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His Panic Was Peeling Back


Slowly rising from a darkness, the basement's door gave way to fresh air. He whipped around, scared and ready to fight for life if he had to as he slowly exhaled the air he held for what seemed like an eternity. Taking another deep breath and exhaling slowly seemed to have calmed him a little. His nerves were still tight, but all the demons that attacked his inner demons seemed to have passed.

Picking up speed and knocking some garbage cans over put him on the right direction. He wanted out of the church's gate and he was heading for exactly that. Fear and horror still in tow, following him like a gambler's bad luck streak.

If God was really watching, he wanted to stop and get a few things off his chest. He wanted to tell God about the horrors that stain the human heart. How fear can attack anyone without warning and hatred could steal futures. His panic was peeling back like the layers of an onion. There was nothing he could have done about that, but to remain a witness. his stomach was a ball of turmoil and every ounce of dread was eating him up.

He started picking up the pace toward the gate and it was slowly getting darker. The sun was out, but that didn't stop the night from closing in around him. He passed the same gate several times and he was still on church property. He stood motionless for a few seconds before inching away from that very same gate.

Once he passed it for the fifth time he started running as fast as his feet would allow. He just wanted to be further down the trail and as far as he could from the gate.

The gate was coming again and he couldn't believe it. There was something going on and he knew it was just fucking with him. He put his head down and started running back to the church. He stumbled into a clearing and his thoughts drifted for a moment. He looked up at the church and saw a shroud of spirits walking toward the door. The church itself looked dead and hollow. The more he stared at the building it took on a devilish face feature. The windows became haunting eyes, the door became an evil grin with rotten canine teeth dangling for dear stability.

He stood up and his bones felt heavy as they tried to pull away from his skin. He stared at the twisted demon face ignoring the rising panic that enveloped him.

“What is this place?” he shouted. “Where am I?”

Nothing answered.

“Why am I seeing this?”

There was still no answer.

He had no choice but to walk toward the church's front door. Even though it looked like a mouth, he just had to ignore that fact. He wanted to get to the bottom of that haunt. If he was dead, he wanted to know why and how. The answers he wanted had to come from the church.

He stood in front of the church door and closed his eyes for a few moments. It was as if he wanted to gain inner strength. Perhaps find some courage in his soul.

The horror and dark memories of the last time he stood at the door came rushing back. It taunted with him as he screamed as loud as he could. The scream echoed off the emptiness inside and attacked him like hungry mosquitoes. He stumbled forward until he passed the threshold. He gathered himself and stood still for a moment, reflecting, remembering.

There was an old woman standing near the coat closet. His eyes had to adjust in the dimness. It had to settle itself in the gloom and he knew that was going to be a task.

He stood there in silence, the horror that took place in that church invaded his soul. He murdered several people there in the basement. It all came rushing back. The sadness, the cries and the begging for mercy. It was all coming back to him slowly.

He saw the old woman kneeling and begging for her life. Her unanswered plea scrambled to the floor with pints of blood that shot out of her torso. He sensed the lack of pity drain into a pit of sadness.

Joy slowly filled his heart as the horror and gloom tightened around him. He welcomed the smothering sensation. The pain he inflicted on the weak.

Father Murphy. He was Father Murphy.

He had murdered so many and for so long until he had to stop. It wasn't certainly out of guilt. They were on to him and he couldn't drag the church through a media frenzy.

Death, he was familiar with it, it was like family to him. Father Murphy felt the gun pressed against his temple. An inviting coldness pressed against his skull. Words from some angel or demon filled his head. It made him stop caring, stop feeling and accept the suicide. Pulling the trigger would be another way to strike back at God.


© 2017 Frank Atanacio

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