When given the assignment to write a (very) short fictional story of a sinner’s turning away, realizing his sin, and return to the faith, I immediately thought of the men at whose hands so many innocent are done away with. The men that evoke society’s applause, the faithful’s prayers, and the innocent’s death. Here is that story…
The white walls dimmed to a hazy shade of grey. Andrew Hughes M.D. stood in a stupor. The throbbing of his heart pounded viciously against the walls of his ears. He removed the gloves with desperate haste, swallowing hard as the blood inevitably stained his hands.
“Jane, I think I’ll sit down for a bit.”
The nurse grabbed his arm and led him to the gray chair.
“I’m not sure what’s wrong with me…” Was anything coming out? He could feel his vocal cords vibrating, but could hear nothing.
“This was your first procedure. I’ll get you a glass of water. Just relax.” the nurse’s high-pitched voice came hazily through the maddening sound of bells.
Andrew listened to her steps as she left. His heart seemed to be pounding in his throat. He attempted to swallow, and nearly choked. What was wrong with him? Never in medical school did he as much as flinch at the sight of blood. This was a standard procedure, yet he couldn’t regain his composure.
A cold Styrofoam glass was placed in his shaking hands. Andrew tried to raise his head to thank the nurse, but he could only stare at the lollipop pattern on her new uniform. Only after several moments was he able to stand.
He glanced at the clock, 7:22. He rose and rushed down the hall, eager to return home.
He stopped as an arm brushed his. “Are you alright? You’re like a sheet! You’re not going to drive alone, are you?” An older nurse questioned.
“I’ll be fine.” Andrew muttered, ignoring the worried glances from a party of nurses.
The drive was a blur. Somehow he managed to get home. He signed wearily, and fell into the plush chair nearest the door.
“Is that you, dearest?” Catherine strode confidently into the sitting room, her silver earrings bouncing as she walked. “Oh, what’s wrong? You’re like a sheet. Are you ill?” Her green eyes grew large with concern.
“Why does everyone keep saying that? Yes, I’m fine.”
“When did you last eat? Perhaps you’re just low on sugar. I’ll fix you something. I’m sure that’s what you need.”
Andrew clasped Catherine’s arm. “Catherine. I murdered. Can’t you see what’s wrong with me? I’ve murdered a child.” And he wept.
“Oh, dearest, I don’t understand.”
“The abortion. The horrid abortion.”
“You scraped away some unwanted tissue, that’s all.” She said softly.
“No. No. No!” He wailed, his entire body rocking. “I saw what was taken away. It was a child I tell you! And I’m her murderer. There was nothing wrong with the little girl, until I came along. She would have grown into a healthy child…”
“Oh Andrew, this is nonsense. This is your job; this is what you trained all these years to do, to help these poor girls.” Her usually gentle voice was tainted with a harsh tone.
“Who am I to play God? How can I judge who’s worthy of existence and who is not? I cannot go back there, I will not.”
“Andrew! What are you saying? This is what you spent years and thousands of dollars for. We need this money! If you hadn’t done it, the girl would have gone to someone else.”
“Your reasoning was sufficient before. But Catharine, I saw the life end because of me. I saw a perfectly formed baby being destroyed. And you would want me to do this for money?”
Catherine’s eyes were clouded with doubt; she did not wish to understand.
Yet, surely the blackness of night crept upon him, till he could see no more. How cruel night is, without the sun for consolation. Yet he could not escape. And so he attempted to rationalize the matter, vainly wishing away the nightmare. In a shivering heap, he awaited the promise of morning.
The heaviness became too much for his soul to bear. At 3:03 a.m. at last Andrew Hughes M.D. surrendered. He knelt down and whispered, “Lord, I know it’s been awhile. Please, I’m lost. I have sinned. I don’t know the way out of his darkness. Help me, I beg.” Despite the despondent swaying and tear-filled eyes he noticed the knuckles of his clenched hands had grown white.
After what seemed an eternity, morning arrived. Despite the relief of surrender, Andrew still felt the stain upon his soul. He knew he had not the power to remove it. Catherine was exasperated at his moping about the house, and sent him away to run some errands in town. It was there that Andrew noticed a Catholic Church. Never before would he have set foot in such a place, but he found himself walking in. It was larger than he expected. The stain glass windows and ornate ceiling were incredible. Behind the altar was a large crucifix.
“Good morning.” Andrew turned at the voice. It belonged to a young man, small in stature. He seemed at first a teenager, but then Andrew noticed his white collar.
“I need to confess Father, but I do not know how.”
The priest smiled gently, knowingly. “Come with me.”