Confession


Father Bradley knew the killer was coming, it was only a matter of time. It was a huge paradox that someone so pious could kill and lie with impunity to save himself. Still, he was hardly a saint himself, despite his dog collar, he reflected. The things he had done. Were they much worse than what Olsen had perpetrated? While Olsen might have extinguished one innocent life, Father Bradley had destroyed many more. Yes they might still be alive, but they were hardly living. The psychological damage was too profound. He had fought his urges for years, and the battle was ongoing. His guilt over those boys would never pass, but it failed to diminish the physical urges, like a scab desperate to be picked off.

He had seen Olsen’s picture in the papers of course, but he seemed smaller in person, less of an intimidating presence. Father Bradley peered at him through the latticed grill of the confessional box. He wandered in, looking slightly lost, head turning in all directions in pursuit of a helpful soul. Father Bradley stepped out of the box and greeted the killer. He gave his best welcoming smile.

“May I help you?”

Olsen was in his mid-thirties with a hard, angular face carved from too many violent incidents. The eyes were sharp, darting and full of menace. It was an expression that could strike fear into his adversaries and doubtless had done so many times. Yet there was a softness to his expression, the lost gaze of a small boy occasionally surfacing. He smiled hesitantly.

“Father, I have sinned.”

“God be with you son. You are in the right place for redemption. Please step into the confessional box and unburden yourself.”





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