[center [pic https://imgur.com/fNfD7lE.png]]
[center [size15 [font "Edwardian" It was getting bad. It was no longer a few people wandering off into the woods in a string of unrelated suicides. It was a mass epidemic, and Father Merlot knew that with the numbers, there was no way for it to have an unrelated cause. They were sending men out in the morning to clean up all the bodies. Sometimes, not all of them came back.
The town was being put on lockdown. Nobody was allowed to leave until the epidemic was solved, in fear that anyone leaving would spread it elsewhere. That if one of them killed themselves elsewhere, they'd start the cycle someone else. But Father Merlot knew whatever was going on, it had something to do with the location. Father Merlot also knew that even when people were told they couldn't leave, they still would.
[b [#5F9EA0 "I haven't been sleeping since I got back, Father."]] The priest let out a heavy sigh and glanced at the wooden wall separating him and the woman on the other side. [b [#483D8B "You left town?"]]
[b [#5F9EA0 "I was...getting these thoughts- and I felt like I was coming up with some sort of sickness...and when I cut myself while making dinner one night my blood came out black-"]] Christopher Merlot took a deep intake of air. It could be lack of oxygen, he didn't need to jump to conclusions. [b [#5F9EA0 "I thought it was in my best interest to leave."]]
[b [#483D8B "Then why come back?"]]
[b [#5F9EA0 "I felt it calling to me."]]
Another desperate intake and he still felt like his lungs weren't getting enough air as he stood from his seat. He heard shuffling and hurried out as fast as he could to stop them- grabbing the panicked woman's arm. She didn't seem all there. Her eyes were...grey and unfocused. [b [#483D8B "Ma'am, please do not leave the building. I would like to call for a doctor, perhaps perform an exorcism-"]] He knew he could not. He did not have it in him. [b [#483D8B "I can get someone to help you. Please, come lay down-"]]
[b [#5F9EA0 "I have to get back to my children."]]
[b [#483D8B "Ma'am, please."]]
[b [#5F9EA0 "I have to [i go!]."]]
Father Christopher Merlot did [i not] want to make a scene. But what choice did he have? This woman was in hysterics! She was screaming and struggling now, and with what they had been finding in that forest as of late...
He did not want her to go. He knew she would not come back.
He quickly crossed himself, feeling guilt set in as he began to fear he was not pure enough to truly offer this woman any help, and grabbed the woman's arms to restrain her. [b [#483D8B "Someone go get the doctor! Please!"]] His eyes were desperate, begging, and all he could do was restrain this poor woman and say a silent prayer to himself as he watched a man run out of the church to grab the doctor.
Heaven help him, he prayed this wasn't his fault.]]]