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 Come All Ye Faithful And Weary, (Charlie!)
Joshua Abrams
 Posted: Nov 4 2014, 01:52 PM
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Father Joshua Abrams' time in New Hope had been pleasant thus far. He had never been from a family of luxury so life hadn't changed all that much from the place he had been living in before and now. Not that he was of much help in either locations; his health made it rather difficult for him to do anything physical without risking his asthma acting up. Therefore he was relegated to fetching supplies and helping with dinner when Krista needed any. It was fortunate she was there, though, since she filled in the gap that Joshua had unintentionally left behind. Martin and Travis were able-bodied men but the more hands on deck, per se, the better. So, in essence, the times he was not out gathering things, cooking meals, or simply talking to any of them when they were available, he was at the church. Perhaps it made for a slightly lonely existence when he couldn't even help the people who considered him family, though maybe it was for the better, especially when considering the secrets that he kept to himself.

He was thankful that nothing amiss had occurred to anyone he knew or anyone in town for that matter. There were plenty of religious folk that flocked to the church dutifully, though at the same time there were plenty of those who partook in excess alcohol consumption and decided to make not-so-smart decisions based on their inebriated mind. Most towns, at least from what he had heard, had these sort of individuals running about; the only slight concern was that New Hope had not been established all that long ago and so things might still be a little shaky. It was a new beginning, all right, but with all new beginnings there was hardship that would need to be overcome before everyone could move forward. Martin, Travis, and even Krista could defend themselves if such trouble ever arose nearby them -Joshua not so much. He was so frail and sickly at times that it was a wonder how he managed to stay alive for so long. So, that was why he was thankful; he was thankful that none of his companions were hurt nor had he gotten himself into a dangerous situation.

There was always a first time for everything though, right?

Today Joshua was at the church, cleaning up the place and tending to the books. A sermon had just concluded and once everyone had spilled out he found it rather quiet inside. The few clergy that had resided in the town before him had enough on their plate as it was; he was simply trying his best to do his part in maintaining the church. Even Gadreel, a newcomer as well, had more important things to do, though he hadn't asked the man if he wanted to help. Either way he did not want to bother the man and so he continued what he was doing in silence. Perhaps one day, when he was older, he might not have to worry so much about what other people thought about him. This was not such a day.
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Charlie Morrow
 Posted: Nov 8 2014, 05:46 PM
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You've got guts to spill but no one trustworthy

These creatures are waking up in these dark trees, Awaiting like vultures. Eyes roll back, turn white in time to feed. They salivate in hunger for you, and everything they need to make a death complete, completely unnatural and salvation lies behind those dead eyes that watch you while you sleep every night

He never quite understood why he drank as often as he did – which wasn’t that often, but frequent enough to make him wonder. Sure, it was nice when it made him social, which was rare, and it usually took the edge off of his darker, sharper thoughts; but most of the time, it just made him wobbly and weepy and put him to sleep, only to wake up in the morning with a hangover all the remedies in the west couldn’t overwhelm. It was thoughts of the past that drove him to drinking; of his wife and his daughter, the lack thereof. Sometimes it made him feel empty, and other times it made him feel overfilled, like he was stuffed to the brim with emotions he didn’t dare try to pull apart and examine.

He’d stumbled home only five hours before, cast himself into bed still in his clothes. This was the third night he’d gone without shaving or bathing, and also without proper sleep, and it was beginning to show pretty clearly. His face had collected a scruff of dirty blonde hair, his bright eyes were bloodshot and dim, and he had a way of picking himself up and walking reminiscent of a starving, lame puppy dog. It wasn’t the first time Charlie had fallen into such a rut – guilt and suppressed memories with a nice little sprinkle of suicidal thoughts – and he supposed it was about time to clean himself up.

He didn’t want to, of course, but he knew he needed to. There was always the thought of his darlings looking down on him from Heaven or wherever they were and disliking the man he’d become; perhaps even being ashamed of him – but of course, those thoughts only led to doubts that they were anywhere at all, especially in a position to look down at him and see what he was doing. Ever since that day he’d doubted the existence of God and Heaven, and wondered at what came after death. The most terrifying thought was nothing – that you and everything you’d ever done, all of it just ended as soon as your mind and body ceased to function.

He couldn’t bear to shut himself off from the world and think in such a way for much longer. He wasn’t sure of what insanity he would turn to, and he did still have that pistol…

Well, he finally decided that morning to pick himself up out of bed, fetch himself a fairly clean suit and hat, and drag himself out into the world, squinting furiously against the sunlight as it met his sensitive eyes. His head split momentarily with a white-light pain, and he stopped for a moment to clutch at his temples. Then he kept going, approaching the all-too-familiar church. He’d been there twice before, but he’d been quiet and kept to himself; he’d pretended to sit in the pew and pray serenely to himself. What he’d really been doing inside his head was screaming angrily at a God he doubted even heard his cries; why did He, how could He, where the hell was He anyway, just off playing poker with his buddies while little girls and their sweet mothers were –

Well, today was different. Today he joined the flux of people flooding into the church doors, taking a seat in the somewhat stuffy room at the back, watching as the pews filled with spectators. The pastor he’d met once before, but he hadn’t had much of a conversation with him. Overall the fellow seemed a bit quiet, gentle and perhaps even sickly; but the more he listened to the man speak, the more of an urge he had to talk to him personally. He folded his slender fingers in his lap as the church emptied, and kept his seat, watching Joshua for a moment before he stood and approached him. He felt a little awkward; he knew there was some specific title for priests, but he’d feel a bit ridiculous calling him that and later finding out it was wrong. So he stuck with a little “Afternoon,” which cracked a little on the final syllable.

Charlie cleared his throat, sighing gently. “I wanted to, er, to point out how enjoyable your sermon was. It was… enlightening…” his voice and eyes trailed off, his teeth working against his bottom lip; his entire expression suggested that he had much more to say, but was finding it difficult to figure out what exactly was supposed to come out. He’d been a little relieved at the idea of talking about his issues, having a few questions answered, but he was baffled as to where he should start.

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Joshua Abrams
 Posted: Nov 12 2014, 02:58 PM
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Sermons were something Joshua was all too familiar with. Not that he dreaded them; quite the opposite, in fact. Back at his old church there were enough clergy members that he did not always have to perform many sermons though he was content with helping out anyways despite the possible unnecessity of it. In New Hope, however? The clergymen were scarce at best and what there was of them were not always available. So, Joshua did what he was the best at: being a substitute. Not many spoke to him before or even after the sermons since he had arrived here, though the few compliments he received did lift his spirits a little. Confidence, though -not so much.

He had quite a few things on his place concerning what he did around the church but he wouldn't have it any other way. No one asked him; he just felt responsible for trying to do as much as he could to make up for the fact that he couldn't help in other ways. Of course, this was concerning Travis and his family; if he hadn't been so sickly perhaps his time spent at the church would have been far less than it was now, though life was not so kind to Joshua. Still, he took the blessings where he could get them and he was fortunate he was not dead. He couldn't bear to think what Travis would have done if he had died.

Joshua was reaching down to grab a bible that had been left on one of the pews when someone approached him. If it weren't for the fact that a sermon had just concluded he might have jumped since he was surprised, though thankfully he managed to keep calm enough to not have his asthma start up. He smiled gently at the man and listened to him speak. He seemed as though he might have been nervous about something but the priest did not point that out as he said, "Thank you. I try my best to make sure I help those who need it the most." He paused for a moment before tilting his head ever so slightly and asking, "Might I ask if there is something that you need? If not then I am sorry -I did not mean to imply that you needed my help." Though he smiled he couldn't help but feel just a little bit awkward. Small talk was not entirely his forte, was it? He was more willing to follow the conversation rather than lead it -besides his sermons, anyways. He just hoped he hadn't scared the man away with his strange behavior. It wouldn't have been the first time.
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Charlie Morrow
 Posted: Nov 12 2014, 10:59 PM
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You've got guts to spill but no one trustworthy

These creatures are waking up in these dark trees, Awaiting like vultures. Eyes roll back, turn white in time to feed. They salivate in hunger for you, and everything they need to make a death complete, completely unnatural and salvation lies behind those dead eyes that watch you while you sleep every night

It only caused him to hesitate more as he heard the soft voice and got a closer look at the soft features, the gentle smile given in response to his words. It surprised him a little that he hadn’t fallen victim to a disdainful or even curious look regarding his state; somewhat unshaven, bags beneath his eyes, the whites dappled with red. It wasn’t odd, he supposed, for someone to look like that – but it was odd for Charlie, who usually tried to at least look as if he had his life under control. He couldn’t help but feel a bit self-conscious for it, so it seemed a bit of a blessing that the priest didn’t point it out. Then again, it would have been nice for an opening, an inquiry on his well-being, but he didn’t think it was really the man’s place to put out such a question.

Ah, help. That was exactly what he needed. But just asking for help wasn’t good enough; he had to know what he needed help with, and how exactly to word it. ‘I saw my child and wife brutally murdered and desecrated, and now I question the existence of the very being you seem to have devoted your life to,’ seemed a little too forward. His slender fingers toyed with the hat in his hand, rotating it in a continuous cycle of circles. He got a bit nervous, felt lightheaded, and finally resigned himself to sit again upon the nearest pew, wringing the brim of his hat in his hands, precariously close to wrinkling the stiff material beyond repair.

“I was wondering if perhaps you could… talk,” he finally managed. “If you have the time, I mean. I – I’m sure you’re very busy. But…” his voice trailed off, expression darkening, gaze falling to the floor. He was about to start unloading with his complicated explanation and questions, but instead, his eyes brightened again and lifted to regard the priest with an expression of surprise. “Sorry, I never introduced myself, and I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Charlie, Charlie Morrow. Just seemed odd to take time out of your day with my,” he waved a hand, “trivial problems, without properly introducing myself.”

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Joshua Abrams
 Posted: Nov 14 2014, 12:05 PM
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In all the time that Joshua had been a priest, he had never really ran into anyone with deep confessions. It might have been a little strange -he hadn't lived in the worst of towns, but every place had their handful of people with unusual stories- but it did not bother him all that much. Perhaps, since the people knew him well enough, they did not want to burden his poor young soul with such frightful disclosures. He may have been frail though he did not necessarily think he was weak of mind -it was really the only thriving part of him at this point. Nevertheless nothing had made him feel uncomfortable or burdened, though not many knew him in New Hope. His luck was probably going to change sooner or later.

He was a little worried he might have been too forward with his offer to help the man -some people just wanted to be left alone. Thankfully, this was not the case, though when the man sat down the priest did look a little worried. He should have made sure the man was all right before asking if he needed any help; his appearance wasn't exactly tidy. When the man spoke he waited patiently since he did not want to interrupt him. The man seemed troubled indeed, but about what?

"I am not busy at all and even if I were I would stop what I had been doing to help you." Joshua smiled reassuringly. His religion may have been very important to him but helping people came first. It was the least he could do considering how pathetic he was in quite a few other fields. Even if he could give the man just a little respite from his woes he would. When the man introduced himself he nodded. "I am Father Joshua Abrams. I am new to town so that may be why we have never properly introduced ourselves. It is very nice to meet you Mr. Morrow." He paused for a moment before adding, "And, even if you had not introduced yourself, I would take the time to help you. No problem is trivial."
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Charlie Morrow
 Posted: Nov 17 2014, 02:05 AM
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Charlie was mollified by the gentle way the priest spoke, and by the way his tone matched his face. He took a moment to appreciate the feminine features upon it, and he breathed a sigh of relief. He could feel the tension lifting – very slowly, of course, but definitely lifting – as he realized he finally had found someone to listen. But he was still in debate with himself; could he really trust Father Abrams? Really? Perhaps he had some friend in town who he’d tell his story to, and then that friend would tell another and… the local doc would be the local drunken monster who let his wife and daughter –
No, he was being paranoid. And if he didn’t get this off his chest there was a chance he would go completely insane, holding onto it himself and nurturing it like some parasite; no, he had to tell. He had to talk. There really wasn’t any way around it. He wasn’t sure exactly of what would come of it. He didn’t think it would help that much – the guilt felt like a permanent burden on his soul, nothing that would be lifted soon - but it was pure madness not to try, especially when the man looked so open and eager to help. He’d heard that the church was the place to go if you sought peace, forgiveness. Charlie did not necessarily believe in God – he hadn’t much of a reason to, he thought – but he was willing to throw his beliefs – or lack thereof - to the wind, at least for now.
“Right,” he said a bit stiffly, running his fingers through his unkempt hair. He managed to fumble his hat to the floor as he lifted his hand, and left it there, wringing his fingers together and staring at the place where it’d fallen. His eyes had widened just slightly, lips parting; he was trying to think of what to say, how to say it, and then the words started pouring, a torrent he couldn’t stop until it’d run its course.
“I haven’t been sleeping much,” he admitted, his brow knitting. “Truthfully, I haven’t really been sleeping at all. And, I’ll be honest, I’m not a man who likes to drink, but I’ve been putting drinks away like, well, like some kind of drunkard, just so when I do sleep it’s that peaceful, black sleep I get from drinking too much. I…” he paused and swallowed. “I hate to sleep because lately I’ve been having these dreams. Nightmares. Vivid ones. Reliving this one night… except it’s worse, you know? It’s worse.” He stopped talking for a little, glancing down at a trembling hand and sighing irritably as he drew it beneath the opposite arm, crossing his upper limbs over his chest. Then he brought his gaze up and eyed the priest levelly, squinting a little. “I guess what I’m trying to tell you is that I let them die, both of them, and it was my job not to let them die. But I did. And now I can’t get over it. I don’t think I ever will.” The next part seemed even more difficult, as he tried to put forth a question; “I have to ask… if… if… if there is a God, okay, and he’s got this whole… this whole divine plan, well, what part of that plan required my pa, wife and daughter, all three of them, to be murdered in cold blood all in the same night? Tell me that, because I don’t… I don’t understand.” He started out sounding kind of desperate, but by the end of the question he sounded bitter. He hadn’t meant to. Charlie had beef with God, or the idea of Him, only because he needed someone else to blame apart from himself.
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Joshua Abrams
 Posted: Nov 18 2014, 01:05 PM
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Joshua held a few secrets of his own inside his head so when it came to others' secrets he tried his best to keep them safe. He had never had anyone tell him anything particularly dangerous, which was definitely a good thing -he was certainly not in a position to defend himself. It was only his secrets that bogged him down: the top two being what actually happened to his father and his feelings for Travis. Neither were devastating to many though he had a good feeling he would lose the only family he had if they ever found out. He would only have his faith left, but what was faith without those to share it with?

Whatever this poor man was keeping hidden was possibly driving him mad. As the priest observed the man more it was apparent that he was bothered -some that arrived at the church in a similar condition. However... there was something more and Joshua couldn't help but feel remorseful for what this man might have gone through. He may not have personally ever received any confessions that were sorrowful but he had heard vague stories of others who had. It was foolish to assume such things did not happen; it was even more foolish to assume that such a situation would not happen to him eventually.

When the man's hat fell off his head Joshua immediately bent down to pick it up for the man. However, before he could hand it back to him the man began to speak. And what was said disturbed Joshua. Not in the sense that the man had done anything wrong; no, it was more in the sense that this man was hopelessly lost in guilt and self-blaming. Somewhat -he did seem to question God's 'plan' about his family's deaths. The priest couldn't even begin to contemplate what that would have been like -his mother had died in childbirth and he had no other family besides his father. But if something had ever happened to Travis, Martin, or Krista... he wondered if he would have been in the same state this man was right now.

Joshua swallowed hard as he attempted to find words that might have possibly comforted this man; it was not going to be an easy task. "It was not your fault, Charlie, even if you believe it was. You did the best that you could and you should not feel guilty over that; I am certain they would not want you to feel that way either." The priest hesitated for a moment before continuing with, "As for God's plan... unfortunately I cannot say what that specifically details. I can, however, tell you that sometimes the nature of man gets in the way of things and that is what leads to disaster." With that Joshua circles around the pew Charlie had sat in so that he could sit next to the man without having to ask him to move. Once he sat down he handed the hat back to the man and said, "We just have to find the strength to move on from such tragedies, no matter how difficult that may seem."
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