RANKED 1st BY VOTERS IN CHARACTER CREATION CONTEST #13!
|Date||Remember That You Must Die #1||View||Read the...|
|08/06/13||The Skull Rosary||(Blog) (Forum)||Disclaimer|
The Rating is "M," but the explanation is kind of a spoiler. If you don't mind that, click below.
|M||There's nothing explicit, but this story contains scenes that deal with child molestation and teen suicide. There's also brief physical violence between adults.|
The priest shouted when I wrenched the door of the confessional open. I grabbed him by the the neck of his robes, yanked him from the compartment, and threw him roughly to the floor. “I told you I need answers!”
Father Figyuor held a shaky hand up in front of his face, and stammered, “I c-cannot tell y-you his c-confession! It’s…”
I slapped his hand away, bent down, and through the skull mask I shouted, “I don’t want his confession! I want yours! You knew what happened to my sister, and you said nothing! Nothing! Who was he? TELL ME WHO ‘UNCLE’ WAS, DAMN YOU!”
“I CAN’T!” the priest screamed in fear. “He confessed! To me! If I tell you his name, it’s as good as telling his confession! The Seal of the Confessional is inviolable! Icannot tell you! Even at pain of my own death!” The priest was breathing hard, shaking visibly, and raising his hands as far as he dared, in a weak gesture of self-protection. He looked into the unmoved face of my mask, his eyes searching for some sign of my intent.
Still in his face, I grabbed one of his wrists in one hand, and shoved my other hand into my suitcoat pocket, making him flinch. I withdrew it slowly, and put the skull rosary, my namesake, into his hand. I drew my gun and added, “Memento mori, Father: ‘Remember that you must die.’” He gasped, and I smacked him once in the face with the gun-butt. If he could see beneath the mask, he would have seen a cruel smile. Perhaps he saw it in my eyes, as I stood up.
The priest found his voice again as I walked away. “I beg you not to pursue this! Think of your immortal soul! God is watching!”
I kept walking, but called back, “God is going to do for me what he did for my sister, Father- He’s going to look the other way.”
“God is always with you, son! He never looks away!”
“Then perhaps He should start.”
A few minutes later, I slipped back into the church, and listened to a hushed phone call. His voice still shook, “Yes, this is Father Figyuor for Father Sinsovde. Please, it’s quite urgent!”
Sinsovde. Now I had a name.
Delica’s funeral was today. In the movies, it always rains at funerals. It wasn’t raining today. I wish it had, because the noise of it would have muffled my mother’s crying, and broken the awful silence otherwise.
Mama found her in the bathtub a few days ago, first thing in the morning. Her screams woke me and papa. I caught only a brief glimpse of blood before papa shoved me out of the doorway and closed the door. Mama came out moments later, clutched me to her so hard I could barely breathe for a minute, then nearly dragged me to the kitchen, where she called the MP’s. They came with the medics, who carried my sister away.
She had left my parents a note on the kitchen table, which one of the MP’s found before they did. My father read it and became enraged. My mother wailed even louder than when she found my sister’s body. In it, Delica told of the things she had been victim to, at the hands of “Uncle.” She said that she endured them in order to protect me. Me! And I had been blind to it and unaware, all this time. Why would she keep it all a secret? Why?
The medics gave mama a sedative to calm her down, and papa held her until she went to sleep. He laid her down on the sofa, then shut himself in the bathroom and scrubbed away all traces of the blood. While he was in there, I heard him sobbing. It was the only time I had ever heard my father cry.
At the wake, the priest who would perform the funeral rites for my sister found me brooding out on the front porch. When he spoke to me I turned towards him, then my hand darted out and grabbed the rosary beads hanging around his neck. He caught my wrist before I could yank them away from him, and I let go. When I told him that they looked like the ones that belonged to “Uncle,” he looked distressed, and he quickly took them from his neck and stuffed them in his pants pocket.
I asked him why my sister had to die. He took a different set of rosary beads from the pocket of his suitcoat and handed them to me. I had never seen ones like these before- they had little skulls for the beads. He called it a skull rosary, or a Memento Mori- he said it means, “Remember that you must die.” Father Figyuor gave me the beads, and told me that my sister was not meant to die like this, but eventually, we all must. He added that all we could do now was pray for her soul.
A friend of my family's used to come to the military base we lived on, where my papa was stationed. I don’t remember his name- my older sister, Delica, and I only ever called him “Uncle.” He would visit with my parents for awhile on Sundays, and always, before he left, he would offer to take me and my sister to the PX, where he would buy us candy. He could get us into the PX, even when it was closed to others.
Uncle would turn out the lights, and play hide-and-seek with us there. We would run down the aisles, grabbing candy from the shelves, while trying not to get caught. I would stuff the many pockets of my church clothes, and my sister would hold her dress up to make a bag with the folds, and drop in handfuls of candy at a time.
Delica would always get scared of the dark and cry before too long. I would always find her in the same place- sobbing hard and rocking on Uncle’s lap, candy scattered all around her. Sitting there in the floor, leaned against the ice box, he would have his arms around her, shushing her gently, and urging her not to cry. He would look at me sorrowfully, and say, “We should let her finish.” So I would go find some comics and eat some of my candy while I waited for my sister to finish crying. Sometimes, she cried for a long time.
On the way back home, Uncle would cry too, rolling his rosary beads under his thumb. Just before we would get out of the car, he would always tell us to keep our game a secret, or we wouldn’t be able to get candy anymore. He never walked us to the door- just dropped us at the curb, and drove away. My sister, tired from our game, would usually go to bed without being told, just after we got home. I would stay up a little longer, reading my comics.
We did this every Sunday, for a few years.
|Please let me know what you think, and thanks! -cb||Originally Presented In: CCC #13.|