Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another 20 Minute Story

This one comes from my friend Suzi, who writes two pretty cool blogs herself. Check them out here and here. Suzi had a pretty tough combination to work with here, but I think she pulled it off very well!

Character: a priest who's lost his faith
Conflict: digging up the wrong grave
Location: a mall

Father Joe sat in the food court, pushing his food from one side of
the tray to the other. He hadn't said grace before eating. What was
the point? What was the point of anything?

He slipped his hand into his pocket and let his fingers slide over the
cool shape of the trowel in his pocket. The only point left was this
one last job. When he was done with that-well, he didn't know what.
Death? Arrest? Possibly. He refused to think about the future held
after tonight. He imagined that an atheist must feel this way all the

The activity in the mall was winding down as it closer to closing.
Father Joe stood and dumped his untouched dinner in the trash can and
then made his way to the public restroom at the back of the food
court. With a little luck, though he no longer believed in luck, he'd
be able to stay in the mall the rest of the night. The trowel banged
against his hip, reminding him of his duty for the night.

Having safely evaded the janitor and the security guard (neither of
which seemed devoted to their jobs) he stopped up to the planter in
the middle of the mall. Why, why had Father Clemons passed this to
him? Why did he feel the need to fulfill the dying priest's last

Father Joe knelt before the largest stone in the planter. Almost, from
habit, he crossed himself, but pulled his hand down after the opening
gesture. He dug in the dirt, one ear listening for the guard who might
suddenly feel a need to do his duty. No footsteps echoed to him, but
he did hear the clink of the trowel on something, just as Father
Clemons had promised.

His hand trembled a little, as he reached into the makeshift grave.
There was no better word for it. Grave. Father Joe couldn't lie to
himself anymore. He knew that Father Clemons had done something
terrible and hidden the evidence here.

When Father Joe pulled out the little tin he opened it up and threw
his fist into his mouth to stifle the howl that wanted to burst
through him. It wasn't the hand and rosary that Father Clemons had
told him he'd find here. This was a set of teeth and fingernails and a
religious medal of another priest.

It was the wrong grave.


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