He walked slowly between the pews, brushing a hand across the wooden arms. The lacquer was dry and cracked, but still tugged against his skin. The air was still, and saturated by burnt candles, acrylic, and dust. The only light came from the moon’s cold reflection and the prismatic stain it left behind on the walls as it shone through the glass windows. Each step echoed into the empty spaces of the church, up into the tall ceilings, lost in the darkness filling the rafters. He came to a halt in front of the raised pulpit; the cross on its surface stared directly in line with his face. His hair was dark, slicked back, and long, for a priest. Moon light cut across the soft features of his face, revealing the thin framed glasses which sat low on his nose. He glared first at the cross, then to his side. A tapestry hung down to the right of the altar. Below it towards the back, past a doorway and obscured by shadow, he could make out a spiral staircase leading to the balcony above. He looked down at his watch…
Looking back up, he stepped to the right and skipped up the steps of the dais. As he proceeded towards the staircase, he took another glance at the tapestry. It was a vertical depiction of Original Sin and as he moved past it, the threads embodying the image flickered in the moon light. After climbing the stairs he could see the balcony was only a short distance long, plain, made of plywood and scrap lumber; like the backstage catwalks of a theater. The priest looked over the banister to see the tapestry hanging on the wall just below. Lowering his face, he leveled his eyes close to the banister and slowly ran his hand across the top. Considering the poor quality lumber used to make this balcony, it was surprisingly smooth. Looking at his hand, he saw a small film of sawdust, suggesting it was recently sanded. Blowing the residual dust off the banister, he pulled a small cloth and a bottle of rubbing alcohol out of his knapsack, quickly wiped the railing down, and ran his hand across it again. Tucking the bottle and cloth back into his knapsack, he glanced back at his watch.
He leaned over the side of the banister and detached the tapestry from the hooks behind it. As he hoisted it up, he began rolling it into a loose bundle. As the last piece came over the top, he kept the bundle under his arm and pulled out a black, heavy plastic bag with his other hand. Sliding one end of the tapestry into the bag, he held the bottom of the bag over it to let the rest of the tapestry slip down. Kneeling to the ground, he reached into the knapsack and pulled out a small, battery powered crimp gun. He slid it across the top of the plastic bag, sealing it closed. Then he looked again at his watch.
"Seventeen more minutes…"
Flipping the knapsack over to examine its back, he detached two straps from under the bag. He took the black bag and laid it at the bottom of the knapsack, wrapped the two straps from underneath the bag up and over, through steel loops and pulled it snug. He took up the bag, swung it over his back and slid his arms through the top straps. He walked over to the spiral staircase and slowly descended, being careful not to snag the tapestry against the tight corners of the old steel railing. As he reached the bottom of the stairs he looked at his watch, removed the knapsack, placed it on the ground, and he leaned against the wall. Slowly he slid his back down the wall until he was sitting on the cold marble floor.
"Time to wait."