The Sexton of Eventide

There is a weeping from inside That place shortly after dawn.
The Reverend Young is leaning back against a fire-warped pew, chest heaving.
His eyes are red but dry.
He is a man at the end of his rope, beyond exhausted.
His efforts to prepare the church for All Saint’s Day have proved fruitless.
Every day he finds the work he has done was less than he believed.
Thinking that it was vandals, he started sleeping in the sacristy behind the main altar.
Now he doesn’t think it is vandals.
Now the Reverend Young doesn’t know what to think, except maybe that he has gone mad.
“I can’t do it,” he groans.
The moment his mouth closes, the heavy door to the church creaks open.
The disfigured caretaker of the cemetery stands in the doorway, the right side of his body in the dawn light.
“You are needing a Sexton, Father.”
The Reverend Young looks away from him.
“This isn’t something you can do yourself. Let me help you.”
The Reverend Young’s voice is hoarse.
“This place, it… I dream of the fire, Mr. McCabe.”
Sholto McCabe stands just outside the church, nodding.
“Do you really think fire holds any fear for me?” he says gently.
He displays the left side of his face to the Reverend, who flinches.
“I can help you.”
The Reverend Young nods, wipes his hands together.
“Then invite me in,” says Sholto.
The left side of his face is always grinning.

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