I hid in a far corner of the room, out of sight, but I knew it would only take a moment for the killer to find me. Once hidden I waited for the approaching steps to reveal the face of the murderer. Sure enough, the light gave me the answer I sought once the well-featured face was brought to surface from the dark.
The priest stood at the entrance to my kitchen, scanning the ground for my fallen corpse, but there was none. The elderly man which I had known for so long wore a face of dismay. I could barely contain myself and emerged from the shadows, a tall and stronger man to the priest.
“It was you who…but…” I stammered as I surprised the priest.
“Be gone child of Satan,” the priest whispered in disgust at my sight. “How can you who have drunk such poison still stand to speak here now?”
“I did not drink your unholy wine,” I spat walking up to the priest. He tried to escape, but he only had the body of frail man. I clutched at his wrist and then at the other which held a bible.
I threw him toward the front door and he stumbled on his feet.
“Curse you, child,” the priest blurted in fury.
“Why did you kill those people? Why your own brother?”
“I did not murder anyone,” the priest shouted. “I gave them a chance to prove themselves in the eyes of God, delivering them a vial of the most holy wine from my garden laced with the spirit of foresight.”
“Spirit of foresight?” I asked. “Is that what you call arsenic? You are a murdered, old man and a rotten liar. You will burn in the hell you have preached unto this town.”
“The only one who shall burn in the black flames is you!” the priest shouted, lunging towards me with a knife.
It was so unexpected, but I was still faster than the old man. I grabbed the arm which sought my death, pulling the priest close and attempted to restrain him. It proved easy enough and I soon sat atop the priest. He began to beg for his life, as if I was going to kill him then and there. The screaming was immediately silence by a knock at the door.
I climbed to my feet and jumped toward the door, unlocking it and pulling it open. To my great fortune it was a police man, the same one who I had helped the night before. He stared at both me and the priest and after a few moments of panicked explanation he decided to handcuff us both and bring us both down to the station with the bottle of wine.
I made my case half-an-hour later in the company of the priest. His behaviour was different now. He seemed sad, concerned and fearful. After my explanation he explained an entirely different story which painted me as the killer and kidnapper. I felt that the way he explained his story was far more convincing and I soon realized that as a priest her certainly seemed a lot more reputable than a strange writer like me. I read it in the face of the officer and he was starting to choose sides. It was an awful experience.
It was at this point I reminded the officer that the wine had been tampered with, poisoned by the priest who had access to all the spirits that are offered by the spirit vendor.
“If I did indeed poison the wine, let me taste it,” the priest said confidently. “I harbour no hate or malicious desires to poison anyone, so let me taste this unholy liquid and let me prove it.”
It was a brave statement to make and I was all too willing to let him try. However, the confidence he showed was disheartening, as if I was walking into a trap. I then remembered his words, telling me that the wine was ‘God’s test’ for the people who drank it. The priest no doubt had drunk the wine before and lived, however possible that may be I could not let the priest win.
“No, I don’t want to risk the life of a man, let an animal drink the wine,” I told the policeman.
“There are other ways of testing to see if wine is poisoned, but if one of you is the killer you no doubt considered a way of hiding the effects. Luckily, I have a dying dog on which we may put out of his misery or at least ease his pain with the spirits.”
Immediately the attitude of the priest changed as the policeman plucked up the bottle of wine. Fear flashed across his face and both I and the policeman noticed.
“Is there something wrong, father?” the policeman asked.
“I…isn’t it too cruel to use poison on a suffering animal?” the priest asked.
“On a better day I might agree with you, father, but his time has come and I would like to put this mystery to a rest.”
The priest bit his tongue as the policemen brought his dog in and poured some of the wine into a saucer. The dog was indeed old and ailing, but I still felt a pang of pain knowing what would happen next. There was blood and writhing, but before the poor animal finally died the priest was thrown into a cell and my handcuffs were removed.
“The priest of all people…what would drive a priest to murder?” the policeman asked.
“His views have been twisted, officer,” I explained. “I believe something has damaged his mind…perhaps an accident or chemical affected his mind…perhaps it was the wine he drank. Who know, maybe if I drank the wine and lived I would be like him.”
“I hate to think there being two killers in our village.”
“So do I, but now we are down to zero once more. Thank you, officer…seeing what happened to your dog…I cannot express my gratitude.”
“I always hoped he would pass in his sleep…I wondered what kept him alive so long and now I know why. At least God protected you, sir, and not one of his corrupt children.”
“I appreciate your faith…but I don’t believe God had anything to do with this…at least I hope now.”
Be sure to follow!