horror · justice · mature audiences only · PTSD · religion · Word of the Day Challenge

Father John (content warning)

father john story

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The following is drawn loosely from a documentary I saw and from watching scary movies.  Please be warned there is disturbing content and imagery that may be triggering.


The elderly priest

shuffles down

the stone path,

carefully balancing

with his cane, which is

carved with the

long-suffering face

of a blood-soaked,

thorn-crowned Jesus.


His cottage lies

at the bottom of

a lush valley.

He’s lived there

for 20 years,

since quietly retiring with a

full papal pension.

A free man forever,

with the blessings of Rome.


His victims, through

electronic grapevines, have

found each other.

They meet, they talk,

they cry, they support.

They wonder,

what ever happened to

the vampire who

stole their innocence.


They’ve prayed for

deliverance from

flashbacks and

their carved out souls.

Through the tangled

grapevines, they find him.

In their years of shared support,

they find strength

to confront him.


They fly together,

then rent cars.

Over foothills of spectacular

mountains, teeming with life,

and down valleys of only light,

they finally see his mailbox.

There’s no driveway, only the stone path.

At the top of the hill, they

make their way down towards the cottage.


In the distance, they see a stooped form

with a cane, slowly making its way

to a lovely thatched cottage.

It begins to rain.

They start running and call out,

“Father John! Father John!”

Father John turns and sees them.

He turns back and throws the cane,

running as he can.


He slips

and falls



hands outstretched.

His bony cranium cracks

on granite,

the sound echoing

to the approaching group.


As they stand around him, watching

life ebb away, a crack of lightning

strikes the ground near Father John.

A chasm in the mountainside opens.

As a puppet is pulled out of a case,

Father John’s body is pulled into

the chasm. Roaring red flames

shoot out. Thunder booms and

the chasm shuts.


The 17 men and women awake,

sodden from the rain, on the grass of a

mountainside. They wipe their faces

and look around. Who are these people?

Why am I here? None can remember.

They follow the stone path upwards

to their waiting cars.

The sun bursts through the clouds,

and their hearts are full.


Word of the Day Challenge — atone

13 thoughts on “Father John (content warning)

  1. Powerful – it’s an easy word to throw around, but I mean it. I think the power of this poem lies in its casual tone, the careful understatement, the bare facts. I’ve often wondered whether priests such as him believe their God will forgive them, or if they even believe in the God they preach about.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Little tin Gods, into child abuse… Since I think that the God we read about in the Bible is less than perfect, what with all that drowning of his children when Noah built the ark, and his jealousy issues, it’s possible.

    I hope my remark doesn’t offend you I don’t know your religious views.

    Liked by 1 person

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