Lucifer: Chapter 2
A BITTER SMILE crept up Damien's face. He looked at Kat and laughed.
"You're crazy," was all he could say.
Kat frowned. "Then who else could have sent you this?"
A brief pause; Kat wondered if Damien had convinced himself as much as he'd thought. "He was shot," he insisted. "I heard it."
"But did you see it?"
Now it was his turn to frown. "No," he admitted reluctantly, "but I didn't need to. I know those people. They wouldn't let him go. Not if they had the chance."
"Maybe they didn't have the chance. Did you ever stop to think of that?"
He looked at her. She saw his eyes were dry now, but they were red and he squinted and kept blinking as if they hurt. The expression on his face was guarded. "You really think he's still alive?"
"What else would explain this?" she asked, shrugging at the D.
He let out a shuddery sigh and put the D back in the box, closing it. "Nothing, I guess. All right. Say that you're right. Then where would he be? There's no return address," he added doubtfully.
"There's only one place we could start," Kat replied, "and that would be the post office."
The butterfly door of Damien's car, a red Lamborghini Countach--one of the few luxuries he allowed himself--opened upwards and Kat got in, holding a paper in her hand and reading it. Damien looked over at her and shook his head. If Kat had glanced up at him she'd have seen just how tired he looked.
"Kat, this is stupid," he said.
"Isn't," she murmured, still absorbed in the list. "This says there were three people who came in with the initials FD. The first was a Florence Daniels. I don't think so. Then there was an F. Davidson." She raised an eyebrow at him questioningly.
"I don't think so," Damien echoed, not without a little sarcasm, "unless recently my name was changed to Davidson without my knowledge. Listen, Kat, how many people come to the post office every day? There must be a million."
"C'mon, Damien, there aren't even that many people in Cheboygan. And this last one is--" She frowned at the paper, then smiled. "Just FD. Seems whoever sent this wants to remain anonymous. Or does he?" She sat back, flicking a finger at the sun visor. "If his name's Damien, then what's F stand for?"
He sighed and sat back. "Kat, it's like I said--"
"F," Kat said, as if he weren't even there. "'Fondly'? 'Flabbergasted'? 'Foolish,' 'Fraudulent,' 'Father'--"
Damien stiffened. "Father," he said suddenly. "That's it."
"What, 'Father'? Father Damien." She got a funny look. "Is that a family joke? 'Father Damien'? Isn't he that guy that went to Molokai to take care of the lepers?"
"I don't know. But our family is supposed to be Catholic. Maybe..."
"Maybe he became a priest? Do you really believe that?"
"Well, it would fit, wouldn't it?"
"True. So do you think we should check it out?"
"Where?" he asked.
"The church, of course," Kat said. "There're only a couple in the county. And this is postmarked Cheboygan, so he at least sent it from here. What do you say?" She looked at him questioningly again, awaiting an answer.
Damien sat there a minute, then sighed and shrugged. "What can it hurt?" he murmured, reaching for the ignition. "Besides my pride."
"Well, let's go, then."
She slammed the door. Damien started up the Lamborghini and drove off.
At the first church they had no luck. The people there had no idea about a Father Damien--they even got the same funny look on their faces that Kat had--so she and Damien went on to St. Anthony's downtown. It was a large, imposing place, its wood blackened by the weather, with a large stained-glass window in front and a lot off to the left side, where several cars were parked. Damien slammed the car door, absently taking the box from Kat, who stayed behind, and went inside. She watched him as he disappeared, then sat back to wait.
Inside the church was just as daunting. Row upon row of pews lined its sides, and at the front was an altar and a giant crucifix suspended before the biggest stained-glass window he'd ever seen. There were only a couple of people there, sitting or wandering around. Damien had never been to church--he'd never had the chance--so he had no idea what they were doing. He tried to shove the creepy feeling this place gave him out of his head and walked slowly down the aisle, feeling with unease the plaster eyes of the figure on the cross staring down--disapprovingly, it seemed to him--at the echoing sound of his footsteps. The place was so quiet. He hated the quiet. He stopped right before the altar and glanced up. For a moment his eyes met with those of the statue. And You think You're having a bad day, he thought to himself. The sight made him dizzy, the colors coming in through the window seeming to swirl in his head; and he was actually starting to sway when someone placed a hand on his shoulder to steady him. He stiffened again, an old reaction to being set upon so many times before. But from somewhere behind him a voice, sounding vaguely familiar, drifted to his ears.
"I was wondering how long it would take you to find out," it said, sounding soft in the huge church.
Damien felt the hand fall away, and slowly turned. He nearly recoiled with shock as he found himself staring into his own face. At least, that's what he thought at first. The features were all his, except older, and the eyes were darker. And this person wore a priest's collar. The mirror illusion was broken when he smiled, his eyes a clear brownish amber as opposed to Damien's sandy gold ones. Damien could only gape.
The priest crossed his arms and looked offended, though his eyes still smiled, just the way Damien's did whenever he was in a better mood than he was now. "Well, don't you have anything to say to me, after all these years?" he questioned, sounding just a tiny bit reproachful.
Damien stared at him in disbelief, then pulled out the gold D from its box and compared it to his necklace, and looked up again.
The priest smiled again and his eyes softened. "Hello, Damien."
"U-Uncle?" Damien croaked, still too stunned to speak correctly. And then, before the priest had time to answer, Damien found himself hugging him tight, nearly lifting him off his feet, laughing and crying at the same time. The few people in the building glanced over at them and frowned. Father Damien wheezed as the breath was squeezed out of him by his nephew's powerful grip.
"Easy!" he managed to gasp. "Just because we guys found a rib to give doesn't mean you can crush the rest."
Damien abruptly let go, and the priest wheezed again, trying to catch his breath. Damien moved back a little, feeling somewhat foolish for being so emotional. And in a church, of all places. He was sure those other people must think he was nuts, and scuffled his feet against the floor. But after a moment Father Damien managed to quit panting and smiled at him again, his hand flat against the altar to steady himself. He pulled it away and spread his arms out, gesturing at him.
"Look at you," he remarked. "Last time I saw you, you were barely this tall."
"Last time I saw you, you were huge!" Damien exclaimed, lifting his arms above his head to indicate how tall his uncle had seemed to him fourteen years ago.
Father Damien laughed. "And you're mouthier, too. That's good. You never said a peep before that I could remember. So you're a singer now? With your own band? How are things going with that?"
Damien smiled this time. "There's a second album coming out--soon," he added.
The priest's eyes brightened. "That's great! Does everybody get your name right?"
Damien laughed. "No, not everybody!" And he related the incident with the deliveryman earlier that day. After he'd done so they smiled at each other, then Damien frowned, and shook his head as if just waking up.
"But you were shot," he said, out of nowhere. "I heard the shot. You never came after us. I really thought you were dead."
His uncle's smile faded, and after a brief pause he nodded. "I know. That's what I led you to believe."
The singer felt a surge of disbelief course through him. "But why?"
His uncle's voice was soft again, even in the echoey church. "For your safety. And mine."
Damien cocked his head. "What are you talking abou--" He cut himself off, and then nodded, understanding. "The cult, right?"
A close look. "Then you do remember?"
"Yes. Who were they? What were they?"
Father Damien sighed. "I think we should go someplace more convenient to talk this over."
Damien nodded without thinking, and they left the church behind them, together, as they were meant to be.