The Puppet Master’s Prayer

It was my senior year at St. Mary’s University, a small Catholic school in Texas. I grew up in San Diego, California, and moving to such a foreign place, I didn’t ever get along with anyone, even by my senior year.

I was studying to be a theologist, and all of my classes were fairly small, filled with about 20-40 students. My hardest class, Religious Studies was held in an ancient Spanish chapel. It was huge- the ceiling went up about eighty feet, the pews started up pretty high, and eventually ended right in front of the podium. There were crucifixes and saints hanging towards the corners of the ceilings, and their sad eyes stared down at us. The prettiest part of the church were the glass stained windows that brought color into the room and could even illuminated their pale faces.

It was my least favorite class. I ended up staying up at all hours of the night studying for it, and on that Tuesday morning, the day before our final exam, I woke up twenty minutes late and had to practically run to the chapel.

When I walked in through the huge, wooden doors, the lights were shut off and the source of light was coming through the stained glass windows and the overhead projector. No one turned around, as I expected them to, not even my professor, who usually started lecturing right as class started and got on to his students for being late. I ignored it, thinking I probably just got lucky.

After taking my seat in the front row, I started writing down the notes on the projector, and finished fairly quickly. I patiently sat, waiting for my professor to change the slide or something, but he just stood there, back against us, facing the screen.

“Professor Tomas?”

With no response after a few seconds, I tried again.

“Professor Tomas?” I said a little louder. “Can you change the slide?”

Still, he didn’t answer me, and that’s when I started to suspect something was wrong. I leaned over to try to see his face, but it was too bright against the projector to make out his features. How could he stare at that illuminate projector without being blinded?

I sat back, straight in my seat and started to stand to leave class since we obviously weren’t doing anything. That’s when I noticed shiny reflections portraying from his back. But after staring at it for a little while, it wasn’t just on his back. I followed the strings of light up to the tall ceilings, but a dark shadow on the dark ceiling ended their paths.

At that point, I knew something wasn’t right.

I turned around to find all my peers staring down at their papers, in the exact same position they were in as when I first walked in, with the same strings starting from their backs and making its way up the ceiling.
I walked over to some guy sitting close to me, some smart ass that always knew the right answers, and gave him a little shove.

“Hey,” I said, and as soon as I touched him, he fell over, as if he were asleep.

I looked up to the rest of the class, feeling a chill go down my back. I grabbed my bag and ran back to the door, frantically pushing and pulling at the handles to get out, as far away as possible, but they were locked.

Then I heard a whisper from behind me.

“Cor lesu in semel minima dying. Amen misereri.”

I recognized this from one of my Bible classes. It was a Catholic prayer, only said in Latin.
Slowly, I turned around.

30 empty sockets were staring back at me, whispering, their lips moving by two thin strings.

The prayer for the dying echoed off the walls.

Credit To – Brandon & Emily

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