The air smells so good! It always does this time of the year.

It never matters which day it is, or which month. On this particular Wednesday, every year, the air always smells different, smells good.

Smells purified.

I glance back at the vase sitting elegantly on the altar, the light from the stained glass windows of the building reflecting off its silver body.

A smile slowly spreads on my face. I take a deep breath, adjust the collar on my neck, and walk towards the heavy oak doors.


I remember the first time I heard His voice. Just like Samuel from the days of legend, He called to me in my sleep. Unlike Samuel though, I knew who He was immediately. I needed no Eli to guide me to Him. It was just me, myself and I on the path I had chosen. The way it had always been. The way it would always be.

“Rizeh my child. I have felt the weight of your sorrow. I have seen your pain. I have heard your cries. I am a fair being. With my right hand I bring them to me who want to be saved, and with my left hand I shall smite them who refuse to see the light. Rizeh, will you be my left hand?”

“Yes My Lord”

I felt His hand reach out towards me, the light radiating from it blinding me.


The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months. The encounter began to slowly fade away from my memory, like a beautiful dream.

But I know it wasn’t a dream.

I still have the scar on my forehead from when He touched me. Anointed me. Made me His left hand.

And then one day, when I had finally began to dismiss it all, began to decide that maybe the scar was a result of me hitting my head hard against a wall, and my brain had somehow conjured up that wonderful tale, I heard His voice again.


I sat behind the veil, listening to Mrs Anthonia go on and on about how she couldn’t control the vile urges that griped her. Urges that made her do unspeakable things. I expertly hid my disgust as I listened to her describe the sensations she felt whenever she stroked her little nephew.

How can You allow such people to walk the earth with the rest of us. Breathe the same air as us. How!

Suddenly I felt a sharp pain on my forehead. The pain emanated from the scar.

It was Him.

I could barely hear Mrs Anthonia as the sound of His voice filled my ears.

May Your will be done.


That was definitely not the last time I would hear His voice. He spoke to me a lot of times after that. Always at the same period in the liturgical calendar.

And I always obeyed.

May Your will be done.


As soon as Mr Kennedy walked in, I heard His voice.


I can barely hide my excitement as I listen to Mr Kennedy.

“Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been 3 weeks since my last confession. I think I’m going to do it again father. I can’t control myself. There is something about them, their innocence. I just have to taint it”

I tightly clench my fists, trying to stop myself from reaching across the veil and strangling this sorry excuse for a man.

“Now, now, Mr Kennedy. Remember what you went through the last time. The court case. How you barely escaped a guilty verdict. Remember you made a vow to the Lord never to go down that path anymore”

“I know father, but they are just so beautiful, young, naive and full of life. I can’t control myself father. What is my penance.”

“You know it doesn’t work that way Mr Kennedy. But I have something you could try”

I walk out of the cubicle, towards the altar and fill the golden chalice with the liquid. Just as He instructed.

“Come over here Mr Kennedy”

I hear him walk towards me, his shoes echoing in the empty church, my heart beating faster with every step he takes towards me.

The air feels still, heavy, filled with anticipation.

“Here, take this”

“What’s in it father?”

I look at him. He smells unclean.

“Your penance”

Mr Kennedy barely has time to react as I throw the contents of the chalice on his face. He screams as the liquid sears into his skin, melting away his eyeballs, turning them to runny rivulets of tissue that flow down his already mangled face.

I stand over him as he writhes in pain on the wooden church floors. I watch as he passes out, the agony too much for his body to handle.

May Your will be done.


The rest is always easy. I have never been interrupted. He always makes sure of that.

May Your will be done.

I always make sure they are awake.

I can smell their fear. Above the filthy stench that exudes from their putrid souls. Above the sweet smell of the olive oil I soak them in. I can always smell their fear.

Before I strike the match, I always say the words, just as He instructed.

“From dust you are and to dust you shall return. I am His left hand”

I always watch until the fire dies down, leaving nothing left of them but the ashes they were created from.

May Your will be done.


Everything is set.

I watch as my loving congregation walks toward me, solemn looks on their faces.

It is Ash Wednesday after all.

I walk over to the altar and pick up the vase. The ashes that used to be Mr Kennedy sit undisturbed inside it.

I take a deep breath.

The air smells so good, so pure!

I adjust the collar on my neck.
I turn to face them.

May Your will be done.

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

I mark their foreheads with the ash.

With His right hand He shall draw them close and with his left shall He smite them.

I am His left hand.


Happy Valentine’s Day.

Remember to make love, not babies. ☺

6 thoughts on “Ashes”

  1. Lol I avoided reading this piece on ash Wednesday. Glad I did, d ash on my forehead won’t have felt d same. Nice one Rinzo

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