Forgive Me, Sister, for I Have Sinned

by Mister Bippus

          FORGIVE ME, SISTER, FOR I HAVE SINNED          

        Mister Bippus

         I

Patrick could not see. His vital signs were beeping erratically and the oxygen pump emitted the only other sound in the room. Patrick could only hear.

BeepBeepBeep.

Bells, he thought, the bells of heaven.

A door opened. Few footsteps followed. The presence of two maybe three people entered. Patrick sensed them gather around him--then a long pause of silence. Only the bells ringing somewhere far off.

Someone cleared their throat Patrick did not recognize the voice, but something inside him quivered at the man's tone.

" His progress has reached an unproductive plateau-- one that remains now for thirty-three days. Even on the rarest proximity that he does awaken--his conscious functions and motor skills will be fractured beyond rehabilitation and at the very best vegetative. My apologies gentlemen for the frankness."

BeepBeepBeep.

Another man spoke, " What do we need? In this day and age with all the medical advances--"

" Cardinal, the present-day medical advances only keep him breathing. We can not wake him up nor repair the mental and physical state that would follow."

Patrick could not speak. The manufactured air felt good filling his lungs. They played on melodically with the soothing bells of heaven. Patrick could only hear.

A third voice sounded--this time he recognized its host. John, he thought, my dear John.

" There must be something, doctor, something that we haven't come across just yet. Something out of context, perhaps, something not optional to other patients. We have infinite faith in the field. You must only open your ears, doctor, and let God speak to you. He will guide you, please have faith and please listen."

" Patrick has been under our supervision for the past two months. During this time he has been given the highest caliber of care and attention. The staff and I have done everything in our power to keep him alive. I'm sorry, but at this point keeping him alive is the best we can do."

Patrick felt his vocals flare open and sing, his spirit shook with excitement, " I am awake! I am awake! God has awoken me!"

BeepBeepBeep.

The bells kept ringing. The bells of heaven.

Patrick could not see. Patrick could not speak. His soul vitalized, his body decomposed.

" Gentlemen, the only thing left for us--the only thing we need-- is a miracle. Considering who this man is a miracle doesn't seem that out of context."

    II

It was the heavy blow of the wind through an open window against thick velvet drapes that awoken Patrick. His head rose up, the blood rushed quick from his skull to his digesting stomach. The reaction made him burp.

  A gaggle and rub of the forehead later; Patrick peeled open his crusty eyes and flipped onto his side. The pillow was warm.

" Father."

Lint caught into his throat as he hacked on his way up. The blankets wrapped around him, an trial of sweat dripped down his brow. The salt tinged his eyes, he blinked and wiped his lids. Upon opening, his sight caught a nun perched in the corner.

" Sister," he said, swallowing his shock.

She cooed, her pointer finger raised above her lips, " Good morning."

Patrick fixed up against the rim of his bed frame, the warm pillow squished beneath and heated up his spine. His skin tightened, stretching his wrinkles along his bones, making him appear forty years younger. His mouth realized the gawk and quickly regained composure. Don't look scared, he thought, God is with you.

The nun hunched over, the shadow of her habit restricted any view of her face, " Father, I have come with a question."

He trembled, " How did you get in here?"

" The window."

Patrick held his breath and circled his head about the room. Luke and Phillip would have been here, he thought, her trespass must be legit .

The velvet drapes snapped against the exposed wind. The sound of a cruel, carnal alarm clock.

" They would have never allowed me to come, father, please , I am apologetic for the sudden intrusion. This, I can assure you, was my final and most Christ-driven effort."

She spoke angelically. Non-threatening. Pure.

Patrick released tension. His senses up--his conscious curious.

" Sister, what drives you to such extent?"

The nun lifted her head exposing her gray, aged skin. Her light eyes beckoned and seemed to speak without lips or voice, " Our convent, father, is worried. I am simply the messenger of a confused congregation."

He raised his brow in concern, her sincere cry challenged his infallibility, " Have you questioned your faith?"

The nun leaned back and inched down the crevice of the wall, disappearing from sight as she slurped beneath the view of hand-embroider satin sheets and crucifix gold bed frames. She said nodding, " No, no, father, our faith is never in question. The only thing in question isyou."

Patrick arched over the rim of his footboard. The stranger no where in sight.

His voice stammered, " Me? Sister, your question of faith shouldn't be due to me for I am the one closest to Him. I am the one living through Him. My being, through Him, is the infallible. The papacy. By what actions do you accuse me of? What actions of mine does your convent feel perturbed and in such question to drive you to trespass? "

Still out of sight, the nun breathed heavily. Her vibrations could be felt in the walls.

Patrick sweated, his ease rapidly switching, " Sister? Sister?"

" Because, father--"

He shifted to the side, her voice seemed to resonate off every corner in the room.

" --it's the way you--"

Parick sweated, his ease rapidly diminishing, " Way? Sister, which way?"

" -- it's the way you--"

He feathered the sheets against his body, her voice seemed to penetrate his veins.

" Because, sister?"

She shifted towards the brim of the bed, her face peeking over the shoulder of the mattress.

" It's the way youFather dare I not say."

Patrick sweated, his ease vanished, " Say? Not say what?'

Her eyes shut, the crawling of her finger reached up and tightened around the sheets. With tension now, her eyes opened, " It's the way you -- yourself, father. It's the way you -- yourself."

III

The one thing missing was confetti.

People cheered like they all had just been given fifty million in cash and a second wish granted. Thousands of mouths gaped open, forming a line miles down the road; Stretching from one city to the next.

A highway of screaming, gaping mouths. Open, hungry hands. Wishful, hopeful souls.

Patrick waved from inside the bullet-proof glass--his eyes sunken like a treasure chest in quicksand.

WaveWaveWave.

The waves from heaven.

IV

Patrick could not see. Patrick could not speak. Patrick could only hear.

" II can't do this, you bastard."

He felt a warm touch on his hand following John's voice.

" I can not possibly go through with it. Please, Patrick, please wake up. Please wake up."

His bones vibrated, massaging any urgency to break. Patrick tried to smile.

" You still have so much to do. So much to say. Do you realize, you selfish bastard, what you mean to people? What you stand for? Your simple touch can heal, Patrick! Your selfish presence has the power to influence, Patrick. Do you realize what you're doing here? Who you're killing?You're killing God, PatrickYou're murdering Jesus."

Patrick felt his vocals flare open and sing, his spirit shook with excitement, " I am awake! I am awake! God has awoken me!"

BeepBeepBeep.

John placed his lips on his forehead. The moist feeling resurrected sensations in Patrick. John, he thought, my dear John.

" Wake upPleaseWake up."

V

Patrick was now dressed in a robe, standing over the fallen nun- her hands reached around her head, sheltering her from rain.

" What accusations!" He roared, " What horrendous appalls! What is your name, sister, and from which convent do you come? "

The nun wrapped her hands around his ankles. Abrupt and unexpected.

Her light eyes lit up from the shadow of her habit, her voice comparable to Gabriel's, " Anger, father? Please, like I have said I am but a messenger. I mean only God's intention."

Patrick huffed and shook free his legs. He knelt down before her, picking her face up with his hand--revealing it in the pale moon light.

" You're worried about how I -- myself?"

The nun nodded.

" And how might that be?"

The nun peered up.

" .Well?" he questioned.

The nun said, " In secrecy In isolation"

Patrick swallowed. His hands shook. Who was this woman, he thought, who knew so much

VI

" She was in my room," Patrick carved off a large piece of ham and shoved it into his mouth. His eating was on overdrive.

" Please, father, take a sip of water."

Patrick clutched the glass, his hands trembling, water spilling. He gulped the drink down and slammed the chalice onto the hard oak surface. A young child dressed as a choir boy came to the table with an iced pitcher. He went to pour and Patrick shot him a glance, " WINE."

The young man exited and returned with a bottle of Cabernet.

" Leave it," Patrick snapped.

John started to truly sense the troubles that shadowed over his dear friend. He realized that he was genuinely frightened, fearing for some answers and explanation. He noticed that his dear friend had spurted up unorthodox emotions-- such ones that John hadn't seen in Patrick for quite some time.

He offered some realism, " My friend, you were sleeping. I find it hard to believe that a man as old as the sun just now falls upon the experience of dreams. Or nightmares in your case."

Patrick leaned forward over his food toward his friend whom sat opposite the table, his voice sheltered and slow, " I was awake."

John took a sip of his water-he let it flow all the way down his throat before he spoke, " what did she look like?"

" A nun."

" Was she Italian?"

Patrick heaved his back against the chair, aggravation played along his face, " You don't believe me."

John picked up his fork and fiddled with his peas, " Of course I do, Patrick. It's just a bit oddWhat did she want?"

The pope shook his head and stared down.

John restated, " Well? What did she want?"

Patrick's voice came out stammered, " an-an answer."

VII

Again Patrick awoke to the uneasiness of the night. Sweat once more covered his face.

This time the air was stagnant. The ventilation from the air conditioning had ceased for a moment, the windows were locked, the nightlight dimmed in the corner.

" Phillip." the pope cried.

A second passed-then the door opened. A man popped his head in, " Yes, father?"

Patrick scanned the room, then wished him away.

It took a good hour or so before he drifted back into sleep. The last full nights rest he would ever receive.

VIII

The warm water was cleansing. The fresh scent of soapy lather felt invigorating. It had been a long day for Patrick. A morning spent with handicaps and an afternoon with sinners. Finally, the evening had come and it was time for the pope to rest. For tomorrow, just like everyday, was sure to be another long one.

He slid the bar of soap under his armpits and down around his buttocks. The lather bubbled over his pruning body.

He shut his eyes.

The image of a young woman blotted itself against his lids. The same young woman he handed a rosary to earlier in the evening; her story just like many others: A drug addict who lost her child in birth. He had heard it before thousands of times. But this woman was different. She had beautiful breasts.

" NO!"

Patrick halted his thoughts.

" For the love of God, parish these thoughts from my mind."

Jesus. Mother Mary. The Bible. Church.

He sucked in a hearty breath and lifted his head against the raining water, washing his head clean from filth.

His arm moved rapidly. His face still pressed against the running water, washing his head clean from filth.

Jesus. Mother Mary. The Bible. Beautiful breasts.

" NO!"

His arm moved rapidly.

The lather felt invigorating.

Beautiful breasts. Beautiful breasts.

" NO!"

" NO!"

Church. Jesus. Mother Mary.

His arm moved rapidly.

Beautiful Breasts. The Bible.

Invigorating.

Breasts. Beautiful.

"Jesus. Mother Mary--""

Invigorating.

"Beautiful."

IX

" Father."

Patrick opened his eyes.

" Again you did it."

He shot up. The nun backed down the coarse of the bed. She folded her body, cat like, on the edge of the mattress. His feet touched her nose.

" Sister! Your startling abruptness!" His heart beat," Please, I was sleepingPhillip! Phillip?"

The door stayed shut. The night light dimmed out.

The nun held out her palm, " Again!"

" What! What do you want?"

God is with you, he thought.

A stream of breeze flapped through the room. The window was opened.

Patrick felt a rush to leap from the bed, throwing the comforter from his body and trampling foot first onto the ground. He wanted to run, but the initial impact was too intense for his aged bones. His cheek burned as he lifted his head up from the Vatican carpet.

The nun slipped off the edge of the bed and crawled up next him. She moved stealthily like an animal.

The pointy top of her habit scratched his head as she inched up to him.

Patrick felt immobilized, his body hurt. I've broken something, he thought.

" Father, we all have concerns eating us now. Our faiths are beginning to slightly boil as they become more and more exposed to the fires of hell. Tell me that it is not you who the Revelations speak of. Put to rest our bleeding worries and prove to me that it is not you who are the Anti-Christ."

Patrick felt her breath on the back of his neck- his naked body paralyzed but still shook from her cold.

He was in pain, but the accusations held against him motivated his lips to speak, " I am a man of God, Sister, through Him and only Him do I seek out my actions. I am a representation of His word and his glory, and that is my place. I seek only peace and preach only His Gospel. I am His sheep for He is my Shepard, I am His creation for He is my God. I mean no harm, Sister, I mean no harm."

Something trickled down his back. He attempted to turn but the pain shot up from his spine to his neck. His face fell back onto the carpet. Another trickle.

She's crying, he thought.

" Oh, Father, why do you tell me lies!"

" I would--"

" We see it all. I ask you who is your God? I ask you who is the almighty that you represent? Who is the He that you devout your life and preach His Gospel."

" The same as you, Sister."

The nun backed slowly from the pope, retreating like a panther.

      X

Patrick sensed someone else in the room. He noticed the sandpaper skin that ran along the top of his hand. It belonged to John.

As the tears fell onto his face, he knew his friend was in pain. John, he thought, my dear John. Why the tears?

" Our prayers will guide you on your journey to the light, Patrick. They will act as a raft which carries you safely out from the brink of space toward the Heaven. They'll supply the comfort you need for the voyage home. I know you can hear me. And I know you can feel our prayers.

The time has arrived, my friend, we have waited long enough. I have come to say good-bye."

The sandpaper skin wrapped around his hand, tight and shaky.

" the world mourns along with me. My heart is heavy with burden, but for the best interest of the Church I have allowed them to cease further resuscitation. I have allowed them to kill my friend. My pope."

Patrick felt his vocals flare open and sing, his spirit shook with excitement, " I am awake! I am awake! God has awoken me!"

BeepBeepBeep.

" May peace be with you."

Patrick felt his friend's lips reach down and kiss his forehead, a tear rolled from John's eye into Patrick's. It dripped down his cheek as if it were his own tears.

All now was silent, except for the bells of Heaven ringing somewhere far off.

      XI

" Your carnal thoughts, Father, the way you touch yourself. These I fear are not the preaching of your King. Tell me this is so."

Patrick attempted to lift his body from the ground, but to no avail. Only his words were able to move, " Sister, have you come here to patronize me? To mock my existence and challenge my oath to the Lord?"

The nun cackled, " I have only come to show you that you are hypocritical to the Lord. That you are a loathsome, foul man who compromises God's holy word and title to your own sick pleasure. I know the way you think! I can eat the sourness that emits from your orifice triggered from the wicked, impure thoughts in your head. The same thoughts that send filth from your brain to your hand to your part. The same thoughts that come spewing out as you heave a heavy breath and expel detest all over yourself. The same thoughts of the Devil, not those of your God."

" What you speak of maybe true. These thoughts I may perceive and these actions I take part, but one thing is certain and that is my faith to Christ."

The nun hacked up a chilling laugh as she hunched back down onto the floor. On all fours now she crawled up to the pope's back, whispering intensely, " Tonight on the night of your death you must confess to me your sins, Father, and confess to me your guilt and repress your position as the holy man of faith. You are not the infallible, you are not the pope, you are a mere human being with mere human filth. Your dedication has contradicted itself every time a pair of beautiful breasts clouded your mind from Jesus. Go back on your oath, here at your moment of death, go back on your faith, for you are not worthy! Confess to me, Father, confess!"

Patrick closed his eyes.

Patrick could not see. Patrick could not feel. Patrick could only speak.

" Forgive me, Sister, for I have sinned."

" Yes! Yes!" A long snake tongue fell from the nun's mouth and flapped onto the floor, from behind her back she held out a pair of handcuffs, " Say it, Father, confess!"

" I have committed a sin unholy in the eyes of God--"

" Yes! Yes!" she brought the cuffs up to his hands, inching them away from his wrists.

" -- and in your heavenly name I pray, to forgive me of my humanity and to enlighten me once again with your purity. For I am only a human, I realize this now, and no matter what impure thoughts I may have had or what actions drove as consequence of these thoughts, I lay my life in your hands and denounce this devil behind me."

The handcuffs fell to the floor, followed by an uproarious cry and blinding light.

The nun was gone.

Patrick felt something lift him up from the ground, he could not see it, but he could sense it. John, he thought, your prayers have come to take me home.

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