All men are equal in God's eye.

Yes. All men are equal. How could it be otherwise?

The thoughts swam around the priest's mind as he made his way back through the icy Vienna streets to St. Stephens. The cold wind beat against his face, almost punishing him for thinking of such a silly belief.

It has to be true. The old man had to be lying. He had to be. God is not discriminate. Is he?

This night the priest had experienced what it meant to have one's soul shaken. The story was too terrible, too unthinkable, too…possible.

He had never heard a confession filled with such passionate spite. The old man seemed a punished soul, continually reminded of his mediocrity as he was erased from the minds of those who once applauded him.

The priest could see St. Stephens in the near distance shrouded by the falling snow. The snow made him feel like frozen tears were being shed for the misery of the forgotten. He pulled opened the heavy door and made his way to his rooms. He felt some relief from his reflections being greeted by the warmth of the fire.

Fire. Eternal fire. Confutatis.

A cold shiver accosted his body, and he quickly poured himself some wine and sat in his chair.

Confutatis meladictis. Flammis acribus addictis, voca me cum benedictus.

Watching the licking flames brought back the sound of the timpani drum the old man had demonstrated.

Bum, bum, bum…

The drum got louder as it beat into his mind.

Bum, bum, bum…

He began to understand the madness the old man talked about. An eternal pounding. Never any peace from the rushing of the blood, and the loud sounds of the beating heart as it cried out for vengeance.

Bum, bum, bum…

The thoughts were overwhelming. Never ceasing. Continuing to get louder and louder until he felt his brain would burst. He saw. He saw what drove men to murder.

Murder. Blood. The only sacrifice that would quell the flames of insanity.

Perhaps the old man was right. How could God allow any such torment for one of his beloved creatures? What makes one man preferred over another? Wasn't that a contradiction? Had God made a contradiction?

All men were not equal. God displayed favoritism.


No. That is not right. Not possible.

As the priest sunk further into his chair, the flames beginning to slowly swirl together through the haze of the wine, he realized the old man's fallacy. The old man seemed to have forgotten one important fact.

Free will.

He had a choice. He made it. He was damned by it.

This epiphany began to elevate the priest's soul once more. The old man was wrong. He had chosen the path of inequality. The path of mediocrity.

Bum, bum, bum…

The drums were becoming more silent and the pounding in his head was softer with each passing breath.

He had seen the edge of madness and returned. Hell had been experienced and its anguish would leave a scar in his heart until his last day.

Confutatis meladictis. Flammis acribus addictis, voca me cum benedictus.