Sister Bernadette was born Marie Ann Riggs of Iowa, an everyday ordinary average looking girl, with dark brown shoulder length hair and green eyes. The only child of Joseph and Clara Riggs. Her parents were kind, hard working individuals that knew early on that Marie was not a happy child. She was quite, shy and keept to herself. When she turned 18 and announced to her parents that she would be joining a convent to take her vows, her parents were releaved that she had found her calling. They wished her well and let her go on her way.
Now named Sister Bernadette she found herself at St. Anthony’s, a small church with just herself and Father Gabriel inhabiting the grounds. Sister Bernadette was taken with Father Gabriel as soon as she laid eyes on him, a good looking man, clean-shaven, with short dark hair and even darker eyes, that just sucked her in. She was completely obedient to him, from the beginning.
Sister Bernadette sat straight up out of a deep sleep.
“What was that?” she strained to hear.
She got out of bed, sliding her bare feet into her slippers, grabbing her robe and slowly opened the door. The hallway was dimmly lit by a nightlight shaped like a cross. She could have sworn there was a noise from Father Gabriel’s room.
Sister Bernadette made her way down the hallway, the door to Father Gabriel’s room was open.
“It’s never open at night,” she said to herself.
She peered in, his bed was empty. She took the back stairs down to the kitchen. As she reached the last step the kitchen light came on, she froze and watched as Eric carried Father Gabriel with his hands and ankles bound with duct tape into the walk-in fridge.
She listened, as Grace threatened Father Gabriel. When he yelled out, she covered her mouth to muffle a cry. After Grace and Eric had left, she creept towards the walk-in.
She stood looking at Father Gabriel taped to the yellow school chair, drenched in his blood, slumped over. She wanted to scream, but her voice was caught in her throat and no sound emerged.
Sister Bernadette fell to her knees in the walk-in fridge, moving her hands in the sign of the cross and mumbling prayers to herself.
Then there was a voice, she stopped praying and listened. The voice spoke to her, telling her what she needed to do now.
“Look at what they have done,” It said.
“You have to put him to rest,” It told her.
She knew what had to be done, Sister Bernadette obeyed the voice in her head. She worked quickly gathering sheets, garbage bags and the wheelbarrow form the gardening shed.
She wrapped him in sheets, covered him with the garbage bags and put him into the wheelbarrow. She scrubbed the walk-in and the yellow school chair, putting it back in the stack downstairs next to the piano in the rec room.
Sister Bernadette then wheeled Father Gabriel’s body out to the garden, she dug a shallow grave between the corn stalks and the zucchini. She dumped him in, covered him up and said a prayer. She took two small pieces of wood along with a piece of twine that she had found in the gardening shed and fashioned a small cross to mark his grave.
She stood in the laundry room taking off her robe, nightgown and slippers. She put them into the washer, added soap and started the cycle. She wandered back upstairs to the bathroom naked.
Sister Bernadette let the hot water wash away the dirt and blood. As she washed she listened to the voice.
“You have to punish them,” It said.
She let out a deep sigh, she thought about Father Gabriel and how she already missed him.
Sister Bernadette dressed in street clothes, she took out of the lost and found and headed out to find Eric and Grace. She spent the day wandering around downtown, she stopped by the deli across from the downtown police station and had a turkey sandwich. While she was enjoying her lunch outside in the warm summer sun she happened to see Detective Eric Stone leaving the station with a co-worker.
“What a small world it is,” she said to herself.
She spent the next few days watching Eric and figuring out where and when she would confront him.
It was half past four on Saturday when there was a knock on Eric’s downtown apartment door.
He answered the door.
“Hello, may I help you,” Eric asked.
“I am Sister Bernadette, from St. Anthony’s. Can I talk to you?” she said.
Eric looked her over and realised that he did know her from Father Gabriel’s photos.
“Sure, come in,” he said holding the door open for her.
They entered Eric’s apartment and took a seat at the kitchen table.
“Would you like a water?” Eric asked. Sister Bernadette nodded Eric grabbed them each a bottle from the fridge.
“So what’s on your mind?” he asked.
“Where’s Grace?” she asked.
“She’ll be back soon,”
“You, know what Father Gabriel did to Grace, and to me?”
“Yes, I do,” Eric opened his water and took a drink.
The door to the apartment opened and as Grace entered the apartment, Sister Bernadette jumped out of her seat, pulled out the knife she was carrying and put it to Eric’s throat.
“Welcome home Grace,” she said.
Grace took all this in as she sat the bag of groceries down. Eric still sitting at the table, Sister Bernadette’s shaking hand pushing the blade slightly into Eric’s neck.
“Take a seat Grace,” she said.
Grace slowly sat down at the table watching Eric’s calm face. She took a deep breath.
“Sister Bernadette? That’s your name right?” Grace asked.
“Why, did you have to kill him, Grace why?” she cried out.
“Why, seriously, because he was manipulating people into preforming sexual acts without their consent,”
Sister Bernadette’s hand shook more, her face was red and she couldn’t keep the tears from falling. Grace watched her become confused and conflicted.
The voice was still there telling her to punish them for taking Father Gabriel.
Grace looked at Eric, as she moved to grab Sister Bernadette, Eric grabbed the knife. Grace held her in a tight hug. Taking her over to the couch and sitting down with her.
“What was your name before?” Grace asked.
Sister Bernadette looked at her slightly confused.
“Marie,” she answered. Grace smiled at her.
“That’s a nice name, do you want to be Marie again?”
“Yes, please call me Marie,” she answered starting to cry harder, Grace held her as she cried and apologize.
Eric pulled out a bottle of Jack and poured three glasses. He handed one to Grace, and sat on the couch next to Marie. He rubbed her back, she turned towards him, he handed her the drink.
“Thanks,” she downed the drink.
“I am so sorry,” she said giving Eric a hug. Eric hugged her back.
Eric poured them another round. Eric and Grace talked to Marie, asking about her family and why she chose to join the church.
Grace keept telling her that it was over, that she could do whatever she wanted to. She could stay here with them for a while till she decided what she wanted. Eric offered that she could talk to a counselor if she wanted.
“It’s ok that I stay with you,” she asked Grace.
Grace kissed her on the forehead and smiled at her.
“Yes, it’s fine,”
Marie stayed with Grace and Eric, she saw a counselor twice a week and was reclaiming herself. Pushing Sister Bernadette further and further away, as she became a new Marie.
It was around September when Marie asked Grace, if she could join her and Eric in bed. Grace was slightly surprised by this request, but open to it, they had all gotten comfort with each other over the last couple of months.
Grace ran this request by Eric, and he agreed.