4 comments

Crime Christian

Around the altar of the votive candles hung a rich flowery aroma as Leonard knelt to give prayer after lighting one of the candles, his five-dollar donation was placed in the collection box that was off to the side.

“O merciful God! I beg your forgiveness. I am a sinner, have mercy on me, O Lord. Amen,” Leonard finishes his prayer with the sign of the cross before he gets up and heads towards the confessional where he is supposed to be meeting Father Barry Stevens.

I hate these things. Leonard thinks as he sits in the confessional while waiting for Father Stevens to begin. 

After a few minutes, Leonard hears the door open to the confessional on the other side of the petition. A cough can be heard as the sound of rustling robes fills the air before the little window in the petition slides open. Father Stevens can be seen through the lattice.

“Good evening my son.” Father Stevens says in a low soothing voice. 

 “Good evening, Father,” Leonard says as he makes the sign of the cross. “In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” 

 “I want to start with a little saying from the Book of Proverbs. Chapter 28, Verse 13. Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Father Stevens says as he adjusts his stole. “May the Lord help you to confess your sins” 

“Amen,” Leonard says as he coughs into his hand. “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been eight months since my last confession.”

Leonard wipes the sweat off his brow as he takes a deep breath.

“Just start at the beginning.” Father Stevens says calmly.

“It happened a few months ago,” Leonard says.

***

As Leonard walks down his driveway towards his car, the Dumbar’s Packing Company truck pulls in front of his house. Leonard walks towards the truck as two men get out. One man walks over to Leonard and sticks out his hand.

“Hi, you must be Leonard?” The man asks.

Leonard takes the man's hand and nods.

“My name is Henry Miller.” He points to the other man that is opening the back of the truck and loading up a dolly with packing boxes, tape, and other things people use to pack a house for moving. “That’s Theo, my partner. We are packing your house today for your move.”

“Pleased to meet you, Henry. I have to get to work but my wife is expecting you.”

Henry looks at a paper on his clipboard. “Amanda?”

“That’s her. She can be a bit of an earful. Just do what you guys need to do. I got to get going. Good luck.” Leonard says as he walks towards his car.

“Thanks. You’re in good hands. The best way is the Dumbar way.” Henry says as he walks towards the front door.

Leonard sees his wife open the door for Henry and shake his hand before he pulls out of the driveway. 

Leonard turns on the radio and the song “Rape Me” blasts through his speakers by the band Nirvana. Leonard starts tapping on the steering wheel in tune to the music and after a minute he begins to sing along with the band.

“Hate me 

Do it, and do it again 

Waste me 

Rape me, my friend”

Kurt Cobain was a little dark in his songwriting but died way before his time. Leonard thinks as he switches over to the traffic station.

“Hey Google, call Mom,” Leonard says as he pulls onto the interstate.

“Hey, honey. How’s the packing going?” 

“Hi, Mom. It’s going okay. We hired a packing company and they are there now with Amanda. They should be done in a few hours.” Leonard says as he swerves to avoid someone coming into his lane.

“A packing company? People in my days packed themselves. It must be nice getting that promotion but I don’t understand why you’re moving a few blocks away. What’s wrong with your house?”

“Nothing’s wrong ma.” Leonard laughs. “I wanted to tell you something a few weeks back but got distracted.”

“Tell me what dear?” 

“Amanda is pregnant mom,” Leonard says with a big grin.

“I’m finally going to be a grandma? That’s great news. How long have you known?”

“It’s been almost three months now. We were going to tell you last month but with the promotion and the selling of the house and now the move, things just got away from us.”

“I’m so excited dear.”

“Thanks, mom,” Leonard says as he pulls off the interstate. “We bought the new house so we can have a little more room. And with the extra money I’m making now, it was the right time to do it.”

Leonard looks at the map display and notices he will be at his destination in 4 minutes.

“Listen, mom, I have to get going. I’ll call you later on or tomorrow.” Leonard says.

“Okay, dear. I love you. Talk to you soon.”

“Love you, mom,” Leonard says before he disconnects the call as he pulls up in front of a small building with a large neon sign of a naked dancing girl. 

***

“Even though I love my wife Father, I needed to be alone for a little while. I was being selfish. I also drank in excess and had a lot of impure thoughts while looking at the naked ladies, Father.” Leonard says as he wipes the sweat from his brow.

“Is that all of your sins my son?” Father Stevens asks.

“No, Father. There’s more.” Leonard says. “Later on that afternoon I got a call from my wife.”

***

“Why are you crying?” Leonard says as looks at his watch. The watch read 3:45 pm.

“Come home. I need you here.” Amanda says between sobs.

“Are you okay? What’s wrong?” Leonard asks as he turns his car around and heads home.

“Just get home,” Amanda says before hanging up.

It was 4:15 when Leonard finally pulls up to the house and notices that none of the lights are on inside but Amanda’s car is still in the driveway.

“Where are you?” Leonard calls out as he enters the house.

 Amanda doesn’t respond but Leonard can hear sobs coming from upstairs. Leonard stumbles as he rushes up the stairs listening to his wife’s sobs. They were coming from the bedroom. As he enters the room he sees Amanda curled up in a ball in the corner of the room. Naked as the day she was born, with the phone laying by her feet. Her breath came in gasps as she sobs uncontrollably. Leonard rushes over to her and when he kneels Amanda grabs him tight and holds on.

“What’s wrong?” Leonard asks as he brushes his hand through her wet hair. “I’m here. Tell me what’s wrong. Are you hurt? Take a deep breath.” 

Amanda takes a few deep breaths as she clutches Leonard around the waist. After a few minutes, her breathing gets under control as Leonard continues holding her and brushing his hand through her hair.

“It’s okay,” Leonard says. “Just tell me what happened.”

“After lunch, I asked the packers if they needed anything because I wanted to go take a shower and get dressed. Henry told me they were good and if I needed them, they would be in the living room packing it up. I went upstairs and jumped in the shower. When I was done, I wrapped a towel around me and went into the bedroom and noticed Henry looking through my panties draw. I asked him what he was doing and he turned and smiled at me.” Amanda says as she begins sobbing again. 

“He told me I had good taste in clothing and placed the panties he had in his hand on the bed. He told me to put them on as he turned and pulled out a bra from the draw. I yelled at him to get out but he ignored me. I told him I was going to call his boss but he laughed at me as he threw the bra on the bed. He said if I didn’t put them on he was going to make me.”

“Oh my god, Amanda,” Leonard says as he feels the heat rising in his cheeks.

“I was scared, Leonard. I looked at Henry as he sat on the bed and told me to take the towel off slowly. I tried to get out of the room but he stood up and blocked the door. I started yelling for the other packer but Henry told me he had to go back to the office for something. He pushed me on the bed and ripped the towel off my body.”

***

Leonard takes a deep breath as he wipes the tears from his cheeks.

“He molested my wife, Father. He touched her and took pictures of her on his phone. He made her do things. She is pregnant, father. What type of man does this?” Leonard asks.

“I’m sorry my son. That must’ve been very difficult for you and your wife.” 

“I went to Henry’s job but didn’t want to go in there and cause a scene. I figured I would probably get arrested if I confronted him at his job. So I decided to wait for him and follow him, Father. I followed him to his house but never confronted him. I was scared I’d do something horrible. So instead of confronting him, I stalked him. I destroyed some of his property, his car. I broke into his house while he was at work and looked through his things trying to find out as much as I could about him. I found a folder of pictures in a metal case hidden in his closet. The pictures were of many different women in various states of undress. Each one had a look of horror on their face. This enraged me, father. I finally decided to do something about Henry.”

***

Leonard leaves his car and enters the park clutching something in his pocket as he walks. The hood pulled up covering his face as he makes his way around the walking path. Up ahead he can see Henry Miller taking his walk. Henry comes to this park every Monday and takes a walk before work. This Monday was no different.

Today is the day. Leonard thinks as he walks towards Henry. He notices Henry take his phone out of his pocket and begins talking to someone. Leonard gets closer to Henry and can hear his voice now. Henry is talking to someone named Emily. 

I wonder if she knows what kind of monster Henry is. Leonard thinks as he gets even closer to Henry.

“Shit Emily, What did you say?” Leonard hears Henry ask as he walks around in circles trying to get better reception. 

Leonard takes his hand out of his pocket and it is clutching a gun. He points it at the back of Henry’s head.

“Can you hear me now? You’re breaking up. I can’t hear you.” Leonard hears Henry say before he pulls the trigger.

October 22, 2021 12:15

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

4 comments

Patrick Samuel
08:08 Oct 23, 2021

You did it again! I had just left a comment on your previous story ("Can You Hear Me Now") congratulating you on that unexpected ending, then noticed you had this new one up. While I enjoyed reading it, I was thinking all the time that, unlike the previous one, I could tell where this one was going. Wrong again! I love it when a twist puts into perspective everything you've read previously, but to do it from one story to the next is as daring as it is clever. (To anyone who hasn't read Can You Hear Me Now, I suggest you start with that one f...

Reply

Jaime Metcalf
10:07 Oct 23, 2021

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the kind words. This story was a fun one to write.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Jaime Metcalf
12:20 Oct 24, 2021

I was so tempted to write a third story about Henry using this prompt: Set your story at the boundary between two realms. I decided against it though. I did have a good idea for it lol.

Reply

Patrick Samuel
15:23 Oct 24, 2021

You should have! Maybe you can get it to fit in an upcoming prompt. I know I'd love to read it.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 2 replies