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Damn me father… for I must sin…”

“I beg pardon my son?”

“ Forgive my words Father… I mean no offense… but I speak the truth…” Alex murmured… slumped in the confessional booth of St John’s Catholic church.

“ How long since your last confession ?”

“ I don’t think I’ve ever confessed before Father…” Alex responded, sitting up and glancing at the steel mesh between him and the priest. “ You see… I’m not catholic…I’m not even Christian.”

“Then why have you come to a catholic church?”

“I’m not sure father… maybe… maybe I’m seeking wisdom… not from a Man of god, but from a man of peace.” He pushes a lock of wavy brown hair out of his eyes and behind his ear. He shudders, a chill piericing him under his battered leather jacket.

“I am Both my son, and one does not exists without the other. Because I am a man of God, I am a man of peace.”

“Unfortunately Father I am neither,” Alex says softly, “and for that I hate myself sometimes…”

“I’m afraid my child that I don’t see your purpose in being here… all are of course welcome in the house of god, but it’s rare that we find someone…”

“Who has no agenda with god or his followers…?”

“To be bluntly honest… yes…”

“Why am I here… I dunno father… but I have questions… I do know that… that might be why I’m here…do you mind if I ask you questions, father?”

“By all means my son… I shall help if I can.”

“ Do you watch the News Father?”

“Yes…”

“How does is make you feel… seeing all the violence and death out there…rapists, terrorists, war…”

“It rather saddens me…”

“ It enrages me…” Alex spat.

“Understandbly…”

“I don’t understand it, father…”

“Anger?”

“No… the world… this whole fucked up world where people think they can just disregard the well being of everyone around them…” Alex hissed, clenching his teeth together.

The priest sighed, pulling the collar around his neck… trying to loosen it a bit.

“I’m sorry father… I didn’t mean to get revved up.”

“It’s all right my son…but do please keep your voice down, there are other still in the church...”

“Even at this ungodly hour?”

“All hours belong to god my son… he never sleeps…”

“I wish he’d stop by my apartment sometime…”

“Perhaps he has, and you just haven’t heard him knocking…”

“ Funny…” Alex whispered to himself….”What if… what if I did hear a calling father… one that, maybe wasn’t the best thing, or even a good thing… but maybe the right thing…”

“I’m afraid your words once again confuse me…”

“Father… have you ever wanted to take it into your own hands….purge the world of sin… take away all the rapists, and murderers and the lying corporate scumbags.”

“It is not our place my son… They meet their fate in the after life… when the Almighty passes final judgment on their souls.”

“So what good does that do us right now?” Alex said, moaning through clenched teeth… “What good does that do the rape victims… and their illegitimate children… what good does it do the families that have to go on without a mother, or father… or the parents that have to bury a child? What good does that do the poor kid who was dumb enough to take that first free hit of crack?”

The priest fumbled for words, not wanting to let the question go unanswered.

“You’re speaking of killing… which the lord forbids…”

“So? No one else seems to care… people are shot and killed everyday… and many of those killers and the people they kill are Men of god… what kind of justice is that?”

“The lord works in ways we cannot hope to understand… now did you come here for guidance, or to contradict a very tired priest?”

“Forgive me father… I am only trying to find the answers to the questions that have been plaguing me for months…years…perhaps even my entire life…”

The priest remained silent… not knowing how to react to this man… who seemed so willing to listen, but more than willing to contradict.

“Is it so wrong to kill a killer… is it wrong to take a rapist off the streets, and out of the system that sets them free? Is it wrong to make sure that a little girl can walk to school with out getting shot, or beaten, or raped…” he grunts, almost in tears….

“That’s why there are laws…to…”

“Fuck the laws…the law are there to keep those who abide by them. They don’t apply to the scum… the low lives… because they don’t care…and even if the system DOES get them it’s too late, the damage is done, and once the system is through with them they can just do the damage again…”

“…You’re him… aren’t you…?” the priest whispered, apprehensively…

“Him?”

“The killer of killers… the vigilante that’s been killing off the gangs, up until last week…”

“They’re making me out to be a hero… ‘the killer of killer’…” he chuckles… suddenly becoming aware of the .45 in his left hand again… “But I’m not a hero… I’m not cleaning up the streets…I’m just as bad as those I kill… all the bastards I gun down…”

“ You should turn yourself in if you feel that guilty…”

“I plan on it father…they’ll know where to find me…when the time comes…”

Alex set the gun down on the wooden bench next to him; it felt like a ton of lead lifted from his shoulders.

“It started out so simple… so easy to get away with… an unregistered gun…I took it from the first one… the one that shot me and my little sister… we were just walking home… and this guy…he just …” Alex choked back a sob…finding it near impossible to go on…

“She screamed…he fired… the bullet went straight through her chest…hit me in the leg… shattered my knee cap… I didn’t even feel it… I just lunged… when I hit him, he fired twice more… first one clipped my face… cost me the hearing in my left ear… the second shot went through a window… and hit a 64 year old woman in the chest…she died on the operating table… I wrestled the gun out of his hand,,, put it to his face, and pulled the trigger… until the chamber was empty… I cried… I screamed… I looked at alice… just laying there… dead… and I lost it… I stuffed the gun in a sewer grate, and waited for the cops to show up… I told them that I shot him… but that there were two of them, and the other guy knocked me over and grabbed the gun… they bought it…I admitted to shooting the guy in the face… there were no charges pressed… self defense they called it…”

“Isn’t that what is was?”

“Is that what god would call it?”

“No… I suppose not…”

“No Father… Your god calls it “wrath”… and it’s as bad as murder in his eyes…A few days later… I drove back… fished the gun out of the sewer grate…and took it home… I cleaned it off… the serial number was already taken off… so it was easy…easy to keep using it… I went after the little ones at first… gang bangers…drug dealers…. But I just started moving up the chain… beating information out of them before I killed them… I left finger prints all over everything… its amazing… if you’ve never been arrested… you can get away with almost anything …for a while…last week three weeks ago I moved my sights higher…the manufacturers… the crimelords… that’s why you stopped hearing about me… because it was big enough to cover up…but I never went anywhere…”

Alex shifted in his seat… the priest was quiet. Alex’s hand moved to the gun… his fingers wrapping around the rubber grip on the handle… he knew the weight was his to bare.

“You did come here to confess… didn’t you…”

“I don’t know… I think I came here to say good bye…”

“Why here? Don’t you have any family?”

“The family has been in tatters since Alice died…Mom’s a wreck… Dad tries to hide it… but we all know he’s broken inside…David… my brother he was only 15…he’s still functioning, but he’s still fucked up by it… they don’t watch the news anymore. So they won’t see me tonight…”

“Tonight?”

“Tonight is the one year anniversary of the night Alice and I were shot… I’ve been killing too long already.” He sighs… tonight I drop the gun for good… and I accept my fate…”

“ You’ve made the right choice my son…but why did you need me to do it?”

“I think I know why father… because tonight… I’m going to walk into the 52nd street precinct… raise my gun… and be gunned down by good men… good men who will find my gun only had one shot in it, and then they too will be killers… and some of them will be men of god… they will need your prayers.”

“…And those who do not believe?”

“They have nothing to fear… just as I have nothing to fear…except for my own guilt… not by the standards of a god… by the standards I set for myself… I killed… now I should be killed. I’m no different from the men I’ve murdered.”

Alex stood up… halfheartedly shoving the gun into his pocket.

“I beg of you my son… don’t waste your life…and do not let your blood stain the hands of others…”

“I’m already dead father…and all those men will know is that I intended to kill one of them… my bullet will strike true…and my last sin will be complete…”

With that, Alex stormed out… barely giving the priest time to stand up and open the door… By the time he was out of the confession booth, Alex was already out the door.

The priest rushed to his office to call the police department and warn them… he pick up the phone, only to be greeted by silence… no dial tone. Alex had severed the line long before he had walked into the church.

There was nothing he could do… the 52nd precinct was only two blocks away…Alex had more than likely stopped at the church on a whim…

The next day, while checking the confessional… the priest happened upon a manila envelope…where Alex had been sitting the night before. With some reluctance he opened it… Inside he found a letter explaining that the officer he was going to kill down was accepting bribes from one of the drug dealers he had gunned down… and that in the envelope was eleven thousand dollars, intended to reach the policeman’s hands. The policeman’s wife and three children would be able to take solace in the fact that their father was gunned down randomly in the line of duty…never knowing that he had put criminals back on the street.

The Bullet retrieved from the officer’s body would be matched to all the bullets retrieved from the other killings, marking Alex as the killer. The Money would never be missed… the drug dealer would be replaced by another before the week was up.

Alex had realized that every time he killed, he was just making room for another criminal to move in and pick up the slack… he had decided it was his turn to move over and make some room.