Cleansing The Crucifix
Four days remained until the festival.
He slid the cloth across rough iron, coaxing bits of grit and rust from its crevices. The cross was beautiful in its way, crude but powerful, substantial and heavy and full, like the Vicar, with the weight of holy purpose. In the hours of stubborn scraping - twilight, for he had other preparations to attend to during the day - he thought often of his mother, who of everyone was proudest of him. And also of his father, whom he had never met, who may not have existed. No one would say.
He was dedicated enough to his task that he did not then notice the evidence of aberration that shared the altar with him, nor did he yet have cause to regret his choice.