Sometimes, when the bright wind blows around me and the walls are polished by midnight, I'm invincible. When the quiet voices speak to me through the wicker barred confessional, I feast upon them until I am bloated and the dark power of absolution runs down my jowls like grease. I offer penance with words soft as blood-drops falling on snow. I give an indispensable comfort to the pale, anonymous, blur-faced wretches who stumble into my midnight temple.
And later, after they've lurched from the warmth of my condolences, I wait for them in the shadows by the river.
It's always over quickly—I'm not a sadist—just the swift slide of razored steel, a slumping fall.
No time at all, really, just the slow space between tick and tock, thunder and lightning, alive and dead.
The river takes them from my hands with the gentle tug of eternity and carries them into the darkness toward the light. Yes, light. I have saved them and eased them into the arms of the Jordan and the glory of God.
I am proud of my calling and my talent.
The robes of the Cardinal and the Inquisitor are the same shade of red.
Requiescat In Pace.