The Pastor

       “Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.’ But the Lord said to him,

    ‘Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.’ Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.”

          Jonathan Mercer quoted as he preached to the crowd. “Now what can we learn from this? That the Lord’s mercy is endless, and his punishments not disproportionate. Cain murdered his brother, his own flesh and blood, and he was punished. Was God needlessly cruel, though? No, he showed mercy for the first murderer, and protected him from all who would kill him.” Ethan continued before closing the Bible laid in front of him. “Now to conclude our sermon, let us pray.”. Everyone in the crowd bowed their heads with Ethan as he began.

          “Dear Lord, we thank you for this day, we thank you for the opportunity to meet and worship you. We thank you for your mercy, and that you will not punish us needlessly for our sins. We thank you for protecting and gifting us this morning, and hope that you will do the same this afternoon, and all through the night. Please keep us all safe from danger, and sin, until we meet here again. Amen.”

      “Amen.” the crowd replied in unison. As the people in the church left, a woman made her way to the altar. She was rather pretty, slim, with soft blonde hair, light blue eyes. As she approached Ethan, Ethan turned towards her and smiled warmly.

        “Hello, Father Mercer.”

    “Please Susan, we’re all children of God, just call me Ethan.”

          “I just wanted to confirm the time of our extra Bible study session. 7:00 tonight?”

      “7:00 tonight.” Ethan confirmed.

     “I look forward to it.” Susan said as she turned and walked out.

    “Me too. Enjoy your afternoon!” Ethan shouted after her. He smiled again, but it had a bit less warmth to it.




             As Ethan put the plate of cookies on the table at the church next to the teacups with he and Susan’s favorite tea bags in each cup. He chuckled at how old-fashioned the tea seemed. The tea had been his own special blend, he loved to cook, mix, and concoct. He had been planning this special Bible study session ever since he and Susan had started meeting. They had been both been looking forward to this night for a long time.

       He heard Susan’s car pulling in and parking next to the church. He quickly took his Bible and poured the hot water he’d boiled in the dining area of the church, and greeted her warmly as she came in. “A pleasure to see you Susan.”.

          “Hi Ethan.”

       “Before we start our study session, I’d like you to come with me, I have something to show you.”

            “Okay.” She replied agreeably.

  They walked outside into the courtyard, surrounded by the walls of the regal stone church, on that cold November evening. The courtyard had quite a few trees, with glittering icicles hanging from their branches. Ethan and Susan went outside on that cold night. As soon as they walked out of the edifice, Ethan looked at the sparkling icicles on the biggest tree in the courtyard.

       “Beautiful, aren’t they?” Ethan said to Susan as she stood next to her.

    “They are, a true gift from God aren’t they?” Susan responded.

          “I beg to differ.”

      “What do you mean?”

         “Does God really want this to happen with an icicle?” Immediately after saying this, he reached up and broke an icicle off the branch.

       “What are you doing Eth-?” Was all Susan got out before Ethan stabbed the icicle into the top of her head. Susan fell down, losing consciousness with every second as the icicle stuck out of her skull. Immediately, Ethan grinned. He waited a few seconds as she slipped from consciousness to insure she wouldn’t survive, then took out his cell phone and called 911.

        “911 Emergency?”

     “Send an ambulance! 941 Church Street! There’s a woman unconscious in the courtyard. I think something pierced her skull!”.

          “They’re on their way!” they said on the other end of the line as Ethan licked off the icicle and threw it aside. Ethan smirked, because he knew they wouldn’t arrive to help in time. He had everything planned out, from his tear-jerking cover story to the act of murder itself. Now all he had to do was act panicked when they arrived. So, that was exactly what he did. He squeezed some lemon juice into his eyes from a slice he had saved when he got the tea bags. He cried with this assistance the whole time as they went to the hospital, pretending to panic and all the time begging Dear Heavenly Father not to let her die, but, as planned, she didn’t make it. As Susan died in the hospital bed, Ethan uttered the line he had rehearsed in private for months. “HOW COULD YOU LORD?!” he shouted to nobody in particular as loudly as he could.

       Impressed with his acting skills, he ran from the hospital all the way home with his hands over his face, trying to hide his satisfaction all the way. As he arrived home, he stopped to catch his breath. He grinned, satisfied at how well it had gone. He knew there would be an investigation, that police would show up to question him soon, but he didn’t care. Mentally, he checked off his mental count. ‘The world is thirty-two Christians less!’ he thought proudly to himself, squeezing more drops into his eyes, ready to cry some more for the police.

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