Shadow

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Chapter 2

Monday Afternoon

OF COURSE he could have used a pillow to smother him to death, but it wouldn't have been as rip-roaring as he'd have liked it to be. He quickly put the gun back into his trenchcoat and turned around. He thought of dispatching one more bullet to the man, this time to his heart. Just to send a message.

Leave Now Or You'll Get Caught

On second thought, he walked straight out of the room. He came out and slammed the door behind him. Some workers stood still, befuddled and all eyes were on him. He adjusted his trenchcoat and started walking to the stairs. He honestly didn't care if those people knew what he did in that hospital room. Obviously they knew. They must have heard the gunshot from his golden desert eagle pistol. A gun that he cherished as much as his own life. He came down to the ground floor to meet a total tumult. Patients hirpling for safety, which he assumed they thought was outside the hospital, workers taking cover behind anything they could find, even gurneys. In that moment he noticed he was the only one standing. The rest either knelt or crouched

'As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When they saw it, they fell face down.' - Ezekiel 1:28

He was a worker of God. He had come to spread the word of God in Melville. He was the seed sower, spraying the seeds of salvation. Some would fall by the wayside, some on the rocky ground, some on good soil and some on soil with thorns. He wasn't interesting in soils with thorns that wouldn't let his seeds grow. When sin became too much God wiped the earth with rain leaving only one family. He envisaged himself as God's messenger here to wipe out the thorny soils, the bad eggs, the sinful. He was approaching the exit when security guards rushed and blocked his path. He didn't count but they were at least ten. They all pointed guns at him.

"Get down!"

"Hands up!"

"Where's your gun!"

They all yawped at him. One of the guards ran to him and grabbed his arm.

'Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm' - Psalm 105:15

He grabbed the security guard's hand and smashed the man's elbow against his knee. He heard the joint snap. The security guard screamed then fell down and writhed in pain.

"Holy sh..!"

"Get down now or we'll shoot!"

"I said Hands up!"

He raised both hands up in the air. That seemed to soothe their perturbation.

"Now go on your knees!" One of the security guards said.

It's easy to think you're in control when there is no discernible threat in sight. He slowly brought one hand down and dipped it into his trenchcoat.

"Stop that now! Hands up!"

He brought his hand out with a grenade. A frag grenade.

"Put that down! Now! We'll shoot!"

He slowly took the grenade to his mouth. Two gunshots pummeled his chest.

'Put on the armour of God so that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil'. - Ephesians 6:11

He staggered a bit and regained his composure. He wore the armour of God. No harm would come to him. He wore the breastplate of righteousness. But in reality that would be a bulletproof vest. But still, it's God that protects. He bit off the key of the grenade and threw it to the guards.

"Oh sh..!"

It fell into the hands of one of the guards. He swiped his gun out and leveled it on the grenade.

Peace be unto the world as your troubled soul leaves it. Of this darkness you are free. Be gone!

Monday Afternoon

HE KNELT at the front most seat in the nave, hands clasped with a rosary in between. He looked at the statue of the man the one that kept him humble. The one that gave him life and preserved it. The one that protected him, guided him and gave his life meaning.

"In nomine Patris, et filii, et Spiritus Sancti"

He performed the sign of the cross and stood up. He'd finished his daily one hour session praying to God. He'd been praying for as long as he could remember and that goes as far back as when he began to know right from wrong. He was a staff of St. Mary Theological School and the spiritual director of a Dillon Tucker, who ran away exactly one year ago today. The reminiscence of his time with the boy hurt as deeply as knife to his heart. He was a prodigy, a wunderkind. He was only 26 years old but he thought like an old man. His mind was far too involute for such a young man. But the boy ran away. Either due to his poor guidance or the incertitude in the boy's head. He asked a lot of uncanny questions that made the others consider him weird or crazy. Maybe if he listened to him more, he could have understood. If he just talked to him longer,

"Father Salvatore?" Salvatore spun his head around to see who interrupted his thoughts. It was Father Nicolas who stood a few seats away. He was so lost in thought he didn't notice him come in.

"Sorry to interrupt,"

"No it's fine" Salvatore said and stepped out of the pew into the aisle.

"Are you okay? You stood there for at least 10 minutes" Nicolas said

"I'm Fine, Nicolas. Don't you worry" Salvatore said and continue his saunter. He walked past Nicolas who was just staring at him.

"The students are done eating, Lunch time is over" Nicolas finally said as Salvatore neared the exit door of the church.

"Then I guess it's recreation time" Salvatore said and walked out of the door. Nicolas followed him out.

"The Rector sent for you," Nicolas said.

Salvatore huffed.

"Okay. I'll head straight to his office," Salvatore said.

"Father Salvatore," Nicolas called out.

Salvatore stopped and turned back to Nicolas

"Good luck," Nicolas said and scooted away. Salvatore turned and continued his journey to the Rector's office. St. Mary Theological school. One of the best, if not the best seminary schools in America. Coming in from the school gates, you'd most likely mistake the place for the white house. The land was massive. Most of it greenway, buildings littered here and there, one of which was the church which he'd just come out of. Opposite the church on one side was the class area which included the classroom building that may have looked dilapidated a few years ago but now beguiling due to certain donations. On the other side, was the dining room. Very well furnished, the service, epicurean, the cooking staff, first-rate. Other buildings were the great hall, their multipurpose hall which was by far the largest building in the school, the dormitory, which came second in the contest for voluminosity, the staff quarters, which came second to none in terms of quality, and the recreational area, which included the football fields, the basketball courts, the long tennis courts and other sports which Salvatore didn't remember now because he didn't play them. He walked straight for the Rectors office which was a building separated from the others. After a six minute walk, he was at the Rector's office. He knocked gently on the door. No answer. He knocked again, a bit more force.

"Come in," The Rector said from inside. Salvatore twisted the knob and walked into the office. If he thought the staff quarters was well furnished, then this was obviously on another level. The office always blew him away everytime he'd entered it for the last five years from when it was furnished. His chair and table stayed at one end of the office. A picture of Jesus and the twelve disciples on the wall behind his chair. On another end was the couch. There was also a coffee dispenser on one end. The man liked coffee a lot. White painted walls and soft white light bulbs were the icing on the cake.

"Father Salvatore,"

"Father Clarence," Salvatore replied.

"How're you holding up?" Clarence asked.

"I'm doing just fine thank you" very considerate question, but Salvatore had been getting that a lot lately. He wondered if there was a sign board on his forehead that read 'I'm not okay'.

"Okay. You know, other priests are concerned about you so I just wanted find out if you're doing fine"

"I'm doing fine sir thank you. Wait, you said other priests?"

"Yes. Some of them have observed your absentness in recent weeks and wonder if you're still up to the task"

"Up to the task?" What task is that exactly?"

"Teaching and taking care of the students,"

"I knew this meeting was about this. I was the guardian of an orphan student that ran away. So what? I've guided so many students in my years working for this school, none of the others ran away, in fact they graduated with top marks. One of my students messes me up and all of a sudden I'm not up to the task" Salvatore was careful not to raise his voice but he took it up a pitch or two in the right moments. Clarence just stared at him for some moments.

"You see, this is your problem Father Salvatore, you think you're good to go," Clarence said after their one minute staring contest.

"How's that a problem?" Salvatore asked.

"Because you're not ready. I don't think you've recovered. I don't think you'll recover. At least not in a long while"

Salvatore opened his mouth to remonstrate against that statement but he was blank. He couldn't think of anything to counter the Rector's inference. That's because the rector was right. He hadn't recovered from the loss of a student he'd dare consider his son.

"I've watched you for a year now Father Salvatore. You can't continue like this, so," Clarence paused and huffed. He stared at Salvatore with sad eyes for a brief moment.

"So?" Salvatore asked.

"Father Salvatore, you've been suspended"

Salvatore's eyes widened. He opened his mouth to talk but he was stopped by an index finger of the Rector.

"It's a suspension on paper but think of it as a permitted sabbatical. Use it to reflect deeply on your self and your actions and grow in spirit,"

Salvatore huffed and his shoulders drooped.

"Of course, Father Clarence."

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