Coal Dust

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All good Catholics have a conscience that hounds them into giving in to the sanctity of the Church, which is what drove the aged man to the confessional that evening.

He had bloodshot eyes and stabbing arthritis that wracked his body each morning before the whiskey could take effect, but the crocked-nose codger knelt inside the confessional painfully awaiting his turn. Flashes of what he’d done filled his mind, torturing his soul. He’d been a good Catholic for most of his life, but the closer his earthly existence grew nigh, his conscience intensified. He’d retained most of the money he’d received unable to bring himself to spend it, not that he had anyone upon whom he could.

Edmund Hagan was raised by his hateful aunt following the death of his mother. Never at the right place at the right time, and soulfully unlucky, the old man remained downtrodden for most of his years. It was to his amazement that he was asked to do a favor for one of the town’s prominent individuals, a feat for which he’d been handsomely rewarded. But, now his conscience had taken over and, despite the alcohol, he felt much akin to a bloody sheet flapping in the wind. As the confessional window slid open he heard the priest say… “Go ahead, I’m listening.”

“Bless me father for I have sinned… it’s been…” Hesitating several seconds before continuing, he said, “I can’t remember my last confession.”

“Well now,” whispered Monsignor Clapp, the priest selected by the powers of the Vatican to serve the town of Killenaule. “Is this who I think it is?”

“Father I…” His voice fading. “Father… I must confess.”

“Shhh, not here.”

“I was there… and… I did it. You know I did it… I did it for you.”

“Does anyone know?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think so, but. I’m not sure.”

“You’re not sure, hey? You had better hope that no one finds out.”

“Father, I must confess. You must hear my confession… you must.”

“Not now, my son. It will be alright I promise.”

“Can I finish my confession?”

“Not now.”

“Soon, Father?”

“We must be discreet, you know that. Did you start that rumor?”

“What rumor, Father?”

“About Flynn and Muldoon’s wife. I told you about that. You’ve got to make sure there are no questions about his wife and Flynn and them having an affair. Now go,
and say 10 rosaries for the dearly departed, and speak to no one. Does anyone know you’re here?”

“No Father.”

“Did anyone follow you?”

“I don’t think so, but how would I know?”

“Just be sure you’re not followed when you leave. Better yet, wait by the sacristy until I finish. I will escort you out.”

“I will, Father.”

“Go say your prayers.”

“Am I absolved of my sins, Father?”

“That will come later, now GO.”

“Do ya know what it was like down there, Father? The cold? The dark? And me all by myself? Have ya ever done anything like that, Father?” But before the priest could answer, the man continued.“How the charges were placed and where? It was so dark and scary and my hands were shaking and I couldn’t see. I had to wait until half the night before I was sure that… and then… and then.” The man wept as the priest sat in silence. “I didn’t know, Father. I didn’t know anyone would… I didn’t know.”

“God knows,” said the priest. “Now go and pray.”

PURCHASE

Robert Flynn’s body is lying in the study of his ornately decorated mansion at Bruenwild Farm in South Central, Ireland. Although it appears that he died of blunt-force trauma to his head, there are no witnesses. But, who would want the elderly horseman to meet such a tragic fate? The sad truth is… who wouldn’t?

Could the Vatican be involved? Could it be Flynn’s old friend, Lord Chesterfield? Could it be the man who killed Flynn’s former partner? Could it be William Muldoon whose father and grandfather died when the coal mine that Flynn owned exploded? And, what brings Tuck Flannery, owner of Kentucky’s Fairhaven Farm, to the Bruenwild Estate?

All this and more as the intriguing who-done-it takes you from the majestic Bluegrass of Kentucky to the emerald pastures of Ireland’s most prestigious horse farm.