The Threat: Meet the Characters of Magnolia Bluff
August 25, 2022
Somebody in town is waiting to die, and only the priest knows there’s a killer on the loose, and he can’t tell a soul.
Who is he?
He’s simply a voice.
He has a threat.
He’s going to kill someone.
The voice is bitter.
The voice is sardonic.
He’s sitting in the confessional.
The priest is waiting to hear his confession.
He hears the threat.
And he can’t tell anyone.
Such is the seal of the confessional.
In You Won’t Know How … Or When, book 4 in the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles, every man is town is a suspect.
The priest must solve the mystery himself.
Or somebody will die.
And he just may be the victim.
About ten minutes before eight, he heard another person enter, kneel and begin. “Father, I’m about to commit a sin.”
Father Frank cocked his head a little to the side. “Ah, about to? Then, if you are truly sorry about it, just don’t do it.”
“But I have to. The sin is …” The pause stretched out. And then the man said, “I’m gonna kill you.
Father Frank’s head jerked up and his eyes popped open. The black curtain kept him from seeing the man, or the man seeing him. Father Frank tried to collect his thoughts. How to respond to something like that? After a moment, he said softly, “I don’t understand … why would you want to do that?”
A rough laugh slithered in from the other side. “Why do you think?” the voice sneered. Then the laugh cut off and his voice became deadly serious. “You pass yourself off as a caring priest. Oh yeah, I’ve heard it all before, about how you’re ready to minister to your flock, take care of your parishioners, whatever they need. Yeah, you’ll help … if it’s convenient. Otherwise, you bail.”
Now silence. Father Frank didn’t know what to say. The man laughed again, this time sounding more sinister. “So, I’m gonna help things out. I’m gonna eliminate you from this earth. That way, no one’ll expect you to do anything – and get disappointed when you don’t. You’ll be about the same help like you are now, but since you’ll be dead, no one’ll be expecting anything.”
Silence. Father cleared his throat, desperately trying to think of the right words. None were coming to him.
“Here’s the best part. I’m telling you this in the confessional. So you can’t tell anybody, not even the police.” He snickered. “But you’ll know about it. You’ll think about it, day and night.” He laughed, a short, ugly laugh. “This is even better. You know it’s gonna happen, but you don’t know how it’s gonna happen. Will it be a bullet through your brain?” He paused a second. “Or maybe a knife slashing your throat? It could even be a bomb.”
Once more, silence. Father Frank opened his mouth, not certain what he might say, but then that laugh started again.
“No, here’s really the best part. You won’t know when. I might strike tonight. Or tomorrow.” Now his voice took on the tone of being helpful. “Course, if it’s tomorrow, you gotta think about it every minute between now and then. No sleep. That’s good, since I may come in the night. Maybe it’ll be Wednesday. That’ll give you lots of time to worry, look over your shoulder. Some car backfires, you’ll fall on the ground, thinking you’re dying. Someone comes up to shake your hand and you’ll shake all over, wondering if he’s got a knife.”
Father Frank said, “Murder is a grave—“
“Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in three or four days. I might let you live a week.” A slight pause. “Or not. A week’s too long. Start thinking about it.”
Father Frank tried to sound soothing. “This is …”
But he heard the door open. The man was leaving. The door closed and Father Frank heard footsteps going down the aisle. He jumped out of the chair. I need to see who that is.
But as he touched the door to open it, he froze. He couldn’t do that. The seal of the confessional was uncompromising. The man was right: he had trapped Father Frank in his own vows. He could not do anything, even if he did know who made the statement.
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