Magda knocked softly on the door and entered. Father Jonas was sitting in his chair looking out of the window, watching the road works taking place in front of his church. It was no longer his church. He was approaching his 100th birthday and his stool had long been in the hands of Father Joseph, who was nearing his 70th anniversary. How time flies.
“Come in Magda” Father Jonas called
“I have brought you your supper: a lovely chicken soup and freshly baked bread from the housekeeper.
“Wonderful. Is there something else Magda?”. Father Jonas noticed the twitch in Magda’s face, which always seemed to develop when she was excited.
“The workmen found something strange when they were digging Father and the housekeeper said I should show it to you.”
“Don’t be timid Magda, what is it you have?”
And Magda opened her hand showing an oval pendant hanging on a black velvet ribbon. The photo of a young lady with piercing eyes, dressed in black,. The ribbon was dusty, worn with the years.
“Morticia!” he exclaimed. “It is Morticia.”
“You mean the lady that was the cleaner in the church for many years, until she died mysteriously many years ago. I never knew her, but there are all sorts of stories told in the town.”
“Yes Magda, that was Morticia.”
“She has such strang”e eyes, although it might be the old photograph methods they had in those days. The housekeeper did not recognise her.”
“No, Magda, she wouldn’t. Morticia passed on many years before she entered into service at the vicarage. It was a strange story and I think most of us would prefer to forget what happened.
Thank you for the food Magda, you may go.”
Magda realised that Father Jonas no longer wished to talk about the pendant. He took it in his hand and regarded it closely as she left the room.
He remembered well what happened, although he would have preferred that it had not happened. A forgotten episode in the life of a young catholic priest, but he had sinned and served his sentence many times over through his thoughts.
Morticia was a wild thing, one of the village children that had no parents. An unknown father and a mother that suffered at the hands of the gin bottle. He had given her work as a serving girl. He was still learning and not yet dedicated himself to the church. He noticed how she watched him when she served the meals, or when he crossed her path while she was cleaning the pews and stairs in the church. He found her attractive, with her green piercing eyes, a mysterious beauty she was.
One evening he had retired to his room and there was a knock on the door. It was Morticia.
”I have brought you something to drink Father” she said.
Father Jonas could feel her breath on him as she drew closer. She was wearing a thin cotton dress, her contours pressing through the almost transparent material. She touched him on the hand, just slightly, as she gave him the cup with the liquid. He was a young man, dedicated to the church, but his feelings were human. She was willing, more than willing, reflecting on the situation he now realises it was planned. She was infatuated by him, wanting him and he gave in. He was only human.
When he awoke the next morning she was no longer laying at his side, just her perfume and sweat lay in the air, as a reminder.
“What to do, what to do” were the questions bothering him. He was to be a priest, to be ordained and he had given in to the female flesh. This was wrong. He decided to see his superior and confess. He could not live with this sin.
A surprise awaited him. He was told that he should forget this sin, forget the girl. She would be sent away and there was to be no further talk about this matter. Oh little did Father Jonas realise that he was not the only human to be tempted by this woman.
The next evening there was a soft knock on the door. Father Jonas opened it only a crack and there she was again. He wanted to shut the door, but her foot was blocking the way. He told her to leave.
“No, never” she said. You have taken my honour.”
Father Jonas pushed her away and closed the door.
He saw her again the next morning, but would never forget the look in her eyes, there was definitely something evil about the girl.
She was cleaning the steps one after the other until she reached the top. She walked further until she was poised on the platform surrounding the spire of the church and there she disappeared from view. She had never been seen again. Many stories were told. She was seen with a travelling circus, she worked in a brothel in a near bye town, she had become a nun. Father Jonas knew this was not true. She had walked upwards, perhaps hoping to reach heaven, never to be seen again. How did Father Jonas know where she went?
That evening Father Jonas took his last breath with the pendant clutched in his hand. The next morning the workmen uncovered a female skeleton near to where they had discovered the pendant.