Day 28: Shrive

Word of the Day:

shrive

verb (used with object).

  1. to grant absolution to (a penitent).
  2. to impose penance on (a sinner).
  3. to hear the confession of (a person).

verb (used without object). Archaic.

4. to hear confessions.

5. to go to or make confession; confess one’s sins, as to a priest.

Okay.  Last day; let’s make it count:

It was unusual for a Morrígan to enter a church.  Perhaps it was that even we found a certain detestable irony in it: a “death witch” in the House of God, where Men went to polish their tarnished souls.

I had Shifted to make myself less frightening before the Lord: my skin tinged pink with an approximation of a human girl’s lifeblood, an empty space at my back where my wings should have been.  There was nothing I could do about the grey-black rags that hung dismally off my too-sharp shoulder blades or the hollow, weary look in my eyes.  The light from the stained glass danced over me, but I knew I wouldn’t cast a shadow.  I never did.

By the way the priest stiffened when he saw me, I could tell he saw through my disguise.

I shut my eyes, hoping he would still deign to shrive me.

“Demons shouldn’t be able to cross the threshold,” said the priest, absently stroking a heavy iron crucifix.

I winced.  “They can’t,” I said, hoping he would understand.

“Then what are you?” he asked.

Electricity danced down my spine, and I Shifted, showing the man my True form.  “I don’t know,” I said.  “But whatever I am, it is what God made me.”

“Why are you here?” he asked.

“For forgiveness.”

He relaxed.  “What do you need forgiveness for?” he asked.

My wings spread.  “Murder,” I said.

And back to my regularly scheduled unpredictability.

Cara Kennaway

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Day 28: Shrive

  1. Well, that was a dramatic conclusion to the endeavor. It’s looking like this book’s going to be darn good.

    You did great this month, Cara. Are you pleased with the way your project went?

    1. Haha, thanks. I’m not totally sure this is actually the direction I’m going with the book (because, hi, I’m a pantser all the way), though, so…Fair warning.

      I am pretty pleased with it! Are you?

  2. The old myths and legends have little place here. Here, there are no crucifixes, no uncrossable church thresholds, no invocations or holy water. No God. Here there are only dark alleyways and dripping walls. It is a haunted labyrinth. It is the realm of the darkest part of the soul.

    Here the dying come and ask the unholy, the undead – the vampires – to shrive them.

    ***

    She approaches the huddled shape on the ground. The air is heavy with the scent of blood. Soft moans echo strangely off of the close-set walls. She kneels beside the form, lifts it. A man. Young. Scarcely more than a boy, really.

    “Hello,” she says.

    She watches as he turns his head to look at her. A slim shaft of moonlight manages to slip between the rooftops, glinting briefly on her fangs. His lips twitch into a half-smile.

    “Hello,” he answers.

    Silence falls. She cradles his head, rocks gently back and forth. What need is there for words?

    “What’s your name?” he asks.

    She tells him. Another silence.

    Then, “I’m glad you’re here.”

    “I know.” Her voice is gentle. “No one should have to do this alone.”

    “My parents will never forgive me.” His voice is growing fainter as the pool of blood continues to widen.

    “They rarely do.”

    “Do you?”

    She smiles. “I don’t even know you.”

    “My name’s Jeffrey. Jeffrey Andrew Marquette.”

    She adjusts her position slightly so she can look him in the eye. “I forgive you, Jeffrey Andrew Marquette.”

    He sighs and relaxes into her arms.

    When he speaks again, it’s so soft she can barely hear him. “Tell my father… tell him I’m sorry. But I had to do this. I couldn’t- couldn’t-”

    She’s not in the habit of carrying messages to those left behind.

    He stares up at her. He’s past the point of speaking, but his plea continues in his eyes.

    “I will,” she says, surprising herself.

    She feels his heart stop beating. She can always feel it when it happens. It’s a strange, breathless second, a wrench that goes straight to her center. She gasps. Breathes deeply. Touches the side of his face once.

    Then she bends to gather her harvest.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s