The dark outskirts of Devil Hollow were a strange place for a priest to set up shop, and Dillon McCabe was glad to see a familiar face emerge from the abandoned shack that served as Father Abaddon’s confessional.
“Evening, Albert.” Dillon nodded to Albert Cummings as the men passed each other in the dim light from the distant lamps in town.
Cummings locked onto Dillon’s eyes with a desperate stare and said in a gravelly voice, “God help you.”
A shiver slithered up Dillon’s spine, and he crafted his answer for self comfort. “God bless you, too, Albert.”
The haggard rancher dropped his gaze to the ground and shimmered before he disappeared into the inky night.
Dillon shuddered again, then pulled open the weathered door to the tiny confessional. Two votive candles stood on either side of a kneeling riser, above which loomed a small, veiled opening in the wall.
“Welcome, my son,” Father Abaddon cooed from the ether.
Dillon had not confessed his misdeeds since he left Dayton, and he wasn’t sure he would ever have the chance again. He was grateful for the opportunity and knelt with reverence. He closed his eyes, clasped his hands, and spoke into the utter blackness.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned ….”
The voice that answered Dillon’s revelations was not Abaddon’s sweet dulcimer but the harsh, urgent rasp he’d heard from Albert Cummings just minutes before.
“Get out before it’s too late!”
Dillon inhaled sharply and opened his eyes to nothingness. He felt a pressure on his back and realized he was lying down. He attempted to sit up but smashed his forehead into something hard.
As Dillon struggled for breath, a muffled and scattered thump sounded in front of his face.
Like the first scoop of dirt on a coffin lid.