[5] Seven Deadly Cardinals – Patience/Wrath

“Forgive me father, for I have sinned…”

His lips were pressed together, as he listened to this woman and her long list of things she “wants to be forgiven”.
Businesswoman, great stature, connections and looks. She was the typical epitome of “femme fatale”. In early forties, suited to the most expensive taste and always sweetly talking.

Due to being closely raised in a monastery, this priest got to be in his position quite young – special devoted case. Since childhood he was looked at as a saint – albino by nature. White hair, white brows and lashes, eyes blue. Nuns were calling him the “godsent angel” who will cleanse and help lost souls.

Being quite bored with this womans confession, Lavan observed the fly that was crawling over the red velvet curtain. Tiny legs hurriedly making way up and down, then standing still. Like it observed the priest, as he observed the fly.

“Ah, another thing that will end dead and dried on a windowsill.” – Lavan thought as his eyes traced flys movement.

He let out a sigh.

“So what will be my penance, holly father?” – The woman’s face was close to the partition, her lips almost touching it, as she eyed the young man.

“Right…” – thought Lavan to self, – “…she went on rambling about her sexual endeavours again, then the endless lying she has to make-do at her work and frauds. She mentioned some trafficking…”

“Father, did you,” – her lips touched the partition, as she sexualised every word that came next, – “by chance, get hard from the last bit of my confession?” 

“Such unholy thoughts,” – Lavan sighed, speaking with a certain hint of annoyance, – “I was mulling over the penance that I should assign. Yet so many deeds would require more than 100 prayers, I’m afraid.”

His eyes still glued to the fly on the curtain. Now the little insect was washing itself, little hands going over it’s head and back to front.

The curtain from her side was opened, a man in a suit spoke in a hushed voice to the woman: “Madam, we must go. Emergency call. It’s Herve.”

She pulled back from partition and looked at the man, then looked back at the priest behind partition.

“Next time I’ll assign your penance. May your soul find the path to light. Amen.” – Spoke Lavan.

“May indeed. Amen, father.” – She kept on sexualising words. Then got up and walked out.

The echo of the heels against the rock flooring was loud this midday. She had a knack of coming over when there were only two or three people inside, besides the church staff.

Lavan looked up at the ceiling – painted work that stretched across the whole ceiling, the colorful lights from the window freska shining across it, making gold and silver glisten in the sun.

“So fucking tired…” -Lavan sighed deeply.

The creaking of the old wooden floor, as his steps are made towards confessional. Old church was empty. Rows of seats covered in layers of dust. The usual holy cross was rusted, slanting to one side, barely holding on. Statue of Virgin Mary behind it was pale and dusty, the colours faded, the bits of old clay chipped off.

“You don’t belong here.” – Adam’s voice came from behind. Lavan turned around, facing his best friend.

“What do you..” – Lavan began to ask, but Adam cut him off.

“You don’t belong here.” – Adam was coming closer to Lavan, his steps inaudible. Making Lavan step back. Adam slowly raised his right hand, finger pointing up.

Lavan slowly diverted his attention to look up. Crawling shadows of millions of insects. A crawling organism of darkness. It was so shocking that Lavan began to tremble from fear.

In a flash he sensed Adam hugging him tight, repeating the same “You don’t belong here” in his ear.

“Please…” – Adams tearfilled voice was pleading to Lavan. Latter slowly pulled back to look his friend in the eyes. Blood tears were rolling down Adams’ cheeks, dripping onto the shirt.

“Please…” – Adam began saying something, but his voice faded, leaving him just like the fish opening mouth with no sound. Crying Adam pleaded something to Lavan, squeezing the shoulders of his friend.
“What are you saying?!” – Shouted Lavan in fear, but nothing came out. Silence ate the air. The lump in a throat held him captive, the voice was that of a mute.

Cold darkness was devouring him from his feet, wrapping round ankles like snakes. Then Lavan got pulled into great big nothing, falling down.

“A-A-AH!” – Lavan woke up with a shout. He sat up, trembling, cold sweat covering his body. Shirt clung to his back, hair sticking to forehead.

“Another nightmare…” – Lavan thought as he was catching up with his breath. Heart thumping in ears. Such occurrences have become more often lately.

He got up from the bed, pulled his shirt off and threw it on the floor. Walking to the window and taking in the view of the sunrise.

Soft knock on the door, then it opened and Adam walked in.

“You alright? You screamed.” – Adam looked concerned.

Lavan wiped his forehead, brushing hair back, then rubbed eyes as he turned to face Adam. His friend was looking alright. Sleepy, but alright.

“Just nightmares.” – Lavan let out.

“Geez, you look horrible.” – Adam let out, looking up and down Lavan. – “Let’s go shower, before we begin the chores.”

“Aha” – Lavan picked the sweaty shirt from the floor.

The premises of the church included the park behind it. Small, in the typical sense of park, but it was filled with the blessed feeling. From a small fountain with history to it, to statues of idols all around. Benches to sit under trees and pathways with bushes cut in shapes. Flowers blooming in all directions.

Lavan was hiding behind the Statue of Saint George, waiting for Adam.

Adam rushed to Lavan, as he just received a pack of cigarettes from a friend of his. Hidden in the robes he made haste to Lavan.

“Hey, make space.” – Adam nudged Lavan in the side, as he appeared.

“I almost fell asleep. Takes you long enough.” – Lavan rolled eyes.

“Hey, it was not my fault. Clay came later than usual.” – Adam pulled out two cigarettes, putting one in between Lavans lips, lighting it.

“Father Benedict would nag us from high heavens, if he would see us.” – Adam snorted, as he put the lighter to his cigarette, but was pulled by the chin to face Lavan, as latter pressed his cigarette end to Adams cigarette.
Both cigarettes lit, as they inhaled the nicotine. Lavan kept his eyes on Adam, as he puffed smokes, putting lighter in his pocket.

The idea that Adam threw out just days ago had Lavans heart in a worry.

“I want to go and study in university. I really want to pursue my dream of becoming an engineer. Although with my terms with Mother Superior right now I do get to attend the college, but I want to go further. I’ll go, have a job and go to university.” – Adam said this with the widest smile on his face and the dreamy look in his eyes. He was happy just talking about it.

But it was not that Lavan had no wish to let go of his best friend, it was something else – Lavan faced a question – what does He want?

Being always pushed by the Sisters and Mother Superior, then being under the constant push towards excelling in Religious studies, the languages, the politics, the knowledge and the abeyance to the Lord Almighty in Heaven – he never once had a chance to think if it is something he wants. It’s just that the constant expectation of being “godsent” had him get to where he is now.

“So, do you think that Gary is going to vouch for me in the uni dormitory?” – Adam put his head on Lavans shoulder. Smoke coming out of his mouth.

Both observed as the sky grew darker, as the clouds became heavier, the weather preparing for rain.

“I guess he has enough decency to help out. Though I have not seen him much other than moments when he came to deliver books to you.” – Lavan answered.

“Guess he’s a decent guy. He should.” – Adam put weight on Lavan, – “He promised, after all.”

Lavan did not wish to crush any hopes, but doubts could not leave his heart.

“Should pray for it to be all good.” – Lavan said quietly.

“Pff,” – Adam turned to face Lavan, – “You do know how much I believe.” – Sarcastic remark at the end reminded how less of God and Religion thinks Adam.

“Forgive me father, for I have sinned…”
She again. Coming here every third day with a long list of misdeeds, sexual madness, drug dealing, covering for criminals, getting her stripbar staff shipped for human organs. She keeps on going.

Lately she stopped holding back the details – pouring out more and more grotesque terrors out of her mouth.

Sometimes Lavan has to question himself if she truly does some of the horrors she speaks about. “Seems like she is testing me…” – he thinks over this matter.

“Holly father, I am burning to ask you a question.” – She snaps Lavan from focused daze.
“A question you say..” – Lavan said, faced straight towards the curtain, just his eyes taking a glance at partition.

She mischievously smirks at him.

“Yes, I was wondering if you had it with anyone.”
“Had what?” – Lavan closed eyes for a moment, not to roll them too openly at her.

“Sex. You know. When your lower part is so hot and pent-up, that you stick it in someone enjoying mewls and moaning with pleasure.”

“May I ask your name, child?” – Lavans cold tone made her smile more.

Her lips touched partition as she answered:

Lavan breathed out.

“Charlene, you should pray for forgiveness, pray to holy Mary and beg for your soul to be cleansed. May the foul words spoken make amends, as the Lord gives you a chance for penance. Pray for yourself. Amen.”

She was about to ask something else, but right after his say, Lavan closed the partition and left.

“Hey, this woman comes too darn often.” – Adam lets out as he takes a toke, smoke filling lungs.
“She is troublesome.” – Lavan replies.
Adam puts the cigarette out and hugs Lavan.
“You know this, and so do I. I’ve heard things. Be careful of her. She seems too much lately, as she keeps coming after you. I’m really worried.” – Adam put his nose in the crook of Lavans neck. – “I don’t want you to be hurt.”
Lavan hugged Adam back.
“You surely are the troublesome younger brother.”

Old church, dust piled in heaps. The creaking of floors now comes with the sound of cracking wood, as floor breaks. Lavan sees Adam sitting in the front row seat.

Ahead – the cross had slanted even more, half of Virgin Mary’s face had cracked and fallen off. The ceiling is filled with holes,  as the old roof fell in, allowing us to look at the night sky. Part of the wall to the left of the building fell apart, giving a glimpse into long dark forest stretching.

Lavan approached Adam.

“And yet you have returned.” – Adam stood up, facing Lavan. – “You just never listen.” – Tired soft smile graced Adams lips.

He slowly reached his hand, to touch Lavans cheek. He pulled Lavan closer, their foreheads touching.

“And here I am, at your disposal. The loyal dog, the faithful servant. And even if I’d leave this world, I’d not become what you have uttered.”

Lavan held Adams’ head with the palms of his hands.

“What do you mean? You’re my brother.”
The tired smile still held onto the lips of Adam.
“You just never see it.” – Adam shook his head softly, – “You should go now. You must return.”

“But what of you?” – Lavan protested, as Adam pushed Lavan from himself.

“No I won’t!” – Lavan raised voice. Adam stopped.

Lavan gripped Adam tightly by the shoulders, pulling closer, to look at Adam’s face.

The tears of black were slowly running down Adams’ cheeks, yet his smile kept on being sad, tired, as if in spite of pain.

“Never learn, do you?” – Adam pulled Lavan by the collar, lips near his ear, then he whispered with utter care and fondness – “I love you.”

Adam released his grip. Landing a soft kiss on Lavans cheek.

“Please,” – tiredly he continued, – “…you must remember…” – Adams’ voice again faded, as he spoke.

“What? What do you…?”  – Lavan spoke, but no sound came out.

Then he felt the cold touch around his feet. The dark shadows of insects, crawling onto him. He tried to shake them off, but his body was not listening, kept standing like stone, as roaches keep crawling higher.
Panic kicked in. He tries to escape. With no avail he keeps shouting the silent shouts that are inaudible. Darkness consumes him, as he falls into nothing.

“Ha!” – Lavan wakes up from another nightmare. Sweat beading on skin, as he sits in bed, covering his face with trembling hands.
“This is fucking madness.” – He hisses to self.

Without knocking, the door opens and Adam walks in. It’s still the middle of the night, with the moon lighting the room.

Adam gets onto Lavans bed, hugging the man tightly.

Heart keeps racing like mad. The dream is haunting.

“It’s alright. That was just a nightmare. I’m here.” – Adam keeps Lavan in embrace, until the latter calms down.

“Right… Nightmare.” – Lavan replies in a hoarse voice. He might have screamed too much whilst dreaming.

“I’ll get you water.” – Adam stands up, Lavan grabs him by the wrist.
“I’m coming with.”

They walk to the kitchen in silence, holding hands. Chill of the night and insects flying softly echoes in the hallway.

Once Lavan finishes a glass of water, he’s able to properly speak again. Though the scratchy feeling in the throat does not leave so easily.

“You did the same when we were kids.”

“We kind of were like that almost every night, when we shared room.” – Adam looked out the window.
“Even though I’m the older one..” – Lavan bagan.

“You’re still in my protection, like a kid.” – Adam smiled. – “It’s like we’re back to ten years ago. When we were 11 and 12. You liked to hold hands as we walked in the night. Even sleep together on the same bed, we did.”

“Though it was tough to not get caught and nagged by sisters.” – Lavan brushed fingers through his sweat drenched hair. – “Fuck, have to shower.”

“I’ll keep watch, as usual.” – Adam sighed.

Once back in the room – Lavan changed his clothes and bedding. The sweat drenched sheets had to go to wash. Nightmares of pure horror. Once done, Lavan got into bed. Adam was about to go back, as he grabbed onto the doorknob.

“Stay.” – Lavan said, making Adam turn around. – “Come sleep with me. I don’t want any more nightmares today.”

Adam twisted the doorknob, then turned the lock on it. Just a single thought of anyone seeing them like that would get them into a lot of trouble. Even though they’re not kids. Or maybe that would be even worse – two grown men in one bed.

He got into bed next to Lavan. Their backs are touching. Then Adam turned round to face Lavan, hugging him from behind, as Lavan softly trembled, crying.

“Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you wake up.” – Adam comforted Lavan. – “I won’t leave you.”

Lavan woke up to the sound of knocking on his door.

“Father Lavan, are you awake yet?” – Voice of Sister Anna was rumbling from behind the door.

“Yes, yes. Be there soon.” – Lavan replied loudly.
“Shall deliver that to Mother Superior.” – Answered Anna, as she turned on heels and stormed off into the hallway. Her heels hitting on the floor, created a sound that echoed like thunder.

Lavan rubbed his eyes.

“Geez that woman is loud.” – Grumpy voice from besides Lavan reminded that Adam was still there.
“Sorry. We have chores to do.” – Lavan said apologetically.

“Yeah, chores.” – grunted Adam sleepily.

Lawan pushed Adam with his foot a few times. Making Adam turn to face Lavan.

“You really won’t let me sleep in, huh?” 

“Today I won’t be long.” – Charlene spoke from behind the partition. – “Just here to say that I’m really eager to get you.”

Without waiting for a response from Lavan, she left.

“What on earth was that for?” – Lavan took a deep breath.

Right as usual, behind the Saint George’s statue they stood smoking. Adam was in his casual clothes most of the time lately. Making it a little hard for Lavan, as he felt a little left out.

“So, I’m going out next week.” – Adam glanced up. – “Already got it going with the others, so the uni thing is on. Having a room in a dormitory. Feels like a dream, still.”

Lavan was uncertain. Having Adam go and continue his aspirations was making him happy and very sad at the same time.

“You said you wouldn’t leave me.” – Lavan said, making the tense air around them even heavier.

“I keep my words.” – Adam glanced at Lavan. – “I always do.”

In the evening Lavan was on his way to the office of the Mother Superior, to help with preparations and the finance planning. Door was slightly opened, as he approached, but just a step from the door he froze.

“This is insane! How are we planning to keep running on, if she is this hard on us?” – Sister Anna was pleading to Mother Superior.

“She’s too eager to obtain our godsent child. I’m not yet so thin and weak to let him be snached by that witch.” – Mother Superior was cold, yet the fury in her voice could be felt.

“When we sent Greta to pick the resources prepared for us, the hell goons sent by that witch were not letting her in! They’ve also stopped food and other goods delivered to us! We must do something about it!” – Anna pleaded.
Mother Superior kept her cool. She sat at her desk, gazing over the papers piled. She flipped some, as she pressed her left hand to her mouth.

“This is not going well.”

“We have to do something!” – Anna cried.
“Guess she’s after the boy. We can give her another for now. To pull time and find a solution.” – Mother Superior deeply breathed in, then breathed out, she looked at Anna. – “Speak to Adam.”

Lavams blood was freezing, and his heart skipped a beat. “No-no-no-no-no-no. Not Adam.” – Sounded on repeat in his head. Without realizing it, he was on his way to where Adam was. Heart thumped in his ears, he was focused on getting to his best friend.

Door opened without knocking, swiftly locked after Lavan entered. With a fast pace he flipped the lights off in the room, checking for anything else with the lights on – then pulling it off, so full darkness engulfed the room.
“What mad bug bit you?” – Adam was observing the scene in confusion.
“Have to go.” – Lavan muttered, as he paced back and forth next to Adam.
“What? What are you saying?” – Adam was feeling awkward, from the abnormal things Lavan did.
“You were right. So right. But I didn’t think they’d throw You in.” – Lavan kept pacing, as he now spoke more comprehensively.
“Ehh?” – Adam raised his eyebrow as his puzzled self was getting up, then he stopped Lavan by the shoulders. Lavan looked worried and torn to shreds. Which was more than unusual. It was bizarre in itself to see This Lavan.
Adam let out a sigh and as he opened his mouth to speak there came a hard knock on the door and the rumbling voice of sister Anna cut the silence.
“Adam! Have to speak!” – Anna roared behind the door as she knocked, – “Mother Superior has a request for you!”
Moments when Adam was about to let out a sound, Lavan slapped the palms of his hands over Adams mouth, shaking his head to keep silent.
It was pitch dark inside the room. They both stood at the corner of the desk and chair where Adam was doing his papers for studies. The doorknob was yanked a few times, then a hard thump on the door and Anna’s swearing was heard.
“Damn brat! Missing when so fucking needed!” – Anna turned around and walked away.
Her heels sounded like thunder against the floor.
“What the heck was that?” – Whispered Adam, pulling off Lavans hands off his mouth.
Adam looked at Lavan – the eyes in the dim light from the crack of curtains, were full of fear, the thumping of the heart audible from over a few steps away, the trembling was felt in the hands.
“Geez.” – Adam let out, as he gave a tight hug to Lavan. – “Here I am. Next to you. Right here.”
Lavan was unable to shake off the trembling fear.
“That woman came often – she’s after me. She is trouble for church. All just to get to me. Mother Superior wants to give you to that woman, so she’d get off for a while.” – Lavans voice was small, frail.
Adam was dumbstruck. He let go of Lavan, taking a look at his face. He looked around, taking a moment to self. Letting out a sigh, he pulled Lavan up by the chin so their faces are inch apart.
“And therefore you what? Going to hide me in your chambers? Or sneak me into uni so that nobody reaches me there? Or you’ll find a great plan to get rid of that woman?” – Adam softly pressed his forehead to Lavans. – “So eager to protect me whilst so shaken and with fear frozen upon your face. Calm down first.”
Lavan was gasping for words, trying to find solutions on the spot.
“I… I don’t want to lose you.” – Lavan swallowed. – “If she does even a thing of the horrors she reveals in confessions – I won’t be able to live with myself. I don’t want you to be hurt by that vixen.”
Adam rustled Lavans hair, then pulled the man in for a hug.
“It’s great to have you worry for me so much. But I know full well what it means if Mother Superior needs to have something done. There’s no place to hide. Only a spotlight left to take. I’m sure they’ll have it sorted for you soon.” – Adams’ soft, soothing voice and the words that were to succumb to the selfish wishes of the church made Lavan feel pain in his heart he never felt.
“It’s all my fault.” – Lavan whimpered, lump in throat from sadness as he teared up.
Lavan was held by Adam in an embrace for a while. Tears soaking up Adams’ shoulder.
The bitterness of the situation would just become worse, if Adam wouldn’t speak up.
“You better stop being such a kid. I promised to protect you and I will!” – Adam pulled Lavan by the shoulders, giving a slight shake, as the grip was hard. – “It’s not like I’ll be gone for good. I’m going to come back to you. I’ve promised you, haven’t I?”
Adam gave a short laugh, as he tried to ease the tension.
Lavan was unable to let go, he clung to Adam, crying. The trembling could not stop, nor the sadness that hung over them.

It’s been around a week since Adam left. Escorted by the pack of henchmen of that woman. Handed over to them by the Mother Superior herself.
The image of that trade could not leave Lavan’s head.
Hidden behind the Saint George’s statue, Lavan pulled a pack of cigarettes from his robes.
He stood there, smoking.
Mother Superior had not shared any information regarding the situation after that trade. She just roughly said that Adam left for the goodness of the church, the work that heavens sent him.
During this week of Adam missing – that hellsent woman was not coming at all.
“Have to get you out of there.” – Lavan softly muttered. – “I miss you.”

“Forgive me father, for I have sinned.”

Charlene’s voice from behind partition made Lavan jolt in the seat of confessional.
“Three weeks.” – Were the thoughts that came to Lavan that instant. – “It’s been three weeks.”
“So, do you want to have me begin with my confession or would you,” – Charlene got close to partition, observing the cold look on Lavans face, – “like me to tell you about your dear Adam, first?”
Lavans right hand grabbed tight onto his robe, squeezing the embroidery harshly, yet he kept the same cold look on his face.
“Oh, so you’re playing hard to get, huh?” – Charlene smirked, her tone of voice as toxic as ever. She pulled back from the partition.
“He’s not so easy to crack. Adam of yours.” – She began as-a-matter-of-factly, – “All that torture and pain, and he still does not dare to break. Quite the stubborn creature.” – She lets out a dramatic sigh. – “Guess you both have this shared stubborn nature.”
She shifted her sitting position.
“He does give that deadly glare of a wolf, if we threaten to lay our hands on you. So he willingly bears all the pain that I so wish to inflict on you. All his fangs intact, yet he doesn’t bite. What endurance and loyalty to you. I’m actually impressed by Adam. But I’m determined, you see. And as they say ‘patience is a virtue’. Therefore I wait, and wait, and wait. But I’ll be the one to have him broken.” – Charlene gave a glimpse towards Lavans profile. He’s still emotionless. – “You know, that boy, Adam, will make a good whore for all the dirty, greedy cocks that crave young boys. I’ll train him into a slut. He’ll become the lowly scum desperate for pleasure and dirty smelly cocks. Addicted to sex and blinded by it.” – She hissed at Lavan, speaking the rest through her teeth, – “I’ll enjoy breaking Your Faithful Adam.”
Charlene clicked her tongue, got up and left without checking on Lavan.

Door behind him was shut. Shouting angrily he tossed the books aside from the top of the table. The vase flew against the wall, hitting hard and shattering. He was roaring angrily, tearing the idol from the corner, tossing it aside. Shattering anything that is out on sight.

The cigarette was lit and he smoked inside his room. Eyes staring into one point in the corner of the room where the photo of him and Adam resided.
Lavan was greatly angered. Even though he made a mess in the room, even though he openly now smoked in the room, even though he shouted and screamed his lungs out, even though there were sisters at his door and he sent them with a shout to hell, even though he is now trying to settle it – he was boiling over.
“That damn witch was bold enough to lay her filth over him. The damn witch was bold enough to lay her filth over him…”  – Lavan chanted the sentence on repeat. It has now become the sort of background humm for him.
“Rring-rring!”- the sound caught him off guard.
Lavan took a look around.
“Rring-rring!” – sound came from the box that Adam asked to keep in Lavans room.
“Rring-rring!” – sound was not stopping.

Lavan came to the box, opened the lid and came to a sudden halt in his thoughts.

Phone on top of the papers was ringing. A small old mobile that he saw for the first time.
The ringing of the phone was loud, shaking the air. It was a random number displayed. Lavans hand reached the phone, pushing the ‘answer’ button.

“Hello?” – The mens voice came from the other end.
“Hello?” – Lavan spoke.
“Oh, who’s this?” – The gentleman was greatly confused. – “Is Adam near?”
The name called out pierced another pang of anger and pain through Lavan.
“He’s unable to answer now. How may I be of help?” – Lavan spoke politely.
The rustling and pause on that end gave way to slight doubts that were felt in the air.
“He was sent by Mother Superior.” – Lavan continued, so that the feeling of strange would leave.
“Shit.” – The man on that end cursed. – “When did this happen?”
“Three weeks ago.”
“SHIT!” – Cursed the man angrily, then he rumbled in thought for a moment, – “If that’s the case, then you must be Lavan.”
“How did you..?”
“I know because I instructed him to pass it onto you in case of emergency.” – The man on the phone cut Lavan mid sentence. Then he let out a sigh. – “You have forgotten me, I assume. Well then, introductions it is.” – Men let out another deep sigh. – “This is Benedict, my dear son.”

The moment when the name came – Lavan was frozen, the thoughts were a mess, the eyes were darting from point to point, ashes from the cigarette fell onto the floor.
Lavan got his cigarette up, taking a toke.
“So, how come you’re alive?” – Lavan let out a puff.
The man gave a short snort.
“Wouldn’t you love to crack that mystery? But unfortunately there’s no time for this. We have to get Adam.”

“So what can you suggest against the damn cursed Charlene?” – Lavan smoked the last of the cigarette, throwing it onto the floor and stepping on it.

“Dear boy, you know nothing of what’s beyond that monastery with church. So let me give you a little glimpse – you’ll have to come to the back of the garden in an hour. I’ll have to give you a tour. Be ready. I’m coming soon.” – Benedict finished the call.

Lavan had stared in the dot on the floor for a good ten or so minutes.

“What did Adam hide from me?” – Was the new question that struck. – “What was he protecting me from?”

As the time was suggested, Lavan walked to the end of the garden. The mess caused by Lavan had few nuns in a daze. They saw the mess in the room, as they stood outside, yet were not allowed to enter and clean. Lavan closed the door, locking it, as he left.
Nuns were afraid to ask questions, so they kept it to themselves.

Right beside the fence, stood Lavan, waiting, on the other side appeared a car, and a man had lowered the window. Then got out of the car, coming closer to the fence.

“Lavan, you’re waiting for me to call you over? Get over that fence, we’re up for a drive.” – Benedict had a cigarette between his lips.

Lavan hesitated for a moment. First time actually getting across this fence on his own volition, due to the needed cause. He pulled up his robe and crawled up and over the fence.

Benedict finished his cigarette in one go.

Both went inside the car. Benedict started the engine and the car went off.

“Gotta admit – you grew to be quite the man, my son.” – Benedict let out. – “But you sure look like a mess.”

“How do we help Adam?” – Lavan was filled with unrest.

Benedict pulled out another cigarette and lit it.

“Give me one.” – Lavan spoke, having Benedict surprised for a moment. Another cigarette was pulled and given to Lavan.

“So you smoke as well, huh?” – Benedict gave Lavan lighter. – “Son, we have a long drive and a long story to catch up on. So let me start at the very beginning.”

Lavan inhaled the nicotine, looking out the window of the car. The night city of the Parae, with vendors selling food and merchandise, with lamps glowing red and much of gluttony and lust commencing in the city.

Benedict drove to the unknown destination to the outskirts of the city.

“Must admit that the death was fake, that I had to flee from Mother Superior, in order to survive. She has her own methods of life and keeping business running. I was not part of her equation.” – Benedict spoke in his usual deep voice, the tone that didn’t change at all, it just sounded more serious now. – “The situation led me to know the underworld of this place. Never have I had the ideas, nor actual glimpse, until two years ago. The woman – Charlene, she is the actual mob boss, the head of the operations. And there is nothing that can oppose her. God knows I sought for the saviour, but the blessing was not upon us. The moment I encountered Adam, as he was with his friends – I knew that the blessing of the Lord shone on me. I approached him to speak. Might I say – even as your named younger brother, he’s the man of honour and loyalty. I told him of ideas to seek for the force that will take down the darkness of the city. He said that there is the brightest light with the greatest power, yet the person does not know how great the power he holds.”

Benedict drove to the two storey house surrounded by fields, it was around twenty minutes outside of town.

“I had brought Adam here a few times. Here is what we call – a resistance.” – Benedict got out of the car. Lavan followed him.

They entered the house. The first floor was the make-shift church. Around fifty people prayed, as they held hands together in prayer. In the middle of the room, at the farthest wall, with candles lit next to it – was a painting.

Lavan walked over to it, feeling the wave of confusion wash over him.

“Adam was the one to paint it. He said that this was the one person, with light strong enough to conquer any darkness. To bring change and inspire hearts.” – Benedict walked to Lavan, who stood next to painting.

On the painting, with grace, halo, angel wings and the most gentle expression – was Lavan. Adam had painted Lavan to be the Godsent saviour.

“This is madness. How the heck is that supposed to…” – Lavan turned around to face Benedict, who stood behind him. The moment he turned giving the hiss – he noticed the people staring at him.

“The Godsent had graced us!” – Shouted lady that was closest. The rest of the present people fell bowing down, saying their prayers, repeating “Godsent bless us!”.

Lavan stood in disbelief. Shocked by heresy, by the madness and the situation that he fell into.

Benedict had fallen on his knees in front of Lavan.

“Blessed be our Godsent. Blessed be the might and the wish of your Holiness!” – Benedict spoke loudly, so all chanted around “Blessed be! Blessed be!”.

Lavan felt short of air, he turned once more to the painting. He, depicted as the Saviour, the Mighty Angel of Mercy. His eyes noticed the familiar lettering at the footing of the painting – Adams handwriting – “Merciful Angel, Godsent Bringer of Light, Shine and Lead us to Greater Path.”

The smirk appeared on Lavans face. The chant behind him was like a humm.

“You brat.” – Lavan knew exactly the position Adam held about religion, he knew that Adam was the scientific person, the type to believe in people, in his own power. Yet this painting made it all seem like Adam predicted the situation.
“So I have to lead them, huh?” – Lavan smiled. – “If that is what you meant, then be it.”

With new regained stature, face mimicking the gentle and firm expression on the painting – Lavan turned to face the people.

He spread his hands, like a blessing thy be.

“My dear children!” – Spoke loudly Lavan, ending the chant and making the room silent. – “My dear children,” – He repeated, as heads were up, watching him in awe. – “I have been blessed by the power you gave me. May your hearts be filled with light. No shadow can cross into the path you lead, my children. With grace and blessing given to me, I’ll pray for you all. Pray for the souls and the bodies that inherit them. Pray for the great we’ll achieve. I’ll lead you to the new world we deserve. To light and glory. Blessed be, my children!”

“Blessed be!” – Room shook from the happy attendees that bowed, threw hands together and prayed, praised Lavan and cried in delight.

By the sole look of expectation, happiness and eagerness to go wherever he pointed – Lavan knew what the heck was done here.

“So apparently, I’m the Idol you pray to.” – Lavan smoked, as Benedict drove back.

“You’re the sole Idol we pray to.” – Benedict replied. – “Adam opened this path for us. The devotees had seen you during the hours in the church. They were there to be awed by the holy spirit you possess. Since then – we grew to be over a few hundred.”

Lavan wiped his forehead a few times, watching the city emerge, as they crossed streets.

“Pick me up tomorrow night. I’ll bless the devotees, so make everyone come.” – Lavan had said his words.

Car stopped right where it was behind the fence. Lavan got out and walked over. He heard “Blessed be.” – said softly by Benedict, as he climbed inside the garden.

Back in his room – he cleaned the mess he made.

Knock on the door and the voice of sister Anna:
“Mother Superior is calling for you.”

Lavan opened the door, looked at Anna and went along with her.

Once they walked into Mother Superiors’ office, with Anna just closing the door the distressed voice of Mother Superior resounded.

“Father, what got to bother you today? I’ve heard that you were making a mess and shouting.” – Mother Superior put her papers aside, as she looked genuinely concerned with Lavan.

“My apologies, Mother.” – Lavan smiled his typical gentle smile. – “I might have had a fit of demon befall me. I’ve prayed in the garden and washed in the holy spring. The dark that had me by the hand had crumbled in the faith of lightly grace.”

“I did think that some treachery was there to be of fault.” – Mother Superior got up, walking over to Lavan, holding up his hand, kissing it.

“I have caused you worry.” – Lavan gently spoke, watching Mother Superior look at him as the heavenly prised possession. – “Don’t worry any longer. No darkness can taint me. All for the glory of the lord almighty.”

Mother Superior had once more kissed the hand of Lavan, before letting go. This time she held her lips to his hand longer, inhaling the scent of his skin. Once she let go – he gave a slight nod and left the room.

“Lord sent you as my personal challenge. As the temptress that is a child of mine.” – Mother Superior let out, as she returned to her seat.

Sister Anna had walked over to the door.

“Sister!” – Mother Superior spoke, making Anna stop at the door. – “Make sure he’s up and righteous. We need him to keep the flow of believers coming.”

“What do we have to fight that witch?” – Anna spoke.

“We have some more time, before the fortress we built comes crashing. But I won’t let her feast on my Godsent Child. He’s the one to take over and be the new Pope. Go!” – Mother Superior ordered.

Anna left.

“Ah, the child that’s to take the position of Pope. Will you be obedient enough to lay with me?” – Mother Superior muttered to self.

Lavan was back in his room. The disgust from the touch of Mother Superior and her new antics made him wipe his hand with a wet towel.

“Same expression as Charlene.” – Lavan rumbled.

Eyes caught on the photo of Adam and him. The warm feeling in his heart blossomed.

“You made me to be something other than me. Giving me power I knew nothing of.” – Lavan walked over to the photo, his fingertips touching the face of Adam. – “I’ll make sure to get you out of there. I’ll crush them both, for your sake.”

Old wooden flooring is even more deteriorated. Boards fell in, revealing ever growing darkness below. The walls are fallen in, as the view onto surrounding woods are revealed even more.

Rows of seats are piled with dust and ash. The Virgin Mary statue fell, and a cross is also lying on the rubble. In front of the broken and fallen idols stands what is to be Adam. Lavan approaches him.

His hand touched the shoulder of Adam. The latter does not turn around.

“You’ve found what I left.” – The Feeble voice of Adam makes Lavans heart squeeze.

Lavan is trying to look into Adams face, but the latter is averting the gaze, turning around, so that Lavan does not see.

“Oh please, I need you.” – Lavan speaks in a weakened tone.

“Please leave. This is not where you belong.” – Adams voice is in pain that he holds back, weakly, mekly replying.

Lavan hugs Adam from behind. Trembling, tears rolling down his cheeks.
“I’ll come get you. I’ll pull you out from her hands. I promise.” – Lavan hugs tighter Adam.

“Ah. I love you.” – Meekly answers Adam.

Body held by Lavan becomes shadow, crumbling and vanishing. Leaving Lavans hands empty.

Waking up in the morning, with eyes red and puffy from crying, Lavan struggles to get out of bed.

Fear. It is fear that is eating at him. Slowly. Leeching from the worry that does not leave the heart.

“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.” – Charlene says with a smirk, as she inches closer to partition. – “Did you miss me?”

Lavans hands that trembled through the day went steady. The grip of anger made his shoulders relax, breath ease. His eyes turned to watch her. HE could feel the rage boil in cold darkness. He wanted to tear her to pieces, watch her suffer all the pain she inflicted on Adam.

“Oh, your Grace gave me some attention. My oh my am I blessed.” – Charlene happily, sarcastically let out. – “Why can’t you pay me more attention? I’d love to have you in my hands, you know.”

“What atrocities have you done? Seems like you’re the most insatiable child that does not abide by it’s penance. Does not feel like you pray for yourself, nor the soul you have.” – Lavan let out in a cold tone.

“Oh my, having interest in me, m?” – Charlene pressed her lips against partition, her tongue licking the metal. – “Ah, I’d love to have a taste.” – She put her hand on the partition, fingers going over the netting. – “Can’t you just give it to me? I’m craving you so bad.”

Lavan looked straight ahead of himself, at the red curtain.

“I’m afraid that your soul won’t reach heaven.” – Lavan exhaled.

“Ah, geez! You’re making me wet and yearning.” – She slaps the partition. – “Just argh! Alright. I’m still at large with work. But hey, that boy – Adam, he’s just the right amount of fun for me. I’m having the pleasure of torturing such a righteous boy. Know what? I already began training his body. Just days ago. He’s all covered in filth and disgusting juices from all sorts of filthy men.” – Charlene began laughing. – “Though I have to keep his mouth gagged – the wolf likes to bite, you see.”

Lavan coldly kept his gaze on the curtain.
“Your penance is to sacrifice self for the good of the Lord. May he find the path to your fallen heart. Amen.”

The night came over and Lavan was out the back in the garden. In swift moves he got over the fence, waiting for Benedict to come over. Minutes later – the car arrived.

Lavan got in and they departed.

“My dear children,” – Began Lavan, as the place was packed with people standing all around, as the halls were packed, – “You have been all suffering at the hands of demons, at the hands of witches and dark beings!” – Lavan looked over the crowd, as heads were nodding. – “Enduring the tyranny from the ones we held dear, from the ones we believed in! No longer will it be cursing you! No longer will it be burdening you! I’m lifting the darkness that binds you! Hold hands in prayer, my children! Let us pray together!”

Room was in silence, people put hands together, heads lowered.

“O spirits of the Light,” – Lavan spoke, as hands were raised upwards, – “Let the children that came here today be blessed by the. May the light fill hearts and souls! The God given power I hold – may it bless each of thy present. Come by one, so that I can transfer the light to you!”

Lavan put hands upfront, so that he could touch the people lining up, coming and kneeling in front of him. Each was touched by Lavan, each held the hand and kissed it, as they left to the side of the room, they chanted “Blessed be!”.

Once the many people that this place held were blessed – Lavan got together a dozen of devotees prepared by Benedict and held a meeting in the upstairs room.

“Benedict told us that you’re willing to guide us in acts to cleanse the communities.” – Tall man spoke up, as he kneeled.

“Yes,” – Lavan put his hand on the man’s shoulder. – “That is the needed calling that we must do. It was too long, the minions of dark spread widely. We have to cleanse the hearts that are filled with filth, that are cursed and fallen.”

The eyes of the people present lit. They felt like the apostles of the Godsent Lightbearer. The chosen ones to do the Blessid Bidding, to spread the holy light.

To convert people, to amass more into the “religion”, to spread the word and show the light – that was the start. The more people they have – the less painful it will be.

It took two weeks. Two weeks without Charlene. Two weeks to amass more than a thousand believers and counting. The people seem to flock to the new religion. The feeling of light heart and power which are brought by Lavans preaching attracted more and more devotees.

They managed to convert some of the high standing business officials, city hall officials and wealthy tyrants. The blessing of touching the hand of Lavan – sent some into a frenzy.

Lavan knew the looks they gave him – the higher the caliber of the standing, the more of the yearning for him the eyes exhibited. Lavan despised it, but to the need of the plan – he bore the disgust, hid it.

Standing next to his room window, in the dark of the night, Lavan smoked.

“Adam, I’m coming to get you. Please, hold out a little more.” – He prayed to something, someone. Lavan just needed to have Adam back to self.

The church was broken, the ashen piles of seats are still letting out smoke. No walls, no ceiling, no nothing. Just rubble of the church. In the place where doors resided – stood Adam. Lavan approached him, hugging tight.

“Just a little more. Please. Just a little.” – Said Lavan with tears held back.

The body held was cold. It was so cold it startled Lavan, making him pull back and turn Adam to face him.

Hollowed eyes, dry lips, blue hue of the skin – a dead man standing.

Lavans hands trembled, as he held onto Adam.

“No. No-no-no-no-no. This is not… No. I won’t let them. I’m coming to get you!” – Lavan shouted.

Waking up in a cold sweat, heart racing, thumping in his ears, Lavan sits up on his bed. It’s sunrise. Early in the morning, when everyone is only getting up.

He brushes back his sweat soaked hair, stands up and looks in the mirror.

Over this time – he got dark circles under his eyes, anger burning, body tired. Yet he knew that the fight was right around the corner.

“Sister Elizabeth!” – Lavan called out to a nun passing in the hall. Young woman stopped, as she turned to face Lavan.

“Yes, Holy Father?” – She softly asked, as she looked down.

“Will I see you tonight at the mass?” – He asked softly.

She suddenly looked up, excited.

“Yes, Father!” – She said.

“Blessed be, my child.” – Softly said Lavan.

“Blessed be.” – She quietly replied.

Around midnight the mass was in the church he was raised. People were let in in secrecy, with no lights shining, with devotees showing the way inside and three sole candles burning at the front – with pedestal hosting Lavan, overlooking the attendees.

Once all gathered – the doors closed.

“My children,” – Lavan began his preaching, – “I have led you to the light and will continue so. But there are things we must let go of, we must erase and abolish, before we commence the Great Blessing.” – The people standing were slightly quizzical, some already felt where this might be going.

“The old religions had us praise the things that had them flourish, had us give to them in order to be enlightened, but not once did they give us the needed blessing, evangelical approval and cleansing. They only took from us.”

The crowd began to whisper.

“Might we all take the power in our hands and cast the cleansing upon them! So that the blessings that we possess are spread further! With light given to you, my children, go! Go and cleanse the filth that amassed!”

“Blessed be!” – Sounded loudly from the crowd. The chant became louder by the second. Then people in the crowd began dispersing around. The nuns with Sister Elizabeth, along with a few other devotees went inside the living quarters of the premises.

Shouts were audible. Cries for mercy, angry roars and shouts. All that ended in short moments as they died at the hands of “Blessed ones”.

Lavan slowly walked towards Mother Superior’s office. With few men besides him, as guards. Door opened by Sister Anna – momentarily she died, as men on the left slashed her throat with a dagger.

Lavan entered. Mother Superior stood in shock at her desk.

“Ha-ha-ha!” – She laughed hysterically. – “Biting the hand that fed you! What treacherous brat!”

Lavan gestured with hand and the men darted at Mother Superior, daggers piercing her back, front, throat. Another gesture and the men left – off to “cleanse” the rest of the premises.

“You got what you deserved.” – Lavan paced around the office. – “You shouldn’t have sent out Adam.” – He kicked the dead body. – “You filthy old hag.”

As he got out, he was picked by Benedict. They drove to commence three more preaching sessions, before they went to the lair of Charlene.

Luckily, there were now plenty of followers, devotees and faithful, to do as told in all the high standing sectors of ruling. So that annoying woman would have no help around.

The doors were opened, people got in, slashing and killing anyone who didn’t identify with a new religion.

They found Charlene upstairs, to her own misfortune – the windows had bars on them, so the only way out was impossible.

“Oh really? You?” – She jumped up in surprise as she saw Lavan walk in. – “Who could have imagined! Well aren’t you capable?” – She sarcastically smirked.

Lavan raised his hand, men grabbed Charlene, as they were about to stab her, she cried out.

“Don’t you want to know where your dear Adam is?”

“Stop!” – Lavan ordered, the men halted. – “Where is he?”

“Don’t you wish to let me go first?” – She coquetted.

“Not at all. If you have nothing to say – better be dead.”

“Wait!” – She now felt the depth of the cold purgatory. – “If you kill me – you’ll never know where he is!”

Lavan smiled.

“No. I’ll always find him.” – Lavan gestured. Charlene died.

Lower floors, basement stretched out in far length.

The scent of the drugs and filth engulfed the area. Followers and Lavan went inside – seeking through it. The people in cages, iron cells – freed. They were the people snatched from the streets, people kidnapped and missing.

The cries and happy shouts of “Blessed be!” echoed, as devotees found their family members.

In the farthest cell, as the frost was on the concrete – there was a bed, with a single person chained to it. The faint lights revealed endless scars, bruises, the filth was smeared and left on him, as he laid there naked. Mouth was still gagged.

Lavan rushed to the man, as he recognised him. Adam.

Trembling hands held a cold body, the few shouts got some followers to come over, breaking the chains. Someone helped, by taking Adam in their hands and bringing him upstairs.

Three days in the hospital. Adam was barely recovering. His body sustained many injuries from all the abuse and rape.

His mouth was gagged too long, he was dehydrated and starved.

Lavan was not leaving the side of the bed where Adam slept. Still not waking up.

The rubble of the church only had stones that held it once.

Dark forest surrounded the view. Moon shone on the land. Rustling of leaves and insects could be audible around. Lavan stepped inside the rubble. He saw the broken floor reveal the passage below. The stairs lead to the unknown.

He decided to go in. As he stepped down, he heard a familiar voice.

“You still don’t listen, do you?” – Adam stood a few steps behind him.

Happily Lavan turned and made a few steps, but Adam stepped back.

“You can’t.” – Shook head Adam.

“Why? WHY?!” – Shouted Lavan, as he attempted to walk closer again, but Adam stepped back.

“Why?” – Lavan now sounded sad, broken. – “Why?” – He pleaded. – “Come back to me.”

Adam shook his head again.

“Stop. I wouldn’t want to see you wither in my hands. To your misfortune I’m too loyal. So much damn so, that you’ll survive.” – Adam sounded like somebody else. The voice was different. – “And yet, I stand as witness here, to bold and rash decisions. However, bringing bitter tears, I will proceed with vision.”

The sound of the crawling insects intensified, as they surrounded Adam who sounded like someone else.

“I know that this is changing worlds. That death becomes so very rotten, though in my fair last words…” – Adam spoke on.

Lavan suddenly was wrapped in silence. The only thing he heard was this strange voice.

“…I know I’ll never be forgotten.” – The Adam that stood in front of him shone brightly.

The light made the insects cry in pain, as they crumbled and tore apart. The light consumed and destroyed the darkness.

Lavan woke up holding tight Adams’ hand. Moon shone through the window. It was still night.

The man was still unconscious. Lavans heart raced as mad, the thud in the ears made it hard to hear anything else.

It took a little to calm down, a few deep breaths in and out, in and out.

Lavan checked Adams pulse – still alive. Alive. It was all that mattered to him. That Adam was alive and in his hands.

“I miss you. Come back to me.” – Lavan stood up, hanging over Adam, as he brushed over Adams forehead with his fingers. – “Please.”

Lavan could feel his heart tighten, as words were stuck in his throat, like a lump. He got closer, with their lips touching.

“I love you.” – He whispered in the moment.


Image source : https://www.rprepository.com/c/samaeldearches/205468

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