Dance of the Gypsy
They watch the woman and her man as they caress each others bare skin, excited by the dark colour of her breasts and the even darker shade of her erect nipples. They stifle their gasping breaths as the touching becomes lovemaking, each of them wishing they were alone to witness the event.
The evening air is cool, but as she moves up and down astride her lover the sweat beads on her shoulders and runs down her arched back. Her moans grow in strength from low whimpers of joy to shouts of ecstasy. With a final cry of satisfaction she collapses onto the man she has taken pleasure from.
"I love you, Lorca." Her voice is exotic and thrills the young men that watch her.
"I love you too, Martina," he replies, kissing her softly on the lips.
With the act of love over the couple hastily dress and their secret audience leave in silence. All, that is, except one. He remains hidden; stroking the handle of the knife nestled in his pocket.
"I want you, Martina." And he is prepared to do whatever it takes.
* * *
"Forgive me father for I have sinned." Father Thomas listened silently to the confession. "I've had relations with a woman that isn't my wife." The man paused and coughed nervously before continuing. "In truth the woman is my wife's mother."
Father Thomas smiled to himself at the irony of it all. People came to him, confessing their sins in anonymity, not realising that he recognised each and every one of them. He knew it was Roger Foreman sat in the cubicle, head in his hands as he hoped for forgiveness.
Mrs Foreman was on the church committee; Father Thomas knew her well, would have gone as far as classing her as a friend. But, like her husband, she held onto her own secrets. These too had been whispered to Father Thomas. He had sat in the confession box, fingering his rosary and listened patiently as she cleared her mind of sin. When she was finished, crying softly, he had handed out her penance and sent her on her way. For a while she would be happy that she was clean of sin, but he knew that before long she would be back to confess again.
They all came back sooner or later. Both Mr and Mrs Foreman visited the church on a regular basis and they always carried with them the same weight on their shoulders. He with his untamed passions and she with her passionate love affair with the bottle.
He didn't feel sorry for them, not one of the sinners deserved his pity. They didn't learn from their mistakes; to them confession was just an easy escape from their burdens. It would do them good to be more like him, to carry the load like a mill stone around their neck, to use their pain and suffering to make themselves stronger.
He had never confessed to his truest sin and he never would, that wasn't why he had joined the church. A life in the service of God had been chosen to escape the things he had seen and done. No, not escape, it was more than that. He had used the church to protect himself.
* * *
Father Thomas was old, old enough to remember leaving the church doors unlocked during the night for those that sought solace. It saddened him that he now lived in an age when scoundrels would just as soon steal from the church as they would an unlocked car.
It was with a heavy sigh that he slid the latch and fumbled with the padlock.
"Am I too late, Father?" The question was unexpected and Father Thomas jumped, dropping the lock to the stonework floor.
"It is late, my son," Father Thomas replied. "What is it you need?" He tried to hide the unnatural fear he felt in his stomach.
"I need to confess." The stranger remained in the shadows. "I must shed the shadow of guilt that envelops me before it consumes my soul completely." The statement was filled with an emotion that intrigued the Father.
"Who am I to refuse the faithful when in need?" He pulled the latch back and swung the door inwards. "Just give me a moment."
"Of course, Father." The figure made no effort to move into the light, remaining shrouded in darkness until Father Thomas had left to prepare himself.
Only then did he step into the arched doorway and let the dim light of the church interior touch his pale, grey skin.
"I'm not faithful, Father." He gazed at the huge cross that held a bleeding Jesus and sneered. "And if the truth be known, Father, neither are you."