In the previous episode, Mark was forbidden to help the community search for Susan Nelson, Rivertown’s latest missing teen. Mark sneaked out his window and went to the basement of St. Luke’s church instead, seeking confirmation of Silas’s story. In the darkened church, his hand reached for the light-switch at the bottom of the basement stairs. Readers voted that his hand didn’t find the light-switch, but another hand.
But instead my hand found another hand.
Some primal noise must have escaped me– I can’t remember it now– but only for a moment, because that hand covered my mouth almost immediately. Even in the dark I knew who it was. Only one person carried such a pervasive stench of fire.
He pushed me back toward the steps to get a look at me.
“Mark?” He started to laugh and, shaking, removed his hand.
“I needed to see if you were telling the truth about the water in the basement.” I felt calmer than he appeared to be. A drop of sweat ran from his forehead to chin before he answered.
“The name,” he said, “On the front of the church. It’s different now.”
“What, St. Luke’s?” I asked him.
He shook his head. “No, the priest. It says Father Peter Martin now. It was Father Kessler when I came here last. I’m trying to figure how long it’s been.”
It wasn’t possible, what he said.
Father Kessler was the priest at St. Luke’s when my dad and the sheriff roamed town by bikes. That was over twenty-five years ago. Silas looked worn and haggard, but no way was he close to my dad’s age.
I had come here to St. Luke’s to get evidence that Silas’s story wasn’t a big sack of horseshit, but I found the opposite. Like I had originally thought, the guy was nuts.
Silas was still looking at me, waiting for an answer. He was also blocking me from dashing further up the stairs and out the door.
“Uhhh… Hmmm… Father Kessler. It’s been… a little while.” I stammered.
Silas was no fool. He started to nod, understanding.
“It’s been a very long time, hasn’t it?” He was nodding as he asked. “The cars everyone is driving. They’re very different. And too many houses. I had a hard time finding my way in town. Too many people.”
I chanced a small admission: “It’s probably been some years since Father Kessler was here.”
“Did you ask anyone about me?”
“Uh… I was planning to.”
“Someone will know me, Mark.”
I tried to distract him. “You’re here for the water? The holy water you said they made last time?”
His voice was hoarse. “Not here. I looked everywhere.”
Trying to make him relax so I could dash by him, I offered, “Maybe you could get more where Father Kessler went.”
“No good. I was there three days ago. Someone sealed up the spring.”
The front doors of the church opened, and elderly Mrs. Conlon walked in, rosary in hand, to help pray Susan Nelson home.
Silas ducked back into darkness. I took the steps two at a time and kissed a startled Mrs. Conlon on the cheek, pushing the door open with my shoulder.
I climbed back through my window in time to hear my brothers protest Mom pulling the plug in the tub. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.