#2 Father Heffernan

| November 3, 2011 | 0 Comments

Amon in the Ars Goetia

Once, Father Heffernan had a crisis of faith.  This was before he took up the reins of his modest congregation in their modest Pittsburgh borough.  They could hardly guess at his sordid past, his doubt.  And even if they did, who could blame him?  God gave man free will, and sometimes that meant mistakes.  Father Heffernan took responsibility for his.

He was ashamed, however, that his faith had returned only in the face of the sort of hardship that could only come from Hell itself.  Was it faith anymore if one possessed irrefutable proof that He exists?  Maybe not.  But Father Heffernan had faith not only that God exists, but also that His grace would carry Father Heffernan through this dark time, as He had many times before.  No other power could have held his hand through a loveless childhood, a turbulent adolescence.  Of that, Father Heffernan was sure.

The kettle whistled, a shrill scream.  Father Heffernan watched as the vile creature – he called it a demon, though it named itself Amon – moved to the hotplate and lifted the kettle away from the heat; its scream died.  He poured two cups, each with a bag of Father Heffernan’s favorite tea.  Aromatic steam filled the air, enough to cover Amon’s sulfurous stench.

Father Heffernan knew it would do little good, but he pleaded with Amon anyway.  Have mercy.

“Please.  This is what I do,” Amon said.  Father Heffernan felt the icy voice on his teeth.

Father Heffernan might’ve struggled harder than ever, had he not become so weary.  Amon had waited until Heffernan was too tired to resist before he made clear his real, terrible intentions.  “You still have a little time to pray, or whatever it is you need to do,” Amon continued.  “Prepare yourself.  The first time is always the hardest, if you’ll pardon the cliche.”

The demon drew a handful of berries out of a pocket, squeezed them into pulp.  Father Heffernan tried to stop him, but his limbs would not respond.  Amon stirred the mixture into one teacup, a pleased smile on his face.  “Nightshade,” he said.  “Belladonna.  Poetic, I think.”

By the time the deadly poisonous fruit had vanished into the dark tea, Father Heffernan was praying harder than he ever had.  English, Latin, even a little Coptic, which he’d picked up at seminary.  If he had a crucifix to hand he’d have brandished it at Amon.  But he could only ask God, Stop this.  Prevent what I cannot.

There was a knock at the door.  Amon opened it.

“Good afternoon, Father,” said Angela.  She was young, eighteen, about to leave for college in a matter of weeks.  Though Father Heffernan had never entertained a lecherous thought in his life, he knew that many of the young men of the church considered her exceptionally attractive.  “You wanted to see me?”

Run, Father Heffernan shouted.  You are in danger!

“Yes, dear, come in,” Amon said from behind Father Heffernan’s eyes.  “Tea?”

Category: 2011, Drama, Horror

About the Author ()

Leave a Reply