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Suffer the Little Children

by  Julie2me

Posted: Friday, November 13, 2015
Word Count: 779
Summary: Bazz, this is my revised story from the short stories group. Any comments gratefully recieved!

“Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of the Heavens”.
The tears pricked at the back of his eyes as he reread the words.  He stepped uneasily into the confessional; it was cramped but strangely comforting, like a brief hibernation from the world outside.  Outside, where nothing was right and everything was wrong.  With one son gone and another going off the rails Mike had run out of options.  Their mother didn’t care; she was long gone.  She had carried out her threat to disappear if he didn’t continue to fund her drug habit without looking back.  The courts called it maintenance, but he knew what the money was spent on and it certainly wasn’t the children.  Two weeks after Mike was declared bankrupt the busybody next door took great pleasure in telling him she’d been seen getting into a red BMW with “That bloke with the vicious dogs”.  It took him hours to calm down his daughter and days to track down his son.
“Let us help you”, soothed the voice from the other side, “We have a retreat for the children that will give you the breathing space you need”.  They had tried this once before when the children were younger but had to collect their son, Adrian after two days.  He had suffered horrendous nightmares there and made them promise never to take him back.  But Adrian was 15 now, almost a man, old enough to look after himself and his younger sister and give his dad the rest he sorely craved.
It was the promise of a new phone that finally got Adrian there, plus the guilt trip laid on him by Father John, the weird priest who always had a white arm bandage to match his dog collar. Five days and he’d be back with his mates – that’s what Adrian told himself.  This time there were no nightmares, in fact there wasn’t much sleep.  Once the younger ones had been settled with the nightly ritual of a campfire song with Uncle John’s special hot chocolate, they didn’t stir.  It was then that the hunting games began in the forest, though he really can’t remember to this day exactly how it happened.  All he knew was that he was unexpectedly happy there – happier than he’d been since that Christmas when he was six.  He remembered the action man toy he got and that they had all eaten dinner together - him, mum and dad, his baby sister and his older brother – he still felt guilty about his brother, that’s probably why he drank so much now.
“Go on, slit it’s throat,” said Father John, as he pulled the fox cub screaming from it’s burrow, “You know you want to”.  Ignoring the animal’s cries Adrian didn’t need to be told twice and snatching the knife from Father John’s hand he plunged it into the animal’s throat.  The warm blood spattered onto his face.  Father John smiled as he smeared the blood across Adrian’s cheek and pushed his thumb into his mouth.  Adrian tasted the blood and recoiled.
“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins, Adrian – you do want to be forgiven don’t you?”   He spat the blood to the floor not knowing if this was real or if he was hallucinating again.  “Let me help you”, was the last thing he remembered hearing before he passed out. 
The excruciating pain in his left thigh woke him.  The blade he’d use to slaughter the cub now flashed before his eyes, this time soaked in his own blood.   “We’ll do it together, Adrian, let me absolve your sin and you can absolve mine.  Let me help you like I helped your brother”. Father John groaned in pleasure as his demonic eyes closed and he turned the knife on himself, slicing a chunk from his own forearm.
 “Jesus is the bread of life”, he cried, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. I have eaten your flesh Adrian, now you must eat mine.”  He pushed the flesh into Adrian’s mouth, holding it tightly closed while he gagged and swallowed.  Father John drifted into an orgasmic oblivion as Adrian staggered away to vomit. 
On hands and knees in the darkness he tried to call for help but instead heard the cries of his sister.
“I couldn’t sleep”, she sobbed “And I couldn’t find you Aidey.  I thought you had left me like mum did so I called dad on your new phone.  That was ages ago, he should be here any minute…”