Monday, March 3, 2014

The Exorcism of William Morsely, Prologue Part One

Father Hennessy stood crooked, his back sloped from the years that the weight of the cloth brought. Shuffling across the carpet of his office, he stopped at his personal bar, contemplating whether or not now would be a good time to have a drink. Throwing caution to the wind, his gnarled hands, shaking with the early onset of some unknown disease, took a heavy glass before pouring himself a liberal amount of brandy into the cup. Holding it between his fingers, he swirled the liquor about in his glass as he listened to the rain pound on the windows of his home away from home.

The church had always been good to him, he mused, and so he responded in kind. He wasn’t a priest that did things the easy way, nor cut corners when given the option. Never had been, never would be. Now he was a bishop, overseeing a diocese himself and monitoring the spiritual welfare of all within his domain. He’d only been made bishop as of a few weeks ago, a promotion that rewarded his decades of hard work.
He’d immediately set in to do more of that work with his newfound power and authority.
An old fashioned sort of man, Father Hennessy liked to do the books himself, checking to make sure everything that was supposed to be spent was spent correctly. His degree in Finance had come in handy for his local church more times than he could count, when budgets were thin and the clergy were strapped for cash. But God always saw them through to the end, and in all the cases where there was a problem with money, he found a way to fix it.
And so, when he came across a budgeting error in the diocese spending, he hadn’t thought much of it. But as he continued to go over the finances, cutting here and adding there, he continued to find that each project or church was missing a few thousand dollars from it, including all of the special projects that he was expected to approve.
And then he’d found it. Where all the money was going, to a small parish in the remote reaches of northern New York. A quick phone call had revealed that a Father Thomas was in charge of the parish, and that it also doubled as a home for the mentally ill. Finding this odd, Father Hennessy requested that Father Thomas forward all costs of living to him so he could adjust the budget accordingly.
There’d been a long pause on the phone before Father Thomas had spoken. “Forgive me Bishop, but are you aware of what we have here in Malone?”
“A home for the mentally ill and your standard parish I imagine, why?” He’d asked.
“I… I don’t know how to tell you this, but we have a very sick young man here. Did the previous Bishop not tell you?”
“My predecessor passed away suddenly and was unable to leave any notes on the special conditions that you believe your parish to have, Father.” He’d replied somewhat snidely. “Now kindly e-mail me your budget that we have been issuing you and let me do my job.”
“Bishop… the man that is sick is not mentally ill, nor is he physically ill. He’s spiritually ill.”
“What’s that now?” He’d said, not believing his ears.
“What I’m trying to say is that, well, we have a young man here that has been here for the last five years. He’s our only resident in the ward, and the parish is quite empty because of him. Nobody comes to the church because of him.”
“Then why have we not given him over to a larger instruction, one capable of handling this kind of problem?” Father Hennessy had asked, perplexed over what he was being told. Swirling his drink in his hand, he could remember the conversation as if it were yesterday.
“The thing is, it won’t allow us to move him.” Father Thomas had finally said.
“And by what do you mean it?” He’d demanded, his temper slowly rising to the surface.
“The spirit possessing him. We’ve tried several exorcisms, but none of them have ever chased the spirit from the young man.”
“Are you certain he is possessed?” Hennessy had asked patiently.
“I, uh, I don’t visit with him anymore. But when I did the spirit could tell me things that it had no way of knowing, moving things with its mind and demonstrating otherworldly control over the young man’s body.”
“And you’ve requested a formal exorcism to be performed?” The Bishop had asked, leaning back in his chair, the weight of the world falling on his shoulders.
“Well, we’ve requested a special consideration be made for the man.”
“What kind of consideration?”

“Euthanasia…” Father Thomas trailed off, clearly uncomfortable with the idea.

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