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Unholy V2

Gillian A. Corsiatto's short story Unholy rebranded and redrafted

By Gillian CorsiattoPublished 10 months ago 10 min read
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Zeke Pratt seemed to be charming in all the right ways. He held the door open, paid for each date and then tipped the baristas generously, liked his coffee with one sugar two creams, and drove a red sports car with tinted windows. His shaggy brown hair perfectly matched his brown oval eyes, and he was slim and fit. Sadie was not used to such gentleness and kindness from men. Her own father had treated her cruelly growing up and now in the final year of high school, she waited for when the day would arrive that she could finally leave the house she had known for so many years and go out into the world and make something of herself. As they pulled out of the parking lot, Zeke put his arm around Sadie. She blushed shyly.

“Thanks for the date, princess,” said Zeke.

“That coffee was heavenly!” responded Sadie.

“Where to now?” Zeke asked.

“I don’t have anything in mind.”

“Well, I do. Trust me?”

Sadie nodded. She did trust him. She sat back in her seat, anxious to see what Zeke had planned.

The high school sweethearts had just spent two hours in a locally owned coffee shop just talking and laughing with one another. When Sadie finished her coffee, Zeke wasted no time in ordering another one for her. With finals coming up, including the heavy weighted diploma exams, they were glad to spend the afternoon together away from textbooks and stress. Just good coffee and good company.

Zeke turned on some music through his car stereo. Sadie recognized the song as one her dad would occasionally put on.

I got my first real six string

Bought it at the five and dime

Played it ‘til my fingers bled

Was the summer of ‘69

The reminder of her dad made her recoil slightly but when she looked back at Zeke, smiling subtly as he drove, she immediately felt safe and secure again. She allowed herself to listen to the music and bop her head along with the beat. Zeke drummed on the steering wheel with his fingers and whistled along.

They pulled up to a church on the very outskirts of the town. It looked rundown, possibly even abandoned. Spray paint littered the parking lot with words of praise for Satan and hate filled insults against God. The church’s steeple was ragged and decayed from years of getting rocks thrown at it. A crow perched on top. It cawed at Zeke and Sadie before flying off back towards the town. As a child, Sadie was taught to respect religion and worship who she knew as The Holy Spirit, and though she didn’t particularly have the most fond memories of her time doing so, this defamation of what she knew to be holy upsetted her.

“Come on! We can go inside,” Zeke stated bravely to Sadie.

Sadie followed with hesitant steps. She glanced around uneasily. Something inside her was telling her not to go in. Her body was tense and closed but reluctantly, she let Zeke lead her up the rickety steps and into the church.

Inside, the church’s interior proved to be no less neglected than the exterior. It looked like the ghost of a church, a dreadful transformation from light and holiness to death, decay, ruins, and destruction. Zeke walked confidently through the rundown hallway between the two sides of pews and up to the altar. Sadie glanced up at where a cross with Jesus hung on the wall. It looked too realistically like a dead body. All these years, the statue has been slowly withering away with the rest of the abandoned church.

“What happened to this place?” Sadie asked quietly, rubbing her hands together in an attempt to release some of her nervous energy.

“A congregation used to meet here every Sunday, but one day, a group of Satanists stormed into the middle of worship. They wore black hoods over their faces so they couldn’t be recognized. They cursed the church and all who associated themselves with it. Apparently, everyone fled in fear, and no one has ever come back. And the group of Satanists have never been individually identified.”

That was enough. Sadie wanted to turn around and flee just as the final congregation had done. Zeke sensed her unease.

“It’s just a stupid urban legend,” he laughed, “I think the real reason that this church is in this state is because people keep using it as a hideout to do drugs in.”

Sadie’s unease was not soothed by this explanation. “Why did you bring me here?” she asked.

“Because,” Zeke explained, “I thought maybe we could get married in it.” Suddenly, the charming eighteen year old knelt down on one knee, and Sadie bolted from the church. She threw the doors open and took off down the highway in a desperate sprint. Zeke called out to her from the church but didn’t go after her. His calls grew fainter and fainter as Sadie got further away from the nightmare she was sure she was in.

She ran until her sides cramped and she was sure her lungs would burst. Her chest burned. The bottoms of her feet were sore and her ankles blistered from the roughness of her shoes rubbing against her skin. Once she finally felt safe enough, she stopped to rest. She keeled over panting heavily and then raised her head to assess her surroundings. She must have been close to the city limits. Maybe she could walk into town and then catch a bus or a cab. It didn’t really seem like she had much of another choice, so she started. Still panting, Sadie made her way down the side of the highway and headed towards the town she could see in the distance. There it was, the tall hotel, the water tower, the hill that lends itself for sledding in the winter. It was all right there within walking distance.

Safely back in the city limits after a long walk, Sadie let herself into a gas station convenience store. She bought a chocolate bar, a water, and used the bathroom. Then she asked to use the payphone.

It rang several times. “Hello?” said a gruff voice on the other side of the line.

“Hi daddy,” said Sadie, “are you busy? Can you come pick me up?”

“Are you at school?” he asked.

“No, I’m kind of stranded at a gas station.”

“How in the hell?”

“Long story. Can you come get me please?”

“Fine.”

Sadie heard the line go blank as her father slammed down the phone. As she waited on a curb outside the store slowly savouring her chocolate bar, she wondered if she would ever get to a part in her life where she felt truly and honestly safe and secure.

Sadie went to bed that night earlier than usual. She was exhausted emotionally, physically, and spiritually. She lay her head on her soft pillow and allowed her eyes to close. Her body sunk into the warmth of the bed and one by one, all of her muscles relaxed.

“Let me dream tonight, God,” she whispered quietly to herself. Then, she was asleep. Finally resting peacefully. This was as close to being dead as someone in the waking world could get. Through her open window came the soft and melodic sounds of the night, which she would not hear, as her consciousness was already gone.

Zeke sat with his back against the stucco of the house, just below Sadie’s window. It poked uncomfortably into his back and he grimaced. His teeth were unintentionally clenched, his shoulders and neck stiff, his chin jutting out. He crossed his legs, then uncrossed them, then repeating this same sequence a dozen times. He was impatient and he could simply not get comfortable.

Minutes passed. He would wait until he could wait no longer. He would wait until he couldn’t bear the thought of waiting for another second without going crazy. In his pocket, he toyed with the engagement ring he had picked out for Sadie. The ring was yellow gold with a perfectly rounded pearl as a stud. On the inside, a word was engraved. Forever. The several hundred dollars that Zeke had to his name had dwindled down to a measly seven dollars after buying the ring. Even so, he was certain and committed to his purchase. The ring would soon find its place on Sadie’s left ring finger. Once the ring was there, she would be completely unable to back out. She would fall right into Zeke’s trap of togetherness for all eternity. In sickness and in health. In life, and even in death.

Above him, Sadie slept. Zeke hiked himself up to her window and mustered all of his strength to pull himself up and through. He landed as lightly as he could on her bedroom floor. Still, she slept, her chest rising and falling with each breath. As softly as possible, Zeke planted a kiss right in the middle of her forehead. Even in her sleep, she seemed to smile subtly. As gently as the cool breeze outside that drifted through the window, he slipped the ring onto her finger. Then, like a phantom in the night, he was gone.

When Sadie awoke the following morning, she found her dad already gone to work and Zeke standing boldly in her kitchen. “Morning, princess,” he said, “breakfast?” He stepped aside to reveal the fresh stack of pancakes he had already whipped up. Maple syrup and blueberries topped the stack decedently and for a moment, Sadie thought she might be in a restaurant. Yet, she was not. She was at home. As she sat down at the table, Zeke served her the pancakes.

“Won’t you want any for yourself?” she asked, a hint of empathetic concern in her voice.

“I already ate. These are for you,” he kissed her on top of her head.

Sadie began to eat the pancakes. Without even needing to ask, Zeke followed up the pancake stack with two coffees, one for him and one for her. His had one sugar, two creams. Hers was sweetened to the point where it could nearly have been mistaken for hot chocolate. Everything about this morning had been sweet. As she savoured the moment before her, Zeke took her by the hand and helped her up out of the chair, and it was at that moment that Sadie noticed the ring. A look of surprise washed over her face. Her cheeks flushed red.

“For you. Forever.” Zeke’s voice suddenly became less sweet and more domineering. Sadie tried to free himself from his grasp but he held on.

Sadie’s eyes trailed Zeke’s body and she became aware of how he was dressed. Sleek black pants with black socks and shiny black shoes covered his lower half. As her eyes trailed up, she closely inspected the fine white shirt with elegant bow tie. Then, as she examined down each arm and to each hand, she saw a ring, a masculine version of the one she was wearing, on Zeke’s left ring finger. Suddenly, she knew what was happening and she felt faint. Zeke’s grasp tightened.

“Zeke,” she whispered. She wanted to say more but the words caught in her throat and that’s all that would come out.

“Yes, princess,” he responded dominantly.

She met his gaze, fear in her eyes and power in his. Zeke took her by the wrists and helplessly, her body went limp as she was led out of the house and into Zeke’s car.

“You can go back to sleep now,” said Zeke as they occupied the two front seats of the car. Then, as if in a trance, Sadie did exactly that.

Sadie awoke sometime later. For a moment, she thought she was in her own bed, and she tried to roll over to get more comfortable. However, she found herself to not be in her bedroom at all, and she jolted up as much as she could, a small scream catching in her throat just as the words did earlier. She was back in the abandoned church where Zeke had taken her the previous day. Like previously, she attempted again to flee, but found that she had been restrained. In desperation, she pulled at the restraints with her arms and legs, but it was no use. Her eyes shifted back and forth rapidly until finally, they landed on Zeke, who was not alone. Behind him were three figures cloaked in black with their faces completely hidden. One wore a white rosary around their neck. Some of the beads appeared to be pearls and the cross itself had a blue and pink tint to it that changed each time the figure moved and the light reflected off of it in a different way. Then, the figure stepped forward and spoke. Behind were the two other figures as still as statues.

“In the name of The Father. . .”

Crows flew in through the broken windows shrieking and cawing and flying so closely to Zeke and Sadie that their talons brushed against their heads.

“The Son. . .”

The cross that hung on the wall crashed down onto the floor below and Jesus’ head broke clean off. It then rolled down the aisle towards where Sadie lay, restrained and terrified.

“And of The Holy Spirit. . .”

The floor began to bounce as if there were an earthquake. Moans could then be heard outside of the church, slowly closing in.

“Amen.”

Short Story
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About the Creator

Gillian Corsiatto

Author of Duck Light and avid musical theatre lover. Love writing spooky stuff and funny stuff 😈🥸

My website is www.gilliancorsiatto.ca

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