The Red Priest
by Beatrice Preti
Father Rosso stood over the corpseless head, his beautiful white robes stained with blood. His body was rigid, yet calm, like a man at prayer, which he might have been, save for the knife clenched in his fist.
Hell would be one sinner fuller tonight.
“Father?” The girl’s voice cut the air like a bone saw. The priest stood up, thankful the body was hidden behind the altar, and wiped the blood away from his mouth. There were bits of flesh still wedged inside his teeth, but he could take care of that later.
“Father!” the girl said, again. “I’ve brought Signor Snuggles. You said you would give him the holy water, so he can go to heaven.”
The priest’s eyes burnt black when she said that hateful word, ‘heaven’. What blind idiocy these fools lived under! There would be no rest there for any of his prey in ‘heaven’ tonight.
“Come closer, my child,” said Father Rosso, beckoning with one finger. Thank goodness the cathedral was so dark! So much blood would have frightened the girl, cheating him out of his meal. The young were tender, juicy. They didn’t leave so many strings between his teeth.
The struggle was quiet, quick, and one-sided. He doubted the girl even knew what was happening. As the warm, fresh blood gushed down his throat, he kicked the teddy bear aside. The stuffing would make a good pillow for his feet.
As the last of the blood drained from the corpse, he began to saw through the head, picking at the flesh as he went. Here was another sinner for Hell tonight.
His parish would receive a good sermon in the morning.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.