Gothic gargoyles, stone angels, and soaring windows, she shivered.
Her friend Johnny hadn't lied; Saint de Sade's was amazing.
She held the heavy door open for a remarkably authentic-looking group of fresh-faced girls dressed in nun’s habits and walked inside.
The door closed behind her with a dull thud and she hesitated in the cavernous entry hall, her eyes adjusting to the dimly lit space, her heart pounding.
And they left the church, free of fear and ecstasy possessed, and they suffered no more for they were filled with awe, a sign hanging on the wall read.
Katie was trying to recall the last time she had been free of fear, ecstasy possessed or filled with awe when a young man wearing flowing robes appeared from the shadows.
She jumped, startled. "Yes?"
"You're late. Come with me."
She followed him, walking into a chapel filled with old air, hushed whispers, and candlelight. Stained glass windows, lit by the dying sun, glowed with rainbow hues. Neat rows of polished pews flanked a crimson path.
The confessional waited down front—a wooden, closet-like box with two doors.
Katie shivered, rivers of excitement gripping her belly with greedy fingers. She was giddy, nervous and, for one anxiety-ridden moment, she wondered if this experience could be more than she can handle.
"Close the door behind you and latch it," her escort said, holding the confessional door open.
She wondered why there was a latch at all, as she obediently stepped inside and fit the bar into its loop. Was it there to keep people out or to keep her in should she change her mind and decide to run—not enough to stop her but enough to slow her down? She forced this alarming thought out of her mind, surrendering instead to her almost overwhelming thirst for the things she'd come here for. For years, she had tried to leave her sins in the past, but still they lurked like monsters in her closet. This was the only thing she had not tried, the only thing she thought might work.
Inside the confessional, it was shadowy and quiet. She pulled the kneeler down, wincing as her knees settled onto the hard, uncushioned wood. No comfort for the sinners at Saint de Sade’s.
She heard footsteps, then a door opening and closing with a squeak. She held her breath and peered through the screen dividing the confessional, her gaze searching, her ears pricking with sounds heard—rustling clothing, a breath taken and let go.
"Hello, my child. I will hear your confession. Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee."
Jesus, this was intense. Johnny had told her what to expect, but the combination of her profane desires and the stark reality of this place shook her. Saint de Sade’s prided itself on offering only the most authentic experience; it said so right on their website.
She wondered, in the moment it took her to answer, about the priest. Why had he chosen to serve in this way? How had he reconciled things she could not, both within herself and with the teachings of the church she had long ago abandoned. Her organized mind searched for order in what was rapidly sliding into the surreal and could find none.
"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned," she began in a rush.
Pushing her thoughts away, prompted by the priest's opening words, her own came easier than expected. "It's been a long time since my last confession," she said, rather than admitting she could not even remember the last time she’d been in any kind of church.
She confessed. Some things were very hard to tell him, but she did; it was why she'd come. She told him everything, all the secret things she'd held onto all this time. As the monsters came out of her closet, she began to cry.
He listened, silent, apparently unmoved by her tears or her crimes.
The heavy aura of her confessed sins surrounding her, Katie wiped away her tears, feeling an odd mixture of shame, fear, and relief.
“That’s all. Everything,” she said her breath hitching. “Can you help me?”
She'd intended to confess it all and had managed to get out even the most agonizing things, but worried maybe she'd lied even to herself—justifying some sins, forgetting others. As she waited for the priest to decide her fate, she wondered if the price of atonement would be more than she could bear or the necessary punishment more than he could offer.
It suddenly felt intensely sexual to her, her confession offered for the priest’s empathy, the give and take bleeding together. The agony of her want was tinged with exquisitely painful guilt. Being penetrated this way was a passionate, rending mind-fuck—without fingers, tongue, or cock—and she longed for more.