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Affliction

Even Bad Girls Go to Church Sometimes

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Lucy had been trying to sit quietly through the ceremony, but had lost patience about five minutes in. The pastors, fathers, whatever- were holding a public service at Saint Sebastian’s to acknowledge the people in the community who had made generous donations to the church’s various community ministries. Lucy hadn't been keeping up with the list, but she was sure there was a homeless shelter and a shelter for battered women and something else. Needless to say, if there was a chance for public recognition, her grandfather Hieronymus King would be there. She didn't know how much money he had given, but she figured it was just enough to buy the recognition he was about to get. So typical.

To keep from going completely crazy, Lucy had excused herself from the pew under the pretense of going to the bathroom, and began exploring the church. She very quickly found the basement and began her descent. Surely whatever was down here was more interesting than what was going on upstairs.

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lucy.jpg

Lucy had been trying to sit quietly through the ceremony, but had lost patience about five minutes in. The pastors, fathers, whatever- were holding a public service at Saint Sebastian’s to acknowledge the people in the community who had made generous donations to the church’s various community ministries. Lucy hadn't been keeping up with the list, but she was sure there was a homeless shelter and a shelter for battered women and something else. Needless to say, if there was a chance for public recognition, her grandfather Hieronymus King would be there. She didn't know how much money he had given, but she figured it was just enough to buy the recognition he was about to get. So typical.

To keep from going completely crazy, Lucy had excused herself from the pew under the pretense of going to the bathroom, and began exploring the church. She very quickly found the basement and began her descent. Surely whatever was down here was more interesting than what was going on upstairs.

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lucy.jpg

Lucy had been trying to sit quietly through the ceremony, but had lost patience about five minutes in. The pastors, fathers, whatever- were holding a public service at Saint Sebastian’s to acknowledge the people in the community who had made generous donations to the church’s various community ministries. Lucy hadn't been keeping up with the list, but she was sure there was a homeless shelter and a shelter for battered women and something else. Needless to say, if there was a chance for public recognition, her grandfather Hieronymus King would be there. She didn't know how much money he had given, but she figured it was just enough to buy the recognition he was about to get. So typical.

To keep from going completely crazy, Lucy had excused herself from the pew under the pretense of going to the bathroom, and began exploring the church. She very quickly found the basement and began her descent. Surely whatever was down here was more interesting than what was going on upstairs.

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Agnes had been working down in the various basements of St. Sebastian's all morning. The church had a continuing problem with rats, and Agnes had volunteered for clean-up duty. The elders had insisted on an exterminator, but Agnes, once she heard of it, protested strongly. She pleaded with Sister Agatha to take up her case with the elders. They reached a compromise. Agnes could set out no-kill traps to "relocate" the rats, as long as she cleaned up after them. The elders would revisit the issue in a month. So Agnes had worked diligently for the last few months to save the mice. This morning was no different.

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Agnes had been working down in the various basements of St. Sebastian's all morning. The church had a continuing problem with rats, and Agnes had volunteered for clean-up duty. The elders had insisted on an exterminator, but Agnes, once she heard of it, protested strongly. She pleaded with Sister Agatha to take up her case with the elders. They reached a compromise. Agnes could set out no-kill traps to "relocate" the rats, as long as she cleaned up after them. The elders would revisit the issue in a month. So Agnes had worked diligently for the last few months to save the mice. This morning was no different.

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Agnes had been working down in the various basements of St. Sebastian's all morning. The church had a continuing problem with rats, and Agnes had volunteered for clean-up duty. The elders had insisted on an exterminator, but Agnes, once she heard of it, protested strongly. She pleaded with Sister Agatha to take up her case with the elders. They reached a compromise. Agnes could set out no-kill traps to "relocate" the rats, as long as she cleaned up after them. The elders would revisit the issue in a month. So Agnes had worked diligently for the last few months to save the mice. This morning was no different.

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Lucy wandered around the "catacombs" below the church for several more minutes before she saw her first sign of life. She was strolling along a long dark hallway when she heard movement up ahead, around a corner. She slipped out of her shoes and tip-toed up to the corner. Peeking around, she saw a girl about her age, dressed like a pauper, cleaning the floor. It was a curious sight, looking kind of like a modern day Cinderella. Lucy didn't say anything. She just watched the strange girl, in this strange place, doing her strange work.

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Lucy wandered around the "catacombs" below the church for several more minutes before she saw her first sign of life. She was strolling along a long dark hallway when she heard movement up ahead, around a corner. She slipped out of her shoes and tip-toed up to the corner. Peeking around, she saw a girl about her age, dressed like a pauper, cleaning the floor. It was a curious sight, looking kind of like a modern day Cinderella. Lucy didn't say anything. She just watched the strange girl, in this strange place, doing her strange work.

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lucy.jpg

Lucy wandered around the "catacombs" below the church for several more minutes before she saw her first sign of life. She was strolling along a long dark hallway when she heard movement up ahead, around a corner. She slipped out of her shoes and tip-toed up to the corner. Peeking around, she saw a girl about her age, dressed like a pauper, cleaning the floor. It was a curious sight, looking kind of like a modern day Cinderella. Lucy didn't say anything. She just watched the strange girl, in this strange place, doing her strange work.

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Agnes was indeed very Cinderella like. She was wearing an old pair of jeans, a baggy hooded sweatshirt, and had her hair covered by a kerchief. With a broom in one hand as a dustpan in the other, she was the spitting image of black-sheep-labor. Agnes was oblivious to Lucy's arrival. She kept right on working at sweeping up mice droppings. All of the "no kill" traps were empty, but the bait was gone. The mice were apparently smarter than a teenage girl (or the guys who make traps).

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Agnes was indeed very Cinderella like. She was wearing an old pair of jeans, a baggy hooded sweatshirt, and had her hair covered by a kerchief. With a broom in one hand as a dustpan in the other, she was the spitting image of black-sheep-labor. Agnes was oblivious to Lucy's arrival. She kept right on working at sweeping up mice droppings. All of the "no kill" traps were empty, but the bait was gone. The mice were apparently smarter than a teenage girl (or the guys who make traps).

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Agnes was indeed very Cinderella like. She was wearing an old pair of jeans, a baggy hooded sweatshirt, and had her hair covered by a kerchief. With a broom in one hand as a dustpan in the other, she was the spitting image of black-sheep-labor. Agnes was oblivious to Lucy's arrival. She kept right on working at sweeping up mice droppings. All of the "no kill" traps were empty, but the bait was gone. The mice were apparently smarter than a teenage girl (or the guys who make traps).

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Agnes about jumped out of her skin when Lucy spoke, dropping her broom and dustpan. "Whaâ€â€" Visions of Halloween monsters flashed through her head. When she saw it was a girl, she was relieved. Agnes closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Hi," she said. "Are you lost?"

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Agnes about jumped out of her skin when Lucy spoke, dropping her broom and dustpan. "Whaâ€â€" Visions of Halloween monsters flashed through her head. When she saw it was a girl, she was relieved. Agnes closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Hi," she said. "Are you lost?"

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Agnes about jumped out of her skin when Lucy spoke, dropping her broom and dustpan. "Whaâ€â€" Visions of Halloween monsters flashed through her head. When she saw it was a girl, she was relieved. Agnes closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Hi," she said. "Are you lost?"

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"Are you lost?"

"Why, can you 'save' me?" Lucy smiled at the little jab. She folded her arms and leaned up against the wall, looking the girl over. She was pretty, and they were about the same age, but she just looked . . . lame. "I may be beyond saving," she added with a laugh. "I think my lostness is permenant. But then again, I've never swept up mouse @#$%, so what do I know."

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"Are you lost?"

"Why, can you 'save' me?" Lucy smiled at the little jab. She folded her arms and leaned up against the wall, looking the girl over. She was pretty, and they were about the same age, but she just looked . . . lame. "I may be beyond saving," she added with a laugh. "I think my lostness is permenant. But then again, I've never swept up mouse @#$%, so what do I know."

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"Are you lost?"

"Why, can you 'save' me?" Lucy smiled at the little jab. She folded her arms and leaned up against the wall, looking the girl over. She was pretty, and they were about the same age, but she just looked . . . lame. "I may be beyond saving," she added with a laugh. "I think my lostness is permenant. But then again, I've never swept up mouse @#$%, so what do I know."

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Agnes just smiled. This girl obviously came with all the rich glory-hounds upstairs in the church's sanctuary. She was exquisitely dressed, meticulously made up, and smelled of expensive perfume, though strangely she was barefoot. The girl's appearance only described her outside. Her vicious and exaggerated verbal attack described her inside: insecure and starved for attention. Agnes felt great pity for her and wasn't at all stung by the empty words. She was, in fact, quite content to do her work around the church, regardless of how menial.

"No," she said kindly and patiently, "Are you lost? Are you looking for something down here. I'd be happy to show you around, if you like?"

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Agnes just smiled. This girl obviously came with all the rich glory-hounds upstairs in the church's sanctuary. She was exquisitely dressed, meticulously made up, and smelled of expensive perfume, though strangely she was barefoot. The girl's appearance only described her outside. Her vicious and exaggerated verbal attack described her inside: insecure and starved for attention. Agnes felt great pity for her and wasn't at all stung by the empty words. She was, in fact, quite content to do her work around the church, regardless of how menial.

"No," she said kindly and patiently, "Are you lost? Are you looking for something down here. I'd be happy to show you around, if you like?"

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Agnes just smiled. This girl obviously came with all the rich glory-hounds upstairs in the church's sanctuary. She was exquisitely dressed, meticulously made up, and smelled of expensive perfume, though strangely she was barefoot. The girl's appearance only described her outside. Her vicious and exaggerated verbal attack described her inside: insecure and starved for attention. Agnes felt great pity for her and wasn't at all stung by the empty words. She was, in fact, quite content to do her work around the church, regardless of how menial.

"No," she said kindly and patiently, "Are you lost? Are you looking for something down here. I'd be happy to show you around, if you like?"

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Lucy snickered. She wasn't lost. She knew exactly where she was. However, she was interested in a tour even less that she was interested in being upstairs with all the blow-hards, religious or otherwise.

"No thanks. I'll pass on the tour."

Lucy stood there for another few moments, looking the girl up and down.

"So, what did you do?"

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