided to go home before more trouble came up. He was just outside the church when he heard it. A laughing sound. A familiar chuckle.
A rush of air blew, making him shiver. And then a loud roaring sound. Different than any sound known to man. The priest, pretending to ignore it, keeps walking on his way home in the dark. More and more sinister noises echoed through the empty streets. And one by one the street lamps began to burn out, leaving the priest submerged in a blanket of complete darkness.
Suddenly the moon comes from its hiding home of clouds and shines a light down at him. He’s not alone. In front of him stands a man with a face he’d thought he’d never see again. Its eyes burn into his soul, catching his insides on fire. Pain.
Monday morning, the small town of Liverpool, Texas, awakens to a horrible sight. Just outside their beloved church, people crowd around and gasp in horror and disgust. Policemen make their way in, observing the crime with one clear suspect in mind.
It is there, on the church doors, where the kind cheerful priest hangs, legs up and arms separated, forming the symbol of the Antichrist, with blood dripping from his body.
The head of police stares, horrified. “Chief! We got somethin’ on that Adam kid!” An officer exclaims as he makes his way through the crowd to get to him. “Turns out he’s on the Most Wanted list in one of them European countries. His name ain’t even Adam. It’s Anthony”
“That son of a b****”, The chief enraged, hollered.
As policemen rushed through the streets in search of Anthony, he laid peacefully in bed with Laura. She rested her head on his chest and listened to his almost absent heartbeat. The dog, asleep, at their feet.
Police sirens echoed through Liverpool, something rare. Everyone poked their head out the window with fearful curiosity.
Anthony silently walked out of the bedroom and into the bathroom to wash up.
“COME ONE! STEP ON IT, DAMN IT!” The chief cried, afraid of arriving too late.
As quietly as possible he opened the bathroom door and stepped back in with Laura. He turned to see her and froze, an overwhelming burning feeling grew inside of him, impossible to control.
The police broke down the door. Rushing upstairs, they found Laura’s lifeless body on the bed. Blood everywhere. Anthony, already halfway out of the window, jumped and landed harshly on the ground. Like before, fled from the law and into the woods, crossing the near bridge.
He ran, almost flew, through the trees and bushes. Tears rolling down his face, his arms pushing branches aside while also receiving scratches, his bare feet skipping over rocks and twigs.
Finally, he stopped. Surprised at how he could’ve gotten away from the police a second time, he looked back and waited for anyone to appear. A rustling of leaves could be heard. And then, his dog appeared. Had he run all the way here?
“He has no need to”, two voices said. One deeper than the other. Frightened, Anthony turned to find where this sound was coming from. It was the man in the “MISSING” posters around town. The math teacher. “Your dog. He’s no ordinary dog, is he, Anthony?”
Anthony turned to see his dog, which had surprisingly vanished. “What the hell is going on?”, he asked nearly crying.
“Do you not remember? We’re old friends.” He looked down at himself, “I am simply in a different body. A borrowed body. You see, Alex, a depressed math teacher was planning on committing suicide the night you arrived. As I was in town, I simply decided to borrow his body, as he obviously was not enjoying it” he smiled.
“Who are you?! What do you mean you were in town?”, Anthony felt like fainting.
“Oh, I’ve been called by many names. Abaddon, Angel of Light, Roaring Lion, Lucifer, Satan… And well, I am here, of course, because you’ve brought me”, the voices laughed at Anthony.
“I BROUGHT you?! I’ve not talked to you in ages, when I first worshiped you. That is my past. The one I’ve been trying so hard to let go of” Anthony spit out the words in anger.
“You made a deal with me, Anthony. You worship me; you give me your soul. I give you happiness and money. You think winning all that money and meeting that young girl in Rome was merely good luck?! You have a deal with me. The moment you converted to Christianity, you broke your part of the deal. Well, now I am forced to rid you of any happiness. Wherever you go, I shall go too, simply to cease any goodness in your life. I travel with you through your selfish actions. Through your dark thoughts and wicked desires. See that dog you love so terribly much? That’s me too. You cannot escape from me, Anthony.” The math teacher pulled a gun out of his back, pointed it to his head and pulled the trigger with no hesitation. The loud sound of the pistol was not was astonished Anthony. It was the visible soul of Satan escaping the now dead body and becoming its own.
Staring into Anthony’s eyes stood a tall familiar man. Black suit. Pale skin. Sharp teeth. Eyes reflecting the flames in hell. An old friend. A new enemy. His simple presence could drive away your sanity. His voice could echo infintely in your head. His perversed smile could kill every cell in your body. His laugh, oh his demonical laugh, could cease your existance, stealing away your soul.“You’ve killed my family. You killed my wife, my child and now Laura. Worst thing is: you make it seem as if it were my sin. I won’t carry your sins on my back anymore. I will not be part of your demented game. I am sick and done with you” Anthony watched Satan walk away with a wicked smile on his face. He took the gun from the ground, aimed at his enemy and pulled the trigger. BANG. Satan simply kept walking, his laugh disappearing in the darkness with his figure.
On the ground he sat, weeping, sobbing, placing the gun on his temple. Anthony shook his head and began to pray his last prayer. There was no reason for him to keep living, if his life would only be one of misery. No point in meeting people or falling in love, if they would all end up dead. He held back his tears. He felt the hatred in his veins and let it ooze out from his pores. He held his breath. He closed his eyes. Whispered “Forgive me Father for I have sinned” And finally pulled the trigger.