Jan 22, 2019 12:34 PM
slayer karen confesses killing vampires to priest!macalaure
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The only reason that Karen doesn't spend a good ten minutes outside the door fidgeting is that there's a line. As it is, she spends twenty seconds with her hand on the door handle, debating whether she actually has enough courage to say words about the situation to someone who isn't her sister. After that long, she worries that someone is going to ask her if she's OK, and then she'll have to lie about it, or else explain the situation to someone who is not bound by the seal of the confessional, and that would be no fun for anyone.

She ducks inside and kneels in front of the screen. She doesn't usually do confession with the screens, but she's glad for them today.

"Uh. Hello, Father."

 

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"Welcome, my child."

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Maybe if she pretends to be brave. She crosses herself, and -

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been - three months, ish, since my last confession. I - had some other things I wanted to say, but I've forgotten them, because I'm mostly thinking about the fact that I killed nine vampires in an attempt to keep them from killing other people, and they didn't really cover this possibility in depth in my confirmation classes, so I'm not really sure whether this is a sin or not."

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" - ah," he says.  

"It is not a sin to kill in self-defense, or in defense of another. It can still weigh on the soul, though, so I'm glad you mentioned it. Are you all right? Are the people you were protecting safe?"

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She pauses.

" - I think so. Some them had to be taken to the hospital, but I think I got to them all in time. They're - not permanently safe, but they're alive and stuff."

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"It is very unusual for a human to be able to repeatedly fight vampires."

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" - yeah. Yeah, I know. It's, um, there's some magical thing - I dunno if using magic is a sin, but it just sort of happened? It wasn't on purpose. Apparently there's something where one girl at any given time is something the vampires call a slayer. Superhuman speed, strength, etcetera, enhanced healing, prophetic dreams. And she's supposed to use her powers to fight vampires. I guess. I think I kinda missed the orientation. So to speak."

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"It's often hard to tell how God means us to use our gifts, but those sound like gifts you have because you needed them to protect people. There is some debate over how we are to interpret the scriptural prohibitions on magic, but the understanding my conscience guides me to is that you should never consort with, or pray to, beings other than God. Everything else is - working within the universe to do good, just like using its less mystical physical laws."

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"...OK. That makes sense, I guess. Um. ...I've been trying to figure out whether there's something better to do than to just try to catch vampires in the act of killing someone and then kill them back before it's too late. 'Cause it seems like a pretty non-ideal system."

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"It's good of you to be thinking about that. I - think perhaps it would be good for you to ask me for help outside the confessional. Would you be willing to do that?"

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".....yeah, OK. If you're not gonna tell the FBI so they can lock me in a padded cell and do weird experiments to see if they can duplicate slayerness."

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"I promise that we won't go to the U.S. government with information about you until the U.S. government can be relied upon to handle this gracefully. - I know someone working on that, it's not as impossible as it sounds. I mostly want to introduce you to someone who can watch your back and to some people who are trying to research alternatives to stabbing."

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"OK. That sounds really good. Thank you, Father. - oh, I have to finish the thing, sorry."

She counts off on her fingers and starts talking abnormally fast, because then this part will be over sooner. "I haven't been praying or reading the Bible as often as I should. I skipped mass once without a good reason. I didn't do the laundry when it was my turn and my sister had to do it even though she was really tired after work and I think it made her sad. I wrote a story and I got to a part about sex and I think I should've skipped over it and I deleted it later but I shouldn't have written it in the first place probably. Also I skipped doing algebra homework three times to fight vampires, and I don't know whether fighting vampires is a good enough excuse that it isn't still a sin to not do my homework, especially since I think the vampires thing might be motivated reasoning since I kind of didn't want to do it anyway. - that's all I think."

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“Did you apologize to your sister? Can you do the laundry when it’s her turn?”

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"Not yet. I can do it when I get home. And yeah, I can take one of her turns."

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“You can’t drive God away, you know. Even if you run away for a very long time he’ll be right there the next time you really look. But the people you love - you can end up with a lot of distance to close, if you’re careless. I want that to be your priority this week, all right? That and the vampires. 

I don’t know if you ought to do your math homework. I do think you ought to sit down and imagine what the life that lets you do the most good for the next year looks like, and then do your math homework if you think it’s part of the best you can do, instead of letting the pressures of the moment settle it.

Why do you think you don’t pray enough? Do you start when you’re in a hurry? Do you run out of things to say?”

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"No, I think - I think I sort of got out of the habit after my parents died? I kind of stopped talking to a lot of people after my parents died. Not my sister, but - other people. And - with God, there just keep being more and more things that I should ask about, and some of them are confusing no matter how much I ask about them? And - I guess sometimes I just feel like I'm bad at praying, like I don't know how to focus on it right and I definitely don't know how to hear what God's telling me to do all the time, and I know that it's still important to do it even if it doesn't always feel like it's doing anything, but it's... demoralizing. And so it's hard to just keep deciding to do it anyway, even though I know it's important. And I'm tired."

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“When my father died I stopped talking to God. Eventually I found that I could sing to him, though. 

I think I would like you to try this week to pray when you feel safe and strong and happy. Get yourself your favorite food, watch a movie with your sister, come here to church to watch the sunset and escort the parishioners home safely - and then tell God that you are glad for the world and working to protect and love the people in it, and that you understand him a bit better when you do that. And someday you will understand him well enough for the hard questions.”

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"OK. I think I can do that. Thank you, Father."

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“For your penance, I want you to apologize to your sister and do the laundry for her. Say your act of contrition.”

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"My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You, whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy."

She sounds a lot more cheerful now.

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“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

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"Amen. Thanks again."

When she's all done, she waits in one of the pews and thanks God that there is at least one probably vaguely responsible adult in the world who doesn't think she's crazy. She scribbles some Latin vocabulary in a notebook and waits for the scheduled confession time to end. She looks up about twice a minute to make sure she doesn't miss the priest - even if he didn't mean to talk about the vampires right away, she does actually have to be able to recognize him to talk about the thing later.

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Eventually he departs the confession booth. He’s tall, really tall, with long glossy carefully-braided black hair and a very striking face. He looks perhaps 25, which is odd because the short biography in the brochures at the front door says that he graduated from seminary in 1973. Maybe it’s a typo.

 

He smiles at her.

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OR, her brain helpfully offers, MAYBE he is IMMORTAL.

It would probably be super logistically complicated for a vampire to become a priest. 

She had better not take her chances.

"Hi Father! I have to ask you a question, do you have a minute now or should I come back? - also can we maybe talk outside. Where there is sunlight."

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He’s wearing a silver crucifix; he raises his eyebrows just slightly and reaches up to touch it. “Yes, absolutely.”

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