As she plucked it out of Remo’s skull her concern was more for getting the blood off her club before it dries than the mess she had made all over the alter. She wouldn’t be cleaning it up this time.
Sister Mary Joseph pulled a pristine white handkerchief from her sleeve and wiped the sticky blood from the nails and barbed wire that surrounded the business end of her favourite weapon; she had made these modifications herself and was proud of them. She didn’t smile or show any sign of gratification though, she didn’t show any emotion at all. Maybe she had no emotions left.
Her big knuckled hands worked the handkerchief round and round each nail and between each barb, she had always been a stickler for doing things right. Cleanliness was after all, next to godliness, isn’t that what Father O’Malley had always said.
As she stood there the pool of blood widened around Remo’s body, but it didn’t seem to come towards Sister Mary, maybe it knew better, even if its owner hadn’t. It flowed around the feet of the alter, slowly surrounding it until it looked like the giant oak table was floating on a deep red sea.
The club, now clean enough for her satisfaction was rested against her leg as she fished into her sleeve again and removed a pack of cigarettes. She lit one and inhaled deeply. Filling her lungs with the sweet smoke and then exhaling slowly through her nose. The smoke curled upwards and outwards from her filling the air and she watched it as it loitered around her. She took a moment to adjust her wimple and veil.
Remo stared up at her from his dead eyes. They were still full of shock if devoid of life. He shouldn’t have been shocked though, he knew what went on in this place. Of course he did. He could have stopped it, gone to the Bishop or straight to the police. Hell the press would have done the work for him if he had just made an anonymous phone call. It would have taken in 2 minutes to do. Instead he and the rest of them had allowed this to go on for years unchecked.
There would be no remorse today.
She took another big pull of her cigarette, the smoke billowing out of her, floating away from her like a spirit rising, a spirit leaving her. These were some old ghosts being put to rest. She pulled a small piece of paper from her pocket and unfolded it. She took her pen and neatly put a line through the name Remo. The second last on a long list. There was only one name left.
Suddenly a noise at the far end of the chapel made her look up. He was here. She picked up her club and dropped the cigarette on the floor. Crushing it out with her polished black boots, then turned and walked towards the big pillar to the side of the alter.
She heard him crossing the chapel and through the side door which led to the chancel. She heard him gasp and move forward towards Remo’s body. She believed she could hear the words stuck in his throat and the disbelief at what he was seeing. His mind would be racing now. His instincts would be screaming at him now to flee. She trusted that he would make one more mistake though. That his training and his twisted sense of what was right would give her the chance she wanted. Then she heard the mumbled words.
She made the sign of the cross, strode out from behind the pillar. He was there, kneeling with his back to her, giving the last rights to Remo. It would take more than that to get him into heaven now.
He turned around.