I wrote this for The Sunday Whirl.
No one saw him, but then very few people did. Not during the past few years. Ebenezer Drewett watched from the back of the Ancient Chapel as Father Flaggarty wandered this way and that, his arms piled high with prayer and hymn books laying them on the pews in anticipation of the arrival of the Faithful Few. He lit the lone candle at the centre of the simple alter, crossed himself then reached inside his cassock for his cigarettes. Just time for a quick one before once again carrying out the mission he was entrusted with.
Ebenezer Drewett watched from the back of the Ancient Chapel as the Faithful Few meandered in, pecking one another on the cheek and exchanging hushed pleasantries. Florence ‘Muddy’ Waters, James ‘Boozer’ Butterfield, Tommy ‘Two-timer’ Taylor and John the Wobbler. Here they all come he thought to himself. He smiled as the nicknames they’d been given in the past floated back into his mind. It was all so long ago.
Mrs Simmington started playing the wheezing organ; too loudly at first startling the Faithful Few. There was a green hill far away they sang in differing keys at varying levels of volume. Ebenezer Drewett shook his head as he remembered all the deeds they needed to pray for in the hope of eternal salvation should such a thing exist. Hypocrites the lot of them.
‘The Blood of Christ’whispered Father Flaggarty as he administered the blessed wine to each of the kneeling Faithful Few. James Butterfield was looking forward to something a little stronger, and Tommy Taylor offered up a silent prayer in the hope of sometime soon gaining the affection of Miriam Ramsbottom who knelt meekly beside him. They had no idea that Ebenezer Drewett had discovered all their secrets. How could they?
‘In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost’ said Father Flaggarty. ‘Amen’ muttered the Faithful Few before wandering off.
Ebenezer Drewett stayed unseen at back of the Ancient Chapel until it was empty. The last sound he heard was the clonk of the weatherbeaten door as Father Flaggarty headed off to the Inn.
When Ebenezer Drewett went outside into the falling rain he could just make out the image of an Old Woman sitting cross-legged beside a gravestone. He moved towards her. She wore a ragged grey cape, and a white stick rested on her lap. As he approached, the Old Woman slowly turned her head towards him. Her face was as grey as the gravestone and her eyes little more than empty sockets. 'But nobody sees me' said Ebenezer Drewett 'and in any case Old Woman you are blind'. Her bony fingers started feeling the carved out lettering on the crooked headstone. ‘Ebenezer Drewett RIP’ it spelt. ‘You shouldn't be here' the Old Woman said. 'You don't deserve to Rest In Peace'. With that her eyes began to glow blood red. She slowly raised herself up and took Ebenezer Drewett by the hand. ‘Come with me’ the Old Woman said. ‘You don’t belong here. Leave them be’. That was the last time Ebenezer Drewett ever went to the Ancient Chapel.