Chapter 3

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The priest waited in the darkness of his room with his eyes closed. He had waited for hours, but the church remained quiet. The only sound was his own heart, the beats filling his ears like drums.

Nathan was exhausted, but sleep didn't come. Not in the past days. In the past, when his night was sleepless, he would read the bible. The words of the Lord calmed him and quenched his mind. But I don't deserve His merciful words now, he thought; the sight of the Holy Book paralyzed him now.

He stood up and walked towards his desk. Even in the darkness, he knew where the drawer was. Nate laid his hand on the Book. Even if he couldn't see it anymore, it was the closest he could be to His words.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go, he thought with a sad smile on his lips. One of Nate's favorite passage; the one he liked to end his Mass. But after everything, it was he who lacked the courage.

My Lord, he prayed for the first time in days. I do not know if what I did was right. I am but a man, who knows nothing of the path you have for me. But if I have committed a sin, please forgive the boy. He is not at fault. Please, my Lord... this humble servant begs to forgive the boy.

The priest cried as he prayed to silence.

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you, as he repeated the Words in his heart, Nate heard something. It was faint, barely louder than his own tears, but the priest knew what it was and went to the secret room after he grabbed the plastic bag on the desk.

The moment Nate pushed the hidden door, the young man's killing intent involved him. It sent a chill over his body. He had to grab his arm to stop the trembling.

"It's you," Samuel said in a hollow voice, his murderous intent disappearing the next instant.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, Nate repeated until his heart calmed. He became like this because of me. He saw only when Samuel reached out for the food with his hands covered with blood and dirt. The priest said nothing, but the young man noticed.

Samuel looked at his hand, closing and opening his fingers. "I buried Mirela," he said, his voice indifferent, his eyes dead.

The priest knew not to ask any further. He waited as the young man barely ate the food.

"This's what you wanna ask, right?" Samuel took something from the pocket jacket and tossed to the priest.

Even in the dark room, Nate caught it. He felt the numbness filling him as he realized the cold heart somehow still pulsed. He swallowed down the sudden urge to vomit. And I thought I was already dead as well. Nate turned the organ around, the dark blood on his hands. "With this all we need is—"

"The head." Even his whispers were full of rage.

Nate stared the young man before his eyes. In the past, he would have said to let go of the anger. It hurt him more than anyone else. He would have told to believe in the Lord and his path will appear, even if in mysterious ways. Now the words felt empty. Even to him. His faith in the Lord could not make him say anything to Samuel.

The priest placed the heart on the old trunk, next to the dark red stone. Flesh and blood, he thought, as he closed the lid. "You should rest. I'll bring more food later," he said before leaving the room. He pushed the bookcase back where it was, hiding the door.

Back to his room, he sat on the bed again and covered his face with both hands. My Lord... is there nothing I can do for him? Your words cannot reach his heart and would not make any difference. Please, my Lord, tell me why his destiny to suffer and die full of rage... please... He prayed in his heart, but there was only silence, again. Before, he liked to pray into silence. To him, it was as if the Lord himself allowed the peace and quiet fill him. This way he could find the answer himself. Now the priest felt alone.

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