Chapter 6.4 – Pastor

Father Gerard Dupont stares at the vagrant man standing in the church narthex.
It has been nearly twenty years since he took vows devoting his life to the clergy. Though some would consider him to be relatively young, he wears the burdens of witnessing many tragedies on his worry-lined face. But looking into his eyes, all that can be seen is the joy that comes from the blessings of his vocation.
He has presided here, in this rustic church, for most of his tenure as a pastor. Or at least that his how his recollection of things has been until this vagrant arrived. Something deep within his mind, akin to the memory of a dream, surfaces. He remembers the two of them having many discussions about faith and science. They had never agreed with each other’s point of view, though both had been given plenty fuel for thought.
He is a man with no name, but his family by marriage calls him “Doc”. Gerard had officiated the man’s marriage to his wife, and his dark-skinned daughter-in-law’s marriage to her husband. But it did not happen here. It was a different place …or maybe a different time? Deeply troubled by these new memories, Gerard tends to a homeless woman and her daughter, and then excuses himself to welcome the newcomer.
Calling him by the only name he knows, he greets Doc with guarded familiarity. Gerard, feeling suddenly awkward, recalls how Doc had always displayed some measure of discomfort toward his effeminate speech and mannerisms.  It is no different now as Doc’s sweaty brow darts upward, while he pushes nervously at the bridge of his thick glasses.
Doc appears as a sim who is extended far beyond the threshold of exhaustion. Gerard picks out an unoccupied pew for him to rest on. Before he can ask the first question about his presence here, and whether these new memories are mutual, Doc’s breathing settles to a quiet snore.
It is late afternoon the next day before Gerard sees Doc emerge into the kitchen, where the the young pastor is eating among the homeless being sheltered at the church. Gerard remembers Doc eating at his kitchen in Sunset Valley.
It was a feast in comparison to the donated rice and beans he now serves. Gerard excuses himself from the table and rises to serve Doc a portion. He blesses the meal before handing it to Doc; remembering that it is another thing he was never very comfortable with.
When Doc calls him “Father Dupont” while thanking him for the food, Gerard can no loner contain his curiosity. He sits with Doc at an unoccupied table. But before he has any chance to speak, he notices how Doc’s badly shaking hands are barely able to manage the utensil he is using to eat. Gerard takes a deep breath and asks the pointed question of whether Doc is using drugs.
Doc shakes his head and admits that it would be a much easier solution than the one he has chosen. Between ravenous bites, Doc explains everything. The dreams about Hope, his travel to Sunset Valley, meeting Faith, and also meeting Gerard in the town’s small church. He details everything he can remember. But there is something missing. There was some kind of earthquake or tremor; and he remembers drilling to look for something underground. But this is where his memory fails him. Then, one day, he just woke up here. No wife, no children, and no family. It is as if he has never left his little urban slum.
Father Dupont sits back in his chair and attempts to digest what Doc has just told him. He has felt the dreamlike numbness for a long time, but thought it to be only a sort of depression. He has watched as simciety embraces its descent into moral decay with lustful eagerness, while struggling alone to fight off his own cravings and desires. He now has more homeless coming through his doors looking for food and shelter, than he does believers coming to worship. Is it possible that Doc is right, and this place is some kind of dream?
Gerard closes his eyes and silently asks for wisdom and guidance. How is it possible to have memories of two different places? His head spins trying to think of some lesson in the teachings of his faith that may help to explain this. But with his mind racing as fast as his heart, he can think of nothing. What is he supposed to do?
The answer comes much quicker than Gerard had expected. Doc leans over the table and whispers to Gerard with deadly seriousness. He tells the pastor that he knows his family is in danger, and he will do anything to “save” them. But he cannot do it alone. He needs help from another sim who has been where he has been; and remembers details he may have forgotten.
It is the only way to make things right again.

3 thoughts on “Chapter 6.4 – Pastor

  1. It will certainly be interesting to see these two pair up! I can’t wait to see what happens, and hope the fruit of their work is seen sooner rather than later 🙂


  2. Ah I see that is not Michael. He has the same hairstyle and the room was dark, so I thought he had black hair.
    Besides that, I’m still completely hooked. Gerard’s cool (:


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