The Church of Shadows: The Dark Cross - Beginning - Snippet (Ch1)

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The city stood nearly barren, devoid of the people that were still in their houses sleeping, consciously unaware of the things that happened while they were in their slumber as the early hours of the morning crept up on everyone simultaneously. Some would be able to sleep in, others would have their alarms set to go off to wake them for a myriad of tasks, too insurmountable in variation to even begin to quantify. Those who would wake wouldn't normally think about what Logan Trudais (True-day-iss) would. Logan wasn't just an average person, going into work, sitting in a cubicle in an office building as the city below hustled and bustled around him. No, Logan was going to be heading into work, but his chosen vocation was one of helping others cope with things that many would turn to God for. Logan was a Priest of the Church of Redeeming Light... a spin-off of the Roman Catholic Church. Logan was referred to as "Father"; they upheld the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, but it was more upbeat for being inside of a large cathedral on a massive hill; they followed the traditional calisthenics based mass, but the church tried to make it more fun; they even gave out communion, but it was given to everyone and no requirement existed because Jesus gave His life freely, never requiring anything of anyone. In fact, Father Logan was one of the people within the church that made the change for that very practice. It was one of the largest points of contention he had within his time being a priest of the Roman Catholic religion and because they weren't going to be changed, he would be damned if he'd allow that practice to continue in the new religious order he'd become involved in.

Slowly the sun peeked its' way up and over the horizon; the hazy morning fog dissipating as the clouds higher in the sky turned various shades of pink, purple and orange. The light slowly breaking past the horizon, illuminating the outside world bit by bit until the entire sun could be seen in the sky and the light of dawn poured into the Cathedral through the large and round stained glass window with the beams resting on the white stone altar on the main platform inside the building. At the same time, Logan's alarm was triggered making one of the loudest and most obnoxious noises possible to force him awake, considering Logan hated getting up as early as he needed to in order to prepare for the day. As the alarm went off, it continued to do so for a few seconds as Logan stirred from his comfortable position in his bed. As his mind locked onto the obnoxious noise, knowing that he had to get up out of bed and cross the room to turn it off... thus forcing him to wake up completely, Logan groaned as he threw the covers off his barren, average and lithe frame. Being that he had to wear some comfortable clothing while doing his job, Logan made sure that he would be as comfortable as he could be while he slept. As his bare feet hit the cold wooden floor from having the air conditioning running to cool his room during the hot summer night, chills shot straight up into his spine and radiated throughout the whole of his body, further waking him up. Hurriedly, Logan rushed over to the alarming phone and promptly shut off the annoying sound. Now that he was up, fully awake and the early morning rituals had been completed, Logan could truly begin his day. As per his daily routine, Logan moved to hop into the shower, taking off the only article of clothing he was wearing, which was his boxer briefs and at the same time he got the water to the desired temperature quickly so not to waste such a precious resource.

Meanwhile as Logan was getting ready, the large, wooden double doors to the twenty four hour open public area of the Cathedral opened with the early morning sunlight pouring in behind a dark and shadowy person while casting a long and dark shadow on the floor down the center aisle as if it were reaching out for the altar and pulpit. Slowly the person walked into the church, the doors closing softly and quietly behind him while sealing off the outside world from the inside once again. The person who stepped inside was practically unremarkable. He was six feet tall, athletically built, dressed from head to toe in all black attire. His hair was cut short and plain, the color was black as well, but if anything stood out at all... it was the pale skin. It was sort of odd and creepy all at the same time. As he stepped in closer, seeing the image of Christ upon the cross behind the altar hung above the platform in which most of the church activities during mass occurred. A sly grin grew on the male's face when he looked up at the representation of Christ dying on the cross for humanity.

"Look at you up there! You were so certain that you could make a difference and while you did at first, humanity turned right back to how they are when they don't have a particular set of hands to lead them directly. Now I am going to make changes where you couldn't" The person thought to himself as he reached the altar.

Looking up and grinning, the man placed a solid gold cross with a single, large crimson colored garnet at the intersecting points on the cross on top of the large, white stone altar. Over the cross, the man placed a card folded in the middle with Logan's name on the plain and exposed area on both of the exterior sides so that he would see it. On the interior, it was just a message written to him from an admirer of his work and wanted Logan to wear the cross if and whenever he could. The man knew that it was against church policy for him to wear it with his priestly garb, but he knew that the rules wouldn't matter the moment that Logan took ownership of it. With his task done, the man left as silently as he entered and as he did, Logan entered the main area of the Cathedral to see not only the man leaving silently, but the card left on the altar. Logan thought it was strange and walked right up to it while wondering if he had missed an opportunity to console a potential lost soul. As Logan reached the altar he noticed the card was addressed to him as: Father Truvais. Curious, Logan picked up the card and read the inside.

Dear Father Logan Truvais,

I am a huge admirer of your work and I am well aware of the numerous souls that you reach out to on a daily basis to help. I know, secretly down in your heart... you're a man who is hurting. You wish you could do more for them, but at the same time... I know you think that they should all do more to help themselves. The cross that I left you is a gift for you to wear as a reminder of the work you do and the fact that you cannot help everyone... just as Christ Himself couldn't. Some people just can't be helped because they cannot be reached. Claim it, wear it and remind yourself of the work that you can do when it's possible for you to do so.

Your Secret Admirer

Logan looked at the card, flipping it over to see if there was any indication to who may have sent it and yet found nothing. Curious about the item left behind, Father Logan Truvais reached out and down toward the cross, but pulled his hand away just as fast as he could sense something attached to it reaching out to touch him. It was strange. It was eerie. It was definitely weird and at the same time... he couldn't help wanting to touch it even more even though that small voice in the back of his mind screamed at him that it wasn't something that he should even think of doing. It was as if his body yearned to touch it, to feel what was reaching out to him, just as several people have as they were lost souls themselves.

It was a few minutes before Logan would rationalize taking ownership of it, knowing that he could always sell it to raise money for the poor when times might get rough....and slipped the cross around his neck, putting it down his shirt to avoid it being seen. As he put it on, a slight shiver from the cold metal ran through his body, not realizing it came from something else entirely... unseen and wrapping a dark tendril around his heart. Shrugging the feeling off, Father Trudais promptly went to the closet, and began to clean the chapel himself to prepare for services later in the day. Between the food bank, the soup kitchen for the poor, and private appointments before services, it always felt that it would never end. Normally Logan would be the one to keep all the services running because there was never enough volunteers or staff available. It was his obligation and being completely honest with himself... he hated it and he could feel the cross warming to the touch, playing it off, thinking that it was his own body temperature doing the job.

An hour later, while starting several pots of vegetable soup for the soup kitchen, Logan heard the steps of someone coming into the chapel. He washed his hands and hung up his apron, going out to see a mousy-looking man in glasses, fidgeting and toying with his hands and looking nervously around him, taking a hat off to reveal a receding hairline.

Hearing the sound of footsteps, echoing in the grand open space of the Cathedral, he looked up to see the Father approaching him. "I-I-I'm sorry to disturb you...I...I need some g-guid-dance...." he stammered, looking more like a mouse before the snake, unknowing that it was about to be consumed... Logan shook his head at that last thought.

"Of course...would you prefer here, or my office?" Logan said, giving his warm smile and placing his hand on the man's shoulder. Touching the man, even on his shoulder, gave Logan the sensation that the man did something very sinful, which made him smile without even realizing it.

"I... would prefer the confessional actually..." he said in a quiet and somber voice, as Logan nodded. Moving quietly through the church, between the pews and headed straight for the confessionals. Opening the door for the man, before stepping into the left side, a space which he didn't usually occupy, but feeling comfortable and familiar to him somehow. Logan had done this many times before....starting with the sign of the cross on his chest, the golden cross he wore felt as though it was a bit warmer somehow.

"Father, please forgive me...for I have sssss... sinned..." the man began with a bit of a mousey hiss.

"How have you sinned my child?" Logan would ask, curious to know what troubled a man who obviously seemed successful in life.

"I... embezzled money from the company I worked for and invested it to make a hefty profit. I took about twenty-thousand U.S. Dollars from different accounts..." the man trembled uncontrollably as he admitted this.

Logan shivered, his ears felt as though they were burning slightly as the tendril around his heart seemed to grow like a weed. "Why did you do such a thing?"

"I got greedy... the salary of an accountant isn't paying for things like it used to. The economy tanked... and I took the easy way out..." the man sobbed into his hands.

Logan shivered as the cross burned, having to stop himself from saying "Good for you!" which was an odd thought to have. He felt a queer desire in him to applaud the man for doing what he did, but he restrained himself... knowing that this was not the time... nor the place for inappropriate applause. "For your penance, I would give back the money, and admit to your superiors what you have done. Confession is good for the soul, and reciting the Lord's Prayer ten times should assist in absolving your sin..." Logan told the man, scratching his ears tips grew slightly pointed and the outer edge folded backward slightly at the upper quarter. The man thanked him, rushing out to do just that, but Logan somehow felt like he did something... wrong.

Soon as Logan tried to complete another chore, not long after the mousey man walked out, a lady in a business suit approached Logan. "Father....may I speak to you in private?" She asked with a confidence most didn't have when they would approach him. Logan nodded, smiling as he opened the confessionary door, soon sitting back inside, crossing as the cross he wore glowed red briefly.

"Forgive me Father... for I have sinned. I recorded myself and my boyfriend having sex...and now I am worried it will ruin our relationship..." she stated, head bowed, staring at the floor while feeling nothing but shame.

Logan grimaced as his teeth began feeling funny this time; his canines slowly sharpening. "I see....have you shown this to him?" His mind warping and shifting to think in a more feral and primal manner.

"No, Father, I have not...."

Logan had a thought that creeped up into his mind, unable to keep from speaking it. "I would show him. Be honest about it, perhaps you can find him more willing to indulge in other things because of it..." Somewhat shocked by his uncontrolled outburst of sorts, he clapped his hand to his mouth, but quickly he relaxed... not really thinking much of it.

"Show it to him and recite two Hail Mary's. That should absolve you my child..." Logan said. She smiled and thanked him while stepping out of the confessional. Logan sighed as he stepped out a minute or so later, thankful for a reprieve to get some work done. Looking around and not seeing anyone in sight, Logan got the sense that no one was coming for a while and resumed his daily regimen.