The Church's Beauty was only Skin Deep




Father Marco Demelio chugged water from a gallon container and most of the water spilled through his collar and onto his shirt. He stared across the church basement and wasn't satisfied with how he stacked the bodies. Everything about what he was doing seemed perfect. The sinners would come into the church and confess their sins. It would depend on the severity of the sin that made Father Demelio decide the punishment. He could Hail Mary them to death, but he'd rather put the sinners to death. It was so much easier for him. His problem was getting rid of the bodies once he has cured them of their evil ways.
God was his witness he thought, but he never expected the sinners' to have a witness. But there was a witness and that witness called the police. It was after he corrected a woman for selling her flesh and taking drugs.
There was that woman lying dead on the wooden floor in front of a submissive Jesus Christ on a cross, head turned slightly to the right, and eyes filled with sadness. Behind the pulpit, on his his knees was a fallen priest searching for God with a kitchen knife in his left hand. He turned to face the woman on the floor, momentarily caught up in both her beauty and her apparent melancholy. He wiped the saliva from his mouth and placed the kitchen knife on the floor.
"It's a beautiful day," he said to her, but she did not answer.
He stood up and decided to walk back to his sleeping quarters which was located in a back room. There he found it peaceful, meditative. He suspected this had been God Almighty's design. It was a place of complete serenity.


America was a heavily armed nation prone to violence and the government found it only reasonable to give law officers weapons and the authority to use them. In these United States, only a cop has the right to kill as an act of personal deliberation and action. Detective Laura Kimber wanted to excercise her rights to kill that priest for what he was doing.
It was two weeks of mayhem, with bodies stacked like firewood in the church's walk in freezer. Detective Caleb Rivera had come to assist Kimber in the investigation of crimes of violence. He had to help control her because he knew that she wanted to shoot the priest on sight. In Kimber's heart so much of that was true. She wanted Father Demelio to storm out of a room swinging an axe, so she'd have the right to defend herself and empty her gun into him. Her report would clearly blame adrenaline for her continued discharge of her firearm. Rivera, just wanted this ordeal to end. So he took the lead toward the bedroom.
The priest was in the back room. He was laying back on his bed in the sweltering heat. The thermostat was on the highest setting and the priest was naked, but sweating like rain running down the stain glass window. The heat didn't bother him, he had trained his mind to ignore the heat. It was his way of sweating out the sins. After every murder he had the need to cleanse himself, however, there was no need to cleanse himself that day. The kitchen knife was shoved into his back and he was almost bleeding out. There was that chance to save him and Rivera tried to act quickly, but Kimber grabbed his upper arm.
"Let em go, Caleb" she said softly.
"I'm sorry Laura, can't let that stay on my conscious."
She grimaced as Rivera called for immediate medical attention.
Laura Kimber looked over toward a picture of a welcoming opening arms of The Virgin Mary. She moved a foot closer and wanted to say something disrespectful. However, Kimber knew that The Virgin Mary understood the hate in her heart. The church once a place of worship, and a home of peace and sanity, became dead and wasted. The church's beauty was only skin deep, a few layers under the surface would reveal it's ugliness.

© 2014 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 27 comments

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Recently watched a 48 Hours episode of a priest who murdered, and then this. You fully summarized this holy-heinous crime in your title. So glad that there is always someone or something to help control Laura Kimber. She's so real! Sad situation but powerful story-telling.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you Msdora for reading and commenting :)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Excellent story....you excel at these, my friend, and you are only getting better.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you billybuc :)


Eric Boyd 2 years ago

Strong piece my friend, it has that cop show feel to it.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

You absolutely are getting better, in the vividness of the details and rhythm of your words. I can see a novel based on this excellent flash fiction story.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

Thanks Eric.. and thank you so much Flourish..bless you


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Frank, you excel more with every one of these stories you write. You draw us into this dark world, masterfully, and with so few words. Once again, very well done.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much tobusiness for always reading :)


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Great story Frank. A priest who murders sinners when they confessed their sins. Scary! I don't think I will be going to confess anytime soon. lol Tweeted..


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

I know it is hard for many cops to leave the punishment to God when they know the scum are better off wasted and the world a better place.

You can always tell when I liked your story I am sure; lol. ^+


clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 2 years ago from Nibiru

great story, compelling


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

So many great lines in this chilling flash fiction piece, Frank! You certainly do draw us into that dark mind with your excellent writing here. My favorite line is, "He turned to face the woman on the floor, momentarily caught up in both her beauty and her apparent melancholy." However, as I stated, there are many great lines here to send tingles up and down one's spine, especially that last line!

Up, awesome and interesting


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

This one certainly chilled to the bone...someone you trust implicitly killing one after another. Poor Laura, seems she's letting her job get to her. And how my friend did the priest get the knife in his back? As always Frank top notch.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Till for reading my Church :)


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 2 years ago from Northeast United States

Interesting :) Really good storytelling with an unique plot. Thank you for sharing :) Im working on three stories. I hope to have one on hubpages by the end of the weekend. Really busy working two jobs and all. It will be sort of a halloween tale.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

Always.. it is always good to see you.. Jackie thank you for reading.. thanks Clive.. and my dear Faith.. thank you for simply having Faith in my flash pieces.. god bless you


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

That lovely church was a sanctuary to a terrible evil…and your words captured this dichotomy so skillfully, Frank. I’ve never seen it done better in a flash fiction story. You are a master.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thanks Carrie let me know when you submit it ill check it out and Genna good to have you reading my flash :)


savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 years ago

Talk about defiling a sacred place. Another good one, Frank. I'm never disapponted when I read your fiction; it always describes the dark part of life so well.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Another wonderful flash fiction story Frank. I'm a real Laura Kimber fan. Voted up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much savvydating and Jodah for stopping by :)


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 2 years ago from Somewhere in the West

Frank you know this story you wrote here is occurring right now as i type a lot of evils are going on behind convent doors etc. Recently i was looking at x-nuns and priest testimonies i was not astonished. As i read a book called the nun's testimony by sister Charlotte also a book by the name of "Fifty years in the church of Rome" some years ago.

People use church as a cover up to condone and do their evils and then they turn away souls that really wants to get sincere with God. The biggest set of adulterers are preachers who hide behind the pulpit and bible. Who ever rammed his back with the knife I am pretty sure it was well deserving.

You reap what you sow don't yah!

Have a wonderful weekend


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Lady Fiddler, what you say is spot on. There is a huge enquiry taking place here in Australia into child abuse by the church and other organisations. I have a very old book written in the 1800s called "the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk" written by a young Canadian nun. You need to read it but it is shocking: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Monk


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you lady for sharing your thoughts...


SheGetsCreative profile image

SheGetsCreative 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

Another great installment of flash fiction ;)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton Author

thank you shegetscreative for dropping by :) Frank

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