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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2262037
A priest and his "adopted" son have a falling out.
Deal With the Devil
WC 293

Father Fletcher handed Jonathan a key and a bag of money.

“The key to your new home and something to tide you over.”

“My new home?”

“In Ainsworth. The room is small but adequate.”

Jonathan’s belongings waited in the vestibule.

The priest had taken Jonathan in after his parents died two years earlier. The twelve-year-old thought of Father Fletcher as a guardian, a friend, a father figure.

“What does this mean?”

“You may never return. Godspeed, my son.”

The priest hurried toward the sanctuary.

The boy called out, “I said I wouldn’t tell!”

A month earlier, he had caught Father Fletcher taking money from the safe.

“I won’t tell, Father,” he had said back then.

“I’m not stealing, I’m buying something for the church.”

The man had been stealing and lying, breaking two commandments. Parishioners were placing their hard-earned money in the collection plates, and Father was stealing it.

“I told you back then I wouldn’t tell!”

Father Fletcher hesitated for a moment, then disappeared into the sanctuary.

Jonathan, belongings in tow, hitched a ride to Ainsworth, twenty miles away. The sparse room was tiny--jail cell tiny; thankfully, the townsfolk were friendly, not prying. He settled into his new life.

What Father Fletcher had done to him was unfair; it gnawed at him day and night!

I told him I wouldn’t tell!

Early one morning, Jonathan hitched a ride back to the church.

“What are you doing here, Jonathan?”

“I said I wouldn’t tell, but I didn’t promise. I figure we can work out a deal. I’ll stay in Ainsworth and stop by for my money every Sunday evening. Let’s say 35% of the take.”

“That’s blackmail!”

“That’s one sin to your two, Father. Deal?” Jonathan held out his hand.

They shook on it.
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