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The sun was setting behind the distant mountains as the lone priest, dre

ssed in filthy clerical robes, gave his final regards to the fresh grave. He was
young. Much younger than the average priest. The last shovelful of dirt was tos
sed on the pile and soon he began his descent down the hill. He stopped and took
one last look at the makeshift cross now silhouetted against the newborn twilig
ht, and quickened his pace down the trodden dirt path. The trek back to the smal
l chapel was quick and silent. No villagers had passed him on his way and he was
soon at the door of his small cottage set aside from the main building. Hearing
quick footsteps behind him, the world weary priest turned on his heels and prep
ared to face his potential assailant.
A quick, shaky voice said, I m sorry father Benson, I did not mean to startle you.
The priest looked down and recognized the face of a boy, nearing his teenage yea
rs, who attended his sermons regularly, unlike much of the village. They did not
like the highly liberal content of his sermons and were somewhat distraught by
his slanted worldview.
It s quite alright. How may I help you, lad? said Benson, changing his disposition t
o a warm, welcoming one.
I noticed you on the hill, burying the traitor. Why? He was an enemy of the state
. said the boy, much to Benson s surprise.
Ah, but not an enemy of mine. Karl was a true friend and saved my life many times
. Benson said, now looking up at the quickly darkening sky. Come, I ll tell you a ta
le of our adventures, if you ve the time.
The boy nodded and followed him inside. Both priest and boy entered the tiny roo
m that served as a kitchen and living area, a small hearth on the right, oven an
d cupboard to the left, and a small table in the center with four chairs around
it. Opposite the entrance was another door, leading to the small bedroom where t
he priest slept. The last wisps of light were filtering through a glass paned wi
ndow as the priest produced a candle and book of matches from the cupboard, and
lit it.