Malachi sat back in his worn recliner and closed his eyes. He held his breath and felt the irregular beat of his heart pounding through his head. Perspiration beaded on every corner of his angular face as he rubbed his eyes and then his temples. He could still hear the words of the young Bishop: “Don’t come to me with your nonsense, Father. No one believes in the devil anymore.”
He let his hands slip slowly down his face to his neck where they found a knotted chain and fingered it for a short time, tracing its linked ridges to the large crucifix lying across his sternum. He cupped his hands over it and despite his exhaustion found a bit of solace and mechanically formed a prayer.
His lungs whistled as he drew in a sharp breath and reached for the water on the table beside him. The back of his shaking hand racked the glass and sent it toppling to the floor, splashing several pages of the manuscript he’d been working on.
He clicked his tongue and brushed the water from the papers. The ink smeared over the working title at the top of the page, Primacy: How the Institutional Roman Catholic Church became a Creature of the New World Order.
With some effort, he got to his feet and started for the kitchen to find a towel. Without warning, he toppled forward and his head splintered against the coffee table. The lamp crashed next to him and the room went black.
He woke only once from his coma to whisper to a bedside confidant, “I felt something push me but no one was there...” Father Malachi Martin, one of the most controversial figures of the modern Catholic Church, died several days later on July 27, 1999.