The plan went off beautifully well. As I sat in the rectory, just above the courtyard, I listened to his screams as one would bend an ear to the call of the sparrows that sounded the dawn. His piteous cries sound as sweet to me as the chorus of cherubs in Heaven, and I know that I have done the Lord's work on Earth. He was an affront to God, and he stained this holy place. Better his bones bleach in the sun. My pen dips in the ink well and I impart my confession to the parchment. Only God will judge me.

I felt a tinge of guilt as they dragged him past me in the hallway, and his bare feet scrabbled on the stone for purchase. It wasn't a guilt of having damned him to the Inquisitor's hot irons and thumbscrews; No, he had earned those with his wickedness. Instead, it was more a tear you would shed while watching a fatted calf being lead to the butcher, a prayer for a dumb animal. It moved me to put pen to paper, lest the knowledge die with me.

I was tending the garden at the north wall the day that the Wicked One came amongst us. He was draped over the back of an ass, lead by the junk dealer from the village. As the man did with all refuse, he had come here to bury his problem. Insensible from drink and sloth, the human parcel was dumped on the doorstep, as many plagued and dying men before him. His was a deeper sickness, which we could not see. Forgive us Lord, but we try minister to all the creatures of the Earth. Surely, he sprung up from the bowels of Hell to darken our door. I stayed in the garden and watched the junk man lead his ass back along the road. He wore the face of a tradesman that had finally completed a very complex task, and his satisfaction gave me pause.

At the evening meal, much talk was devoted to the newcomer. He did not take food with us that first night, instead spending the time sleeping off his stunning hangover. As time passed, we wondered if the junkman had blunted his wits with a pan as well, a compulsion we grew to understand well. Forgive me Lord, I struggle to deny these wicked thoughts. Indeed, our brotherly concerns that first day were copious and genuine, and we prayed that you would lead the unfortunate man down the path to righteousness. A test for our faith soon followed.

In this Abbey, we have seen all types. Madmen have lived in these walls, half-wits are welcomed with open arms, even the crippled have a place here. All manner of men, broken by the cruelty of the world are brought here and tended to lovingly, as Jesus taught so long ago. It is the willfully wicked that poison our hearts here, My Lord. Those that would bully and parade, judge and threaten. The arrogant and ugly hearted. They are the true snakes in our garden. Indeed, I would prefer a thousand harlots be given lodge here before another beast of the earth such as him. I know I should not judge, My Lord. The flesh is weak and I beg forgiveness.

Oh, even to remember it chills me. Our hallowed halls became a wastrel's flophouse. He donned the robes of a monk in mockery of us. The terrible taunts suffered by the dull-witted, the vile arguments he struck with the wrathful. He swaggered and preened, self-anointed as lord of the manor. No manner of penance could be impressed upon him. Our kind hearts were ill prepared for his brazen soul. I sought to counsel him in the ways of the Church, but none would have influence on his prideful mind. Indeed, I fell victim to my own ill humors and sought to challenge his sins. I found I would have been better ministering your message to the oxen in the barn. The abbey filled with trod upon hearts while the Devil played in our midst. Truly, My Lord, no feeling is worse than helplessness. I clung to my faith like a drowning sailor swept overboard.

Let it be known that the Lord works in mysterious ways.

In my darkest hour, I turned to the Abbot. Surely he could help me, steer me from my dark humors and show me the path to understanding. The Wicked One sat at the throne of all my thoughts, mocking me. After the business of the gardens was concluded, I broached the subject of the troublesome newcomer. The Abbot sighed heavily, and before he spoke, I knew it was a speech he had made before. He entreated me to love all the souls that came to our door, and leave the judgment for the Heavenly Host. "Just rewards will be given in afterlife, my son." he said, his voice betraying his frustrated heart. It was at that very moment I decided to act. Divine inspiration? It is not for men to know.

As I walked the hall, I saw the faint light of the torch as the Beast wormed his way over the wall and made off for a night of making merry in the village. He would return and lay insensible in his bunk, leaving us to labor around him. The stink of wine and whores mocks us from his room. I sat at the dark window and watched the light dance across the hill, puzzling. What is worse than his actions in the house of God?


The divine inspiration flashed into my thoughts from on high, my very prayers answered. The Inquisition would swoop down like a wrathful hawk to pluck a witch from our nest. I clapped my hands together and gave praise to God for delivering me, delivering all of us!, from this abuser. Quickly, a plan formed in my mind. The floodgates opened and holy purpose poured in, like light from the dawn painting the courtyard. I made my way to the library under the cover of the welcome darkness.

Oh, the foulness I waded through in those books. The more I read of devils and demons, the more I could see the hell-borne character of the Beast. Indeed, it was a small matter to dream of his midnight wanderings as sojourns to Black Masses or baby thieving trips. I took special note of the investigation of the Holy Inquisition, as told in letters to the Abbot. I secreted a quill from the transcription room and penned my damning missive to the Bishop, under the cover of anonymity. I held the quill in my left hand to disguise my penmanship, and effected the coarser words of a clerk in the city. A sinister hand for a divine plan. While the Beast was out at play, I worked in his room, hiding scraps of blasphemous verse and painting an unholy sigil under his mattress in salt, as devil summoners do. In the garden, I buried the workings of a witch in the form of small bundles of vermin bones and broken rosaries. The scale of the heresy grew in the lonely night.

I was again in the garden, weeding the rows with my hoe when the dust from the horses rose up along the road. Riders under the Churches flag. Inquisitors. I wiped the sweat from my brow and watched as they thundered into the keep, paying no heed to a lowly monk in the fields. I turned back to my plants as the dusty cloud washed over me, content that my part was done.

Hushed talk by candlelight and harsh words behind closed drawers was the order of the day. Burly men, likely born in the crucible of the Crusades knocked on our humble doors and turned out our rooms. The tools of my nocturnal trade had been long since been burned in a sanctified fire, lest they work true evil. The hard-faced men held their swords at bay and offered a slight apology for disturbing me, but ventured no explanation. I nodded a forgiveness and they closed the door firmly, still seeking their quarry.

Not long after, while I sat with my head pressed to the door, I heard the harsh and angry words. The Beast fought like a bar brawler, and damned himself further than I could have ever hoped. His own mouth was his undoing.

The lashings continued all night.

By morning the stake was ready, piled high with sticks and oil.

Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned.