Horror and Thriller Fiction posted January 27, 2012


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Life Passes By

by AlvinTEthington

Horror Story Writing Contest Contest Winner 
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.
Father Timothy Flanigan heard the slow shuffle of footsteps and the door to the confessional close on the other side.

"Father, forgive me, it's been...like...forever...since my last confession."

The voice sounded young. He wasn't good with teenagers. The halting footsteps and unsteady voice might mean this one was on drugs. He had heard it many times before. Confessions that didn't make sense...rambling...probably made up.

Father Flanigan remembered a time long ago.


"Hey, Timmy, keep your eye on the ball! What is that, like the third time you struck out?"

"Leave my brother alone, prick. He's gonna be a priest when he grows up. Hell, maybe even a bishop. He don't need to play ball for that."

Jack always came to Timmy's rescue, but why did Jack have to accept what their mother wanted for him?

"Yeah, and what you gonna be, Jack? A cop like your old man?"

"He takes good care of us..." "Timid" Flaningan. "Timid" was the nickname the boys had given Timmy.

"Oh yeah? I heard he drinks..."

"Shut up, you wop, or I'll beat your head in." Jack was mad; Timmy could tell.

"Yeah, no worries, all you Irish drink..."




"What can I do for you, my son?"

"It's like really bad, Father. I don't know if I can tell you..."

"God always forgives, my son." How old was he, fourteen, fifteen?

"He does? Even if it's really bad?"

"Yes, he always does..." The lad must have got a girl knocked up. "What did you do, my son?"

"Uh, uh...I killed someone..."



There was a knock on the door. Timmy Flanigan went to answer it.

"Uncle Bob? What are you doing here?" It was his father's partner. Timmy always called him "Uncle" out of respect; he wasn't really his uncle.

"Timmy, is your ma home?"

"Yeah, let me call her. Ma!"

Mary Flanigan, dressed simply in a sweater and skirt and without make-up, came to the door.

"Mary, I am so sorry."

"Oh, no....Timmy, go find Jack outside and play."

"Ma, I don't wanna go outside; it's hot."

"Then go to your room. This is adult talk."

Timmy went to his room, but he left his door ajar so he could hear the adults.

"Mary, John was shot.. He's..."

"Don't say it, Bob. If you don't say it, it's not true."

"But it is, Mary, it is true. You want me to call our priest for you?"

Timmy was only eight years old, and he knew his father was dead.




"Was it an accident, my son? You must go to the police."

"No, Father. It was no accident. I meant to kill her." The voice now sounded strangely confident.

"Surely you didn't, my son. No one truly wants to murder someone. You must go to the authorities."

He hated it when Church doctrine and secular law came into conflict. He wanted to call his brother Jack and have the arrogant youth arrested right there.

"I wanted to kill her, Father; I wanted to kill her for having me."

"Having you, my son? Was this your girlfriend? Did she invite you over for dinner?"

What had he gotten himself into?

"No, you stupid fuckin' priest. It was my mother! She and you and all your fake piety...I wish you all would go to hell!" His voice rose angrily with each word.



Tim Flanigan's mother had tubes coming out of her everywhere. The room was all white. Jack and Tim were at her bedside. She was coming in and out of consciousness.

"Timmy, I know I'm dying. How are things at the seminary?"

"They're OK, Ma." How could he tell her he really didn't want to be a priest?

"Timmy, the second son always goes into the priesthood. It's a tradition. You make your ma proud." Her breathing was labored.

"Jack?"

"Yes, Ma?"

"Look after Tim; I am so proud of you, Jack, my policeman son...just like your beloved father...God rest his..."

Mary Flanigan closed her eyes and took her last breath
.



"Calm down, my son. Why would a son want to kill his mother? I don't understand..."

"She never wanted to have me! She knew I would be born evil! But your filthy Church MADE her have me." The voice was enraged.

"No one is born evil, my son. You did an evil thing."

"I was, you idiot priest! My mother didn't want to have me!"

"Surely that can't be true, my child. All mothers want children."

"Not mine. After she found out she was pregnant, the fuckin' ultrasound showed there were twins."

"Where is your brother now, my son?" Father Flanigan's body was weak and the room was spinning.

"I ate him! In the womb! That's what my mother told me. Then she went to a fuckin' priest to ask what to do."

Father Flanigan's head dropped. He was weary. He knew that wasn't possible. The mother must have been despondent over the loss of the child in her womb and created her own reality, blaming her son; he wondered if psychosis ran in the family.

"What did the priest tell her?"

"What do you think? What would you tell her?"

"I would have tried to comfort her." He felt on trial here. He often didn't understand events in the world today.

"Well, that priest told her abortion was murder. It was killing a life."



"Hello."

"Tim, is that you?"

"Yes, Jack, what's wrong? You don't sound like yourself. Have you been drinking?" The noise in the background was deafening.

"Yeah, can you come talk to me?"

"Of course, Jack. Where are you?"

"Uncle Harry's. On 65th Street."

"Jack...that's a gay bar."

"Yeah, you would never have guessed, huh? How did you know it was a gay bar?"

Tim remembered the two guys who were kicked out of seminary for having a "special friendship." They had mentioned the bar in confidence to him. When they traveled in groups of three, he was the third one with the two. He had never told anyone.

"Jack, you can't be gay. You were the quarterback of your college football team. You aren't gay, are you?" Tim's voice was almost pleading.

"Hell, Tim, I don't know. I'm married, right? I have kids. Just I got drunk last night and went down to the Village. I don't know why...I wanted to see a different side of life. It's not all robberies and murders and wife and kids, ya know. I wanna be more than a cop. Look what being a cop got Dad. He left Ma a young widow with us kids to raise by herself. I was only with a man that one time, Tim, but still...I kinda enjoyed it...though I'm not sure one time makes you queer."

"Yes, Jack, don't throw your family away for something you're not sure of."

"Why the hell does the Church care so much anyway?"

"Jack, you know the answer to that. Two men can't have a baby. It's wasting life--the Church is always against wasting life from this to getting rid of a baby."

"So cum is now life? Mebbe I should baptize my cum...give it a name. I kinda like Charlie..."

"Jack, don't talk like that. Don't drink any more and I'll come right over and get you."

"OK, little bro. But don't put on your priest outfit. It would scare the bejesus out of us queers here."




"Yes, the Church teaches abortion is a grievous sin..." Father Flanigan didn't know what to say. The youth was clearly disturbed.

"So, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a murder for a murder...sounds fair, doesn't it, Father?" The voice was escalating into bitter fury.

"My son, you must go to the authorities. You are young. There is hope." Father Flanigan didn't know if he believed his own words. How could this happen in God's world?

"Yeah, Father Flanigan. Yup, I know your name. I came to services last Sunday when you said Mass and I recognize your voice. It was a young priest who told my mother to go ahead and have me..."

"Perhaps he was inexperienced, my son..." He must have been, to say forthrightly that abortion was murder.

"You should know, Father...I KNOW IT WAS YOU BACK THEN!"








"Jack, don't go in there!"

"We got a corpse in the parish where my brother is in charge, and you're telling me not to go in there? What the hell happened?"

"Someone came into one of the confessionals and shot one of the priests through the confessional window. Multiple times. He didn't have a chance. We found the priest dead."

"Where's the perp? I'll kill the son of a bitch."

"He got away. No one saw, or at least no one in this neighborhood's telling."

"Let me in, I wanna see."

Jack Flanigan pushed his way in amongst all the officers and headed toward the police tape marking off the confessional.

"Let me see!"

"Cap'n, you shouldn't."

"And why the hell not? I've seen plenty of stiffs before."

"Jack, stop!"

He could feel the bile in the back of his throat. It couldn't be...

Jack pushed his way finally to the front and recognized the corpse. The nausea encapsulated his whole body.








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