I sat for three hours outside the burning church, just watching. Waiting for something I think. My stomach was full of bugs, crawling, squirming, sitting undigested inside me. It felt awful.
I felt sick.
Maybe there was a leper lurking inside me, waiting for the moment I fell asleep to take over. Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, you know? Or maybe it had already taken over and this hallucination of health was a progression of the disease. After all, I was sitting on my ass, burns on my legs outside of a church. That’s the image of a leper isn’t it?
No, I’m not. I’m missing a key point for it to work out that way. I need to believe. I need to believe I can get better with a sprinkle of that germy water in there, probably evaporated by the inferno now. I would need to believe that the pictures, mosaics, and stained glass could be the ointment on my sores.
And well, I just don’t.
I got burned because I ran into the fire. The people in there were dead but the money was still good, gold chalices still good. So I snatched it up like a cretin.
I mean, they won’t be needing it.
Couple months back, when all the burnings began, I thought up a pattern to it. Kinda found out which areas would light up first. Now? I’m a rich fool. I’ve stolen the gold to five churches.
But I’m not a lawless vagrant, I’ve left plenty for the others. I doubt the religious leaders will come get it now with the whole law change in America, but there are other thieves who need it as badly as I. For them, I leave it there.
I don’t care that I do it either and it isn’t because my atheistic viewpoints mean I’ve thrown morality to the wind. It’s not because I am angry at a belief. They took it from others and so it seems a fitting end that others take it from them.
A sickness has seized the religious. It will exterminate them and us if we aren’t careful. Something in that holy water.
You see? Here they come.
The lunatics have arrived. They’ve brought their young children and their chains. In their Sunday best, they enter the church like they always have: a snicker on their face and perfume stuck in lace.
This time, they drag their screaming youths behind them. Indoctrinated fools, they pull children unfinished with the rituals behind them with gleeful smiles on their faces, ignorant to the pleas of children. They sing too but I don’t listen to that. I refuse to listen to that. Instead, I hear the shrieking terror of the babes and clutch the gold lumped like cancer under my jacket.
It takes a minute or two until the parents return, finished with their Sunday mass. They exit charred, ugly and oozing. Without their children. The screams die out and this time, I refuse to hear them end. I pretend they stay, screaming and never die.
But it’s hard because the boom of the crashing crucifix silences it all. All that’s left is the crackling of the flame and the thump of adult bodies hitting marble steps.
Yeah. And me and my gold are the criminals here. I refuse to believe that.