1:7 Dogs of War

2 0 0
                                          

As it turned out, the small library the priest kept behind his desk contained nothing more than lavishly printed bible verses and devout ramblings about faith. "There's nothing here that's going to help you," he said. "We're going to need to visit an old friend of mine." The priest prized the bottle from Chad's hands sooner than he would have liked and took another mighty gulp.

"That friend wouldn't happen to be Nick Ventner would it?"

The priest's face went white as a sheet and he drank again. His eyes were beginning to look watery and far away. "I wouldn't try to find Nick Ventner even if judgment were standing on the doorstep of my church and demanding his presence." The priest spat on the floor and quickly made a corrective cross on his chest.

Chad wondered if it was a requirement for all priests to be closet drunks.

"No, we have no business with his kind." The priest walked over to a coat closet concealed between two bookshelves and put on a long black coat, and an equally black hat to match. "This isn't a chupacabra or some boogeyman hiding in the closet, it's The Devil at work."

A chill swept over Chad. "Little somber, don't you think, Father?" he asked, pointing to the priest's attire.

"We're going to speak to a man about the end of times." The priest stiffened and straightened his coat. "If ever there was a time to wear black, it's now." With that, he hastily scribbled a note that said he was going out to visit a local church in need and would likely be back by the end of the day. The priest walked out of the room, pinned the note to a board that hung outside his office and walked away.

Chad had to hurry to catch up, surprised by the priest's alacrity. He had expected some long-winded speech about how the end times were more of a metaphor than anything else. The fact that he was willing to help was a shock, and unfortunately gave credence to the strange events that had befallen Chad over the past day. "Where exactly are we going?" he called to the priest, voice echoing in the church's musty hallways. He flinched at the thought of holy spirits listening in on their conversation. If The Devil was real, Chad had a lot more to think about.

"There's a church downtown that makes a point of cataloguing everything related to the faith, good or evil. I know a priestess there who specializes in the works most churches would rather burn than shelve. She thinks it's important to examine all sides of the coin."

They walked out into sunlight which had become blazing. Heat shimmered off the cracked black pavement, and Chad began to sweat immediately. Jesus, what I wouldn't give for some rain. It didn't rain in Midway often, but when it did, the storms were sudden and severe. In the distance, he could see the scaffolding of the new high rises downtown. Their adverts had boasted they would be so high, it would feel like touching the sun. Chad had never understood the appeal.

The priest walked up to a battered sedan that looked like it had seen one too many fender benders and tossed Chad the keys. "You're driving, I need to think."

"Too drunk more like," muttered Chad, wishing that he could have been the one sleeping it off in the passenger's seat.

"What was that?" The priest's words slurred slightly but conveyed an attempt at divine anger.

"Praise God and all that." Chad made a mock prayer bow and walked around the front of the car, unlocking the doors as he went. Staring another drunk in the face took the persistence out of his want for more booze.

"That's more like it." The priest swung open the passenger door and slumped into the faded cloth seat.

Chad turned the keys in the ignition, listening to the car whine as he did so. It seemed like it wasn't going to start, but after a few feeble attempts, the engine guttered to life. With a roar and a whimper of the sedan's engine, they pulled away from the church and onto the main drag. "So where exactly are we going?"

Chadpocalypse - Book 1Where stories live. Discover now