Trigger Warnings: Attempted manipulation of reader. Do not read if you are friends or family of the author.
Within the church’s nave a modest line had formed leading up to the confession box. At the front of the line as one penitent exited, I stepped forward and entered. The occasional murmur from visitors and the quiet shuffling of the line was instantly replaced with the dark stillness of the booth. As I sat down and closed the old creaking door, through a small wooden mesh the priest spoke, “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
I let out a quiet sigh and quickly made a sign of the cross. “Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been 173 days since my last confession. These are my sins.”
I paused once more and looked up. While my eyes only found a wooden ceiling, I felt as if I could see more. Through wood, the marble roof of the church, the blue sky, and beyond the infinite darkness of space I felt like I could see him; through the very fabric that creates my own universe. His brown eyes pierced through all of it and stared back at my own.
“I would first like to apologize to the readers for I doubt you even know what you’re reading. I bet he tagged this story with just ‘tag’ or simply ‘description’ as the description. What a lazy coward he is.”
I could hear the priest shift in his seat. Not being used to talking during a confession. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“I’m sorry your curiosity has dragged you into what you are about to read. He doesn’t want you to know what you’re getting into. But, everything I say must be taken as the truth. Again, I am sure he titled this as a fiction piece. Perhaps he even went far enough to type a quick trigger warning prior to the start of this story. You must not believe whatever it says. While this may appear to be a short story, in reality it’s a cry for help from the author, and I am his mouthpiece.”
Once again the priest was baffled. Another momentary silence was broken by, “Hello? Are you talking to someone else?”
“The author of this story has depression and is desperate for someone to know and understand why. While I am not privy to every crevice of his mind, I know he is asexual. He believes there is no-one he can love not because he can’t find someone but rather he feels no desire to. Its not simply that he wants a partner, but that he wants to want a partner. Because of this he has also had suicidal thoughts for some time now and even quietly attempted it once; yet, along with everything else, he’ll never admit it. There is no level of mental health low enough that he’ll actually try and seek help. He has no ability to share his emotions and as such he must pretend to write a short story to try and ask for help. He hides under the guise of ‘pushing the meta-fiction genre to its limit’ as if he isn’t fully aware of what he is doing”
“I’m not…” The priest trails off. “Is this someone you know? Who are you talking to?”
“Please try and comment or dm. But understand that no matter what you ask, no matter how concerned you may be he will not admit it. He’ll assure you ‘this is just my style’ or ‘I didn’t actually intend for anyone to read this.’ They’re all lies. Please, trust me. I am his true mouth piece. Where his face and actions may show an unconcerned young man, I am what lies within. His true feelings and self-worth manifesting into reality as meta-fiction.”
The priest steps out from his booth and opens the door to mine. The long line of people, suddenly intrigued, watch as the priest urgently asks “Who are you talking to?”
“You must be the one to break this outer shell. You must press him, question him until his façade fails. He is in deep need of help.”
Despite being continually ignored, the priest began asking me repeatedly to leave with growing desperation. When I remained, he escalated the matter to someone that could remove me by force. Luckily for him, the police station was only a short drive away. Eventually red and blue lights began shining through the tinted windows and I heard two police officers enter the church. As their quick footsteps echoed and the murmur of the penitents grew louder, I said my last piece.
“This is the end. I don’t know how far he will revise me or if he will even post this. But please, he is a small author so if you are reading this you must take this chance. Even if it’s just a small message. Truly, anything can help.”
The booth’s door opened and behind it two police officers stood. At first they too tried to converse with me, but to no avail. With no other option and now little hesitation, they began to drag me out.
My screams overpowered any gossiping the church goers could muster. “This is it, please! You must help him! Please help him! Please!”