Psyche inched down the church isle in complete silence. Christmas Eve was here with a terrible snowstorm on the way. She hated the cold more than anything and shivered at the sound of ice hitting the stain glass windows. Her steps came to a halt as she looked up at the elongated stain glass windows to the left of her. One in particular caught her eye. There on the window was an older man in his mid sixties. His arm cut across the elbow and he was frantically trying to stop the blood from oozing out. Next to him was the Virgin Mary; she like him was desperately attempting to heal the cut with no help. To the right of the man, was another who stood there mocking Mary and the elder with his glaring expression. The elder was helplessly dying and the man just watched, even ridiculed him. Psyche could barley stand to look at the glass any longer so she continued down the row.
It being the eve of Christmas, the small church wasn't filled to its maximum. Another woman sat praying but as she entered the person gathered their things and left. She was older and looked like she was alone, with maybe no one to go home to. Psyche questioned why there hadn't been more people there, but then again the reason for others absences may be because twelve midnight drew closer with every second and step that Psyche made.
The room was anything but ugly when it came to appearance. Real, red and white poinsettias lined the walls in pots just like they were outside the church. The only source of light was the candles that sat next to the alter and glistened in the moonlight along with everything else. A small patter noise was coming from the middle of the room due to a fountain letting a stream of water leak down its rocky sides. Even that was decorated in reds and gold's, as was the enormous cross that centered the front wall. Jesus was nailed to the cross and the extra coloring made the statue look somewhat beautiful. Psyche could feel God present in the air tonight and prayed that he could help her, for she had come to church to repent.
She was never one to be in trouble, others always saying how good she had it although her personality was quite unperfected. She had a tendency to be bitter and rude, except in the eyes of her husband and his friends. Psyche was stubborn and conceited. The average blonde cheerleader in high school who married their high school sweetheart and the girl almost everyone loved to hate. Yes, Psyche was drop dead gorgeous, but had no wit or kindness in her to back it up.
Unnoticed by Psyche, there was someone else present in the tiny cathedral, but he unlike the other woman, had not left as she came closer and made not a peep. The Priest had been watching Psyche enter from a distance and waited for her to reach the front of the alter before her reconciliation. He didn't recognize Psyche only because this was her first time going to church since her Mark's christening. She clutched her leather, snakeskin purse one last time before speaking. "Father I am here to repent." She whispered, her voice as beautiful as a dove. The Priest did not move nor speak back. In that moment he read Psyche like an open book and beckoned her to follow.
He led her to a small confessional box and told her to take a seat on one side while he went around to the other. Minutes past and still no one dared speak or move. This silence was relaxing, yet very uncomfortable for Psyche in the company of a Priest, a holy minister, and just about as close to God as she would ever get. "You may begin when you like." The man's sweet and soothing voice came from behind the separation curtain, breaking the extensive, awkward silence.
Psyche sighed and thought about the story she was about to tell, to get the tragedy off her chest. It was finally time to be forgiven. "Father, I have been married for five years to John Seether. I think you may know him."
John Seether was known around the whole town not just as the powerful Mayor, but for the things he did. Loving as he was, John found a way to help others no matter what the consequences or the risks he would have to make. No, as long as someone was being befitted, he made a deal to make them happy.
"I love him very much and we even have a son together, Mark." Psyche smiled for the first time tonight as she thought about her beautiful son's giggling face. He was a mix of both her and John with her blonde locks and nose while he had John's perfect smile. The appearance part was mostly from Psyche, but just about everything else came from John, even his personality.
"Ahh, yes I know Mr. Seether. He used to help with the charity campaigns here in the summer. A good man he is Mrs. Seether." Ever from behind the velvet cloth Psyche knew of the smile that lay on the dear old Priest's face. Her expression on the other hand remained somewhat unchanged and emotionless.
She let her purse fall to the ground next to her and put her hands together as she closers her eyes and continued to speak. "I know he is a very loving man. He cares for our son and helps so much with my marketing. As you probably don't know I am at the head of marketing and advertising for Hysteric Glamour's magazine. He's got his politics and I got my fashion, but that really is beside the point." Psyche sighed. "Like the past five Christmases I have spent with John, we went to his best friend's house for a Merry Christmas party."
The Priest couldn't help but wonder why Psyche seemed so upset. She had an amazing husband, by the sounds of it, a wonderful son, a great job in marketing, and even went to a party to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. God praised her well, yet she was very unhappy, her depression in her voice. More concern swept over the Priest as Psyche went on.
"Well I left Mark with my mother. She always cares for him especially when John and I go out, so tonight was no different." Psyche's hands clamped tighter. "Well, like every Christmas we exchange presents, eat until our stomach are close to exploding, and sing carols. We even toast glasses of eggnog here and there, but something made him do it." She paused. "John isn't one to really drink, but tonight something changed his mind. More people would expect me to knock back a bottle of wine and that's what I am afraid started it all. John also isn't very good at staying sober."
Psyche was now begging for God's mercy in the form of prayer. She wondered if he really even still cared for her, because most of the world had already giving up on the twenty-six year old. "Mrs. Seether, are you okay?" The Priest asked, noticing her deep distress.
She placed a lose piece of curly hair that had fallen in her face behind her ear and replied, "Yes. I am Sir. At least I think I am. Well when we got home, I drove of course because he was still very drunk. Let's say John tends to get physical when he is drinks."
"Mrs. Seether, are you alright?" The Priest asked her with concern in every word. He did know that alcohol was something that takes over the body and comes close to destroying every last inch of a person. It could even affect someone as great as John Seether.
"No, I'm not father." Psyche was in tears, not something she did regularly. Actually it really had been the first time in a long time that Psyche Seether had broke down and cried. She was the type to hold her feelings inside and wait until it was too late for them to be released. "H-He hit me Father and I have the scars to show for it."
The church was silent and still before Psyche had started to talk again. This time her voice was not shaky and tears had stopped. She would stay strong though this. "We had gotten into a fight about Mark. The basics, like if he was safe with my mother and if we are teaching him right. When I wouldn't agree with him he slapped me and I fell to the ground. Makeup is covering the spots where he hit me." Again there was silence in the night. "Sir, I love him so much." By now Psyche sounded upset at how pathetic she was for loving a man that had hit her more than once.
The Priest was now confused. "What is wrong? Did you leave him?"
"No father I did not." She replied quietly while playing with the zipper on her purse.
"Then what are you sorry for Mrs. Seether? I see nothing wrong with your life. Perfect everything. Why do you come here on the Eve of Our Lord's birthday and want forgiveness?" Psyche stood up and moved the curtain back so that the Priest could see her pale face in the candlelight. Those words, perfect everything, drove her to insanity every time she heard them. Psyche's eyes weren't loving or hateful, but worrisome.
"Father, how forgiving is Our Lord Jesus Christ? How forgiving is God?" Then and only then did the Priest see Psyche's horrible sin. She knew it too. "Goodnight Father and Merry Christmas to you." Psyche tuned around and began touting to the other end of the church, it still as beautiful as it was when she arrived.
Before the Priest was able to stop Psyche she was out of the small cathedral, and he thought it best to start cleaning up. As he blew out the candles all he could do was think about what he had just listened to. He also turned off the running water in the fountain and watched it glisten in the pool. "God, why must you protect the guilty!?!" He begged and knew that God was just testing the poor Mrs. Seether. He couldn't tell anyone what he knew because of her private reconciliation, but he knew God served no mercy to those who disobey the Ten Commandments. Killing is one of the worst sins in the bible.
He headed out the doors, locking them behind him and tightened his new, wool scarf around his neck. Tonight was bitterly cold from the storm and he regretted not bring a heavier jacket, than his lighter winter parka. As the key slid into the door he heard a loud bang. As fast as his feet would carry him, the Priest ran to where the noise had sounded and found Psyche Seether, none other than dead. Her hand lay holding a small, silver pistol, the same used on her husband in her mad dash to escape the yelling. Psyche's head was bleeding badly and the Priest knew all he could do for the young women was done because of how everything works out in the end. John didn't deserve to dye killed although he should have never taken the devil's poison. One thing is always true, God may be cruel, but justice for the innocent is always rewarded.
Tomorrow Mark Seether would wake at his grandmother's house in total curiosity. Where had his beloved parents gotten to? The three year old would walk down stairs in search of Mommy and Daddy, but find nothing and without presents under the tree. Oh yes, he would receive gifts, one being the gift of being an orphan. He would find out that both parents are dead, and death is a present one never forgets.