The Preacher


Standing in the graveyard grass, staring down at the freshly filled grave, stood The Preacher, dressed in black, wearing his black, circular wide-brim hat. As yet, there was no headstone, but The Preacher knew the name of the occupant. Five days before, he had murdered his brother, the man who now lay under his feet. The Preacher had not wanted to kill this one. He was compelled to, the Lord had commanded him to do so.

After saying a prayer over his brother’s buried body, The Preacher walked slowly back to the highway, his thoughts on how unnecessary it had been. All his dear brother had to do was not interfere in the Lord’s work. It should have made no difference that the work involved the killing of Junior McGuire.

As The Preacher made his way back into town, he thought of his last conversation with his poor departed brother.

“You must not interfere.”

“You’ve been killing since you were a boy. But you was family, so I held my own peace.”

“I am family to man.”

“You always were different, even when we was kids. But now you come to town and tell me you must take Junior McGuire. Well, Junior’s a friend of mine. He’s the mayor of this town, for God’s sake.”

“Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. Are those your last words on the matter?”

“Yup, I just can’t let you kill Junior McGuire.”

The conversation replayed itself repeatedly in The Preacher’s mind.

Now that there were no more obstacles, The Preacher could be about the Lord’s work. And the Lord’s work was to be the quick dispatch of Junior McGuire.

The Preacher had been at his work for so very long. Sometimes he wearied of the mission the Good Lord had bestowed upon him. However, he believed that no matter how his soul cried out for relief, he must persevere until allowed his just reward.

The walk from the graveyard into town was a short one. Soon, The Preacher stood before McGuire’s Dry Goods Emporium.

The store was empty. However, filled with people or not, it made no difference to The Preacher. He was about God’s work. He proceeded to the back room where he encountered a man stacking cartons in a corner. The Preacher inquired, “Are you McGuire?”

“Yes, I’m Junior McGuire.”

The Preacher laid his hands upon the sinner.

He had been at this for so very long, he felt as though he could see the soul of the damned leave its body and pass through the floorboards on its way to perdition.

As The Preacher left McGuire’s and walked out onto the street, he thought to himself, “I pray the time never comes when I enjoy this work.”

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