By Don Bagley
As a blasphemer, John Fellowe represented aberrant tissue, a cancerous growth to be removed from the body of God-fearing saints at sunrise, by means of burning at the stake.
“What bothers me, John,” said Father Percy Smythe. “Is that given the means of deliverance, you refuse to relent and ask forgiveness.”
John Fellowe pulled up at the loose sleeves of his peasant shirt and leaned forward on the rough wooden bench that was his cell’s only furnishing. “And who will forgive me?”
“The Lord God, of course.”
John chuckled. “You speak for Him?”
“Let’s just say that I report to Him,” said Father Smythe.
John rocked back on the coarse bench. “I know who butters your bread,” he said. “The queen, sister of the woman with whom I have fallen from favor.”
“Your charge is witchcraft, John.”
“And she the witch,” said John. “Was it not her who leveled the accusation?”
“I can’t speak of these things,” said Father Smythe. “You have only to admit the crime and plead forgiveness.”
“And my forgiveness would come in the form of scourging and execution anyway,” said John. “Then no one would believe me to have been intimate with royalty--on pain of death.”
“I told you that I can’t speak of this, John.”
“I know,” said John, and he stood up and walked over to the tiny, barred window with its stamp of sunlight. “You are unsexed, priest. I envy you that.”
Father Smythe made an odd sound in his throat.
“No,” said John. “I’ll not admit to practicing black arts or spell-casting. Besides, how does one follow the company of the queen’s sister?
Percy Smythe was certain he didn’t know.
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Don Bagley is a writer living in North California. His work has appeared in Weirdyear, Ten Thousand Monkeys and Hackwriters. com.
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