Where the Devil Says Goodnight (Folk Lore #1) - K.A. Merikan

Chapter 1 - Adam

The gay porn mag flopped through the air as Archbishop Boron rose and waved it in front of Adam’s face, as if he were about to slap his cheek with the erect cock shown on the cover.

“Can you tell me how this found its way under your bed?” he asked, his eyes pale dots on the flushed face.

Adam sank deep into the uncomfortable chair, and the wood-panelled walls of the office seemed to close in on him, no longer just intimidating but oppressive. “I—I don’t know, Your Excellency. I—”

The bushy eyebrows of the prelate lowered, and he tossed the magazine to the desktop, making Adam face his own obscene tastes. He hadn’t even bought the damn thing. He’d found it in the local recycling by accident and took it on impulse. It had been a moment of madness rather than a conscious decision. As if the devil himself had moved his hand.

“You don’t know?” Boron leaned back in his leather chair, his round face red like the lobster in the still life painting on the wall behind him.

Sweat soaked into the back of Adam’s cassock, but his head remained full of improbable lies. “Maybe it’s a prank? You know how young people get sometimes…”

“‘Young people’? You’re twenty five, Kwiatkowski. Are you saying you brought ‘young people’ to your private room, and they might have planted homosexual pornography under your bed? The Church is under enough pressure right now!” The archbishop stood up and slammed his palms against the desk, baring his teeth like a monster about to bite off Adam’s head.

Adam’s entire body slumped in the chair, so small and insignificant in the face of the archbishop’s wrath. In his vain attempts to evade responsibility of one crime, he’d suggested one much, much worse. Boron’s words sounded like an accusation of not only pornography addiction, but also inappropriate leanings toward the young and vulnerable.

“N-no. I have never invited anyone into my room. But a prank is not impossible,” Adam said, adamant on repeating the white lie until it became true. He would never again look at other people’s recycling or let his gaze stray to that ugly corner at every newsagent, where the dirtiest of magazines were stashed.

Archbishop Boron watched him for the longest time, his wide nostrils flaring to reveal long gray hairs Adam found distracting. “This is extremely disappointing. You were only ordained three months ago.”

Adam’s chest imploded, and he hunched forward, his mind playing out the worst of scenarios. Times were changing, and the church dignitaries might not be so keen on putting up with priests who could endanger the reputation of the Church. His transgression wasn’t serious enough to warrant dismissal from the clerical state, but if he didn’t conform with what was expected of him, it was in Boron’s power to make Adam’s life miserable.

The Church had been a stable presence in Adam’s life from the day of his baptism. His calling had arrived early and had helped him through the youthful desires that had scared and confused him. He’d met most of his friends in church organizations, and when he’d revealed his future plans to his parents, they’d both supported him without question. Priesthood meant safety and peace, a freedom from the daily problems that plagued lay people. As long as Adam obeyed and served, he would never have to worry about his future, because men wiser and more experienced would show him the way at each crossroad.

He could not allow himself to lose that.

His poor mother would have died of shame if she found out about the dark desires Adam had kept hidden behind a handsome face and blue eyes. He didn’t want to tell her when those unwanted feelings had first appeared, and he never would. No one could ever find out what happened to Adam when he liked a man too much.

No. One.

He’d had enough time since puberty to realize he had no interest in women, so in that sense, the enforced celibacy was a blessing for him. No one would ever ask why he didn’t have a girlfriend or why he didn’t get married. The status quo would never be shaken, and Adam could devote his entire life to God and his flock. There was nothing sinful about being born gay, only acting on those desires was, and when Adam had first realized what his nature was, he’d accepted it as a test of his fate. And like any other blessing in disguise, it ultimately brought him closer