A Story of Religious Violence
By Callum Bradley
For The Porcupines Need Love Too Award
Father Morosey glided towards us and followed with a tactically concise passage as to the church’s fundraising projects, primarily for a much-needed Christian youth group, before again shaking the nauseating sounding tin in Arthur’s face. My husband made no effort to hide his feelings of disgust for the stained glass proposals and other fanciful schemes, much to my embarrassment.
Mr. Arthur Fellow was a man of rugged countenance. His leathery skin rested upon his face like a bed sheet on a bed to small for itself; creases scattered on its surface – no doubt due to constant frowning. Maggie, Mrs. Fellow, was fully aware of her husband’s austere disposition, but somehow found it a comfort. She found ease in distinguishing a glimpse of kindness from her husband’s less desirable qualities– a talent, however, it seemed she alone possessed.
The tarnished tin caught the light from the surrounding candles and sent rays of warmth shooting around the once shadowed gloomy church, which I knew would have offended Arthur’s senses. He grunted with bestial dismissiveness towards Morosey, and as I deposited the change I had into the collection tin, I received a vicious scowl from my husband.
For the past three decades on a Wednesday evening the couple could be found in attendance, staring at the blindingly white alb of Father Morosey, of their local church. The diatribes of Father Morosey had had become so repetitive and dreary that they slithered into a near silent drone in Arthur’s ears. As the congregation drifted out, the Fellow’s remained behind for several moments: Arthur’s attempts at avoiding contact with human riff-raff.
He entered the church and immediately appeared preternatural to me. Matted hair crawled in lank wisps from under a dark hood; large darkened glasses covered the man’s face so even with careful observation all I could see were eyes, reflected hundreds of times through the curvature of the glass. A quivering voice protruded from the adolescent’s covered face. Nervousness soon reduced a rehearsed demand into a dribble of vowels that ended with violent cursing and a shaking that prompted his glasses and hood to fall from his face.
Soon after the church was emptied, as Mr. and Mrs. Fellow swiftly headed for the exit, Father Morosey intercepted the escapees. The obsequious pretense with which the priest had approached had vanished with a taunting rattle of a collection tin in Arthur’s face. Mrs. Fellow donated a generous sum of change, and the priest thanked her just before a disheveled youth awkwardly blundered into the virginal sanctity of the church.
Panic-stricken – the anonymous adolescent’s masked identity now revealed – his right hand shot forwards and grabbed me around the throat. A left hand flew from behind his back and produced a razor sharp knife aimed directly at Arthur. Demanding ‘cash’, the intruder’s gaze locked on to the glistening golden tin in the shaking grasp of Father Morosey, who swiftly made for a cowardly escape towards the vestry, his unsteady hands willingly abandoning the once coveted collection tin. Slamming against the parquet flooring and erupting with a flow of shimmering metallic coins, the youth’s grip around my throat tightened from his apprehension of attaining much-needed funds. Arthur, seeing terror in my eyes, leapt towards my arm and hip, pulling me towards safety as he himself flew straight onto the sharpened point of the youth’s knife. Morosey abruptly returned to the scene grasping a shotgun and fired multiple shots into the lank adolescent figure. Blood ran quick from both dead bodies and converged in rivulets in the floor, which pooled around the loose change. As Morosey struggled to help me to my feet, I noticed specks of gunpowder dust and blood now punctuated the stark whiteness of his alb. Removing it swiftly, out of respect he laid it over the lifeless body of the night’s victim. At that time, I too gave my undying thanks to my savior.