Diana couldn’t identify the noise to her right. She had one foot in the tranquil realm of slumber while the other was just beginning to dip its toes into the harsh reality of consciousness. Like an old antennae television with bad reception, the sound popped in and out of her awareness with varying levels of clarity, but she lacked the strength to string a sensible thought together.
Her cognition gradually became more cohesive.
It’s a hammer…and a nail…he’s going to crucify us… she thought.
Like a drum beat before a medieval execution, the metallic clanks began to repeat at faster intervals. Motivated by a sense of imminent destruction, Diana shifted her focus and energy from thinking to opening her eyes. The clanks’ tempo of doom gave her the extra nudge she needed to fully awaken; each clash of metal pried her eyelids open a little more. Light seeped into her eyes. The room she was in was dark and it took some time before her pupils dilated and the foggy blur dissipated into clarity. She felt a vertigo-like sensation, as if her limbs were floating around her, that didn’t dissipate with time.
Tingles from all around her body began coalescing into coherent feelings. She was on her stomach; she could sense that, at least. Like the granite counter-top her head had recently slammed into, the ground was cold and smooth. Her surroundings came into focus and she turned her head towards the sound. The clanking wasn’t a hammer striking a nail, it was a rosary slamming against the church’s floor. And the person holding it was Ian. For some terrifying reason, he was completely naked.
As soon as she recognized her lover, Diane tried to scream his name but she quickly realized that wasn’t an option and only managed an incoherent, muted shriek. Ian couldn’t utter a word either. Evidently, Rick had stuffed both of their mouths with giant, BDSM gag balls, which were both harnessed to an elaborate network of straps that squeezed the neck and head so that the balls were pulled tightly back into their mouths.
Ian was tied to a wooden chair, so that he sat at a perfect ninety degree angle. He was bound in such a way that the only movable body parts were his head and, to a much more limited degree, his wrists. He slammed the rosary onto the ground by twirling his hands, while his wrists functioned as the axis.
More morbid revelations surfaced as her consciousness gained peak acuity. Like Ian, she was completely naked. Speech wasn’t the only luxury she’d lost since Rick had beaten her into a black out. She couldn’t move either. He’d hog-tied the unfaithful wife, her arms were pulled back and tied to her feet with industrial handcuffs and bindings. Completely oblivious to what day or time it was, Diana gyrated her head around in a frantic effort to ascertain where she was and how long she’d been out for.
They were in Incarnation Church in the middle of the sanctuary, in between the lectern and the pulpit and facing the High Altar.
So, Ian was trying to wake me up. Not sure what the fuck I’m supposed to do now. Well, we’re facing East. I know that at least. she thought, half-trying to lift her spirits with some internal humor. It didn’t work.
The Altar had been prepared with all of the components of the Eucharistic sacrifice: the chalices, the vestments, the decorative crucifixes. From her vantage point, Diana couldn’t spot out any bread or wine, but she was straining to see; her predicament entailed serious limitations in terms of a quality vantage point.
Another muffled shriek came from behind them, from the pews. Diana and Ian looked at each other; both of their eyes widened. Veins were popping out of his head from trying to loosen the knots. The muted cries encroached on their position along with chaotic slapping noises. Several thuds followed as the newest victim was dragged toward the Altar. It came behind Diana and kicked her left foot. The victim slid into view along with her husband, dressed in priest attire.
It was one of the nuns, who lived in the convent across the street. Based on that, Diana guessed it was late Thursday night and the poor woman drew the short straw to do janitor duty in preparation for Good Friday. The poor thing’s face was covered in blood and her mouth was duck-taped shut. The son of a bitch had handcuffed the nun’s hands behind her back and was dragging her face-down by the feet, which flailed aimlessly. Rick dragged her right up to the altar and pulled some more rope out from behind the Eucharist set-up before completely immobilizing his latest victim. He positioned her so that she stared directly into the adulterers’ eyes, and vice versa.
Rick manically turned toward Diana and violently clapped his hands together in a mad magician gesture.
“Well, here we are folks. I’m very sorry that I had to use some uncouth methods to bring us all together, but remember, I’m doing this for you. You’ve both fallen from grace. Adultery. Apostasy. You’ll thank me when this is all over.”
Turning around as soon as he reached a landmark, Rick paced between the lectern and the pulpit. His vestments touched Diana’s face and he caressed Ian’s cheek. He did this odd ritual several times, like a pendulum’s swing.
“The sacrament must begin quickly. We only have a few hours before the other nuns investigate why their sister hasn’t returned. Oh Lord, how rude of me. Please let me introduce you to our esteemed guest. I didn’t get the pleasure of her learning her name, so I’ll refer to her as Maria.”
Rick knelt down besides the nun and stroked her blood-soiled hair while she suffered a fear-induced tremor. Beginning with her chin and moving clockwise from there, he started to trace crosses on her face. Diana admired the nun for not weeping, for not giving Rick the satisfaction of seeing her tears. In the midst of tracing, Rick’s cell phone went off.
“Bravo! My dearest friends. It is now midnight. Good Friday is upon us. On this day, millennia ago, Christ died for the sins of all. But, as you know, the salvation that he bought for mankind is contingent upon acceptance of Christ as the Savior.”
Rick walked behind the Altar and bent down, out of Diana’s view. He stood up bearing gifts. In his right hand were several surgical scalpels, still wrapped in their sterile packaging, and in his left hand he clutched what looked like a spiked nunchuk, its long cylindrical handle was linked to a spiked ball with a long chain.
“You see friends, the issue that we face here is that neither of you have accepted Christ as your redeemer. You’ve turned your backs on him. Therefore, further sacrifice is required for you to reap the benefits of salvation. Christ gave us the ritual of the Eucharist as a symbol of his passion, of his suffering. He gave us his body and he gave us his blood. Through it, we are made whole.”
The neophyte priest walked over to the middle of the sanctuary, in the middle of the three captives and laid his weapons on the ground.
“Sacrifice is obligatory in your case. You can either save one another, or innocent Maria can be a surrogate offering. In either case, you must each consume the body and blood of the sacrificial lamb. Make no mistake, through transubstantiation, you will be consuming Christ’s flesh. Sinew, blood and marrow will be your keys to eternity. So, with that being said, what route to heaven will you take? The innocent bystander or the object of your vice? Look to your right for the former and to the left for the latter.”
Diana looked at the innocent nun’s face. She wasn’t going to let that women’s blood rest on her soul. Fuck no, she wasn’t. She turned her head left, without even looking over to see what Ian did.
Rick began a slow clap.
“Bravo. Bravo. Our two noble humanists don’t want the innocent lamb to be slaughtered. Noble. But, remember…if you resist or try to hinder the sacrament, dear Sister Maria dies.” Rick held up the medieval weapon and bounced the heavy spike up and down like a yo-yo.
Diana and Ian nodded, their breath was frantic and hurried.
Rick walked behind Diana and re-positioned her so that she looked directly at Ian. After placing plates and chalices next to each victim, he took the casing off of one of the scalpels and knelt down next to Ian.
“Christ said that if your hand makes you sin, then you should cut it off. I think we both know what makes you sin my prodigal priest. I will free you from the root of your evil.”
Tears streamed down Ian’s face. He blinked spastically as he began to exhibit the signs of a full-blown panic attack. Rick wrapped his hand around Ian’s penis and scrotum, so that there was only one large connection to his pelvis.
“Okay, Father Gill. Here. We. GO!”
Rick sliced into the flesh and began viciously castrating the priest, far too early into his prime. The gag toy lowered the decibel level of Ian’s screams of agony, but it didn’t temper the horrific pitch of his voice or the cries’ vomit-inducing lengths. Blood spurted out of his crotch like a broken dam. Diana closed her eyes to keep from vomiting.
After severing Ian’s genitalia, Rick quickly placed the frayed remains onto the plate and filled the chalice with his blood. He shoved a towel into the bulging hole and taped it in place.
He quickly ran over to Diana with the live Eucharist.
“Eat it now or they both die!”
Diana nodded. He took off the gag contraption and began to feed her. She immediately vomited.
“Don’t stop! The more time you waste, the more likely that he might bleed out!”
Rick switched courses and put the chalice to her lips. By some miracle, she kept it down. Weary of how long the first stage of the sacrament was taking, Rick cut Ian’s penis into smaller, bite-sized pieces and fed those to her. After she was able to choke down a few, he proceeded to the next phase.
Ian was shaking; Diana thought that he was probably going into shock. She knew that time was running out, but she couldn’t talk. The act of cannibalism had stolen her ability to speak.
“Now Father, it’s your time to partake of the flesh and drink of the blood.”
Rick turned Diana on her side, so that her breasts faced Ian. He lower the scalpel to her pubis and proceeded to circumcise her.
“My dear whore of a wife. Your vice of infidelity will never bring you joy again. But you know what they say. You should keep your treasures in hea–” Rick’s head exploded into a thousand pieces.
Rick fell to the ground. Behind him, Diana saw a crowd of horrified nuns, accompanied by a pajama-wearing, rifle-wielding deacon. He put down his rifle and looked up at the cross above the Altar.
“Forgive me, Father. I have sinned.” he said and crossed himself.
“Thank you.” whispered Diana.