The Last ConfessionFebruary 15, 2017
Father Malcolm pulled into the parking lot of the cheap motel just in time to see Rafe enter one of the rooms, carrying the unconscious body of the little girl. He offered up a prayer as the motel door closed. He reached over for his rosary, raised it to his lips for a brief kiss, then put it back down on the passenger seat. He opened up the glove compartment and pulled out his Glock 23 and the suppressor he had borrowed from his brother. He drew on his gloves and tucked the gun and the suppressor into an inner pocket of his jacket, then he got out of the car and quietly closed the door, leaving his rosary behind.
He knocked on the motel room door. “Rafe, this is Father Malcolm. Open up.”
The door opened and Rafe stood there, staring at him dumbly. “Father Malcolm? What the hell are you doing here?”
“I saw you abduct that girl and I followed you here. Let me in.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Listen, this is not a good time–”
Father Malcolm raised the Glock and pointed it directly in Rafe’s face. “Let me in. Now.”
Stunned, Rafe stepped back, an expression of fear and alarm in his eyes. The priest entered the room and saw the girl, who was tied to the bed and slowly regaining consciousness. She looked to be about nine years old. The buttons of her blouse had been ripped off. “Untie the girl,” he ordered.
“I think we have a big misunderstanding,” Rafe began, but Father Malcolm swung the gun around, pushing the muzzle into Rafe’s left eye. “Untie the girl.”
Rafe staggered back and started untying the knots he had just tied. “Listen, Father Malcolm, all that stuff I told you, that was confidential. The seal of the confessional.”
“You’re right. And I’m not telling anyone. But I’m also not letting you rape any more children.”
Rafe laughed coarsely. “What are you gonna do? Shoot me?”
“If need be, yes.” Father Malcolm reached into his pocket, drew out the suppressor and quickly attached it to the Glock in a smooth, practiced motion. Rafe’s face blanched white as the priest raised the pistol, aimed once again at Rafe’s face. The little girl was free now and snapped out of her Roofie-induced grogginess quickly. She bolted for the door and ran off into the night.
Rafe stared at the barrel of the gun. “What about my soul, Father Malcolm? Don’t you care about my soul?”
“I care about the little girls. I care about making sure there are no more victims. At this point I’m not even sure you have a soul. But if you do…” the priest paused. “No. I don’t care at all.”
The alarmed expression in Rafe’s eyes disappeared, replaced by something cold and distant. He lunged forward and grabbed the gun as he wrenched Father Malcolm’s hand backwards, almost breaking his wrist. He pointed the Glock at the priest and said, in a steadier voice, “OK, Father. Here’s my last confession. I’ve molested 32 women. Twelve were adults, the rest were girls under 10 years old. Three of those girls died in the process.”
Father Malcolm’s voice was steady and authoritative. “I can’t tell the police because of the seal of the confessional. But I can’t let you continue down this path. Only one of us is leaving this filthy motel room alive.”
Rafe nodded slowly in agreement. “You’re right,” he said. “This has to end.” He turned the gun around and put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Father Malcolm jerked backwards, shocked. He saw Rafe’s brains splattered against the grimy motel room wall. The suppressor had done its job so there was no loud noise.
He opened the door and surveyed the parking lot. Empty. No other customers tonight, and the motel office was on the other side of the building. Father Malcolm staggered back to his car, put the Glock and suppressor back in the glove box. He picked up his rosary and held it close to his heart for a long minute before he was able to drive away.