Late that evening, Snyder entered the sanctuary. At the altar, Father Bernardâ€™s eye twitched. Snyder trembled with the desire to deck him. â€œSo, while I was on trial for my life for not raping a child for free, you were paying for the privilege.â€
â€œTheyâ€™re not children in mind. They grow up quickly.â€
â€œI guess thatâ€™s what all pedophiles say.â€
â€œIâ€™ve not gone there in years. I know the churchâ€™s teaching, but with your little military operation, and taking all the risks associated with fighting the Empire, I cracked.â€
â€œSo, it’s my fault you raped a child.â€
â€œNo, Iâ€™m not saying its your fault.â€
â€œDonâ€™t give me that. Youâ€™re alleging you never wouldâ€™ve gone back to this if I hadnâ€™t been such a bad influence on you.â€
â€œDonâ€™t try to con me.â€
â€œI never conned you.â€
â€œYou acted like you cared about me, only to abandon me for months, when I needed you most, in order to rape a child.â€
â€œI didn’t rape my Emily. I loved her. Someone else wouldâ€™ve taken those hours and hurt Emily. But you won’t understand, neither would the Bishop.â€
â€œI donâ€™t. Itâ€™s not something to understand. Itâ€™s sick.â€
â€œI knew if you saw me, you’d know. I was naked and hid myself, as Adam said.â€
â€œYou know, Nick Verducci is a hedonist, but at least he doesnâ€™t pretend to be something else.â€ Snyder removed his rosary from his poc-ket and dropped it. â€œKeep the souvenir. From now on, I’m gonna look out for me. No one else will. Itâ€™ll be a cold day in Hell before Iâ€™ll ever buy into this religious stuff again.â€
Snyder ran from the church.
Father Bernardâ€™s voice echoed through the night. â€œCome back, Iâ€™m sorry! Come back!â€
Continued Next Thursday
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