Refuge: Sin Series Book 2
Refuge: Sin Series Book 2
Refuge: Sin Series Book 2

Refuge: Sin Series Book 2

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Refuge promises both tranquility and ease of mind.

The small town of Refuge is the perfect hideaway for Patrick Lahm and the Freys. Nestled in the heart of Maine and miles away from the Kurtain Motel, Refuge promises both tranquility and ease of mind. The mundane routine of working in the local post office and buying groceries is all Patrick could hope for. For the first time in his life, things are finally looking up.

But one can only escape from his sins for so long. Occasional nightmares, visions of the dead and a priest hell-bound on confessions leave the survivors feeling that it is only a matter of time before the darkness catches up. With Jimmy by his side, Patrick watches as the walls of reality crumble around him, and he quickly realizes that there can be no rest for the sinful.

No matter how far they run.

140 pages

"Confess!"

Reverend Sam Clancy stood upright in his pulpit, arms spread as he gazed out onto his congregation. The pews were occupied by the regulars, the same faces he was accustomed to seeing every week, each sitting in their self-designated pews like students in a class. Clancy smiled down at them, taking in the men, women, and children, watching them react to his words.

"The confession of sin," Clancy spoke, lowering his arms and shifting his gaze from one blank face to another. The heat had really picked up in the past few days, and it was beginning to show on the townspeople. Clancy quickly brushed his brow.

"We all know that this is absolutely necessary to salvation," the Reverend continued. "Without a hearty and true confession, one that stems from deep within, we have no promise that we will find mercy."

Clancy smiled at the few nods of approval he received, his eyes scanning the crowd earnestly, as if letting them know that he was not unfamiliar to their sins. He knew their secrets, each and every one of them, spoken in hushed whispers during confession, coupled with 'Hail Marys' and begging for forgiveness. Clancy had been doing this for a long time, but he always looked forward to confession.

It gave him something to hold over their heads, and the people knew it. Sometimes, late at night, he would laugh about one confession or the other as he recounted the tales to himself. He would be sitting in his favorite chair, legs perched up and a glass of wine in his hand, talking out loud as if surrounded by an audience rather than the empty walls of his small house. The confessions were always amusing, and he relished in them.

"'He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy,'" the Reverend continued. "There is no promise of salvation in the Bible for those who do not confess. It is not there. Salvation and mercy lie in your true confession. Let it all out!"

He enjoyed the few flinches and shocked expressions from his congregation when he shouted that last line. He was prone to changing his tone in his sermons, a tactic he used to keep the people on their toes. Besides, he loved how his voice echoed throughout the church, bouncing off the walls in a deep baritone that would make teeth rattle.

"Confess," Clancy suddenly lowered his voice almost to a whisper, clutching the sides of the pulpit and staring into the eyes of the few people perched in the front pews. "But do not be fooled by false confession. Not every man who says he has sinned will receive blessings. There are marks in a confession, things that make it sincere and genuine in the eyes of our Lord. Some may say 'I have sinned' and receive forgiveness, while others say it and go away to blacken themselves with worse crimes."

The Reverend could see it in their eyes. The way the people stared back at him, some in tears, others visibly shaking, he knew that today's confession would be juicy. There would be stories tonight, and many of them, filled with sobs of remorse and cries of anguish as he would gently prod for the confessor to continue.

He thought back to his little black book that he kept hidden underneath his bed, his memoir of the most interesting of those confessions. He had been doing this for years, writing down everything he could remember - and his memory was exceptional in these matters - attaching name and date to every entry. There was an entire locked pantry reserved for volumes of these confessions, hundreds upon hundreds, tucked away and out of sight. Sometimes he would revisit them, flipping through the bounded pages and smiling as he read entries from years past. They never failed to amuse him.

Looking out upon the pale faces, he could see that there would be more to add to his journals tonight. He might even need a new one.

"I bring forward one example of the hardened sinner, the man who confesses only when under terror," Clancy continued. "As in the tale of Pharaoh, when Moses stretched his rod towards the heavens and the Lord brought down thunder and hail and fire. Only then did Pharaoh confess that he had sinned. Only then!"

The Reverend picked up his pace, pointing out to the faces staring back at him. "How many of us have fallen prey to this? To seek the mercy of our Lord when in dire circumstances. What is the value of our confession then? The repentance sought is so easily forgotten once the storm has passed, and to that there will be no mercy!"

Clancy smiled at the shocked faces of his congregation, a few crossing themselves while others hung their heads low in silent prayer.

"And what about the double-minded man?" Clancy continued. "The man who says 'I have sinned' and feels that he has, a true and genuine confession, but is so engrossed in the worldly that he 'loves the wages of unrighteousness.'" He waited for a beat before yelling out, "What about him? Does he deserve mercy?"

A small yelp sounded to his right, and Clancy's head snapped to the petite brunette sitting to one side in the front pew. He knew her well, with her flushed face and luscious lips, her pale skin flawless under her Sunday dress. Clancy had often imagined touching her skin, kissing those lips, and as he stared down at her, a small smile formed on his face.

He remembered the woman well, a frequent visitor during confession, her tales of adultery filling both his journals and his fantasies. He could see it in her eyes, the fear that raced through her, as if knowing he had spoken of her. The woman who confessed only to spend the same night in another man's bed. She would be visiting him again for confession, Clancy knew, and he made a mental note to pay extraordinary attention to her new tale.

The Reverend turned away from the woman's pleading eyes and stood up straight, nodding his head slowly.

"There is no dispute as to what a true confession is," he said, softly, forcing some to lean forward just to hear him better. "There is sin in all of us, and as human beings, we are prone to divulging in the sinful. But we must know that it is through confession that we will be able to repent our sins and be welcomed into the embrace of the Lord."

A loud cough erupted in the church, deafening in the midst of the Reverend's soft build-up, a crude interruption that forced Clancy to frown in annoyance. He gazed out past the confused expressions of the rest of the congregation, some looking over their shoulders to where the sound had come from, and set his eyes on a new face sitting alone in the last pew. The Reverend's eyes darkened, but his lips curled up into a small smile.

"Confess!" Clancy whispered.

Patrick Lahm sunk deeper into his seat, uncomfortable with the added attention, and felt his body shudder.

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