“Come on get up!” The doppelganger demanded. “If you’re not going to work at least call in! You’re going to blow our cover.”
It was six in the morning and Nathan was awoken by his doppelganger’s forceful proddings. He had no intention of getting out of bed or going to work; he was quite determined to waste away in the room until someone found his corpse. The thief’s death was one thing but Sammy’s was something else entirely. He killed someone close to him over a petty trinket, there was no way to reconcile himself to what he did.
“You’re hungry, aren’t you? Won’t you at least go get food?”
His stomach growled just as the younger him mentioned food. He never hungered for breakfast so he could only take it as another sign of his body’s betrayal. He was steadily losing control of himself and didn’t know how to retake the reins.
His stomach growled twice more, becoming too painful to ignore. Admitting defeat he got up and started towards the kitchen.
“Atta boy! That’s what we like to see.”
Before setting out for food he clicked on the news and got to work in the fridge. Without looking he grabbed a half dozen eggs and set to work.
He was in the midst of cooking when he heard the tv caster say “- now we’ll be going live to the mayor’s office where Mayor Foster is expected to brief us on the recent attacks.” He immediately killed the fire and ran back to the living room.
Mayor Foster was a short man always known to be wearing lavish suits and a winner’s smile. His hair grayed over his many terms as mayor, but he still had the vim and vigor of a younger man. He had met the man in person a few times most notably on a field trip with Alexis to his office building and to discuss the hook killer on a different occasion.
“Good people of Vreport it is my deepest regret to inform you that the rumors are true… Two bodies have been found both with markings resembling the infamous hook killings.” The crowd in front of Foster erupted into questions at the same time. “Please hold all questions until the end. The bodies were those of a Mr. Ernie Gray and Sammy Davis. Their families have been notified and the police are doing everything they can to find the killer. I want to assure you we are doing everything we can to locate this monster. This won’t be like last time, this time we’re prepared for them. Now I’ll hand this off to chief Jenson to give more details.”
Nathan turned the tv off. His stomach was taking turns between growling and doing flips. This is what Joseph meant… he realized. Maybe I should just end this and turn myself in. It was easy to think about, with Alexis gone and Alice away he no longer had any responsibilities to anyone, the nightmare could be over with one little phone call.
“Except when the murders continue when Joseph bequeaths the dagger to someone else.” The doppelganger said from the table. He was setting down a large platter for the eggs Nathan just made.
“Did you just read my thoughts?” Nathan asked. He had taken to calling the phantom Jr because of its appearance. This was just another warning sign of Jr’s capabilities his pokes that morning felt sharp, Nathan assumed it got stronger after Sammy’s killing. Now it was moving objects and straying further away from him.
“We’re the same person Nath, of course I can hear our thoughts. Come sit, I can hear your stomach growling from here.”
He hurried over to the table without protest. The smell of the eggs was hard to resist. He dug in while keeping an eye on Jr.
“Now then, why are you thinking about turning yourself in? We have a plan here; we’ll use the dagger against the scum of this earth and then Joseph.”
Nathan turned downcast towards the table. “The guilts eating away at me… I can’t live like this; Sammy didn’t deserve to die in the streets like that!” Tears welled in his eyes. No amount of revenge against Joseph would bring Sammy back.
“Well then just confess.” Jr said simply.
He looked up sharply. The younger him looked mildly amused. “You just said I shouldn’t confess?” Said Nathan.
“And you won’t; not to the police anyway. Certain churches hold confessionals, you can spill your soul to them, and if they tell they get excommunicated.”
“I think I remember hearing something about that, but even if it’s true I’m not a Christian. Why would they keep my secrets?”
“That’s right you’re not but Alice was. Think back Nath…”
He scrunched up his face as he tried to remember. Alice used to do charity work at one of Vreport’s only catholic churches, but she never attended on Sundays. He shook his head. “I can’t just go barging in on the church and tell them I’m a killer!”
“And why not? Its Monday so it won’t be busy, all you have to do is call your boss before she hears about the hook killer. If she knows the killers back there’s no way you’ll wriggle out of work.”
Nathan thought about it harder. This was his only option if he wanted to talk to someone he didn’t consider a specter. The only other option would be Joseph or someone at Umbra but he hoped to never hear from them again. Defeated, he nodded and called his boss.
An hour later he was dressed and out the door. It was his first time seeing the church, it resembled gothic churches he saw seen in France long ago. The building was adorned with statues and covered in tall stained-glass windows. The most magnificent of the windows was a large rose window featured prominently on the church’s front. He couldn’t help thinking it was watching him as he edged closer to the church.
The second he crossed the church’s threshold his entire body broke out in goosebumps, his skin turned clammy and he felt heat sear against his pants leg. He nearly dug into his pocket to fetch the dagger but thought against revealing it in the open.
It doesn’t want to be here. He thought as he put his hand between his skin and the dagger. It was still hot to the touch and felt like it was squirming around.
The dagger’s heat was nearly unbearable as he entered the church’s main hall. He almost bumped into a pew as he struggled forward.
“You don’t like it here either huh?”
He snapped around to see the girl that was in Alexis’s room a day prior. She sat on one of the benches scratching at her cheek. Seeing her there was surprising yet he still couldn’t help feeling relaxed around her.
“No, I’m really struggling here. I think it’s the dagger doing it, is it the same for you?” Asked Nathan.
“Something like that,” The girl said passively. “You know why I’m here right?”
“Another message right? Lay it on me.”
“Well then here goes: You still have time, throw the dagger away and turn yourself in. It’s not your job to play god.” The girl stated.
“And I assume this is from Lucy again?” Nathan asked as he tried to digest her message. “I understand what she’s saying but I don’t know what her part in this is. Can we meet her face to face? Would you be able to set up a meeting?”
She shook her head without even thinking about it. “Not possible. Lucy’s brother would never allow it. There are certain systems in place that would detect her before she even got close to you.”
“Her brother?” Nathan said. “The mystery deepens… But if she knows about the dagger she must be related to Joseph somehow. Does he even have a sister?”
“The message has been delivered. I’m afraid I have nothing else to offer you,” The girl said. She stood up and walked towards Nathan. “Lucy’s not your enemy and I’m definitely not. Please just listen to reason and give all this up.”
“You don’t understand… Joseph tortured my wife with false promises. I can’t let him get away with that.”
“I do understand unfortunately. Probably better than anyone. The dagger tore my family apart too.” She said sadly.
Nathan was sorry he said anything, he didn’t know what to say to her. The pause in conversation became unbearable to him so he asked, “I don’t think I ever got your name. Since we seem to be running into each other a lot I thought I’d ask.”
“The girl looked up to the churches muraled ceiling as if thinking. “Kara,” she said finally. “You’re right we will be seeing a lot of each other. I thought persuading you to give it up would be hard so I’ve thought of other methods to take it from you.”
He raised an eyebrow. “You’re going to steal it from me? Why would you tell me before you do it?” He asked.
“Because I can’t do it directly. Me taking it by force would run afoul of Lucy’s brother so you won’t know how or when I’ll get it from you,” Kara said mischievously. “Until then take care of yourself won’t you?”
Nathan watched her saunter out of the room until she was beyond his sight. When she was gone he felt a powerful sadness and longing tugging at his chest. The last thing Kara said was verbatim the last thing Alice said to him before she was incapable of speaking.
“Good morning sir, is there something I can do for you?” Said a deep-voiced man.
Hesitantly he turned around to face an older man wearing a deep black cassock. The man had an inviting demeanor yet Nathan could only feel revulsion as he looked at him. The dagger went haywire, it squirmed and whirled so hard he had to keep a hand over his pocket just to keep it from escaping, but he was sure the priest noticed.
Nathan faked his best smile and extended his free hand. “Yes, I was looking into confessionals and was wondering if you could guide me through one,” he said. The priest shook his hand and a wave of cold rushed up his arm where their hands met. He let go of the priest’s hand quickly as the dagger wasn’t having it.
“I see…” The priest said looking down to Nathan’s pocket. “I don’t recall ever seeing you at any of our Sunday services, I’m father Norton are you a member?”
“No, my wife was though, you may have known her, Alice Bauer?”
The priest’s eyes widened. “Alice? She stopped coming suddenly a while ago.” Norton said. She hasn’t passed, has she?”
“No, no, she’s alive. She’s just… Away for her health.”
“I see… Alice was a light in our church. She organized meetings, parties, even some of our charity work. If there’s anything I could do for her husband I shall. Have you ever done a confession?”
“I’ve looked up the process and think I get the general idea. I just can’t take it anymore, the guilt is driving me insane…”
The priest placed his arm around Nathan’s shoulder. “Don’t worry son, you will be forgiven,” The priest said. “Now let us begin.” He guided Nathan towards a double-doored confessional cabinet and led him to one side while he took the other.
Once he was seated Nathan looked to the screen as the priest appeared. “Bless me father for I have sinned. This is my first confession…” He somehow felt silly saying it, he’d only heard people say the line in movies. The weight of what was going to happen if he went through with confessing made him want to throw up.
“Father I don’t know how to say this…”
“It’s okay son. There’s no judgment here. I’ve presided over confessions for all kinds of sins. Nothing you could throw at me could shake me.”
Hearing that helped a lot. The guilt inside him began to shift slightly. “Father, I’ve committed murder… Two of them. The first was in self-defense but the other one… I don’t know what came over me, he was my friend,” He said. Tears begin to stream from his eyes as his words flooded out. It was as if the weight of the last few days was slowly being washed off him. The dagger immediately stopped its struggle and went silent, its intense heat disappeared leaving the it once again a little metal knife. “I don’t know if you watch the news but they’ve been calling me the hook killer.”
“I-I see…” Father Norton said. “You were right your sins are quite unusual, but our Lord is a forgiving one. But you must do something too my child. To receive the Lord’s forgiveness you pay a penance. And for these sins, I must ask you to turn yourself in. If the first was self-defense as you say just serve your time and come out a man free of guilt and sin.”
He knew this was coming and he quite agreed. Jr would probably try to convince him otherwise but he knew it was the right thing to do. There were just a few things he needed to take care of before then.
“I understand father. There are things I need to take care of though. If I don’t more innocents will die. I’m not the first to bare the dagger and if I don’t stop the people behind it, I won’t be the last.”
“I must advise you not to commit further sins, but if what you say is true then do what you must. Now I’ll lead you in prayer and then you can be on your way.”
The prayers seemed to go by quickly now that Nathan didn’t have to fight against the dagger. By the time he left the confessional his skin had returned to normal and he felt much lighter. Father Norton exited too. He seemed a bit shaken and was reluctant to get close like when Nathan first entered the church.
“I’m expecting you to keep your word now. Confessing your sins was a good first step but you must follow through,” Father Norton said. “And if you get the chance, tell Alice we at the church miss her.
“Yes father,” Nathan said with a smile. “Thank you for everything.”
The church visit had provided him with lots of valuable information. The dagger reacted violently towards the church as did Kara it gave him a lot to look up. Even more important though he walked out of the church feeling back to normal as if he had never met Joseph.
One more exam and I’m free! I don’t think I’ve ever been more tired than I have this week, I’ve barely been sleeping and many things have fallen to the wayside. But that’s all over soon.
One thing I did want to add here was that through putting these little writings online I’ve discovered flaws with my writing which was the goal here. Most obvious to me is that the people Nathan goes after kind of make the story seem very “Villain of the day” like in scooby doo or something like that. The people he goes after need to be integrated into the story better so I’ve made plans to do that in v3 of the story that more than likely won’t go up here. I’ve seen other flaws too but I’m doing my best to fine-tune them. I’ll post more about that later in its own posting later though.
Thanks for reading! ~ Hisaxia.