Silas cringed as the step creaked under his foot as he began to put his weight on it, but he eased off and reconsidered his approach. The light above him flickered as if adding to the ominous task he saw in front of him, but he knew it had to be done; exposing Pastor Simms was the single most important thing for Silas to accomplish, and being hesitant wasn’t going to help matters at all.
But then when the door opened and the gruff middle-aged man with clean cut black hair and dark brown eyes looked down at him, Silas couldn’t help but feel a bit uneasy about the plan. He had seen that look in men’s eyes before, and it was never a pleasant one. Silas hesitated again and almost started moving away, but then the pastor’s eyes met his and his feet were momentarily frozen in place.
“I know who you are,” Pastor Simms said with a gruff voice. “You’ve been hanging around Chelsea, haven’t you?”
“Uh, yes sir,” Silas said and forced a smile onto his face. “That’s me.”
“What are you doing here? If you’re one of that abomination’s friends then I have no business with you,” Pastor Simms replied as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“Isn’t she your daughter Pas . . .” Silas began but then stopped as Pastor Simms took a step forward.
“She’s no daughter of mine! Not after what she did!” Pastor Simms growled as he raised his finger and pointed it at Silas. “Kissing that heathen girl! How dare she!?”
Silas shrank back as Pastor Simms leaned forward and opened his mouth to continue his tirade when Silas regained some of his courage and remembered his plan. “I agree,” he said with a tremble in his voice. “It’s a terrible sin, sir. I only found out yesterday why she wasn’t living with you, and I think it’s just plain awful. Homosexuality is just wrong, wouldn’t you agree, Pastor Simms?”
“Yes. Yes, that’s quite right,” Pastor Simms said as he took a step back and crossed his arms over his chest. “Yes, it’s the most abominable sin of all, I think. I’m glad to see that some young people are wiser than others. So you no longer associate with Chelsea I take it?”
“No sir, not after what they told me yesterday,” Silas said with a firm shake of his head. “I know what I was taught when I was younger, and I have to stand with what’s right. With the Lord Jesus as my witness, that girl’s going straight to hell, and I don’t want to go with her.”
Pastor Simms gave Silas an appraising look and then his eyes grew dark for a moment and a sinister smile spread across his face as if he knew something that Silas didn’t. “Would you like to come inside, young man? What was your name again?”
“Silas, sir,” Silas replied with a weak smile. “And I wouldn’t want to be a bother to you, though there is something I’d like to talk to you about. Something of a spiritual nature, now that you know I’m on the path to repentance and wanting to make myself right with God?”
“Oh?” Pastor Simms asked as he cocked and eyebrow and his smiled widened. “What would that be?”
“Well,” Silas said as he leaned forward conspiratorially and glanced around at the shadows that seemed to threaten everything. “I understand that you have an evening service tonight. I was hoping that we might be able to talk a bit afterward so that I can make sure I’m on the right path to god?”
“I’m sure that wouldn’t be a problem at all,” Pastor Simms said with a slight nod. “After the sermon how about you come to my office and we can discuss it.”
“Do many people stay after? What I have to talk about is something that I think only a priest can help me with. I’d rather that we kept it private, if at all possible,” Silas said with a nervous chuckle. “Is there a chance that we’re going to be alone?”
“Yes. My wife doesn’t come to the Wednesday night service, and no one else would be waiting for me,” Pastor Simms said as he reached out and placed a hand on Silas’ shoulder. “But I suggest that if you don’t want anyone to know that you go out and wait for me by the tool shed. Then I’ll come and get you when the coast is clear.”
“Okay, that sounds like a good plan,” Silas said, nodding his head slowly at first and then emphatically. “I’ll see you then.”
“You aren’t coming to the sermon first?” Pastor Simms replied as his smile faltered a bit.
“No. Remember how I don’t want anyone to know that I’m there? I said I wanted this to be private, right?” Silas replied with a shake of his head.
“Very well. Then I’ll see you at the tool shed,” Pastor Simms said with a nod. “We’ll go up to my office afterward and we’ll talk.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The night was quiet and filled with all manner of noises, but Silas was perfectly at ease. Pastor Simms was still in the middle of his sermon, but there weren’t many cars in the parking lot, at least not on this side of the church. The church was up on the hillside that overlooked the lake, and it was an imposing structure with its tall steeple and dark grey brick walls, but the toolshed that hid Silas from view was a simple white metal-walled structure that was hardly impressive at all. He doubted that anyone ever paid it any mind when they came to the church.
Which was likely the reason that Pastor Simms had chosen it as his place to meet him. Unless Silas started screaming at the top of his lungs, the shed was too far back on the church’s property for anyone to hear him, and it was directly up against the woods on the East side of town with no visible trails nearby. It was as secluded a place as he could possibly ask for, and likely had its fair share of secrets; a fact that Silas was hoping to expose.
The organ started playing within the church, indicating that the service had just ended and then people began to file out into the parking lot as the music subsided. Old men and women and a couple of grumpy middle-aged parishioners mingled about their cars for several minutes before getting into their vehicles and driving away. The last two people to step into the parking lot were Pastor Simms himself and Officer Higgins. Higgins spoke to the pastor for several minutes before shaking his hand and walking to her own vehicle and leaving the scene.
Silas watched it all with increasing anxiety as he prepared himself mentally for what was about to happen next. The Pastor walked back inside and the lights inside the church turned off and leaving the entire property to be illuminated by nothing but the light of the moon. Silas took a deep breath to calm his agitated nerves as the pastor closed up the doors to the church and then started walking toward him and a slow pace. Nothing about his movements seemed threatening, but Silas glanced towards the woods anyway and began plotting his escape.
“Silas, are you there?” Pastor Simms called out when he was fifteen feet away from the door to the tool shed. Silas hesitated and then stepped out of the shadows beside the shed and walked toward the pastor before leaning up against the wall, glancing down nervously. “Everyone’s gone. Do you still want to talk?”
“Y-yes,” Silas stammered. “I need to get this off of my chest. I need to get on the right path b-before I end up l-like . . .” He trailed off as he looked up at Pastor Simms and then glanced back down at his shoes, kicking at the grass. “I need to know that there’s hope for me.”
“There’s always hope for those who want to keep their life free of sin,” Pastor Simms replied smoothly. “Here,” he said as he tossed a small metal object attached to a chain toward Silas. Silas caught it and looked down to see that it was a key and then looked up to the Pastor in confusion. His eyes widened as he backed up a step when he saw that the Pastor had drawn a gun and was pointing it straight at him. “Don’t make a sound or I’ll shoot you. Just do exactly what I say.”
Silas nodded numbly and raised his hands as he backed up another step so that his back was up against the wall of the shed. “Stop right there. You move another inch without me saying anything and it’ll be the last step you take, got it?” Pastor Simms growled. Silas nodded in understanding and the Pastor continued with an evil laugh. “Now turn around and unlock the door to the shed. Do it slowly.”
“Why are you doing this?” Silas asked as he turned around and did as he was told.
“I said no talking, didn’t I?” Pastor Simms said with an edge, and Silas began to tremble as he turned the key in the padlock and then slowly undid the chain on the door and let it fall to the ground. “Open the door and step inside. There’s a light switch immediately to your left. Reach out and flip it.”
Silas did as he was told and when the light came on in the center of the room he could see that the tool shed was well organized and practically empty of tools. There was a small worktable in one corner with a single wooden chair in front of it, and a rope thrown over the rafters above his head, one end was tied to the wall beside the workbench and the other side was tied into a noose-like not and hung in the air a few feet overhead.
“You’re a homosexual, aren’t you, Silas,” Pastor Simms said without emotion. Silas turned back toward him and saw the sneer on the pastor’s face and winced. “I know that look. I’ve seen it in other boys’ eyes, and I know the evil that comes from it. I’m doing this for your own good, Silas.”
“What are you going to do to me!?” Silas asked as he faced the pastor and started backing up toward the other end of the tool shed. His eyes fell on a television that was set on a wheeled cart beside the open doorway with an attached VCR. “Are you going to kill me?”
“Of course not!” Pastor Simms said with a smile that never reached his eyes as he slid the door to the shed most of the way closed. “But you need to know that homosexuality is a serious sin, and it’s caused by demons inside of you. I’m going to help you get rid of those demons.”
“W-what? How?” Silas stammered as he glanced with wild eyes from Pastor Simms to the rope hanging from the ceiling. “What are you going to do to me?”
“You have to understand, Silas,” Pastor Simms said calmly, “I knew you’d be afraid of what needed to be done so I had to threaten you. Getting rid of a demon like the one inside of you is a difficult and exhausting process, and it can be very painful, but I can’t let you keep that darkness inside of you. If Chelsea hadn’t run away from me then I would have done the same for her, but I know you want to be healed, don’t you?”
“Yes. Yes I do. That’s exactly why I came to you,” Silas replied with a nod. “But I’m scared.”
“You have a right to be,” Pastor Simms said consolingly as he lowered the pistol in his hands and gestured toward the ropes hanging from the rafters. “You have a dangerous force living inside of you, and we need to get rid of it.”
“Okay, I’ll do whatever you say,” Silas said with a nod. “Just please, get it out of me.”
Pastor Simms smiled wide and said, “Okay then. Start by taking off your jacket and shirt. You may have some trouble breathing, and I don’t want you dying on me.”
“Um, okay,” Silas said, as he shrugged his shoulders out of the jacket, careful to drop it on the floor of the shed near the knotted rope hanging above. “Are you sure? Is this part of the exorcism?”
“Yes!” Pastor Simms said impatiently, gesturing with the gun. “Do it. This is all for your own good.”
Silas nodded and pulled his tee-shirt over his head and tossed it on top of his jacket. Although he felt vulnerable enough on his own that he didn’t need to act it, he made sure to cross his arms over his chest and tremble for added effect as he looked up at the pastor and asked, “Okay, now what?”
Pastor Simms gestured to the worktable behind Silas and said, “You’ll find a pen and notepad there for you to write out your confession before God as a homosexual. You need to affirm your conviction that you want to get rid of your sin, and that you don’t want to live with your homosexual demon anymore. You need to get these thoughts to the forefront of your mind if I’m going to heal you.”
Silas stared at the pastor for a moment and glanced down at the gun. “Why do you still have that out? I’m going to do what you tell me. You’re making me nervous. I keep worrying that you’re going to shoot me.”
“Will you write out your confession if I put it away?” Pastor Simms asked neutrally. Silas nodded and the pastor slid the weapon into the front of his pants. “There you go. Now, you’re going to want to make sure you’re very clear about wanting to get rid of the demon no matter what. It needs to be the only thing you’re thinking about when we go through with the exorcism, otherwise it might not work.”
Silas nodded and turned toward the worktable and immediately felt the pastor’s eyes on his naked back. That look made him shudder, and he almost made his move then and there, but he knew that he had to be patient if everything was going to work out the way that it needed to. He walked to the worktable and picked up the pen, thinking carefully about everything he was going to write. He wasn’t sure if the pastor was going to read it or not, and he needed to be certain that it was convincing if he wanted to keep the pastor going. When he was done he set the pen down and turned toward the pastor, catching him leering as the front of his pants tented out slightly.
“I’m ready to get rid of the demon,” Silas said with resolve as he stood up from the wooden chair and turned to face the pastor with his head held high. “I’m ready to do what’s next.”
“I’m going to need to restrain you,” Pastor Simms said as he gestured to the rope hanging from above. “As I said before, the exorcism can be quite intense, and the restraint will just be to keep you from hurting yourself. Come over here and put your hands through the rope.” Silas breathed deeply and then took several quick steps so that he stood directly beneath the rope. He put his wrists together and stuck his hands through the loop on the noose and then closed his eyes. “Hold that pose,” the pastor ordered and Silas nodded as he heard Pastor Simms move to the far end of the tool shed before pulling tight on the rope. Silas felt the rope start to pull up against his wrists and then the knot tightened around them. It quickly became uncomfortable as the rope continued to pull on his wrists and then Silas felt his body begin to lift from the floor. He was on the tips of his toes when Pastor Simms had finished pulling on the rope and had retied it against the wall.
“It’s too high!” Silas protested. “I can barely touch the ground.”
“Don’t worry, Silas,” Pastor Simms said with a chuckle as he walked back toward the front of the tool shed, stopping in front of the television. “Everything is going to be all right. We’re just going to watch a little something to help you focus on the demon.”
“What?” Silas asked as Pastor Simms slid a video into the VCR labeled ‘Church Prayers’. The pastor chuckled again as he turned the television on and Silas heard a voice very similar to his own as the picture came across the screen. It was the image of a youth of similar age to Silas, with short-cropped blonde hair and wild eyes. The image was from above and slightly to the left, and Silas looked up into the corner of the tool shed’s ceiling and found a camera looking back at him. The boy in the video was naked from the waist up, and he wasn’t happy.
“Pastor Simms, what are you doing to me?” the boy in the video asked. “All I wanted to do was find out how to be right with god. I didn’t ask for any of this.”
Pastor Simms stepped into view on the video, coming at the boy from behind and grabbing his mouth roughly. “I didn’t give you permission to speak, ___. I’m going to show you what fags are good for, and then I’m going to kill your faggot ass.”
Silas looked up into the sneering face of the pastor who was already beginning to unbuckle his belt, just as the boy in the video began to scream as the Pastor began to rape him. “No,” Silas begged as he looked at Pastor Simms. “No, please don’t!”
“I’m going to do the same thing to you that I did to ___, and then I’m going to hang you. Everyone will think you killed yourself, and I’ll have even more boys to scare into confessing, letting them know that they’ll be forgiven if they only come to me and ask for forgiveness from god.” Pastor Simms walked toward Silas and cupped his chin. “You’re going to be the best I’ve had yet. You’re much better looking than that faggot was.”
“I won’t tell anyone, I swear!” Silas begged as the pastor looked at him with lustful eyes. “Please don’t kill me!”
“I won’t,” Pastor Simms said, “Not until after I rape your ass.” He let go of Silas and started around behind him, sliding his hand along Silas' bare stomach until he pulled Silas close to him and started undoing Silas' belt. Silas squirmed enough to be convincing, though not enough to make Pastor Simms decide to restrain him further, and within a few seconds Pastor Simms had Silas' pants and boxers around his ankles.
Though he wanted to vomit under the vile touch of the man behind him, he held his tongue until he heard Pastor Simms begin unbuckling his own belt. As soon as he heard the sound of the Pastor's pants hit the ground, Silas made his move and whistled for Adelaide.
The whistle was cut off a second later by Pastor Simms hand reaching around to cut him off as he whispered in Silas' ear, "What are you doing, boy? Do you really think someone is going to hear you? Now hold still."
But then Pastor Simms released him at the sound of barking coming from the door of the tool shed. He stepped back and retrieved his gun from the floor and placed it against the side of Silas' head as the door to the tool shed opened and Adam stood in the doorway with Chelsea and Tara at his side.
Adam pointed the barrel of his shotgun at the pastor while Adelaide rushed in and started barking. Tara had a phone to her head and was talking to the authorities, and Chelsea was looking at her father with disgust.
"Let him go," Adam ordered. "Let him go, Pastor Simms. We've got you."
"I'm not going anywhere, boy," Pastor Simms growled as he pressed the gun hard against Silas temple. "Step back or your friend gets it."Silas looked into Adam's eyes and started to say something as Pastor Simms covered his mouth again. He knew that he couldn't communicate what he needed to with his words, and he had to think of some other way. He only wished that he knew how the plan that was going to well could suddenly take such a terrible turn for the worse.
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