St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Hagerstown, Maryland
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been…. 2 hours and 36 minutes since my last confession.”
Father Franklin looked up, glancing toward the screened confessional window. “That’s quite recent, my son. Surely you haven’t sinned so much in such a short period of time?”
“It’s not so much recent, Father, as the amount. We all do things we don’t necessarily want to do. Sometimes we have to do things that are necessary, but immoral. Sometimes we enjoy them a bit too much.”
“Well, son, I’m listening.”
“Tell me, Father… have you heard of the Contingent?” The shadowed figure shifted behind the screen.
Franklin frowned, thinking. “These… supposed monster hunters, yes? The ones saying that there’s a battle coming and that they are fighting for us?”
“They aren’t “supposed”, Father, I should know. I’m one of them. And I can promise you, the monsters are out there. I’ve seen terrible things… horrors you couldn’t even imagine. And I’ve done terrible things to make sure much worse doesn’t happen to everyone in the world. I’ve killed people who were working for the monsters trying to control this world and everyone in it. I’ve killed vampires, and Fae. I’ve seen and talked to ghosts. I’ve fought… well, I guess you’d call them demons. It’s all real, Father, every word of it.”
Franklin thought for a moment. “My son, I’m not sure if these things are real or not. Obviously there is evil in the world, and it is our duty to stand against it… but if you’ve done these things you say, then all you need do is ask forgiveness to receive absolution.”
“I don’t need your absolution, Father. What I do must be done. What I need from you is to rally your congregation. The time has come, it’s here already. They need to hope, hope for the future of humanity, and stand united against the things that want to bring us down. They need to pray, pray for themselves and their neighbors, pray that we can end things decisively. They need to stand against the darkness, and resolve to slam the door in its stinking face. Tell your congregation. Tell your superiors. Spread the word.” The figure stood, moving toward the door.
“Wait my son, you must tell me more! Wait!” Franklin moved to the door, pushing it to no avail. An hour later, one of his parishioners found him trapped in the confessional, still yelling, a piece of wood lodged in the door.
South Mountain Eastbound Welcome Center, I-70
Charles sat in the driver’s seat of his Crown Vic, having a hasty lunch made from the rest stop’s vending machines.
“Okay, that’s the Catholics, Evangelicals, Greek Orthodox, Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists, and Pentecostals, plus every large non-denominational I could find. Maybe I’m wasting my damn time, but at least it’s something, if just one of them listens…” he trailed off.
Charles picked up his phone, reading the text from Tamara Oliver. “Shit!” He revved the Vic, screeched out of the rest stop parking lot. If he hurried he might have time to stop by his weapons cache in Frederick. Might be a few things there that would be useful. He flipped the radio on, and music came from a station barely in tune…
Now my muscles start to rust, my thoughts are growing cold,
while Gabriel and Satan shoot craps for my soul….