The confessional was empty, of course. There was a small kneeler and then, several feet above, a screen. The priest would sit on the other side and listen. Augusta took a quick look at the screen, and decided if she saw a shadow, she would faint dead away. There didn't seem to be anyone sitting in the dark.
Augusta left the confessional and peeked quickly into the second one. The kneeler was intact.
This was a fool's errand because there was nothing in the confessionals, nor could anything be hidden here.
Except that Augusta could barely see. She needed a flashlight. And that's exactly what she would do. She would go home and get a flashlight and return tomorrow.
Still she was here now, and tomorrow might be too late. Did she want to spend the rest of her life wondering, wishing, thinking how everything might have been different if she had only found the clues to the origin of her stone?
I'll search the others quickly, Augusta decided, although the closer she got to the altar, the darker the church became, and even if something had been hidden in the confessional, she'd never be able to find it. She would have to crawl down on her hands and knees and use her touch like a blind person, except what if what she was touching wasn't the kneeler at all, but a rat?
The phone again - the same spooky tune.
Augusta thought if this were a scary movie, the music would be perfect. And suddenly she saw herself as an actress, staring in one of those slasher films, but that was really scary because those girls always died -
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Especially the homely, fat ones.
Augusta didn't like this, not at all.
She approached the third confessional cautiously.
The moment she opened the door, something fell on her, knocking her down, something large and heavy. As it hit the floor with a slight bounce, a great cloud of dust struck Augusta in the face, causing her to cough furiously.
Believing at first it was a statue, that some crazy person had hidden it in the confessional, she reached out her hand. The heap was soft and slightly warm to the touch. As quickly as she could, Augusta crawled away from under the mound, crawled away whimpering
The cell phone rang again, angry and insistent. Only this time it was below her.
Augusta saw a pair of glasses, shattered on the tile floor.
Then Augusta knew that what had fallen out of the confessional was a dead body.
She began to yell like she had never yelled before, and her screams ricocheted off the high, dome ceiling, thick with cobwebs, and off the stone walls of the crumbling church.