Father Manchester was a very respected priest at St. Joseph’s Parish. He had been the Priest there for the better part of 40 years now. He was a comely man, rather grandfatherly in appearance. He had been balding since his later 30’s and had accumulated quite a bit of weight for his barely 5 foot frame. He had been aging gracefully up until the past decade. That is when it started eating him alive. He had not started life with the intention of becoming a Parish Priest. He certainly did not take his vows whole heartedly. It was rather a way to be a prominent and powerful member of society. He reveled in the power he held over some people. You would be surprised how much trust one will place on a highly positioned religious leader. Everyone in his parish turned to him and valued his guidance. If they only knew the sins that were boiling within him. The sins that would Float on to corrupt all in its path. He can feel his body is nearing the end. While he is still breathing he will never admit any wrong that he has done. Father Manchester died a withered shell of a man. Most would say it is due to age, he was 84 after all. He knows it is a very different reason that has beaten him down.
Stephen sat on the pew for the beloved Parish Priest to be held up and praised. Stephen hates funerals but this one sparks a little light within him. He can not express outwardly the glee he feels. It has been 17 years since he was an altar boy and it still feels like yesterday when Father Manchester took everything from him. Every part of him that could be innocent was lost in just a few short minutes. It seemed more like hours to Stephen at the time. He knew he wasn’t the only one but none of the boys ever discussed the incidents together. They each knew by the way the spark left each of their eyes and never returned. He condemned every one of them to a life of depression and self hate. Sitting alone in thought he looked around and remembered when he told his mother what had happened. He was 18 and at this point had not stepped into that parish in a year. She looked at him blank faced turned and left the room. It was never mentioned again. Maybe this is where his hate for women began. Maybe, or maybe it was always within him to do the things he has done. He almost forgets sometimes. It has been 12 years since he had met her.
Morgan was a beautiful girl with such a bright future. She had ruby colored hair and turquoise eyes. She was exactly how you would picture a 16-year-old track star in the making to be. Every girl wanted to be friends with her and every boy wanted to date her, it was true, as cliché as it sounds. She always noticed a quiet boy named Stephen. He made her extremely uncomfortable. They were in biology together, she was a junior and he was a senior at Fairfield High. He would stare almost blankly at her for a majority of the class. She figured that he was lonely and shy so she made many efforts to talk to him. It is almost as if he was afraid to socialize with anyone and this tugged at her heartstrings because her older brother was the same way before he decided he did not want to live anymore and took a lethal dose of pills. That changed her and made her feel compelled to help everyone, like she was responsible for their wellbeing.
Little did she know Stephen loathed her. He stared because he hated how everyone loved her and she was doing such great things. He hated that being around people was so easy for her. He knew she would never give him the time of day most girls didn’t. Every time she reached out and was nice to him, he took it as a sign of pity. After his mother ignored his cry for help he now saw everything more clear. He won’t be pitied. One night he just happened to be at the bookstore sitting and enjoying a coffee. Morgan sat in the chair across from him, “Hey, Stephen I thought I saw you. How are you doing?” He made small talk and coaxed her to go for a walk. There were several walking trails down by the river that the youth would frequent. It didn’t take much more than a simple, “Hey, wanna go to the trails and talk more?” Morgan was very trusting and Stephen seemed perfectly normal. So of course her answer was a simple, “Sure!”
No one knows exactly what he did to her. No one even knows it was him. Her body was found a month later in the river. People who knew her well already knew when she didn’t come home from shopping something bad had happened to her and there is not a person in that town that would have ever suspected Stephen.
He sat smug in the pew knowing he would never be found out. She wasn’t the only one and she would not be the last. She was however his first and most memorable. Maybe it is because she was so loved or it was because she was the one who made him realize what he was and what he was capable of enacting. Oh well, no concern of his just a fleeting thought on one of the happier days of his life. “I hope Father Manchester is having fun in hell right now. Oh what fun ill have when I join him eventually” he thought to himself. While Father Manchester never killed anyone he is as much to blame as Stephen. All Sins Float to the surface eventually even if that sin is in the form of a body.