Confession – A short story by Sheenah Freitas
As the prize winner for the last Five Little Words contest, Sheenah has opted to provide us with one of the short stories included in her book “Musings of Yesteryear” (a brilliant title I must say). You should definitely take the opportunity to read it below and if you like her writing, check out the other stories she has available in the collection. She also has a sci-fi/fantasy young adult series available. The first book is titled “The Chosen“.
For anyone wondering, I will be posting the next Five Little Words contest tomorrow evening. A new one will begin every Friday.
“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,” a man said. His voice was angelic.
I nodded as I sat in the dark confession booth. It had been a long day and this was the last of the confessions. “When was your last confession?” I asked as I straightened my robes.
The man hesitated, “I don’t remember.”
I glanced at the screen. “You shouldn’t lie during a confession.”
“It’s been a long time, Father . . . I’m . . . I’m too embarrassed to say, and even I can’t tell you how long it has been. I just know it’s been many, many years.”
Sighing, I waved my hand. “Proceed.”
I heard the man shift in his seat. “I have a very long confession . . .”
“And I’ll be sure to hear all of it, my child. No matter how long it takes.”
The man sighed again and thus, began his tale . . .
“Please, Father, refrain from interrupting me for, like I said, my tale is long. I was a man that was beheld by all. I had reached the top and was favored by all, but I wanted more. I wanted to be served, I didn’t want to serve. Thus, I was shut out. There have been many things that I have done since then, but I confessed to all during my last confession, and feel no need to bring it up here.
“I come here today to confess of the crimes I have partaken in. Things that my servants have done that, I regret to say, I have enjoyed because it’s an act of revenge against the man who has shut me out.
“There are many, many things that I have done and alas, I do not remember all. But I will start with the most recent of things that I have done . . . One that I can certainly say was my doing, because of greed, is the oil spill in the Gulf. This world that He has created is so vast and rich, but I’m afraid that I’ve become envious of his doing. I have seeped the minds of many; it wasn’t hard to do, and because of me, hundreds of animals that He loved are gone and the ocean is now tainted with black. I admit, Father, that I take some pleasure in knowing that His work isn’t so perfect anymore.
“I have been with many that have gone to war and I have been the one to tell each leader that they are the right ones. From the War on Terror, to World War I, the American Civil War, and even as early back to the Crusades and even earlier still, I have always been there whispering glories in their ears. Millions have died for what they thought was right, and He has felt every death stinging in his side.
“Some of the things that I have been most proud of are my abilities to conjure up plagues and famines, as He is able to do so, and I wish to be like Him. The Black Plague was brilliant. His children wondered what they had done wrong to deserve such a cruel death, and nobody suspected that it was me. Even the Great Famine during the Depression, they thought it was He who called upon the locusts, but it was rather I.
“I have been among His children, whispering of greatness that they could claim if they followed at my side. Some of my followers have become legends: Jack the Ripper and Charles Manson.
“Thus I come today to confess of these crimes that I have partaken in.”
“I am sorry for these and all the sins of my life,” the man concluded.
I glanced at the screen. “Are you telling me the truth?”
“Aren’t I supposed to tell the truth during these things?”
A shiver ran down my spine as he turned to glance toward the screen. It felt as if he was looking through me, into my very soul. Something about this man was strange . . .
“What’s your name?”
“I thought these were supposed to be anonymous . . . ?”
His voice was still angelic, but I suddenly noticed, there was a slight roughness to it. It was raw and primeval, almost — dare I say it? — demonic.
“Er, yes, that’s right.” I sat back and thought about what the man had said. If everything he said really was true . . . I glanced back at the screen. The man was staring back at me, waiting for me to finish.
“These crimes are grave indeed,” I began, “If what you say is true then I’m not sure where you can even begin to atone for these crimes. Perhaps you should try to gain the forgiveness of this man whom shut you out.”
“That’s why I am here, Father. This is the one place that He will always listen.”
“Will you ever stop?”
I thought a saw a glimmer of a smile through the screen. “Maybe . . .”
“I want to reach the top no matter what it takes.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Then there is nothing I can do for you.”
“Should I say the Act of Contrition?”
“You won’t stop. So why should I or God forgive you?”
The man sighed and stood up, making his way out of the booth. I heard him stop outside just beyond the curtain that barricaded me from the church.
“Perhaps in another thousand years I’ll try to be forgiven, but it’s difficult because your kind has never quite forgiven me for being the cause of your abandonment from Paradise. But here’s a question for you: If you, who are so Holy and in His service has been a faithful servant, why hasn’t He forgiven you and allowed you into Paradise? That man isn’t as forgiving as you might think.” He made his way out of the booth.
I pushed the curtain roughly aside. “Who are you to talk of the Lord like that?” I demanded. But nobody was there. On the floor, right where the man should have been was a shiny, red apple and balancing precariously on top was an olive branch.