A chilling debut from Michael...
The priest sensed a profound change of atmosphere the moment someone entered the darkened confessional. Gripping his pectoral cross, he blessed himself, and mumbled prayers of protection in Latin. He’d encountered dreadful phenomena during his forty years as a missionary in the Haitian jungle, but none darker than this.
Opening the sliding panel to expose the metal grill that separated their faces, he noticed a peculiar odor. The stink of Hell, he thought, blessing himself again. Another dark entity sent to harass me. He quickly unscrewed the top on a small bottle of holy water.
“Why are you here?” he asked.
“I’m so happy, I could burst,” said a woman’s voice. “I just wanted to tell somebody.”
“This is not a place of levity. This is a confessional. A place where evil is purged.”
“I thought priests were bound to listen to anybody in a confessional, no matter what they had to say.”
“You heard wrong. Tell me what you have to say. Make it quick.”
“Suppose I buy your time. Say, five minutes worth. For that, I’ll put $1,000 in the poor box before I leave.”
“Don’t bother to lie. Evil can do nothing good.”
“Evil is good fun,” she said. “More than you could ever imagine.”
“Your mind is foul.”
“How true. Do you know what I am?”
“Verrry good. How did you know?”
“I can smell it on you.”
“Ah. A holy man who can discern essences. Let me ask you, Holy Man, have you ever bitten into a neck and drunk your fill?”
“It’s a stupid question,” he said.
“Hardly. It’s a life changing experience. It’s so erotically satisfying, nothing else approaches it. You may be celibate, but I’ll bet you deeply crave erotic adventures.”
“We’re not here to talk about me. Get to the point.”
“I just wanted to tell you how happy I am. I can barely contain myself.”
“How many victims fell into your clutches tonight?” he asked.
“Fifteen. Five an hour. I’ve achieved a record. I know the Master will richly reward me for being so wickedly industrious. Would you like to be the sixteenth?”
“One false move, and you’ll regret coming here,” he said, gripping the bottle of holy water. “Listen, don’t wait until Judgment Day. Confess everything now and ask for the Almighty’s forgiveness. The fact that you were able to enter this holy place without bursting into flames shows you can yet be saved. Confess your foul murders. Ask forgiveness. Amend your life. Do it quickly.”
“No! I love my existence. I feel bliss throughout my waking hours, and even more so at night. But you have to wait until you’re dead, and then hope you'll attain the bliss of Heaven - a place my Master assures me doesn’t exist. Even if it did, why wait? Join me now. I could use a priest for an ally. You’d make a good decoy to ensnare trusting souls.”
The priest hurled holy water through the screen.
She didn’t even have time to scream.
Using his cell phone, the priest called the housekeeper and asked her to put a fresh bag into the vacuum cleaner and bring it to the confessional.
Later, when opening the bag and examining the deceased’s dust, he found it bright red. He carefully poured her dust into an empty Coke bottle. Sealing it with wax, he said prayers of exorcism.
Carrying the bottle to the cellar, he stored it in a safe next to others containing werewolf, ghoul, and zombie dust. Then he called an all-night radio talk show that focused on the uncanny and macabre.
“I just killed a vampire,” he told the host.
“Sure you did. And I guess you see black helicopters, shape-shifters, and were abducted by aliens.”
“You must listen to me very carefully. The only reason I’m telling you this is to warn everyone. Beware! This kind is particularly vicious. Like nothing seen for hundreds of years.”
“Oh? How can you tell?” asked the host.
“She turned to red dust.”
“Really? And what color dust is there when you kill vampires that aren’t as nasty?”
“I see. So, what did you do with the red dust?”
“I vacuumed it. Then I poured it into a Coke bottle.”
“Hear that folks? Here’s a guy who kills vampires, and stuffs them into Coke bottles. What about zombies? Kill any of those lately?”
“As a matter of fact I did. But that was in Haiti, a few months ago.”
“Oh my. Aren’t you the nasty serial monster killer. How about telling us what color zombie dust is.”
“It depends on how they were zombified. But most are pale yellow.”
“Get the hell off the phone, you freakin’ loon, and go take your meds!”
Later that night before returning to his coffin, the talk show host took inventory -just in case the goofy caller had actually killed a vampire. Checking the seventeen coffins hidden beneath his Beverly Hills mansion, he found one empty. One of his newest female recruits hadn’t returned from her nightly hunt, and dawn was near. There was no time to search for her remains and perform a resurrection ritual. He raged and pounded the walls.
With only minutes left before the accursed sunrise, he summoned rats, lizards, lice, beetles, leaches, and cockroaches. He ordered them to scour every nook and cranny of the city for a sealed Coke bottle containing red dust. Whoever found the bottle would be awarded a dozen putrefied corpses on which to snack. An even richer reward awaited the one who found the priest.
Closing his coffin lid, he fell asleep wondering why the killer chose a Coke bottle instead of Pepsi.
Michael A. Kechula is a retired tech writer. His fiction has won first place in eight contests and placed in seven others. He’s also won Editor’s Choice awards four times. His stories have been published by 114 magazines and 30 anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, India, Scotland, and US. He’s authored a book of flash and micro-fiction stories: “A Full Deck of Zombies--61 Speculative Fiction Tales.”
eBook available at www.BooksForABuck.com and www.fictionwise.com
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