For those who haven’t been following this blog, let me introduce it a little. I am currently blogging my 21st novel that has the working title Daemon. The novel is about Aksinya, a sorceress, who, to save her family from the Bolsheviks, called and contracted the demon, Asmodeus. Her family was murdered anyway, and she fled with the demon from Russia to Austria.
When Father Dobrushin carries Aksinya into the Ecclesia, she vomits and can't stop. The cross burns her. In spite of her pain, she demands to be confessed...
Aksinya croaked out, “Not ill. It is the evil in me.” She opened her eyes and tugged at his cassock, “You must confess me.”
He sighed again, “I will confess you, but you must be able to speak. You must be in your right mind.”
“I beg you. Let me kneel at the altar. I will tell everything to you.”
“God will not listen to me anymore. I forsook Him. But you will do.”
Father Dobrushin made a sound that was a cross between a sob and a laugh.
“Don’t mock me. You can’t know.”
“I don’t know until you tell me. I will listen to you. Are you well enough that I can carry you again?”
Aksinya nodded, but the nausea still filled her body and the taste and smell of vomit in her mouth only made it worse.
Father Dobrushin lifted her again. Aksinya swallowed and fought down the desire to retch. The crucifix still burned against her skin. Father Dobrushin placed her on her knees and held her hands. She would have fallen on her face otherwise.
Aksinya pulled one hand from Father Dobrushin’s and made the sign of the cross. She gave a cry. Father Dobrushin grasped her hand again before she could topple over. Aksinya began: “I confess to God the Father Almighty,” She gagged slightly then rushed through the words, “and to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit, in the presence of Virgin Mary and all angels, prophets, seventy-two emissaries, twelve apostles and four evangelists, and confess in the faith of the three holy synods of Nicea, Constantinople and Ephesus, trusting in the honorable priestly authority conferred upon you, Father Dobrushin, by which you bind and retain sins.” Aksinya paused and took a shallow breath, “I have sinned in thought, word and deed. I repent my sins. You are the master, and I am the servant. Accept me as the prodigal son. I have sinned against heaven and against you. I believe that you have authority to bind and retain sins and that you are the mediator between God and me. And I pray that you deliver me from all my sins by your priestly authority that I may obtain forgiveness. I pray that you remember me before God, in your prayers and in the holy Qurbono. Amen.” Aksinya began to tremble and the crucifix over her heart felt as though it was on fire.
Aksinya has a serious problem. Her problem will not be solved with a confession, and she knows this. It is, however, a potential beginning. Father Dobrushin repeats Father Makar's warning. He isn't certain either whether Aksinya is sane or well. Do you see how I set all this up for you and for Aksinya? You and she were blindly moving along with the idea that the demon was real and that everything was real. Perhaps it is and perhaps it isn't. How will this play out in Buffalo? Only Aksinya can see the demon, Asmodeus, as he really is. He can hide his voice and his shape. Like I said, how do you think this will play with others in the real world, because we have moved to a more real world? In some ways, the world before this was a dream world. It is a world where all of Aksinya's desires were coming real. She had people who loved and respected her. She had a friend. She had her sorcery and her books of sorcery. She had her house and her family's possessions. Aksinya has moved into the real world--could it be that all these things she had were just like tissue paper in rain? The rain is falling now.
What will Aksinya's experiences seem like to these people? Aksinya has no idea yet what could happen or what her confession might sound like to them. She is warned. Still, she begs to confess.
Father Dobrushin tells Aksinya to confess to God. Of course this is right, but Aksinya doesn't believe God will listen to her anymore. She forsook God. Listen to her words: "But you will do.” Father Dobrushin's reaction makes the point more exact. He realizes how far Aksinya has fallen. He doesn't mock her as Aksinya thinks; he is so filled with sadness for her, he can't hold back his emotions. He remains strong and helpful to her anyway. He holds her at the altar so she can confess. He is a gentle man.
Watch as Aksinya begins her confession. First the sign of the cross. That pains her more. I don't tell you this, I show you this through her cry and again Father Dobrushin holds her up.
Since I do a lot of historical writing, I love to place historical accuracy in my novels. Here, I have an English translation of a turn of the century Orthodox confessional prayer. Aksinya has memorized this, of course, since childhood. The point is a historical marker to the times and for the place. This is not the confession; it is the predecessor to a confession. Thus, at the end: Aksinya began to tremble and the crucifix over her heart felt as though it was on fire. Tomorrow, the confession.