Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Greatest Disciple

by Jonathan Pinnock
The crypt was cold and damp, and the stairs leading down to it were slippery. Father Pietro led the way with a burning torch.

“Don’t you have any fucking lights down here?” said the journalist.

“No,” said Father Pietro, “We feel that electricity would destroy the atmosphere that our pilgrims find so special about this place.”

“Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s got about as much atmosphere as a dead dog’s armpit. Can we just see the relics and piss off back into the real world?”

“Patience, Mr Armitage, patience. You will have your story all in good time.” He held the torch in front of his face and smiled. “Excuse me for asking, but I can’t help feeling that you are a little–how do you say–cynical?”

“Listen, mate, I didn’t pick this story. Just my editor back in London told me his readers wanted to know more. As if a fucking miracle could happen in this day and age.”

“Ah, you sadden me. How can you be so sure?”

“Look, can we just get to the fucking relics?”

“We are there already. They are in this cabinet. See here: one of the largest fragments of the True Cross in the whole of Christendom!”

“Yeah, right. If I got together all the fragments of the True Cross that I’d seen in my time, you’d be able to build a fucking housing estate out of them.”

“Then perhaps you will be more impressed in the holy bones that cured that child?”

“Yeah, that’s the one. Just let me take a pic, and I’ll be off.”

Father Pietro lifted out part of a skeleton. “But perhaps you would first like to touch the bones of the greatest of all the disciples?” He held it out. “Go on!” he said, “Go on!”

Armitage reached out and touched the bones. Immediately a look of agony shot through his face, and he ran off screaming into the darkness, scrabbling around and trying to find the way out.

Good old Judas, thought Father Pietro. You could always rely on him to put the wind up an unbeliever.

Jonathan Pinnock was born in Bedfordshire, England, and--despite having so far visited over forty other countries--has failed to relocate any further away than the next-door county of Hertfordshire. He is married with two children, several cats and a 1961 Ami Continental jukebox. His work has won several prizes, shortlistings and longlistings, and he has been published in such diverse publications as Smokebox, Every Day Fiction and Necrotic Tissue. His unimaginatively-titled yet moderately interesting website may be found at


Rachel Green said...

Delightful piece :)

Jodi Lee (Morrighan) said...

Excellent, always good to see a Judas piece!

Or a piece of Judas... ;)

Michael Stone said...

Heh, the journalist deserved nothing less!

jonathan pinnock said...

Thanks, everyone! It's been fun this year, hasn't it? Roll on 2010 ...

Emme Toaye said...

Hee Hee, curiosity always gets me hooked from the first few words here.

BryanRoyce said...

This site is going down in flames faster than a Messerschmitt. Is this childish, needlessly curse-filled "story" now the level of 52 Stitches? There were some good stories on here in the past, hence my presence, but the last two months have been awful. Is it because the year's ending and these are the space fillers? And I see we have the usual "buddies' comments" too. Shame on all of you.

jonathan pinnock said...

(Re-posted with HTML fixed)

Hey, cool. I always wanted to be controversial! Nah, not really. Anyway, I suppose I'm slightly disappointed in your reaction, Bryan, but then again I'd be surprised if everyone liked the piece. I'm guessing that there are quite a few out there who are politely saying nothing.

It does strike me as more than a bit weird, though, to be making a fuss about a few curse words (OK, a lot in this case, but entirely appropriate to the character) when we've run the gamut of every available taboo and transgression over the last year here. This isn't a site for fluffy kitten stories, after all.

And I would like to assure you that out of the lovely people who have made nice comments above, the only one that I knew before getting involved in this project was Rachel (aka Leatherdykeuk), so much as I would dearly like them all to be my buddies, I scarcely know them from Adam.

Oh, and if you'd like to read something a bit less sweary, do take a look at my new venture Mrs Darcy vs The Aliens, although it is possible that you may find that a tad childish too.

jonathan pinnock said...

Ah, crap. Let's try that URL again:

Mrs Darcy vs The Aliens

BryanRoyce said...

Jon, I have no doubt you're a decent writer, but I believe absolutely this story does not represent your best work, as the URL you posted proves. The cussing is used for effect in this story, nothing more nothing less. It clunks and brings the reader out of the story every single time. I've read tales where things happen that would make your ears curl: that is not the issue here. I've put together 3 horror/dark anthologies so I've done the miles when it comes to this type of fiction. Thanks for being understanding, the axe I have to grind is not with you but is more concerned with this site whose standards have fallen so steadily since the fall.

jonathan pinnock said...

Setting this story to one side for a moment, I really can't say that I've noticed any deterioration in standards - and I would be surprised if there were, because Aaron chose all 52 stories before publication commenced back in January. From what I know of him I would imagine that he would take important aspects such as the the running order very seriously, and I would be very surprised if he had put every single one of the best ones at the start.

Aaron Polson said...

Mr. Royce - I've seen comments such as yours become the norm at other sites. The anonymity of the internet allows for all sorts of rude behavior, and snark begets snark. If your problem is with the site, the comments section of Mr. Pinnock's story is not the forum. You have the option of a)not reading 52 Stitches or b)contacting the editor directly at 52.stitches(at)

Tony Noland said...

Heh, nice piece.

jonathan pinnock said...

Thanks, Tony!

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