Excerpt: The Sounding
Lorenze strapped his uniform on, knowing where every clasp and buckle fell exactly. Still, something about it felt foreign: he had not worn it in several days. Several very, very long days.
The red, blue and yellow stripes that Michelangelo designed for the guard centuries earlier: many men fell under those colors. He knew their names by heart. And he promised to join them if called to…
…Lorenze propelled himself to the other side of the room where the society had left a small stockpile of weapons. He pulled out the sniper’s rifle case and its box of bullets. With hard clicks, he opened the case to see that all was in order. The parts gleamed and winked at him in the light like so many eyes.
More gently, Lorenze lifted the sight from the case. It was heavy to his hand. He put it to his eye and some miniscule scratch in the floor became like a canyon.
Thou shalt not kill. Lorenze smirked and put the sight down. Thou shalt not kill unless God asks you to. Thou shalt not kill unless God needs you to.
Lorenze closed the case. He surveyed the room, looked again at the uniform. He only had a few minutes left. He knelt to pray.
But what was there to pray for? Should he pray for their lives, for their safety? Could he ask that God grant them success on a murder mission? Should he pray for time or protection, or just for the world not to die?
In the end with his last few minutes, Lorenze prayed for the soul of another assassin. One who also betrayed innocence for the greater good. Remiel had, after all, been right – they were in common with a certain other fallen disciple. And so, with his eyes squeezed shut, Lorenze prayed for mercy for Judas Iscariot. For if Judas – that tool of fate led to betray history’s most innocent man – was able to find God’s forgiveness, perhaps so might he.