TITLE: The Confessional
GENRE: Adult - Romantic Suspense
The room had an odd glow and felt unusually warm.
Michael Webb glanced at the wooden booth that encased him, wedged as it was in the walls of the nave. An elderly woman across from him with a blue-gray beehive and delightfully pointed glasses she could have worn since the fifties leaned forward on a hardwood chair.
The elderly woman's brow furrowed. Her neck craned outward like a curious Blue Heron as she peered at the man a foot away.
"Are you sure you're feeling all right, Father?"
Michael shifted uneasily, feeling strangely detached. Hair mostly gray, he wore classic black clerics with a purple embroidered stole draped over his neck, the ends of it lying on his lap. Beside him, a wooden crucifix lay on a table, along with a burning candle, a smattering of stones, fresh flowers in a vase, a list of penitential prayers and a half-emptied box of tissues.
"Father?" the woman prodded with a touch of concern.
His broad shoulders drooped and his mouth turned downward. His bewildered eyes fixed on the floor.
The woman smiled up at him. "You look like you've never seen a woman in a wet t-shirt before."
"W—what?!" Michael gaped, but the woman was gone. As were the walls of the church.
A twenty-something Michael stood in thick jungle foliage. Heavy rain began pummeling him, drenching his shirt, boots and jeans. Slack-jawed, he stared up at the sky.
In front of Michael, under a canopy, men and women lay on cots.