Supernatural: Plain and Simple Faith

Plain and Simple Faith
Pairing: None
Spoiler: A reference to Faith
Rating: Gen

There are no tricks in plain and simple faith
Brutus, Julius Caesar

The young man was seated in the second pew on the right side of the church. He was there when Father Callahan went in for his six am prayer and he was still there when he went back to collect the aging hymnals at nine. The Ladies of the Holy Rosary had organized a bake sale and part of the profits were going to replace the worn out tomes. Father Callahan had voted that they give the money to the homeless mission on Fourth Street, instead, but he was outvoted. He hated to see the old hymnals go. They had a lived-in feel about them. People weren’t afraid to pick them up and rifle through the pages. Even the mysterious young man in the second pew had picked one up . . . if only for a moment.

A thin line was what the priest thought before deciding to slide into the second pew. “You’ve been here a long time.”

The young man startled, his hazel-green eyes wide but empty. He had a strong jaw and a short haircut that made the priest think, “military”. He was dressed in well-worn jeans and a t-shirt and a scuffed leather jacket Around his neck was a necklace – a bit of cord with the head of a creature laying heavy against his breast bone. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to . . . ” He stood. “I’ll go.”

“No. Please. That wasn’t a nudge. If sitting here brings you comfort, then by all means sit. As long as you like. That’s why the doors are always open.”

The young man kept standing. Should I stay or should I go?

“I’ll leave you to your thoughts,” Father Callahan added, sure now that he had erred on the wrong side of the thin line. He certainly hadn’t meant to chase the young man away. “But if you would like to talk. . . ”

“I’m not Catholic.”

Callahan shrugged. “I won’t hold that against you. What religion are you?”

The young man smiled and for a moment his face was lit by a pleasant light. “The church of me, myself and I.”

Callahan smiled, too. “I see. A popular religion, to be sure. Quite a few followers.”

The young man slid back down to sitting but instead of sitting back, he perched on the edge of the pew. “I’ve seen things, Father. Horrible things. Evil things.”

And Callahan felt it. Right there, at that second, when he said the word “evil”, the priest felt the young man’s weight. “I know it can be . . . difficult to believe in God when there’s so much bad in the world. But son. . . ” The priest reached out then pulled his hand back at the last second, knowing it would be too much. “It’s when we’re faced with evil that we truly need to believe in God.”

“I want to believe.” The young man leaned into the corner of pew, his shoulders coming down away from his ears, hands settled in his lap. “I met this girl. She had a brain tumor. She was going to die but still she prayed, she believed. She was. . . ”

“Comforted,” Father Callahan offered.

“Yes. I don’t get that!” The young man’s voice boomed on those words, echoed through the empty church and came back to him. He cringed at the sound then lowered his voice as he continued. “Prayer doesn’t do anything. Believing doesn’t do anything. She’s still going to die.”


“Then what good is it? How can people just accept?”

“You don’t want to accept?”

“No. Lie down and play dead? Be defeated? Let evil win?”

Careful now. “Maybe evil wins when people stop believing in God.” The priest pressed his lips closed. Forced himself to keep the sermon inside. This lost soul wouldn’t be found with pages of rhetoric. Straight and to the point. He was intelligent, sharp; he could see that in the young man’s eyes. Wait it out. Seconds became minutes and in that time he kept expecting the man to bolt.

He didn’t. He squirmed on the hard pew. Took several uneven breaths. Blinked away the emotion that rose like flood waters in his eyes. “When I was little, something evil took my mother. Took everything. Our whole lives, it took, my baby brother, my dad and me. Nothing was the same after that night. And it was harder because no one believed. Everyone chose to accept a rational explanation rather than believe that there’s real evil in this world.”

“It’s self-preservation. We don’t want to believe in evil because then it might just touch us.”

“I was four years old!” The young man snapped, voice rising in volume and pitch. “What the hell did I know about evil? The wicked queen in Snow White maybe or Captain Hook. I didn’t know there were real monsters under the bed. And hell, saying my prayers at night didn’t do a damn thing! Did it!” He slapped his palm hard against the back of the pew. “Every night I said my prayers and still that thing came and took my mother!”

“And that’s why you can’t believe in God.”

“What?” He was on his feet again. “What are you saying?”

“To believe in God would be to acknowledge that he abandoned you when you needed him most, and then what does that say about you, your worth?”

The young man tensed again. His shoulders rising and set firm. Jaw clenched so hard the priest could see the spasm it caused. “I have to go.” He moved backwards out of the pew then turned to head up the aisle. He only made it four rows back before he stopped. “I’m a good person, Father. I’ve done a lot of bad things, sinned, for sure, but mostly I’m a good person.”

“I know that you are.”

The young man came back two rows, closing the space slightly between them. “How do you know, Father? How do you know I’m not a monster?”

“Because it hurts you. Whatever happened to your mother, to you and your family. Whatever it was that made you stop saying your prayers at night, it hurt you, deeply. Why else would you be sitting a church or asking such questions of a priest? Monsters don’t suffer guilt, my son. Only decent, caring people do.”

Father Callahan slipped out of row two and made his way back to the young man. He fished in the pocket of his robe as he walked and by the time they were face to face he’d found what he wanted. He took the young man’s hand then covered it with his own dropping the object from palm to palm. “Find God and you’ll find your answers.” He curled the young man’s fingers shut around the object. “Peace be with you, my son.” Then he waited for the young man to walk away.

# # #

Dean kept his fingers squeezed tight until he was back behind the wheel of the Impala. He knew what it was, of course, just by the feel. A rosary of small black beads with a silver cross on the end. Just like the one that mommy had in her jewelry box. The one she would clutch, down on her knees, mumbled words on her lips night after night after night when Dean was supposed to be sleeping.

They say you can’t remember things you experienced when you were that young. But Dean remembers. He remembers the feel of her hair tickling his face when she leaned over to kiss him. The warmth of her arms when she cuddled with him in bed. The sound of her voice as she spoke the words of prayer.

Dean fingered the rosary beads, avoided the cross, rubbed each one in succession. “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. . . ”

The End

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