1. Voices in the Chapel

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VOICES IN THE CHAPELBy StevenBrandt

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VOICES IN THE CHAPEL
By StevenBrandt

Darryl Dark is a good man. He tells himself that over and over. He prays in the chapel for three hours every Friday to try and convince himself. And how could he not be good? He does whatever the statue of St. Mortense tells him to do, even killing people and disposing of their bodies. The only thing that troubles him is how much he enjoys his work. That, and the pictures of demons in the painting behind the altar. Do they move, or is it only a trick of the light?

 Do they move, or is it only a trick of the light?

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"I'm a good person," I whispered. "I know I am."

It was on Friday, the day I regularly went to the chapel at midnight to spend three consecutive hours in meditation. I sat alone in the church of St. Michael the Archangel, an army of tiny statues of saints stood before me to protect me from evil thoughts. A giant painting of the final judgment spanned the wall behind them. The demons seemed to grin and cavort, and the angels' swords seemed to flash in the flickering light of the candles.

I waited.

I didn't know if it would happen tonight, but three times in the past year, the little statue of St. Mortense had wept tears of blood. When that occurred, I would listen closely, and he'd tell me who to kill.

The door of the chapel creaked, and an old woman carrying a gigantic purse doddered in. She wore a small black veil upon her head and a heavy winter shawl about her hefty frame, despite the fact it was early autumn. Finding her way to the front of the chapel and dropping to the kneeler seemed to take all her effort.

I resented her presence. The statues wouldn't speak to me unless I was alone. But what could I do? I should have been praying, It's what a good person would do. So I prayed that she would leave.

"You're the one who protects us, aren't you?" she asked.

"Are you speaking to me?" I replied.

"Who else? The statues?"

Her tone was mocking, but she glanced at St. Mortense where he stood piously with his back to an army of demons. It was as if she knew. A tingle of fear slithered down my spine.

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