Conscience Excerpt–Chapter 5

Conscience FRONT Cover 1-12-13For those who might be interested, I’m going to post consecutive chapters of my novel, Conscience, here once weekly. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Chapter Five

Detective Louis Stratton was already losing interest in Father Stan Jeffries’ journal. It was primarily filled with Bible verses, spiritual insights and numerous “notes to self,” but that was it. There was nothing that shed any light on his mysterious absence.

After a few more minutes of reading however, Robyn finally looked up and said, “I might have something!” Her eyes gleamed triumphantly as she read a hastily scrawled journal entry from several days earlier.

“Rough day in confession today. Had to call 9-1-1. I can’t stop thinking about him and I don’t think he was merely looking for attention. He said he was going to ‘kill the father.’ I’m probably being paranoid but I can’t help thinking that the ‘father’ to whom he was referencing is me.”

Two days lapsed before the next entry. Father Jeffries had written,  “The man came back to confession today. I recognized his voice, hollow, flat and menacing.

‘Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.’ I didn’t know how to respond. All I could say was to ask him to go on. He asked me what Elliott had told me in his confession and when I asked for clarification, he said I knew exactly what he was talking about. He said, ‘We know that Elliott Blythe has spoken to you and we want to know what he said.’”

The notes were uncanny, almost as clear and detailed as if Father Jeffries were sitting in front of them giving a verbal statement.

Robyn kept reading, “I told him, ‘A man’s confession is among the most private things in the world. I cannot disclose what Elliott revealed to me in private.’” Louis and Robyn both noticed that he didn’t deny having spoken with Elliott. Stan’s notes continued, “But that wasn’t good enough for him. He said he would be back and that I would only have one more chance to talk. I’m frightened and I need to go to the authorities. I should have gone to them the first time Elliott came to see me. It’s just so complicated.”

Stratton looked at Robyn quizzically and asked, “Did he ever report a second visit?”

Robyn shook her head. “Not that we’re aware of and since there are no cameras or recording devices in Catholic Church confessionals, we don’t have a picture or an audio clip to help us.”

They sat in silence for several seconds until Stratton said what Robyn was already thinking. “We need to find this Elliott Blythe.” Robyn’s fingers were already flying over the touch screen of her iPhone as she googled him.

His name popped up instantly along with an array of glossy photos of his pleasant, smiling face and advertisements for his high-end law firm. Robyn was punching his address into her GPS application as Stratton began turning out lights and shutting doors.

“His office is only twenty minutes from here.” She said as they headed out the door with conflicted feelings of hope and concern. Each of them was hoping that the confession of an intension to murder someone had yet to be committed but they also knew that five days of silence was a very bad sign.

Before Louis had even turned the key in the ignition of their unmarked cruiser, their radio crackled and the dispatcher’s crisp voice interrupted their plans and routed them to an underground parking lot in Santa Monica. The dispatcher told them that there had been a homicide and that the victim had been identified as a Catholic priest named Father Stan Jeffries.

End of Chapter Five. To purchase this book and continue reading in printed or electronic form click here.

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