Pastor Greer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

One of Pastor Greer's secrets sends him to prison where he prayers the other secret is not found out.

Carl Greer sat alone in his undecorated, concrete jail cell dressed in a standard issued grey jumpsuit. By the smell of it, a jumpsuit that needed to be sent to laundry more than a few days ago, but that didn’t matter anymore. His time was up. With his hands clasped between his knees and his head hanging low, he appeared fragile and worn out, resigned even, staring at a spot on the floor that looked, even from his novice experience, like a blood stain. 

His balding scalp reflected the garish fluorescent light and showed the increasingly unhealthy pallor of his skin. Life in prison had a tendency to drain the essence from a person. Now, though, his lips never seemed to stop moving, whether in prayer for himself or in conversations with something no one else cared to imagine. While most of the inmates would hang him themselves if they could, every single one avoided Carl Greer out of an undiscussed fear of the man and what he had done. Of what he was capable.

Tomorrow, the Carolina state, as sanctioned by the United States government, would extradite him. Foreign relations in the Middle East being murky at best, “they,” the illustrious and unnamed, had decided it was for the greater good to send him to the sandy beyond to be dealt with as those who received him saw fit. Which almost certainly meant some genre of torture and, ultimately, but not too far in the future, death. 

Anyone who could read a headline, or listen to one on the radio where they discussed his motives and atrocities with regularity as the court proceedings progressed, knew that Carl stood accused of espionage against these fine United States. He had, in fact, sold secrets to religious zealots in the hopes their fantastical radicalism would stir something in his almost certainly dead soul. If nothing else, these people would be grateful for him in a way his Appalachian congregation, with their superstitions and caution of him, could never need him. They knew the words he wanted to hear to save their immortal souls but at night, they practiced the deep folk magic to ask for rain and abundant crops and healthy children. 

Maybe he was guilty, tried and convicted with a mountain of evidence, but he didn’t feel guilty in the small moments when he had a moment’s peace to consider his circumstances. 

His actions - simply a few spoken words regarding the particular location and time when a particular someone would be in said location - dealt a suicidal blow to those standing in the way of a people practicing their faith. In the end, he surmised, he had helped good defeat evil. He had helped good defeat evil in the mountains too, on more than a handful of occasions, but it wouldn’t do well for them to find out about that until he was long gone. 

Only one more sleepless night. They were to move him at dawn. He’d been more afraid of his family - his wife really, always so nosey, always so right - stumbling over some little clue - a date on the calendar, a memento, a rock in the yard out of place - then the jig would really be up. They would never understand the importance of - the drive of - this holy calling for a pastor to test the rigor of his flock. Carl only felt the hunger now. The crazing. The deep yearning in his soul to obey. Because his obeyance yielded such sweet rewards. Sometimes one must be culled for the flock to flourish. As in a nation, so too in a congregation. He’d never been put off by slaughtering season on the farm, and, in the end, weren’t people just animals? Filthy, nasty, deceitful, unholy animals anyway.

His last prayer in this dismal place, repeated over and over, a mantra to calm his nerves was to make it to dawn without their knowing. 

Submitted: January 23, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Claire Abbott. All rights reserved.

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