YOUNG DAVID IN THE HOLY KITCHEN!

Young David had been in the Holy Kitchen on many occasions. This evening should not have been any different. He was alone, as usual. The lights came on when he flipped the golden switch next to the refrigerator. Everything appeared normal. The lights were a bit dim, however. One of the long fluorescent bulbs in the pantry flickered, making a sharp sizzling sound as if it were slowly being drained of life. This was routine for David. He practically lived in this kitchen on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Even the flickering fluorescent bulb was a comfortable reminder that he was to remain undisturbed for the next several hours.

Father O’Malley was upstairs in his study. David could hear him snoring through the floor boards. The boy remembered what the priest had said to him after the evening mass; “Remember to get every extra drop of that transubstantiated wine into the Sacred Pipe, boy, and the Eucharist as well!” David had heard this a hundred times before. Each time Father O’Malley would end with telling him, “Lest yer soul be damned for eternity for wasting the Lord’s flesh and blood!”

So this is why he was here, in this dimly lit kitchen on a Wednesday night at ten o’clock. The kitchen smelled of burnt ash and mold. It was not his job to clean it. He had other work to do. Important work for the altar boy - the disposal of the blessed Sacrament.

David placed the ornate chalice that held the unused blood of Christ on the kitchen table, next to a copy of todays newspaper and a cup of the priest’s cold coffee. The Eucharist, he put on top of the refrigerator. As he did, dust lifted then settled around the old burlap cloth that contained the sacred crackers. He would enter the pantry in a minute to dispose of the sacred goods. Right now however, he had time for a little snack.

Young David opened the refrigerator. The door gave with quick sucking pop. The cold air spilled out over him as the pressure released. It was at that exact moment, when the air hit his nostrils that he smelled something unfamiliar. Something cold and dead. Did it always smell like this? He asked himself. That priest never cleans anything, it must be this old hunk of meat.. sitting here for weeks Ugh! he thought. He heard the fluorescent light in the pantry sizzle, then snap. He lost his appetite over the nasty smell. He thought it might be better to get on with the sacred disposal.

Old Eucharist and Blood filled chalice in hand, he made his way toward the pantry, toward the blessed pipe of sacred refuse. The opening to the pipe lay on the floor in the back of the pantry. He wondered if every church had one of these. He knelt down on the dirty floor. A mouse ran from one side of the pantry closet to the other, disappearing under a sack of potatoes. David shrugged it off. Mice infested church, he thought. Putting his hands on each side of the sacred pipe, David leaned down and put his head over the hole. It was deep. He wasn’t sure how far. The priest told him it went straight down into the bowls of the earth. “From dust to dust, boy. That which contains the Lord in flesh and bone must be returned to the source of creation.” Father O’Malley told him. “The sacrament of the blessed pipe is an ancient rite, young David. Your job here is never to be taken lightly!”

David peered down into the dark chasm. Deep, he thought. He noticed a lovely smell drifting from somewhere in the abyss. The smell of fresh cut roses, or honeysuckle. It was the smell of some flower he couldn’t quite place. Probably the Father’s air-freshened, he remembered. Father O’Malley had the worst gas David ever smelt. Ughh, just the thought of entering the laboratory after the priest had been there. It made him gag, remembering that smell, like rotten eggs. David breathed deeply, getting the full scent of flowers, drifting from the venerable pipe. “Hellooo!” He yelled down into the darkness.

When his echo wore out, he thought he heard a low cackle, or a mumbled laugh coming up at him from the deep. A small trickle of perspiration dribbled ever so slowly to the small of his back. He said it again, “Hellooo!” This time a low, sinister laugh reverberated up through the ground until it reached his ears. It grew louder and louder, an evil, horrifying laugh that filled his ears and drown out all other sounds. He could hear it slurping and crunching, laughing loudly as it consumed the old Eucharist and Sacred Wine.

“Pour it down the mouth of the devil!” The voice said. A blast of humid dense air breathed up through the entrance to the pipe, hitting young David like a fist in the face. There was coughing, then more munching and slurping. “I’m hungry for the sacred flesh, I’m thirsty for the blessed blood! So do not put me to the test! Do as the Father said you should!” The words were followed by a long drawn out cackle of hideous laughter. David stormed out of the pantry, chalice and burlap sack in hand. He slammed the pantry door shut, and leaned his back against it, panting furiously. He could hear the muffled cries behind the door, coming up out of the sacred well. “You little son-of-a-bitch! You get back here with that damned Eucharist this instant! I’ll bite off the hand that feeds me, laddy!” He thought now, that it was Father O’Malley calling for him. “Bring me my coffee, boy. Make it hot, laddy!” Yes, it was Father O’Malley. David rushed to the cup of coffee on the kitchen table. “Just a minute Father, I’ll be right up!” He put the coffee in the microwave and pressed ‘one-minute.’

He emptied the contents of the burlap sack onto the kitchen table. When the timer on the micro-wave went off, he got the cup of coffee and placed it next to the old crackers from the sack. He began crunching some of the crackers into tiny pieces, adding them to the steaming cup of coffee very carefully. He then added several drops of wine from the sacred chalice. He stirred the coffee slowly until everything he had added was clearly dissolved. Young David then took the newspaper in one hand and the coffee in the other and made his way out of the kitchen and up the stairs to Father O’Malley’s quarters.

“Ah! thank ye, lad” the priest said as he saw David at the door. “I need that hot coffee to wake me tired bones, boy. Now let’s have it.” Father O’Malley put out the cigarette he had been smoking in the large ash tray that sat on the end table next to his bed.

“My pleasure, Father” David answered as he handed him the cup of coffee. The priest was wearing a purple-silk nightgown. It had a gold trimming around the collar, which lay opened to reveal an overtly hairy chest.

“What is it yer lookin’ at laddy?” Father O’Malley asked. He drew his hand up to pull the collar of his robe shut. “Ye know the perverted mind is a stumbling block to nasty temptations, boy!”

“Yes,” David looked down at the floor, “I know, Father.”

The priest sipped the coffee slowly. “Yer a good lad though, Davy, a good lad.” He took another sip of coffee. “Davy, would ye mind givin’ old Father O’Malley a back rub, then? Me muscles are knotted up from all the work behind the pulpit now.”

David looked at the floor. His head did not turn up. He would not look at Father O’Malley’s eyes. He stood there, hands at his sides, waiting.

“What’s the matter with ye then, Davy.” The priest brought the cup of coffee up for another sip. “Look at me, boy,” he coughed, “boy?” Father O’Malley’s forehead broke out into a sweat. His ears were starting to turn red. He began choking. “Wha- what have ye done, boy?” the priest rasped, “have ye put something into me coffee?” He gagged. “Are ye tryin.. tryin.. to poison me, boy!”

David’s head turned up slowly. His eyes met Father O’Malley’s. “You’ve taken a sip of old flesh and blood, Father.”

Father O’Malley’s eyes opened wide. “What have you done, you little devil!” His face was growing red, sweat dripped from his forehead. His shoulders convulsed. The coffee spilled out of the cup in his hand and ran down his silk robe, some spilled onto his bare chest. “Ahhg!” The priest screamed, feeling the heat of the coffee burn his flesh. “Dear God, boy! Ye’ve succored the spirit of damnation upon me!” His flesh began to smoke where the tainted coffee had spilled onto it. It bled and yellowed. He stood up shaking, unable to keep his balance. “Fool child!” he rasped between chokes, “Ye’ve spoken with my demon, haven’t ye!”

David put his hands over his own ears tightly. He did not want to hear. He would not hear.

Father O’Malley was stumbling about the room, knocking things over, sometimes coughing up blood. “BOY!” he yelled between breaths, “The demon seed will have vengeance upon thee! I’ve kept my devil long enough to call it my son!” He choked. “Who will feed my vexatious spawn! I must continue the work of my Lord!” He fell on the floor, toppling a lamp and table on top of him. He was covered in blood and vomit. The sores on his chest still burned. “He’ll bring me no more rancid meat! The youngling flesh he gives, I seek!” The priest was rasping, breathing in heaves, choking on blood. “Lad, the meat... in the cooler, the fridge holds my salvation! BRING IT TO ME!”

It was at this point, David could take no more. He had taken his hands away from his ears a few moments ago, making his way across the room. He crawled across the top of the bed to grab the crucifix that was hanging behind the headboard. He pulled it off the wall and ran to the priest.

“No!” the priest screamed, “Sweet Lucifer boy, NO!”

Young David jammed the bottom of the crucifix into the Father O’Malley’s jugular. Pushing it harder, moving it back and forth. It crunched and squeezed through the bones of his neck. “Father” David grunted, “is that...” the priest’s arm twitched and fell limp, “a dead Jesus I see, hanging on your neck!?”

David turned his head slowly, he looked at the door of the priest’s quarters. There was something standing there. He saw it’s feet first, cloven. David felt a butterfly in his stomach. He looked up at the creature. It’s hideous face was red. Four horns sprouted from it’s head. It smiled.

“I always thought He jumped off that cross about two thousand years ago.” The demon had saliva dripping down it’s chin. It’s red eyes glared at David. In it’s right hand it held up the plastic bag of what David thought was rancid meat from the refrigerator. “Why they always wanna be putting him back up on that thing? He ain’t dead, He’s alive!” It’s grin stretched out to it’s ears. “I mean, I should know.. shouldn’t I?”

David was frozen, his heart beat so loud and hard, it hurt. “What the hell?” David gasped, looking at the bag of meat.

“This?” the demon asked, “I guess I’m a little late, eh Father?” He looked at the priest, lying dead on the floor. “I came as quickly as possible. Damnit Father! You had some in the drawer next to your bed as well! Why can’t you remember anything!” The demon walked over to the nighstand and pulled open the top drawer. He rummaged around until he found what he was looking floor. In the meantime he had thrown the plastic bag of meat on the floor. David looked at it more closely. It had fallen next to his own feet. He thought he saw something in the bag, smushed between the meat, an eyeball? some teeth. He gasped, is that hair?

“Ah,” the demon said with an air of satisfaction. He hopped over to the dead priest, cloven hooves tapping out a sinister sound on the wooden floor. He held two slices of bread, apparently found in the priest’s nightstand drawer. On top of the bread, found in the same drawer, were four or five little fingers. “Your medicine, Father.” The demon began to open the priests ridged mouth.

Good Lord No! David thought. He ran out of the room, down the stairs and back into the kitchen. He sat in a chair at the kitchen table and knelt his head down in prayer. A few moments had passed before there were footsteps on the staircase.

"Davy!” It was the priest.

David lifted his head up and looked across the table. The cup of cold coffee was there, todays newspaper rolled up neatly on it’s side.

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