Mother Finn was not in the room when she went to bed on the night of the storm.
Her torso was slowly enveloped by the quilt she had had sewn some years ago, back when she was still Sister Finn. The hands that drew it towards her chin, however, were not hers.
Another bloated gust of wind sent the blinds into a lively jig. It was a Tuesday night, but for some reason it felt like a Monday to Mother Finn.
“If only it were a Monday,” she thought, “then perhaps there would still be enough time to tend to all that needs tending.”
This, of course, was far from likely. Mother Finn was many things - loyal, pious, forthright - but efficiency was one quality that had managed to evade her tenuous grip. Due to the nature of her position within the hierarchy of the church, there was really no need for her to carry herself with any sense of urgency; there were, after all, no expectations placed upon her at this point in her career. She had become, in recent years, largely a figurehead - a living, breathing testament to what a lifetime of devotion will inevitably result in. Admiration for her emanated from each and every chamber of the monastery, where songs of praise would often echo throughout the corridors.
Beautiful songs, such as:
Bless my each and every whim
Make my steps march toward the light
Where dawn does not give way to night
Love has overtaken fright
And wrong has been eclipsed by right
Deep within the pits of Hell
The flesh of those afraid to tell
The world of how they loved you so
Is boiled until their frail bones glow
But we, of course, shall keep our skin
For we sure love you, Mother Finn!
The doorknob danced westward. The door itself, soon after, glided down south from the east until it was angled slightly westward, as well. In walked Father Doherty, drenched in rain.
“Hello?” he bellowed as he made his way over to Mother Finn’s bed, his squeaky boots bouncing from floorboard to floorboard like children on a trampoline.
She said nothing as the balding, bespectacled, blockish man with the face of a boy crept up beside her northwest bedpost, scanning the surface of the mattress intently.
“Angelica?” he wondered aloud, in between the chattering of chipped teeth. Still shivering, he slid his wrinkled hands across the quilt.
Just then, Brother Kipley came flying, feet first, through the opaque green window, glass shards scattering in midair like a startled flock of migratory birds.
To the floor fell Father Doherty, forehead branded with the muddy footprint of a size eleven shoe.
Before Mother Finn could even piece together what had just happened, Father Kipley had already scurried past the still-ajar door and, presumably, straight for the clock tower.
“Oh, how the clouds of Heaven have showered me with such bountiful blessings!” remarked Mother Finn to herself, “for Blessed Brother Kipley has taken it upon himself to save me from the cruel hand of fate; the Lord has cupped his ear to my pleas and sent his dutiful angel to right the wrongs that have been so wantonly rendered upon me - Alleluia!”
Brother Kipley glanced at his wristwatch.
It was just before midnight, the hour at which Angelica Jane Finn’s soul was to transition from purgatory into its final home in the crypt of the great deceiver, the hall of the ancient serpent - the bubbling lake of fire in which the fallen angel takes his evening bath. The only way to prevent this process from taking place was to delay the midnight hour somehow, which Brother Kipley was attempting to do by turning back the hands of the clock at the top of the tower
There was no time to spend contemplating whether or not what he was about to do was in line with the will of the divine. He had already given many grueling hours to the devil in his mind that suggested Mother Finn deserved what was coming to her, that all the years she spent basking in the adoration of the masses and accepting lavish gifts of tribute while her poor mother and infant brother went without even a morsel of food were what brought about such a dark addendum to the script of Mother Finn’s life.
No, there was certainly no time to give any thought to such an unlikely possibility, nor was there time to think back to all of the instances in which Brother Kipley approached Mother Finn with humility, only to be met with humiliation, as he had not previously sought permission to speak to such an anointed figure.
Back in the room, Mother Finn whirled about in jubilation as the feral skies ravaged the town with a vicious deluge, accompanied by the sound of incandescent thunder.
“Oh, how wondrous it all is!” she shouted into the aethers of limbo as countless people lost their lives to forces of the very spirit she remained unflinchingly loyal to.
The one and only subject of her loyalty, as a matter of fact.
Finally, Brother Kipley had reached the entrance of the clock tower. He gazed upwards at the face of the clock, then again at his wristwatch. Both displayed a time of 11:57.
The roar of the thunder took his mind down below once more, where he envisioned Mother Finn being savagely ripped apart, limb by limb, as Satan laughed from atop his throne, gormandizing glops of buttery popcorn, etched in salt.
Table salt, too - not sea salt. Beelzebub does not concern himself with such trivial matters as sodium intake.
Strangely, Brother Kipley was not particularly distraught by the scene unfolding in his head. In fact, he began to notice that it was him, and only him, who was concocting the script for this scene.
Realizing this, he decided to add some more flare to it: ghastly black dolphins leaping from rivers of blood to nibble at the eyeballs of the woman who told him when he was a boy that he was destined to be nothing but a measly deacon his whole life; poisonous gas filling the lungs of the vile wench who once spat on him for making a mistake while reciting the Holy Rosary; burly red fingers clenching the throat of the wretched demon who dare count herself among the Lord’s selfless servants.
Brother Kipley took off his wristwatch and looked at its face for the final time. 11:59.
Smirking, he let it fall from his hands as he turned his back to the tower.