Father Renoir - (A Short Story) **Warning - Graphic**

Discussion in 'Writer's Block' started by Sole Sovereign, Oct 28, 2004.

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  1. Sole Sovereign

    Sole Sovereign Hungry But Never Starving

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    FATHER RENOIR'S HANDS
    A short story by Brandon J. Shaw


    Father Renoir has the largest hands in the village. Admittedly, there are only three hundred or so souls nestled peacefully on the tiny spit of land that makes up Santa Rosaria, and many of them are women and children. Even so, it is likely that the burly priest's hands would be the object of discussion in the larger towns that inhabit the more fertile lands farther North and South. Father Renoir has spent time in these towns, but he does not talk about them, preferring instead to discuss the salvation of the little flock he has chosen as his own.

    He lives by his hands. He has used them to great effect in the three years he has been in Santa Rosaria: gripping building poles as youths take turns to hammer them into the ground; spreading them wide and splaying his artillery shell-shaped fingers to illustrate some high point of his weekly sermon; wrapping them around a boule and propelling it with deadly force toward a shy cochonnet.

    Right now, those meaty, massive, hands are clenched round the throat of Maria Trote, and the little slut is paying the price for leading his thoughts into peril.

    Maria's hands are tiny and soft. They scrabble against his fingers like little crabs gasping their last on some foreign and uncaring rock. Her lips spasm, forming screams of terror she has no breath to fuel. Father Renoir hunches his rock-like shoulders and tenses. There is a sharp crack. Maria stops fighting, and hangs still and broken in the air below his grip.

    Father Renoir stares at her for long moments, then shakes his head as if dispelling the last traces of some red inner fog. He lowers her to the ground, and spends several minutes gathering the shreds of her pretty Sunday dress from the surrounding grass. Once he has draped them over her still form he lifts her in his big, strong arms, gives her one last kiss filled with all the passion he has ever held for her, then drops her six-year-old body over the cliff and into the angrily protesting sea below. As the body strikes the water he is already turning away from the edge and striding back toward the town.

    He is washing his trousers in the big iron tub at the back of the church when a delegation of visitors rounds the corner of the building. He removes his hands from the soapy water and wipes them across the front of his shirt. The men are upon him before he can dry them completely.

    "Father, you must help."

    "What is it?" He rests his wet hands on the speaker's shoulders. Gabriel Trote is a small man, stooped and balding. He raises eyes dulled by years of subsistence survival toward the priest. It is a look that Father Renoir has yet to grow used to. "What's the matter?"

    "Little Maria..."

    "Yes?" He tightens his grip reflexively, wills himself to relax.

    "She did not return to the house for lunch. We've looked everywhere."

    Father Renoir frowns. "What about the beach?"

    "Everywhere." Trote shakes his head. "She is nowhere. Please, Father..."

    "Come inside. We will organise a proper search." He turns, and one arm around the shoulders of Maria's father, leads them into the warm embrace of the Church.
    It takes several hours to scour the spit. No rock remains unmoved, no floorboard unlifted. At the centre of it all stands Renoir, his big hands constantly moving: pointing villagers towards new areas to investigate, clapping men on the back in encouragement of their efforts, directing the people around him like a puppeteer giving a command performance. Maria Trote is a popular child, pretty, joyful, a friend to all. No effort is spared to find her. Dusk is falling when the exhausted Santa Rosarians gather at the open end of the town. Father Renoir spreads his arms and shrugs.

    "Nowhere?"

    The crowd murmurs unhappily. The priest hangs his head, hiding his reaction from their ages.

    "Then there is nothing to do but pray for her safe return."

    "Wait!" The balding head of Gabriel Trote pushes to the front of the crowd. He looks up at the bigger man, his thin farmer's hands spread wide in supplication. "What about the cliffs? The forest?"

    "It is getting dark," the priest replies. "It is too dangerous."

    "All the more reason! My daughter... out there alone..." He waves a wild arm at the darkening world beyond the clearing. The villagers rumble agreement. Father Renoir scans their determined faces, then tilts his head toward the forest.

    "Okay," he says at last, "But not the cliffs. I don't want anyone to fall, and in this light... I don't want anyone else..." He does not finish the thought. The villagers' faces tell him he does not need to. Gabriel closes his eyes in pain, and nods slowly.

    "The forest, then," he says, his voice thick with sorrow. "We may still be fortunate."

    "God allows fortune to those who love him," the priest replies, a relieved smile creasing the corners of his eyes.

    A party of a dozen men is quickly assembled and fitted out with lanterns and warm clothing. Father Renoir leads the way to the forest edge, a lamp held like a toy between thick fingers. Once there, he pairs the men off and sends them in different directions, until only he and the shivering Gabriel Trote are left.

    "Are you ready?"

    "Yes." The smaller man draws his jacket tighter around his wiry shoulders.

    "Are you cold?"

    "No, no, I..." Gabriel looks at the ground. "It is not the cold. I am afraid. Maria, she... she's dead, isn't she Father?"

    Renoir steps back, and hides his reaction from the light.

    "I don't know, Gabriel. You should hope God's will is not set on it."

    Trote looks as if he wishes to say something more, but he merely turns his head toward the forest and draws his arms in tight to his body. Renoir pulls back a low-hanging branch. The two men step through, into the surrounding arms of the trees.

    The forest is an old place, twisted and tangled upon itself like a worry carved in wood. Renoir and Trote struggle forward by inches, cut off within seconds from all thought of their fellow searchers. It takes them fifteen minutes to push through as many metres. The more they strain through the heavy, whipping branches, the more Gabriel Trote's breath turns to sobbing. Eventually he falls to his knees, and buries his face into his dirt-encrusted hands.

    "Maria," he moans, "Oh my little darling. Forgive me. Forgive me, Maria."

    Father Renoir stops and slumps against a tree, wiping his forehead with one heavy hand and pointing the lantern at his companion with the other. He frowns.

    "Gabriel?"

    "Oh, Father. Forgive me, Father. It was a moment, I swear, just a moment. And Maria, she... she...oh God..."

    "Gabriel, what is it? What are you saying?"

    "Maria." Trote raises his grief-ravaged face toward the priest. "She was dressed up, so prettily. So pretty, in her Sunday dress and her panties, her little panties..." he holds out his hands toward Renoir. "I just... it was only a moment, one moment. She ran, ran out the door and into the street..."

    Renoir stares in shock, barely feeling his knees buckle. He reaches out to the tree and steadies himself.
    test
  2. Sole Sovereign

    Sole Sovereign Hungry But Never Starving

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    Continued

    FATHER RENOIR'S HANDS
    A short story by Brandon J. Shaw
    Continued..
    "You..."

    "Where could she have gone, Father? She ran so quickly. Into the street. Where?" Trote looks at the priest as if seeing him for the first time, and a questioning look slowly begins to settle upon his features. "You live at the end of our street, Father. Where would she go?"

    "I..."

    "Did you not see her? Where else would she go? You are our priest, Father." He raises himself to one foot. "All this time, waiting for you to say something. And you've said nothing. Why is that? What did she say, Father? What did she tell you?"

    Renoir falls back from the volley of questions, the lantern falling to his side.

    "Gabriel, I..."

    "She did come to you, didn't she?" Trote rises to his feet, hands forming into claws. "You saw her. You talked to her. What did she say, Father?" He throws himself at the priest's tortured eyes, screaming, "What have you done with my daughter?"

    Renoir's reaction is automatic. His arm swings up, the heavy lantern at its end striking the side of Trote's head with a dull crack. The small villager rears away. His eyes roll drunkenly for an instant, before he totters backwards and falls. The lantern sputters, most of its liquid spilling out and searing a path down the priest's leg. He stares at the fallen man in horror,

    "Gabriel? It was an accident, I swear. Gabriel?"

    Trote moans and rolls over, dragging himself onto his elbows.

    "What did you do with her?" he asks, and something in his voice sounds thick and wrong. "Where did she go?"

    Renoir tries to answer, but before he can speak there is the sound of laughter to his left, in the dense shadows between two ancient trees.

    "Silly Papa," says a voice both men recognise instantly. "Here I am."

    "Maria?" Trote rises, swaying wildly. "Maria!"

    "No!" Renoir lunges forward, reaching out one giant hand. But the younger man is already moving away from him.

    "Maria?"

    "Here I am, Papa. Here I am." The voice is full of laughter, teasing, tickling. "Come on, Papa. Here I am."

    Renoir falls back onto the damp forest floor. The lantern drops from his numb fingers. It rolls away, throwing crazy shadows around the tiny clearing. Trote reaches the gap in the vegetation and pushes through, crying "Maria?" in his misshapen voice. The forest swallows him eagerly, leaving Renoir alone in the mottled light. The world seems to pause, and then Renoir hears a scream from the shadows, a sound of sudden madness that chokes off before reaching its crescendo, plunging the world back into an expectant silence.

    "Poor Papa," says the naked girl who walks calmly into the clearing from the direction of the scream. "I don't think he liked what he found."

    "Maria?"

    "Is that what I am?" the little girl looks down at herself and shrugs. She walks closer, her soft, unbruised skin tattooed with tribal patterns by the light of the fallen lantern. "We've been talking, your little girls and I."

    "But... how... you..."

    "There have been a lot of them, haven't there?" She stands with one hand on her hip, turning slightly so that Renoir sees the soft curve of her buttock, and begins counting names off on her fingers. "Eloise, Michelle, that little one in Toulon, barely out of her nappies..." As she counts, shapes form against the backdrop of shadows. Perhaps they resemble children, or forest animals.

    "No. Shut up. Be quiet." Renoir steps forward and raises a massive fist above his head. Maria laughs, and skips out of his reach.

    "Even when you ran from France, you couldn't stop yourself, could you? Moving from town to town, each time somewhere smaller and more primitive, less and less of the world to tempt you..." she runs fingers across her little nipples and cups imaginary breasts, "...always so tempted."

    "Shut up. You... you whore." Renoir's breath is heavy and sour. "You demon."

    "Demon?" she laughs. "Demon indeed."

    "Yes." Renoir draws himself up to his full towering height, ignoring how small he feels against the massive trees. "You are a demon. You cannot be... cannot be that sweet child whose skin you wear."

    The creature barks scornfully, her head thrown back, her tiny groin thrust forward as if on display.

    "Sweet? Sweet? That little slut? That little animal?" Quick as liquid she jumps under his grasp and rubs herself against his leg, then leaps back again. "They are like animals, are they not, children?"

    She squats, spreading her thighs so her little labia squints at him. She begins to pee, the yellow stream splashing over the tiny hand she holds below. "Little animals every one." She flicks the cupped hand. A spray of liquid splashes against Renoir's face. He tastes the salt taste of her, and moans.

    "Our Father, who art in Heaven..." He falls to his knees, raises hands in a private stance of prayer he has not used since childhood, "...hallowed be thy name..."

    A twig bounces from his head, then something he hopes is a wet clod of mud. Laughter multiplies around him, new voices joining the Maria-Creature. Renoir bows his head further, refusing to let the image of them play against his imagination. "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done..."

    "You're praying to the wrong God, Father," a voice twenty years murdered
    whispers into his ear, just before moist lips and tongue caress the skin. "We come from older stock than that."

    Renoir opens his eyes. Before him stand a dozen children or more: all naked, all lost beneath his hands and his weakness over the course of many years.

    "Eloise," he whispers, "Michelle, Jeanette..."

    They giggle and wave as he names them, touch themselves with obscene little fingers and too much knowledge.

    "Poor Father," they croon in unison, "Poor, poor Father."

    They slide toward him over the uneven ground, skin alive and glowing with sweat in the lamplight. Renoir covers his face with his massive hands, shielding his view from the approaching monsters, but it does no good. He cannot help himself. He has to peek through his fingers, has to watch their silken skin getting closer. Maria picks up the fallen lantern and opens its door. She smiles at him, and purses her lips in a mocking kiss.

    "What are you?" Renoir sobs.

    "Hungry," she says, and blows out the light.

    The last thing Renoir feels, before he gives himself up to screaming, is the touch of tiny hands, so many, oh so tiny… tiny hands…

    ENDS
    test
  3. quotive

    quotive 3

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    Uhhhhh...............
    As much as this is a good story, its sooo overdone. Man, I read the whole thing..
    Since its an experiment, I'm hoping.. I skipped a few paragraphs.. to see if you said anything detailed in them. Read a few more, and wasn't lost. That means you were saying a lot of unneeded information.
    I saw "ENDS" .. and umm, why did he attempt to kill Maria? You don't make a story, without motive. Its.. because he prays to the wrong God? Where was Gabriel at when Father Renoir and Maria were talking?
    And umm...
    "Even when you ran from France, you couldn't stop yourself, could you? Moving from town to town, each time somewhere smaller and more primitive, less and less of the world to tempt you..." she runs fingers across her little nipples and cups imaginary breasts, "...always so tempted."
    She's six, not twenty-one. And since when do six year olds have such a broad vocabulary? I'm SIX-teen, and I don't use that sort of vocabulary on a regular basis. It killed it for me.
    As much as I respect you as a writer.. this definately didn't work. If you could have explained why Renoir wanted to kill Maria, and the tons of other children... and speaking of the other children, how the fuck did they come back? Who the fuck were they? lol and how did Maria survive?
    I'm clueless.. but.. good attempt man. I wouldn't have even got past two paragraphs, you did a whole short story.
    Peace.
    test
  4. Sole Sovereign

    Sole Sovereign Hungry But Never Starving

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    lmfao - This won Del Rey's Editor's Choice Award and was edited and published. She's not actually a six year old at that point in the story. She was a demon/ghost who would more than likely have a large vocabulary, a vocabulary in which it could relate better with the priest. Did you read the story? He didn't attempt to kill anybody, he did kill them. He had a thing for raping and murdering young girls, his pennance was them coming back to haunt and kill him. That was the motive, him being a psychopath pedofile.
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  5. quotive

    quotive 3

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    Well, congrats.

    Anddd uhhh, I did read it. She was six at the time? Wtf?

    Hmm.. so when they searched for her she just magically turned a different age?

    Very confusing. But good job nonetheless.
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  6. Sole Sovereign

    Sole Sovereign Hungry But Never Starving

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    lmfao - No she didn't change ages. It's not the little girl, it's a demonic representation. Dude she dies, it says plain as day in the story. I don't see how it's confusing, she dies right off the bat. It even talks about him disposing of the body. So how do they find "her" later in the story? I'm sorry you're not understanding the piece, but thousands of others have. I mean he KILLS her, then he pretends to try to look for her to cover his ass, then he ends up finding some sort of demon that makes him pay for his sins. It's probably one of my most popular pieces. Again, sorry it's confusing to you, but I need some other view point here to tell me how its confusing, because the problems you are stating are obvious and plainly written, not even disguised by some metaphore. Here i'll show you.

    I mean I don't know how to say she dies much more simpler than that, other than to put "She Dies" in a set of parantheses after that paragraph.
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  7. Mind~$oul

    Mind~$oul I'm Pretty

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    I think this would be better off in the intercourse of somethin man. Plus You already have two other pieces up. I'm not gonna close this though. I'ma move it into the intercourse.
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