Preparing for the Initiation
Five days remained until the festival.
He had followed the Vicar's instructions with great care, whispering prayers as he touched the sanctified water to his breast. He had knelt before the altar in the small church, where the celebration would be performed. He had scrubbed every inch of the iron crucifix, and in cleansing it, he had found his own conscience washed free of misgivings.
Some doubts lingered in his mind, however; some secret sins that he would never be willing to confess, some uncertainties about what precisely he had been chosen to do. Everyone congratulated him and whispered enviously behind his back, but the smiles they proffered made him cringe. They spoke to him as though there were something that he was saving them from.