Conversing with a Penitent

by , under Fiction Prompts, What Pegman Saw

Père Sebastién was grave as he listened to the young novitiate unburden himself. The boy seemed on the verge of tears, but it was all Sebastién could do to repress a smile. Such old stuff. Still, it was his duty to hear him out.

When at last the boy’s torrent of guilt and remonstrance seemed to ebb, Père Sebastién held up his hand, the palm turned outward in the manner of a painted saint. The young man quieted at once.

“Do you wish to confess these sins, my son?” asked Sebastién.

“I already have, Father. And conducted my ablutions. Twice.”

“Yet you feel no solace?”

“No, Father. This is why I came to you. I wish to do penance. I was told you are an expert.”

Sebastién again avoided smiling. “We have many examples. Mortification of the body. Various degradations. Which of these?”

“I am interested in all of it.”


What Pegman Saw

  1. draliman

    Hmm, it almost sounds like “various degradations” is what Pere was angling for. I hope it helps the lad in any case.

    • J Hardy Carroll

      Probably something terrible like thinking bad thoughts. I am sure Father Sabastién will teach him how to scourge himself and eat off the floor, so he’ll be fine. Maybe he can even be a martyr someday!

  2. neeltheauthor

    Father Sebastian is on to something here, I guess. Penance and penitent go hand in hand. Hope here they have not fallen into the wrong hands. A superbly crafted story, Hardy.

  3. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    Should I knit the boy a camel hair sweater? I hope he can come to grips with his deadly sins and forgive himself. Well done.



  4. Lynn Love

    Sounds like Pere Sebastien rather enjoys these little sessions. The fact he is deemed an expert at mortifying the flesh is disturbing. Wonder what punishments he’ll come up with? Expertly written, Josh


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