Finnegan relaxed as he raised his face to the Reverend, hypnotized by the soothing baritone voice. The Reverend cupped Finnegan’s chin and gazed into his eyes as a father speaking to a wayward child.
“I’m building this house as a home for people like you. Yes, worthy people. They will visit with us, dine on the finest food, drink to their content and through their journey with us they will be freed from the destructive path they have chosen. Yes, this will be a house of redemption for people like you.” His eyes darkened, the red fire returning. He tapped the riding crop on the palm of his hand, bright sparks flying off the end. His voice growing loud as thunder. Finnegan clasped his hands over his ears.
“Liars, thieves, murderers. They will all come and enjoy the fruits of our labor. They will face their sins and they will repent.”
Finnegan’s skin paled. He shook uncontrollably under the heated gaze of the Reverend.
“Or,” Rev continued, his voice returning to his normal soothing baritone. “They, like you my friend, will never leave this house.” He smiled, laying the crop on Finnegan’s shoulder.
Finnegan flinched, the crop singeing his shirt.
Rev sighed deeply. “I see you need time to reflect on the error of your ways.” He turned away.
“No. I swear on my sweet mother's grave. It’s nothin but a misunderstanding,” Finnegan’s voice garbled. He cleared his throat, forcing his tongue to speak. Finnegan grabbed at Rev’s long coattail. “Where are you going?” He tried to stand, but his legs would not move. “Please, don’t leave me here.”