“I wasn’t planning on this.” Templeton croaked through a throat as dry and cracked as a Mississippi mud field in August. He did not know how long he would be alone in the room.
“Falling in love with you was the last thing I wanted.” Already on his knees he leaned over his family bible and kissed it, leaving bloody lip prints like the mark of a mistress. His body wracked at the motion, the pain from the constant beatings his dedicated companion in the dark.
“I knew our time together would end, and end bloody.” He ran his fingers over leather, tracing crimson across gilt lettering. He fell to his side and let the repressed tears of three decades fall, dampening the pages. His daughter would never receive this book, unfortunately. Thankfully his work on the prophecy was kept elsewhere.
“I am ready for this to be over, and yet, here I am, begging you not to turn the page.” His voice cracked at the end. His hand slid off the bible only to have it spring open. He sighed and shook his head. He wanted to close his eyes and refuse to see. He looked though, such was his curse and calling. His eyes landed on the random page and he shook his head again. Of course in a situation like this the book would speak of eternal life and resurrection.
“I know, it is your will. I have served the prophecy for years. I was tired before, when you forced me back into the body of my brother. I stayed the course, always knowing I walked a path that ends in the painful death of a martyr. Now I suffer for the cause. Let it end.” He sighed, and the uninitiated would believe his breath stirred and turned the pages. Templeton knew better though. The hands of angels moved the paper. His eyes landed on the word redemption. He shook his head.
“Who’s life would I steal now? I fight for a bloody cause already. Would you have me steal my grandson’s body? If so, for what? Oh, I know the answer. To watch the terrible war from the losing side, to see the punishment of man. I would rather not, if it is all the same to you. Let me come home or let me burn, leave the world in younger hands.” He closed his eyes and lay his head on the floor next to his book. Closing it he pulled it against his chest like a teddybear. His smile was beatific as he started drifting off.
A slow creak and the smell of rage announced Jack as he entered behind the preacher.
“They chose wrong.” Jack growled.
“No they didn’t. The prophecy continues, and you get revenge for your… wife.”
The shot rang out. Jack wanted to feel bad about it, but the emptiness inside of him left no room for empathy. Thankfully disappearing a body was easier for a cop.
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