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06/26/1966

Dear Diary,

This is my last entry. This is my confession. This is where I clear the air and leave my fate to God. To whoever reads this, Father Cole is a liar. He is not who you think he is. He is not who I thought he was. He has never been who anybody thought he was. I shudder at the thought of the poor soul who picks this diary up after today.

I'll begin two years ago, on the day my parents had me confirmed with the bishop. My family was super excited about it. We had lost my younger brother Aiden 6 months prior, and this was one of the ways our family coped. His body was never recovered. I was indifferent about the whole venture. All I wanted was to truly accept forgiveness of the trinity into my life.

I remember the bishop having me lower my head and reciting his words in Latin. He then rubbed the oil on my head, and told me that my faith was finally sealed. I was now a confirmed member of our church, and my family couldn't hold back their tears. Father Cole walked over to me and asked me how I felt. I didn't say anything. He then asked my family to let him and I go into his chambers so he could speak with me privately.

He didn't seem happy. I remember he told me, "I want you to understand that my decision to let this happen was not about you; it was about your family. It was about your duty to your family. Never forget that."

It was almost as if he didn't believe that my faith was genuine. He told me, "If you want me to truly accept His grace into your life and you want me to believe it, I want you to be one of my alter boys. Originally, I was going to take your younger brother in for this honor, but now, in honor of your family, I am bestowing it to you."

I didn't know what to say. So I just looked to the ground. I didn't like anybody talking about Aiden in front of me with my emotional wounds being so fresh. Father didn't care.

"Understood?" He told me. I wasn't in a position to say no, since I was just confirmed. It was like he was holding everything over my head. My brother, my head, my faith, the church. It was just so much at once. I remember leaving his chamber feeling so overwhelmed. I broke down crying. I didn't say a word to anybody for the rest of the night.

I didn't like being an alter boy. I didn't like how it made going to mass a job and chore rather than being a way to make my faith better. Well, Father Cole took a keen interest in me over all of the other alter boys. It drove me crazy. It made me feel uncomfortable.

There was Thomas, Cole, Noah, James, and myself. All of us had a death in the family. Thomas lost his sister, Cole lost his cousin, Noah lost his brother, and James lost his mother. I wasn't sure if it was a coincidence that Father chose alter boys with similar afflictions or if it was because he wanted us to use him as a crutch. I now know it's neither. All of their lost loved ones were never found, either.

Ever had communion wine? I'm not talking about some wafer and grape juice. I'm talking about WINE. Some churches will use whatever wine they can get their hands on to be blessed by their priests. Everyone hated it at our church. They told us that it tasted disgusting and spoiled. Father Cole SWORE up and down that it was just an old vintage that didn't age well, but God would take of our devotion.

I remember setting up for mass, practicing for our ceremony one Saturday evening when I saw Father Cole walking outside behind the church. He went out back behind our cathedral, then back inside holding a bottle. I had always been curious about drinking to get drunk rather than just for communion. So from that day, I saw him go outside to go and get the wine every Saturday we practiced. This went on for months until I finally gathered the courage to try and sneak a bottle.

I asked Father if I could go home early, and he reluctantly allowed me to. I didn't go home. I went out back and hid behind the dumpster in an attempt to see where he went to get the wine. Nobody knew where it was kept, so I had to sneak and watch him. I sat at the dumpster for what felt like an hour until I finally saw Father come out and open a wooden panel behind the cathedral wall. It lead down into a cellar. He came back up with another bottle in his hand. I decided to get back up and walk home. I knew where he kept the wine then.

I turned the corner and was instantly met with the face of my priest. My heart sank to my toes, and he didn't break eye contact with me.

"You think I don't know what you've been planning? Take a walk with me. I'll teach you something about wine."

Father forced me back into his chambers and underneath a desk. He pulled out a bottle, took two glasses out of his drawer, and poured them. He then offered me one. I'm only 13.

"Drink." He said. I didn't say anything again. I've always been quiet and reserved. It drives my mom and dad crazy because they want me to say something and I don't.

"I said DRINK!" He screamed.

My hand jerked. I grabbed the glass and drank the whole thing in one go. It was disgusting. It burned my throat and had a faint taste of pennies.

He poured me another glass and told me to drink. "We will not leave here until we have drank the entire bottle. After that, you can stumble home and tell your parents that you broke into my cellar and stole a bottle of wine."

He poured glass after glass. I couldn't take it anymore. I stumbled out of my chair and threw up on the floor. He made me clean it.

Father Cole was starting to get drunk too. He was slurring his words. I fell to my knees after throwing up and I remember him walking behind me. He... touched me. Somewhere nobody has ever touched me before. Then he stopped.

I finally was able to get back on my feet. He said, "I will make you a deal. I will speak to God on your behalf, and you will not tell your parents what happened tonight. If you do, you will end up just like Aiden."

I was shellshocked. I wasn't sure what he meant by that. Did that mean he was going to kill me? Was I going to die just for trying to score a bottle of wine?

I stumbled home and didn't say anything to my parents. I just sat in my bed and cried so hard my stomach hurt. The room kept spinning around me. I couldn't get that awful feeling out of my head, and this overwhelming fear he gave me after that.

The next day at our service, Father Cole gave a sermon about curiosity being a ploy made by Satan to give into temptation. He told the story of a young boy who broke into a wine cellar and drank himself to death.

From then on, Father Cole stopped taking an interest in me. He wouldn't even look at me. Instead, he started getting really close to Thomas. He asked Thomas to do everything for him. I was so scared that Father Cole was going to pull something similar on Thomas. I remembered that deal that he made with me not to tell anybody, so I couldn't tell him what had happened.

No. What I needed was revenge. Maybe I couldn't tell anyone, but if I did something in retaliation, I believed that he would try to cover his tracks; that he wouldn't make a scene about the whole thing.

So tonight, I made the decision to go to alter practice. I didn't say a word to anyone the entire night. We finished our practice and setting up for tomorrow's service. I walked almost all the way home, and then I turned around. I wanted to go inside of the wine cellar. I wanted to break every single bottle that was inside of there.

I arrived at the panel and kicked it in. Inside, a putrid smell instantly hit my nose. I walked down the steps and was greeted by the sight of five corpses inside cauldrons of ice. There were metal containers that contained large syringes and several shelves of half empty bottles of wine.

All of their necks were broken, and it was hard to make out their faces. That was until I walked further into the room. One of the ice cauldrons that were sitting there... was Aiden. My younger brother who had been missing for so long. He looked so decayed. I could see needle marks all over his decaying flesh.

"Did I or did I not tell you that you would end up just like your brother if you told anybody? I thought I made it clear you were to never usurp your boundaries ever again... did I not?"

I turned around. Father Cole was standing in the entrance with a knife. He started edging closer, until he suddenly lunged at me with the knife. He missed and fell into one of the cauldrons. He tried to pick himself back up, but I grabbed one of the bottles off of the shelf and hit him over the head with it. He fell down, almost lifelessly. I hit him again. And again. And again. I just couldn't stop.

I put the bottle down and I ran home. That leads us here. To the end. I now realize what Father Cole had been making us do. He killed someone in our church by strangling them, or breaking their neck. He put them in cauldrons of ice and held them down in his cellar behind the church. He... took one of the young boys from each family and made them his alter boy. Almost as if it was a final trophy. Then he took the communion wine and filled it with their blood. All of those Sundays. We were drinking their blood. We were drinking Aiden's blood. All of those times.

For anyone who reads this, I'm sorry for what I had to do to Father Cole. This is my last entry. This is my confession. This is where I clear the air and leave my fate to God. To whoever reads this, Father Cole was a murderer. He was not who you thought he was. He was not who I thought he was. He has never been who anybody thought he was. I shudder at the thought of the poor soul who picks this diary up after what I did. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I commend my faith to the one above. Goodbye.

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