The Priest

 

“Thank you, Father, for coming to perform last rites on my dad,” the man said sincerely.

 

“Of course, my son,” the priest replied. “May I have a few minutes alone?”

 

“Of course, Father,” the man replied and walked out.

 

Once the son had left the room, the priest walked to the dying old man lying in the hospital bed and closed the curtain. The priest kept his back to the door.

 

The son peaked in just in time to see a soft light escaping from under and around the hospital bed curtain. He was about to investigate, when the priest slid the curtain open and walked toward the door.

 

“What was that light?” the son asked, curious.

 

“What light?” the priest replied, looking unsure what the son was talking about.

 

The son, now doubting what he had seen said, “Never mind. I think I’ve been awake too long.”

 

“Get some rest, my son,” the priest said, putting a hand on the son’s shoulder. “He’s at peace now.”

 

The man took comfort from the priest’s soft voice and thanked him.

 

The son walked back into the room, leaving the priest to walk alone down the hallway.

 

The priest walked to his next appointment.

 

“Hi Father,” a security guard said, waving as the priest walked past.

 

“Hello, Billy,” the priest replied.

 

The priest was a staple in the hospital. He seemed to be the one who came whenever a priest was requested for various reasons.

 

No one had noticed though that almost all of the patients were unconscious when he visited. Most on that floor were in comas, so they were never really expected to wake up.

 

What they didn’t realize was that in some cases, those that may have recovered consciousness couldn’t thanks to overly compassionate priest.

 

He roamed the halls, moving from one patient to another.

“Oh, thank you for coming on such short notice, Father,” the woman tearfully said as the priest arrived at her mother’s room.

 

“Of course, my child,” he said, bringing comfort to her with just the sound of his voice.

 

The priest walked over to the mother’s bed and looked over her.

 

“How long has she been like this?” the priest asked.

 

“For a week, but the doctor’s say the chances of her regaining consciousness is slim to none,” the woman replied.

 

“I see,” the priest replied.

 

“Let us pray,” the priest began, and the woman closed her eyes.

 

Once he was done, he asked if he could have a few moments alone with the mother.

 

“Sure, of course,” the woman replied and stepped out of the room. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

 

Once she was out, the priest closed the curtain and looked down on the woman lying unconscious in the hospital bed.

 

His eyes began to radiate an intense white light directed at the woman’s head. Her eyes popped open, but instead of showing a pair of soft green eyes, they shined with the same white light.

 

The priest opened his mouth and seemed to inhale the white light that was radiating out of her eyes. It looked like a transfer of energy. A white river of light floated from her eyes and into his mouth.

 

Once the transfer was complete, her green eyes were replaced with a milky white, vacant set of eyes in their place.

 

The machine that was reading her brainwaves changed from a series of bumps to a flat line.

 

Though her body lived, her soul was gone.

 

The priest reached out his hands and slowly re-closed her eyes.

 

After a brief moment to look upon her once again, he opened the curtain and walked out the room. The daughter had yet to return, but he still had other appointments.

 

The woman returned to check on her mom, but the priest was gone.

 

‘She looks so at piece now,’ she thought, mentally thanking the priest for visiting.

 

The priest was an ancient creature, who lived off the souls of the dying. Once he had devoured his prey, their bodies just became an empty shell.

 

Through the centuries, he had taken the form of many spiritual servants. He found that was an easy role to assume and gave him the greatest access to his food source.

 

People always allowed the priests of their religion to freely visit, and oftentimes, be alone with their dying relatives. They took solace in ensuring their loved ones would be received into whatever Nirvana they believed in.

 

Unfortunately for them, they didn’t realize that he was a soul eater, so when he visited, he consumed their soul, placing them in a type of purgatory, forever trapped in the Netherlands that was his body.

 

He wasn’t the only one, but his species were rare. In the beginning there were many, like any other species, but due to the finite food supply, they would often kill each other to protect their own hunting grounds.

 

Their hatred for others of their kind were embedded in there very essence, so even now with only a few of them and a plentiful food source, they would still try to kill each other if they ever crossed.

 

The priest tended to spend the bulk of his time in the comma ward. Comma patients were the easiest prey, as when he took their soul, except for the glazed-over colorless eyes, they seemed normal.

 

Doctors would be confused with the change in color of their eyes, but since it didn’t seem to affect the patients in any way, they mostly ignored it.

 

Mostly, the priest would wait until he was summoned by a family member to visit a patient, but as he passed a room, he saw a man lying in bed with no one visiting.

 

He looked around to see if anyone was coming, and seeing none, he let himself into the room.

 

It didn’t take him long to consume the soul of the old man, and he walked out of the room, still seeing no one else.

 

Tommy finished his coffee in the cafeteria. His father would be asleep for a little longer, so he felt no rush getting back to him.

His dad looked like he was still sleeping, so Tommy grabbed a chair and scooted next to the bed.

 

A nurse came in not long after and said a quick hello to Tommy before checking the stats on his father.

 

Seeing that everything looked normal, she made a few notes and left Tommy and his father alone in the room once again.

 

He looked at his watch. It was unusual for his dad to be asleep for this long. He didn’t want to wake him, but he began to become a little concerned.

 

‘I’ll give him a little bit more time,’ Tommy thought.

 

He decided to walk around the floor and stretch his legs a little.

 

As he walked around, he had gotten used to how vacant the floor seemed compared to the others. He almost couldn’t wait until his dad was moved. The emptiness of this floor made it seem like one step before the morgue.

 

Sensing movement as he passed a room, Tommy glanced in, just happy to be seeing another visitor.

 

All he could see through the curtains that were closed were the silhouettes of a patient in the bed and a man standing next to it. His back was to Tommy.

 

Tommy jumped a little when he saw a soft white light through and around the curtain. It glowed for about 30 seconds and then faded, returning the room back to its initial darkness.

 

The standing silhouette began to turn, so Tommy quickly moved from the door to the room across the hall. He positioned himself so that he could see who came out of the room, but not be easily seen himself.

 

Confusion set in when he saw an old priest walk out of the room and down the hallway away from where Tommy was.

Curious as to what he saw, he quickly snuck into the room the priest had come from.

 

He walked to the bed and saw an older man lying there, seemingly in a comma like the others. Nothing seemed out of place, and the man seemed to be breathing normally.

 

Unsure what to do, but still feeling that something was off, he decided to follow the priest to see what he was up to.

 

It didn’t take him long before he saw the priest enter a room at the end of a long hallway.

 

Not seeing anyone else in the hallway, Tommy jogged to the room the priest had entered, hoping to see exactly what that light was.

 

The curtain was closed to block his view of the priest, but like before, he could see the silhouette of the man.

 

Tommy feared he was too late, when the light from the other side of the curtain began to brighten.

 

He slowly inched his way forward. He figured the light would remain for around 30 seconds like before, so he moved at a pace that would get him there to see the source.

 

He was about to move around the curtain, when he bumped into something on the floor, making a loud clank.

 

The light instantly blinked out, and the priest opened the curtain, catching Tommy in an awkward position.

 

“Can I help you?” the priest asked, agitated.

 

“What were you doing to him?” Tommy asked, pointing to the patient in the hospital bed.

 

“Visiting a parishioner,” the priest explained. “What are you doing here?”

 

Tommy didn’t know what to say, so he improvised.

 

“Sorry, wrong room,” Tommy lied. “What was that light I saw?”

 

The priest looked annoyed and didn’t answer his question.

 

Instead he said, “I have more visitations to make.”

 

The priest walked past Tommy and out of the room.

 

Tommy’s curiosity got the better of him, so he slowly made his way to the patient’s bed to see if anything was out of the ordinary.

 

Nothing seemed amiss, except that the patient’s eyes were open.

 

It made it look like the patient was awake.

 

“Hello?” Tommy asked.

 

Hearing no reply, he moved closer.

 

A shocked expression grew on Tommy’s face as he noticed that the man’s eyes were gray and glossy. He had only seen eyes like those in zombie movies.

 

Unsure of what to do, Tommy quickly made his way to his father’s room.

 

Surprised that his dad was still asleep, he touched him lightly to wake him.

 

When he got no response, he feared that the priest had done something to his father.

 

Tommy leaned over and opened his father’s eyelid.

 

Seeing gray, glossy eyes staring blankly at the ceiling almost caused Tommy to fall backwards.

 

A realization dawned on him that the Priest was doing something to the patients in this hospital.

 

He quickly ran out of the room, looking both directions to tell someone.

 

Seeing no one, he began jogging, rounding every corner, hoping to see someone on staff.

 

At the end of one of the hallways, he saw the priest emerging from another room.

 

‘I’ll just deal with you myself, asshole,” Tommy thought as he started quickly walking towards the priest.

 

The priest saw him, and calmly stepped into yet another room.

Tommy jogged in, ready to confront the priest, but when he entered the room, it was empty.

 

He turned as he heard the priest closing the door with both of them inside the room.

 

“What did you do to my father?” Tommy demanded.

 

“Whatever do you mean,” the priest replied, feigning ignorance.

 

“I saw his eyes, and the eyes of the other patient you visited,” Tommy stated. “They both had the same gray, glossy eyes. My father did not have gray eyes.”

 

“Your delusional,” the priest responded, acting insulted.

 

“We’ll just see what the authorities have to say about whatever it is you’ve been doing to the patients,” Tommy threatened.

 

“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that,” the priest stated flatly.

 

“Oh,” Tommy started. “And how do you plan on stopping me?”

 

“Like this,” the priest replied as his eyes began to glow.

 

Tommy found himself unable to move.

 

The priest opened his mouth as Tommy’s eyes began to glow and a stream of light flowed from his eyes into the priest’s mouth.

 

After about thirty seconds, the light dimmed, and Tommy fell unconscious to the floor.

 

The priest looked at him briefly, turned and walked out the door.

 

“Help! Someone help, please!” the priest called out. “This young man has collapsed and needs medical attention!”