The Prequel, Chapter Twenty-Seven

"I've seen worse."

The frank words, spoken in complete truthfulness, shocked Alexander. He'd been expecting anything - "You're right, you are hopeless," or "I don't know what to say" - anything but "I've seen worse." At first, Alexander thought to himself, How dare you not drop in shock at my badness? before realizing that it was good John Follows had seen worse. Perhaps there would be hope, after all! 

"Yeah, well, you don't know my sins like I do."

"You're right," John said, but his voice wasn't condemning. "I'm not going to say that I understand your situation fully. But I know that God views sin to be wretched, no matter if it's lying or if it's murdering. The best person who lives without God will be sent to hell along with the worst criminal to walk the face of the earth."

Alexander interrupted there. "Sir, you cannot tell me that I can be saved. There is nothing on this earth that will convince me that I am redeemable."

"You are only redeemable when you realize you need God," John said, but Alexander cut off his words again.

"So you're telling me that even though I have ruined my life and the lives of many others, and even though I revel in sin and find solace in evil, I can be just as saved as you are? It's not true, Pastor. If you think God can save anyone, then you must be interpreting the Bible wrong or something. Because I swear that even God isn't able to erase what I've done."

The words were blasphemy, and Alexander knew it as soon as they'd left his tongue. He was paralyzed for a moment as the guilt crashed down upon him. He'd dared to commit blasphemy in God's house! 

All hell broke loose within Alexander's heart as he stood, unable to stomach being in a church any longer. He was too tainted and damaged and perverted and wretched to be in such a holy place. 

"I'm sorry; I'm so sorry. I really, really am," Alexander apologized. "I had no right to be here in the first place."

As Alexander ran - literally ran - from the chapel, he was vaguely aware of someone calling after him. But all the remorse he'd been burying sprang up like a well within him, choking him and forcing him to face his sin instead of hiding it away like he'd done for the past few years.

Alexander ran to the place he was renting and slammed the door behind him, his satchel still swinging from the run. Good; Amara was gone. The liquor wasn't.

The End

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