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Re: 1997, Raportit

Käyttäjän Debutante kuva

Wednesday evening mass would begin in around half an hour. Around 20 kilometres away in Torino, crowds were no doubt thronging to the hastily re-named Church of the Holy Richard Ascension, the former church of the Shroud of Turin.

Even here on the outskirts of the city, in a church normally ignored by the secular suburbanites, people were trickling in for mass in greater numbers than usual. Father Alphonse smiled as he re-stocked the votives.

A tattooed, mohawked woman sat in the front pew, talking loudly. As Alphonse walked towards her to ask her to turn her mobile phone off, her voice became angry.

"As far as I’m concerned you’re even a bigger deadbeat dad now! You think I won’t tear this world apart? My purpose is older than yours, motherfucker. Answer me! Why won’t you answer me?"

Father Alphonse stopped next to the woman but hesitated when he realized she had no mobile. She was praying.

Sugar crossed herself with an "Amen, you son-of-a-bitch" when she felt the priest approach.

"Did you know that disobedience to your parents is a sign of the Apocalypse?" she said, latching her tearful eyes on him. "Second Timothy, chapter 3, verse 1-5."

He smiled indulgently. "I hardly think a family row is literally the end of the world."

"Yeah? Well you don’t know my family."

Alphonse sat down next to the distraught woman. “I can listen for a while, and help you with your family problems if I can.”

Sugar bit back a vulgar retort but then sighed. "My parents are both fuckups. And I’ve got something I have to do but I’m a fuckup too I guess because either way –" she laughed bitterly. "There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

She wiped hot tears from her face with her fists. Alphonse, trying to lighten her strange grief, said, "God has shown us a miracle of hope. It is said that the Angel Gabriel himself heralded the Ascencion of Holy Richard in Torino, showering mankind with his blessing."

The woman rolled her eyes with the unattractive petulance of a teenager – which she certainly hadn’t been for at least a decade.

"Oh yeah, Gabe was there. But he’s hardly going to answer my calls after that night -" she glanced at the priest and bit her lip. "But you probably don’t need to hear about that."

"Pain is no excuse for blasphemy," he scolded gently.

"Isn’t it? Aren’t pain and truth the only excuses for blasphemy? And holy shit have I got a bastard’s dose of both." Sugar took a breath. "And I fucking hate that I feel abandoned."

Alphonse reached out and took the woman’s hand in his own.

"Will you pray with me?" she whispered.

He nodded. "The Creed gives us comfort in times of trial."

The woman bowed her head with relief and began: "I believe in God the Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, I believe in Jesus Christ –"

"No, child, no. The revised Creed."

She looked at him, bewildered. He bowed his head and recited the Creed for her.

I believe in Richard the Father,
Recreator of this dimensional earth in his image,
Who suffered but descended not unto death,
But ascended into his native state,
Sitteth at the right hand of the Supreme Being.
I believe in Richard III,
The Holy Father’s stainless Son,
Who was cloned of Holy Richard, born of the Pope Benedictina,
Who will rise into heaven,
thence to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in Holy Richard’s Catholic Church, and the Pope his servant,
The eradication of sins,
The resurrection of our souls
Into life everlasting.

Father Alphonse struggled to finish the Creed, feeling a great pressure as if the air had grown heavy and hard to breathe. The woman had grown oppressively silent.

The other people in the church paused, looked around and wiped away beads of sweat. There was a slight rattling as of a faint earthquake. Gasping for air, Alphonse watched open-mouthed as the hymnals shook in the pew shelves. The tattooed woman rose and gripped the pew with white knuckles.

"You’re missing a piece of the Creed, Father." Sugar said in a slow, menacing voice.

Alphonse had a feeling she wasn’t speaking to him. She turned suddenly around, stalking down the aisle as the earthquake grew in force. An altar candle tipped over, setting fire to the cloth. A stained glass window shattered and the light bulbs in the chandeliers blew fuses and exploded. Pages from hymnals and bibles ripped free and violently swarmed around the screaming churchgoers, as Sugar stomped to the back of the church.

Kicking in the door, she yelled, "You fucking forgot about the Daughter!"


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