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The Reverend Rapist

by John Ivor

Copyright Darling Newspaper Press

In this short fiction, a pedophile in holy disguise stalks Maggie, aged 9.

Cover image: Detail from an oil painting, "The Girl With Strawberries", by Charles Baxter (1809-1879).

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A MISTAKE. God made a mistake. It was sad but obvious. First the Devil: Auld Nick had gobbled Beastie Blubbs like a jam sandwich. Swift and terrible is Beelzebub, just like the Good Book says, yet where had the Almighty been? And where was He now, the supposed saviour? And why had God taken Ma like that? Why? And they've sentenced me to hang.

In her damp, granite-walled cell in a basement below the Perth town hall, reliving her nightmare, Maggie puzzled on her role in those horrifying happenings in the dye shed. Was she to blame for the foreman's death? Or, even worse, for her mother's death? She had simply been trying to do the right thing.

During the dark hours in which she wrestled tartan monsters, anguish and guilt weakened her every belief. Then, as daylight brushed the bars above her at street level, she stood on tiptoe to peer out at the hostile world.

Level with her nose, the first booted foot appeared on the city pavement then more, multiplying to eddies, coming and going as the city awoke. Demon tartans again, aye, and plaids and kilts and drooping shawls, but also trousers and petticoated skirts, and shoes from the hob-nailed to the high-buttoned or the silver-buckled.

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