Father George Sohn was praying for the people of South Armagh before finally blowing out the candles in the chapel, blissfully unaware of the latest sectarian confrontation in the neighboring city. The other four parish priests were away for the weekend tending to friends, family and relatives in nearby Armagh. He had stayed behind to tend to the rectory and maintain a prayer vigil for the victims of the violence. He prayed they might get back to where they were before the Princess of Edinburgh was kidnapped, ever so close to a peace treaty at long last.
He was going to call it a night when he heard a knock on the chapel door. He was immediately alarmed as it was far too late for anyone arriving for services. Yet his code of ethics required him to remain available for those in need regardless of circumstances. He could only pray that it was not a hate group attempting to launch an attack on the Church. In that case he could only place his fate in God’s hands.
He opened the door and was surprised at two men wearing black hoodies at the door.
“Greetings, Father. I am Father Jones and this is Father Kurt. We were traveling around the Continent and decided to stop here in Ireland. We crossed the border after visiting Dublin and encountered a civil disturbance in Armagh. We hoped to take a ferry to England in the morning but have no place to spend the evening. Perhaps we might be able to rest here in the chapel until sunrise.”
“How many of you are there?”
“There are seven of us. Six priests and a Sister of Charity.”
“Why, certainly. As a matter of fact, the other fathers here are traveling this weekend. You’d be welcome to use their rooms.”
“Wonderful. I’ll let them know.”
Father George walked to the heavy wooden door of the chapel and watched as the other black-clad figures approached the chapel. Father Jones introduced them all as they walked in carrying heavy duffel bags, but the Sister of Charity caused him to do a double-take.
“This is Sister Jennifer,” Father Jones peered from beneath his black hood.
“You---you’re the Princess of Edinburgh! Your picture is all over the telly!”
“She gets that all the time,” Father Jones assured him.
“C’mon, Boss, he may be dumb but he’s not blind,” Kurt the Bruiser grunted, pulling off his hoodie to reveal his tattooed 22” biceps accentuated by his sleeveless black T-shirt. “Let’s see if we can get some chow and some z’s before we find us a boat ride.”
“I suppose so,” Mansfield replied, pulling off his gray wig and tossing it at Father George, revealing his graying black mane and smoldering cobalt eyes. “My companions are hungry. We are escorting the Princess back to London and would like to refresh ourselves for the trip. The Protestants are very much against us, I’m sure you can appreciate that.”
“Of course, of course,” Father George nearly dropped the wig in a fright. At first he thought the man had scalped himself. “There are some provisions in the Frigidaire, I’ll make you a meal.”
“God bless you, Father,” Mansfield clapped his shoulders.
Father George made his way to the kitchen, intimidated by the menacing aura of his visitors. There was the sociopathic Chopper, the shifty-eyed Van Tran, the cold-eyed Cat and the arrogant Sting. He was somewhat comforted by the presence of the Princess who followed to help him in the kitchen. Yet he cringed at the thought of Father Jones being Berlin Mansfield, who was said to be the Devil himself.
“My Princess,” Father George managed as the Princess took off her hoodie, wearing her black T-shirt to help him with the cooking. “How long have you been free? The entire country of Northern Ireland is looking for you.”
“I was rescued Saturday night,” she revealed. “We tried to escape through Newtownhamilton but there was rioting and we had to return to the place we were staying. We drove through Crossmaglen a couple of hours ago but we came across another terror attack. There has been violence in every direction we’ve turned. I simply must get back to try and put an end to all this.”
“That fellow---the man traveling with you,” the priest hesitated. “Is that---Berlin Mansfield?”
“No, that’s Jim,” she smiled sweetly. “I met Jim Jones at the dance, the night I was kidnapped. Jim is the man who rescued me.”
Father George considered all these things as he set about making a huge pan of Ulster fry. He knew that the forces of evil had kidnapped the Princess to derail the peace negotiations. Yet he may have been the only person in Northern Ireland to know that she may have been delivered unto a greater evil. If this was indeed Berlin Mansfield, then he may well be holding the Princess for an even greater demand than anyone could fathom. He prayed mightily that God would intercede and save the Princess from the horror that might well loom ahead.
His heart leapt for joy as he heard a pounding on the chapel door once again. He only hoped it was none of the other priests of the parish returning, lest they panic at the sight of the strangers and make a move that might provoke violence. He prayed that it was the authorities conducting a random patrol of the area and come to see that all was well. They could take custody of the Princess and return her to Buckingham Palace where she could complete her historical mission in bringing peace to Northern Ireland.
The gangsters waited for Father George to come down to the chapel and answer the door. He could hear the sound of metal clattering in the shadows and felt a chill down his spine. He feared the worst and only wished the Princess had not followed him from the kitchen in the rectory through the passageway to the chapel. He prayed to the Blessed Virgin that there be no bloodshed and that the suffering of the people of Ulster come to an end at last.
“Greetings, friends. How can I help you?”
“Good evening,” the auburn-haired man in black stood at the threshold with his companion as the six men inside the chapel gathered around in curiosity. “I’m Father Stevens and this is Father Slash. We were in the area and can really use a place to stay for the night. I saw the car parked outside and I thought maybe you were providing shelter for travelers here.”
“This place is full,” Kurt the Bruiser was belligerent. “Try the church down the street.”
“Hey, bro,” Slash Scimitar spotted Sting Ramipril in the crowd around the door. “You look like you’re a long way from home. You wouldn’t be from that swampland in Jamaica.”
“The only swamps I ever crossed was bringing Jamaican rum to the beggars in Grenada.”
Jon Stevens rolled his eyes, knowing what was coming next.