Subcutaneous Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 46

consolidation cash could afford as he walked past Mary. Lush velvet curtains framed every entryway and door within sight, hand-carved mahogany trimmed every angle, marble statues on marble tables on marble floors. He would never understand why people valued such useless threads, trees, and rocks. He bemusedly shook his head at the thought. “Human materialism, always good for business,” he murmured under his breath with a hint of a grin tugging at his lips. Anxiety poked at the edges of Mary’s consciousness as she watched Father Nicholas silently scrutinize her home. She closed the door, never taking her eyes off the priest standing in her foyer. He mumbled something she couldn’t hear and her unease began to swell. His eyes abruptly swung in her direction and the feeling abated instantly. He forgot how... persuasive he could be when he wasn’t careful. The potent scent of seared meat had nearly overcome him again. Nicholas’s gaze locked with Mary’s and she visibly relaxed. “Um...she’s...Amy, my daughter... upstairs,” she stammered, transfixed by the Father. He couldn’t help but take pleasure in this little rabbit that he didn’t often get the chance to pull out of his hat. He detected the heat beginning to rise to the surface of her skin as her heart fluttered just a bit harder; he could hear her mouth getting dryer as she stumbled over her words. Her confusion rolled over him and he snickered, breaking eye contact. He allowed her to get a hold of her faculties before resuming his business. “Upstairs you say?” he spoke, allowing the words to drape her like silk. Mary’s head was a tangle of emotions and muddled thoughts. Her body was reacting to Father Nicholas in ways she hadn’t experienced since meeting Joe years ago. His eyes were a dangerous sort of black, the kind that could consume you. The urge to touch his olive skin overcame her. She longed to run her hands through his tousled blackberry tendrils. He was so much younger and more attractive than she had imagined when listening to the soothing tone of his voice on the phone. Then it was gone. What was she doing? She shamefully looked away from him, like a child who was caught with her hand in the cookie jar. His voice melted over her, coaxing her away from her reverie. “Uh-huh,” she heard herself reply, then led the way up the winding staircase to Amy’s bedroom, all the while steeling herself for what was to come. They stopped at Amy’s door. Father Nicholas stood patiently gazing at the broken knob as Mary figured out how to proceed. She finally turned to Nicholas. “I know you’re used to things like this, I guess,” Mary began. “But... I’m not. Prior to last night I was an atheist.” Father Nicholas did not react. She continued, “I don’t know what happened, not for sure. What I do know is that my daughter is not my daughter anymore. So, if I have to believe in God to save her, I will.” Nicholas’s eyes rose to meet hers and she felt that tangle once more. “It’s not God you should believe in right now, my dear.” He pushed past her and opened the door. The room was a scorched shell of where happiness once lived. Every inch of every surface was covered in the residue of demolished joy. Something died here, burnt alive. The scent was intoxicating. The only untouched item was the young girl’s bed where Amy sat, the spitting image of her mother, grinning, waiting. “Hello, Father. What a pleasant surprise.” “Greetings, pretty one,” he said, unable to stifle his own smirk. “It looks like you’ve made a mess of things here, Amy. You want to tell me about it?” “Of course, Father. It all started when I was but a little sperm in my daddy’s nutsack,” Amy said, cackling uncontrollably. Her vulgarity startled the girl’s mother. Father Nicholas calmly walked to the edge of the bed and sat his bag down next to the crude child. “What else?” he asked, unflinchingly. Amy’s mirth ended precipitously. Her eyes glowed a deep red, like smoldering charcoal. He could feel the incalescence emanating from the core of her as the ire started to bubble. She growled. “Are you ready to put on a show...Old...Nick?” He opened the bag. Father Nicholas lovingly withdrew the surplice and stole. “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” he recited, letting the soft linens caress him as he donned them over his cassock. Mary stood, fixed to her spot in the doorway, paralyzed by the scene unfolding in front of her. She could feel a familiar warmth filling the room. “Please stop,” she whispered shakily, alarm creeping in. “She’s getting upset.” Panic began to flower as a wave of calidity forced itself upon her. Her terror was inexorable. “I know, Mary,” Father Nicholas sighed. “That’s what I want.” Calefaction rolled off the girl like tsunami surges. Father Nicholas pulled out his crucifixes one by one, kissing each and saying a prayer before placing them in a circle on the bed surrounding Amy. An ominous laugh escaped her throat. “Oh, Father. Crosses? Seriously?” The laughter burgeoned, filling the house ݥѠՐՙ́ѡЁ͡)ѡչѥq =9eԁѕȁѡѡлtMиѡȁ9́ѡ)ՍЁѡЁѡѡȸQɽɥѽѡȁ́éͥȁ($+qAѥtѡȁ9́ݕѱ)́Ʌ́݅ѕȸqQ͡܁ͻeЁٕ)ոt!չ͍ɕݥѡѽ($)5éЁЁȁЁ́݅͡э)ݡЁиѡȁ9́Ʌ͕ѡͬ)ѡȰՅٕ͡)ɐɔ!ȁѼѡɅ͠ݥ丁5)͍ɕ́͡ѕѼȁ՝ѕˊéͭɕхєݥѠٕ䁅хɅ锁Սݡ͡)ɍ丁Qѡȁѡݥɵ) ѡɽ͕Ѽ٥ͥեٕȁݥѠ́ɔ)ɕ͕ ݥɔձȁɅ͕̰ѡ)չѡѕ́ѡͬݸ쁡݅ѕȁɅ)éɥѡ丁Mѕɽ͔ѡ)ЁЁչѡ݅ѡЁ͕ٕݥܰ)ɽȁ́ѡ͔Ѽ͡ѕȸ ٕɥ)̰ɍ5éɅѽ)͕͡չ̸͍((0