Powder Burn Flash #377 - LA Sykes

Holey Velvet Curtains
by LA Sykes

Entered through the oakwood doors passing under the arch. Ignored the font of holy water with disdain in his sneer. Footsteps knocked out hard taps on the stone floor of the church.

Hadn't been back here for almost two decades. His old stomping ground. No time or inclination to reminisce. Registered the aged organist slipping chords, ripping piped melody into tattered clangs, her attention skewed from the keys as she eyed him cold recognition in the reflection of the stained glass. Froze and silenced the echoing notes watching him head towards the confessional booth in the glass unwilling to turn her head round and acknowledge unfiltered flesh. Shot her a look making plain she was choosing wisely to stay rooted.

He was not surprised that they were the only ones present. It was always dead on confessional afternoon.

The worn furnishings had not changed one bit. Pews chipped as they were all those years ago, footstools bleeding padding from their cracked leather skins. Three snapping raps on the booth door jolted the occupant out of light slumber as his hand instinctively reached to close the curtain partition.

"Enter and be seated," croaked the Priest, the voice unable to weather the years like the decor. He does as told and whispers, "Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been six days since my last confession."

"In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit confess."

"My sin is one of wrath."

"How so?"

“My being is driven by the righting of wrongs."

"What were your wrongs?"

"Not my wrongs, Father," he let linger. Saw the silhouette shift behind the red curtain sitting upright. Figure had filled out since last acquaintance.

"Then which wrongs fuel your sinful wrath?"

“The sins of those whose lust warps, vile takers of innocence," rises the whisper to a growl.

“Whilst that is noble it is still… sinful in the eyes of Him.”

“Should vengeance be reasonable then it is permitted is it not Father?” raising his voice to mask the snapping clip in the top of the concealed FN P90.

The Priest’s spine flowed cold trickle as flashes of memories hazed by time flittered through his stream of consciousness, hopelessly grasping at placing the enunciation of the speaker on the other side of the velvet curtain separating them.

“We all will, in the eyes of the Lord….” His eyeballs burst as the searing 5.7mm rounds peppered his face tunneling through sockets ripping the skull to pulp spattering the paneled interior with hairy fragments, ruining his reply. The tattered curtains billowed with the wind of velocity as he made the sign of the cross and knelt, “Accept my reparation. Amen."

Re-entering the nave the organist, frozen in catatonia, could not even blink her tears away until the muzzle of the gun melted her sinew to an ordained obedience. Dropping to her knees she made the sign of the cross, the only mercy he allowed her as the trigger clicked sweet dissolution through the temple.

Slips the weapon back in the sling and takes the leather glove off his right hand. Wet his thumb in the font marking his forehead, lips and breast with small crosses as he whispers under the arch. He leaves the echoes of the closing doors behind and climbs into the back seat of the waiting black car.

“To the airport, Cardinal?” chirped the driver.

Fingering the gun under the black cassock trimmed with scarlet piping, the Cardinal drifted back to long ago days as a Deacon under the dead Priest as he always did, torturing his conscience with melancholic regret of never knowing what had gone on. He was curious how some found Him in the strangest of places and circumstance. The Cardinal wondered often if anyone else had found Him in their trigger finger. Reparation.

“Cardinal?” prompted the driver.


“The airport your Eminence?”

“Oh, yes. However, first to the Basilica. I am due to go to confession."

BIO: L.A. Sykes resides in Manchester, England. He studied criminal psychology at University of Central Lancashire and currently works in psychiatry. More of his fiction is up at Shotgun Honey, Razor Dildo and Blink Ink amongst others. He has two short stories available through www.thunderune.com/2012/04/la-sykes.html with the full collection coming later this year with E.S. Wynn’s www.thunderune.com publishing. Contact him at sykesfiction at live.co.uk


well done!

nice original tale-always good to read something different.

Holey Velvet Curtains

Whoa mama! This one delivers quite the nasty jolt. At the mention of a weapon, I, of course, saw this going a whole other way, but you delivered quite a dark surprise. Brava!