Good for the Soul

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters.

He feels a certain amount of fear as he enters the hallowed ground of the cathedral on a rainy night. It is a fear of the unknown and this fear simultaneously holds him back and drives him forward all in one glorious movement. The heathens and the uneducated fear everything. They are a superstitious lot, bent on shutting their eyes to the wonders of the modern world and preferring instead to label its mysteries as gifts from God. Nathaniel Essex has never been an overtly religious man. His mind is capable of so many wondrous things on its own that he has no need for God. Yet there was a beauty in his life he cannot comprehend even with all his science and his theorems. The beauty and light of his life was once named Rebecca but that name only brings him pain and guilt now. So he, like all good men full of pain and guilt, now turns to the superstition when the science fails.

He treads lightly as he enters the sanctuary and his eyes rest upon the confessional booth. He's heard that confession is good for the soul and his soul, if he even has one at all, could use some repair in these dark times. Though his colleagues would scoff at him for such an act, Essex quietly enters the booth and takes a seat. It wouldn't be the first time he's heard the mocking, derisive laughter of his "friends" in the scientific community.

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned," he murmurs, "This shall be my first confession of it." He looks through the slats in the wall that separates him from the priest and takes in his countenance with an appraising eye. The priest has strong facial features but Essex only sees flaws and ways to improve those flaws. He remembers a time when he didn't see the flaws in everything, when he didn't try to find new ways to improve everything around him. His Rebecca often playfully chided him that he was competing for God's occupation. Essex never had a God so he never fully understood the joke.

"What troubles you, my son?" asks the priest. Essex pauses for a moment as if he hasn't thought about it before. Truthfully, it's kept him awake every night ever since Rebecca died. Like all good men of his time and place, he lives under the crushing weight of a puritanical society where anything deviating from the norm is ugly and disgusting. Nathaniel believes that society is full of nothing but narrow-minded fools so shortsighted that they will never see the world as it truly is. It's a host of restrictions he longs to break free from but his humanity keeps him from doing that.

"My wife died a week ago," explains Essex, "I've had . . . 'impure thoughts' since then."

"What kind of thoughts?" inquires the priest. Nathaniel Essex hates his humanity because of all its limitations. The only time he ever enjoyed it was when he had Rebecca but she's gone now, slain by her own hand after finding out just how he conducted his experiments and his research. That's not what he needs to confess though, if he needs to confess anything at all. He's thought about taking his own life recently, shedding his humanity and all its limitations the only way he knows how. Worse yet, now that she's gone he can see all the flaws in her the way he sees the flaws in everything. He's thought about digging up her corpse and "improving" it as he's done to others in his experiments, perhaps even trying to bring her back to life though it's only a fleeting fantasy. These thoughts disgust him and yet the curiosity about his ability to do such things is tantalizing.

"I miss her," confesses Essex, perhaps to the first living soul ever since his wife left him. She was weak, so weak that she couldn't see he was on the verge of perhaps the greatest scientific breakthrough this world had ever seen. Darwin didn't go far enough but Essex would improve on those flaws in his research just as he did with everything else. It was simple evolutionary theory that he take his rightful place at the top of the scientific food chain.

"A man is prone to certain urges," admits the priest, "It is the way of all flesh."

"I've thought of suicide and worse," replies Essex, "I don't want to be human, Father. I don't want to feel this pain anymore." Through the band of thugs he employs to gather his test subjects, Essex has discovered a curious creature. This creature has promised him a great number of things and though at first he rejected the offer now that Rebecca is gone there's nothing left for him to lose, nothing of any value to him at any rate.

"Suffering is a part of life, my son," reminds the priest.

"Don't you think I know that?" questions Essex in return, his fist slamming against the wall of the booth in frustration, "I'm a man of science, Father. Science doesn't come without sacrifice but this . . . she was too much. She called me a monster because of my experiments. She said I wasn't a human being anymore and then she hung herself."

"There are a great many mysteries in the world we cannot understand," says the priest, "The Lord shall guide you to the answers you require and give you comfort."

"I don't need your pity," states Essex, "I've already found an answer to all my questions, Father. I just wanted to do one last human thing before I leave this life behind." God and science shall never mix and he has chosen his side. Living with the pain of his wife's death isn't something he can do forever but his new ally has promised to take that pain away. Though he's terrified of what will happen, he's even more terrified of what life will be like should he refuse such an offer. Despite his love of reason and logic, it's pure and primal emotion that fuels his actions now. Essex departs from the booth and then from the sanctuary, stepping into the dank streets of London.

"You will no longer feel pain," says a voice from the shadows, "You will no longer feel love or sadness, rage or regret. You will feel nothing forever."

"I already feel nothing," retorts Essex, "I want a new name when I evolve."

"Suggestions?" asks the voice. He thinks of his Rebecca and how dead his life has become without her. He relives the night she discovered the monster lurking deep within him and all his buried secrets became unearthed. He thinks of the last thing she called him and decides he will take that curse as a badge of honor in a furious attempt to spite her one last time.

"Sinister," says Essex darkly, "From this moment on, I am Sinister."


Mr. Sinister studies the canister he holds in his hands. The container holds the vials with the genetic material of two of the most powerful mutants on Earth. Apocalypse, his creator and master, will want him to use that material to create the perfect weapon, the perfect instrument to use in his grand designs. As always though, Mr. Sinister has his own reasons and his own agenda.

"Bless me, Father, for I am going to sin," says Mr. Sinister to himself as he stares into the vials, seeing nothing but absolute perfection each one, "I have a rather strange confession to make as well. I confess that I'm really, really going to enjoy supplanting you as the dominant species in this evolutionary game." For the first time since he became what he is, Sinister feels a tinge of pride and happiness well up in the pit that was once his heart. Perhaps it's true what they say. Confession really is good for the soul.