A family of four turned to look at him over their shoulders as he came barging through the high Gothic doors and stampeded toward the small box at the foot of the altar. So abruptly had he come that it took them a while before the mother and father could direct their own and their children's attention back toward the sacred figure in front of them. The family commenced their prayer, trying to ignore the man's noisy, frantic passage into the confessional. The priest on the other side nearly jumped at the commotion. Before the clergyman could ask if he was alright, the man spoke in a hurried, hushed voice.
"Forgive me, Father... f-for I have sinned. And I'm about to sin again," panted the panicked man. "I believe my last confession was... in my childhood some time."
"What troubles you, my son?"
"Father, I was a fool. I thought I had fallen in love with a good, Christian woman, but instead she was a succubus," the man paused to catch his breath. "I had to put a stop to it, Father. She was evil – Lilith, herself. She seduced me and made me want to marry her. Then she seduced my brother. Please, forgive me, Father."
"These things happen, my son," the religious leader replied. "People succumb to sin. You must forgive your wife and your brother. Convince them to confess their acts of lust to God."
"No! No. No, Father, you don't understand," the man nearly shouted. "It's too late for that now. The bitch is dead."
The priest, seeing the man was unstable, decided not to scold him for his profanity, and instead offered comfort. "I apologize."
"Don't. Don't be sorry. It's good that she's gone. We're all better off... I took care of that," at that point, the priest thought that through the thick mesh, he spotted a sinister grin on the man's face. "Or at least, I thought I did."
"Did you murder your wife?" the clergyman murmured hesitantly.
A small laugh, though quiet, filled the space between them like a winter gale and sent a chill up the religious man's spine. He'd been doing this for over thirty years and could swear he'd never had a follower who was so unnerving.
"I tried to rid the world of her, I tried, Father. After they buried her, I dug her up, carved out her heart, cooked it, and ate it so she would never come back," he chuckled again, but his voice held no joy. "But that demon. She came back anyway, and she never leaves."
"What do you-"
"She's everywhere. She's my coworker, Jenny. She's my sister, she was the postal worker last week, and the pharmacist the week before that. She was the nurse at the hospital, the bank teller, and even the news anchor on channel 16. She hides underneath my floor boards, scurries up and down the halls at work, tricks the men around me to do her bidding, and even watches me as I sleep. She haunts me, Father! She's everywhere..."
The priest watched voicelessly as the man shook and sobbed into his hands.
"Son," he said slowly. "Listen to me. You must turn yourself in. The Lord will forgive you if you are truly sorry. Your wife's spirit will torture you no longer."
The man shook his head and lifted it slightly. "It's too late, Father. I'm too proud to hand myself over. I just wanted someone to know my story before I took care of this once and for all. I know what she wants. She wants to keep haunting me for the rest of my life. She wants me to suffer. Whether I confess to the police or continue trying to ignore her, she wins. But do you know what, Father? ...I won't give that ravenous whore the pleasure of watching my misery."
Before the priest could say another word, a loud bang erupted in the half of the box beside him. Startled, he jumped, knowing in his mind what had happened but still not believing it. Screams were heard outside of the confessional as the family and other witnesses backed toward their Madonna for comfort. The priest hurried outside of the wooden box and around the other side where the man's limp body had fallen through the curtains of the confessional. The hand was still wrapped around the shiny black gun and above the nose was little more than scattered bloody chunks of skull and brain matter. The lower half of the grotesque face remained, upon which the priest saw a bone-chilling sneer.