“You must think me a grotesque animal.” I could make out the glow of his eyes beneath his cowl. His voice set my skin humming, though I feared the creature concealed inside his cassock.
“I don’t know what to think.” Stepping closer, I held out my hand, as if to touch his chest, only for him to recoil.
“I was weak, perhaps even a little mad, but I have held tight to what little humanity I could.” He kept his hands tucked inside his long sleeves, hiding every trace of himself from me.
“I believe you, and I want to help.” I stepped toward him again. “Just tell me what I can do.”
He told me of his pledge. Of how he was doomed to an eternity of subjugation for a moment of eminence, realizing too late his mistake. Now, he found a way to reclaim his soul, but he needed me to lead him to his destruction.
The black shroud of night had just begun to lift when he made his way through the ironbound doors of the monastery’s inner gate.
As we entered the vestibule, he wrapped his arm fearfully around my shoulder. I kept an image in my mind of how he once was. If I focused on his horned visage, my courage would fail. Only my love for him kept me sane.
The priest met us at the altar, making the sign of the cross when he finally saw the creature I championed.
An acolyte escorted me from the sanctuary. I knew a battle was looming. When that the final victory was wrought, my love’s spirit would be free, but I would lose him forever to death.