Prologue…A New Revelation

The stage is set…

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A New Revelation

 

A.S. Jenkins

 

Prologue

Rome was a particularly busy city at the start of the Sixteenth century and all the Vatican Church was in a blind panic. The pope had great ideas within the great city to make changes to its chapel, changes that would shape history forever.

The morning dew had left a slippery film of moisture on the courtyard cobbles; as the priest ran towards the chapel he feared he would fall but nothing could stop him. The fear of failure had gripped him even more so; a mere twisted ankle would just slow him down. Nothing but nothing could stop this determined priest. He had to be there; he had to make a good impression on his peers, and get there before the painter got there. It was imperative to him in completing a good first impression.  

But he was late. The painter had already arrived and gotten started, but this wasn’t your normal redecoration.

He had had to get on with the normal running of the chapel and not let the hustle and bustle of the painting get in the way of the day to day activities.

As the high priest approached the confessional he noticed a sandaled foot sticking out of one of the many pews. It was a third of the way back and a chill riddled his spine. As he approached, the foot was quickly pulled back within the pew. The priest started to walk towards the lowly figure as quickly as he could, even though his traditional gown was very restrictive.

He had a fear that was unknown but at the same time very familiar, this scared the priest, who was still relatively young to be in such a high place within this particular chapel. He was overseeing the latter part of a very important commission in the chapel. A prominent painter and architect was completing a work of national importance, and the smell of paint and oil was overwhelming, almost nauseating; the young priest was thinking that it may have been this paint and oil combination that had resulted in him seeing the fore mentioned foot, as a figment of his already active imagination.

As he got to the pew in question he saw no one. He quickly turned and continued to wait for morning confessions. The chapel was vast in the sense that he felt all alone but also very vulnerable. His steps echoed throughout the vast chapel; the only other sound was that of a giant scaffold being dragged from time to time, breaking the endless silence.

The priest was making his final preparations before entering the confessional and so hung his stole over the edge of the door to indicate that he was ready to take parishioners for confession. The reason for his nervousness was unknown to him and he furiously rubbed his rosary so much he feared it would break; his heart was in his throat and as he swallowed and gulped down the lump, he heard someone approach the confessional.

The priest composed himself, and readied himself for the task at hand. The heavy oak door closed and the strange figure sat down ready to make his confession.

He lent forward and slid open the meshed opening to address his parishioner. There was an eerie silence before the stranger spoke.

‘I’m sorry father it has been some time since my last confession.’ The voice was deep and had a confident sound not like the normal tone of a person in confession, but a strong type, a type that wouldn’t seem to need to confess to anything.

The priest was ready. He had composed himself and was trying hard not to be violently sick; the paint and many oils that the painter was experimenting with to paint the vast ceiling were so overwhelming. Many priests had refused to work under such conditions, but the Pope had insisted on the work, even stopping the building of his own tomb for the commission of the work on the chapel.

‘Do not worry, my son. What is your confession today?’

‘Like I said, it’s been a long time since my last confession, father.’

The lowly figure wouldn’t move on from this fact, the priest was feeling more relaxed by the fact that the stranger in the booth was confessing to his lack of attendance so the priest pursued it further.

The priest turned to try and make out the figure knowing full well he was really forbidden to do so. He tried so hard to see but only managed to get the stranger’s silhouette, and this chilled him. The dark figure wasn’t giving anything up and was facing the priest head on, seeing his every move. His piercing eyes, through the meshed opening, sent yet another chill; this was unfamiliar to the priest, he was having doubts about his real motives for being there.

Was he a spy sent by the pope? After all, he was very anxious to get the chapel back to its normal activities; or was it a sinister character trying to catch a glimpse of the renowned artists work?    

Again the priest composed himself, the nerves getting the better of him, and he felt the stranger knew it too.

‘Ok, my son. How long as it been since your last confession?’

There was a deadly silence. The figure cleared his throat and said with conviction, ‘It’s been one hundred and fifty-seven years since my last confession, father,’ and with that said he thrust a heavy sword through the oak panel piercing the priest’s stomach.

The priest stooped forward, seeing some part of a scripture engraved along the double-edged blade, but his own blood poured down the blade obscuring it before he could read it, then he lost consciousness. The sword was pulled back with the same speed and ferocious force.    

The priest fell to the floor of the confessional, his lifeless frame left in a heap.

Once out of the booth the dark assassin stood over the priest; a streak of morning sunlight beamed through the gap between the assassin’s muscular legs, giving the blood a florescent glow, before he simply picked him up like a rag doll and slung the body over his large shoulders like a hunter would do with his prey.

The assassin stood momentarily before the vast chapel, like he was in prayer, paying his respects, bowing his head as he did, then he turned and quickly left, as quickly and as undetected as he had arrived.

The blood poured from the confession booth and the morning sunlight gave it a translucent look, like of the finest red wine ready for the high priest to drink…

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