And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
Genesis 6: 1- 2
Father Henley felt a cold breeze on his face as the doors of the cathedral opened. He looked up from his studies and gave a slight smile to the stranger. “Mass isn’t for another hour, so I have to assume something is troubling you,” he said as he stepped from behind altar. “Can I help you, son?”
“I doubt it, Father,” said the guest as he peered out of a nearby window.
“Well there had to be a reason you came here. Is someone after you?” The stranger didn’t reply, so Henley pressed on. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve had a lot of men standing by that door, just like you. Always scared, always watching for somebody coming after them. What is it, drugs? Do you owe someone money?”
For the first time since he entered, the stranger looked at the priest. “Do I look scared, Father?” he asked, his voice unsettlingly calm.
“N- no, you don’t,” stammered the priest. There was something in his eyes that set Henley on edge. This stranger didn’t look a day past twenty-five, but his eyes were that of man who’d already lived a lifetime.
New York was a rough town, and Henley was a tough man. He’d been shot, mugged, robbed, and even kidnapped over the years, but nothing scared him like this stranger. He tried to calm himself down, but his voice still wavered. “Who are you? What’s going on?”
“My name is Michael,” he said, “and what’s going on is somewhat complicated.” Before Michael could say anything else, the door rattled violently. “Father, if you want to survive this I’ll need you to trust me, can you do that?”
Henley was about to speak, but the door rattled again, and the voices he heard on the other side of it chilled him to his core. He clutched his rosaries tightly and simply nodded.
“Good, now get in the confessional,” Michael said as the pounding on the doors grew louder. “Now!”
Quickly mumbling fervent prayers, the priest obeyed this strange guardian. As Henly entered the booth, he heard the doors burst open and the dark voices growing louder. All of the lights in the room were extinguished, except for the candle outside of the booth, and it seemed as if the darkness itself was speaking to him.
“Don’t listen to the voices,” Michael said, “Just stay here and don’t open this door until I tell you!” He quickly closed the door and faced the shadowy beasts that stood before him.
Red eyes pierced the darkness throughout the cathedral, surrounding Michael and the trapped priest. “You waste your time protecting this shepherd, half- blood!” hissed a voice from the shadows.
“Pissing off that bottom- feeder you call your master has become my hobby,” Michael said with a slight grin. “Besides, what does he want with the old man anyways?”
“You arrogant fool! You stand surrounded and yet you still mock our lord? I’ll see your tongue cut out and delivered to my master,” it whispered, a hint of a smile in its tone. “Then once I’m done with you, I’ll strip the old man’s flesh from his bones.”
Michael could hear the old man’s whimpers and prayers. “Well this has been a waste of time for both us. If you’re not going to tell me anything, I guess I’ll just have to kill you,” he said, his voice never wavering.
The beasts laughed, “Not even you can kill us all!”
Michael closed his eyes and interlaced his fingers and whispered, “Benedictus Deus.”
“You do well to pray, boy,” hissed the monster. The beasts began to step from the darkness, revealing skin that was darker than the shadows they left behind.
Michael stood calmly, his eyes never opening, and continued to whisper. “Benedictus Jesus.”
Henley could hear the sounds of swords being drawn, the sounds of footsteps drawing nearer. He closed his eyes, held his rosaries close, and focused on Michael’s voice.
“Benedictus Sanctus Spiritus.”
The beast slammed it’s fist through the door of the confessional and grabbed the priest by his robes. “It would appear, Father,” said the creature mockingly, “that your God and His guardian have failed you.”
There was a gentle sound, like a needle dropping on a floor, and the monsters turned to look at the guardian. They saw a slight grin form on his lips as he spoke the final words, “Benedictus Lux Sancta.”
Suddenly, a light brighter than anything filled the room. Henley could feel it stinging his eyes even though they were still closed. He could hear the beasts howling in pain, and he felt himself freed from the clutches of the monster. As quickly as it appeared, the light subsided, and the last thing the priest heard before he passed out was Michael’s quiet whisper.