The spoon in the cup rattled like the jangling chains of a tortured apparition as Father Rodge attempted to stir. He had already had three cups of tea this evening, but his nerves needed suppressing.

All he had done all night was take confessions. But the eighth confession, taken at nearly the stroke of midnight, was the one that stuck with him. Unsettled him.

“There’s a fine line between liberty and tyranny,” the man had said in a barely audible hushed tone. “All it takes is one bullet, one bomb, one misspoken word, and society can collapse on itself.”

Rodge shuddered against the memory. The church was quiet now. Quieter than he had ever remembered it being. As he sat in a creaky pew in the center of the cathedral, he recalled the words of his mentor just before he took his very first confessional. “You never know what to expect when you’re expecting nothing at all,” Father Tivali had told him. “Try not to let them get to you.”

Unfortunately, the ghosts of past confessions are not so easily shaken.

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