Sheila Townsend hauled open the heavy cathedral door and slipped inside. She scurried up the long aisle into the safety of the confessional and collapsed. Panting, she creaked open the little sliding door. The priest’s outline loomed on the other side.
"Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.” She swiped at her bangs, wet from the fog outside.
“How long has it been since your last confession?” The priest’s voice filtered through the mesh between them.
“Six months, Father.”
“Tell me of your sins, my child.”
“I-I’ve had evil thoughts and fear I’ve done something horrid.”
“What have you done?”
“I might have killed someone because of the curse.”
“Curse?” His deep voice climbed an octave.
“Yes, the one that plagues this necklace.” She dangled a chain close to the screen. “I must leave it here with you and stop this madness.”
Sheila rose, dropped the silver pendant onto the shelf separating parishioner from priest, and fled without another word. She paused at the door long enough to secure her scarf over her head and pull her coat collar higher. The stained-glass window, an image of the Holy Mother, she’d seen before looked far less impressive at night than when the sun shone through the tinted panes.
Sheila pressed her weight against the door, allowing the breeze to flicker the candles at the altar. The gripping hatred that had consumed her for the last month melted away like snow in springtime. Gone was the unexplained need to hurt the same person whose picture she’d displayed in the locket. Now she was free—free from everything except the guilt and memories of plunging a knife deep into her boyfriend’s back.
Stepping into the misty night, she headed toward the river. She hadn’t been totally forthcoming with the priest. Her ‘might have killed’ was totally misleading. The police were sure to soon find Andre’s body in her living room, and she no longer had a will to live. She’d made peace with the Lord; now she needed to find peace within herself and what she’d done.
Father Finnegan’s brow furrowed at the woman’s sudden departure. “A curse?”
He stood and pushed through the curtain at the rear of the confessional, walked around and opened the door to the parishioner’s side. There on the shelf lay the necklace the woman had left. A silver locket hung from a long chain, and when opened, displayed a picture of a handsome young man wearing a black sweater. Father Finnegan pinched the locket closed. The pendant looked entirely harmless—nothing more than a delicate piece of jewelry.
“What have you got there, Father?”
The priest turned to find Sister Mary Catherine standing behind him, her brow raised as always when something stirred her nosy side.
“A necklace…supposedly a cursed one.” He laughed. “Me thinks ‘tis the soul of the person who left this beauty behind is the one who needs the blessing.”
“The piece looks to be a great match for the fund-raising bazaar, if you’ve no other plans for it.” The nun smiled and opened her hand.
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