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The penitent knelt with her head bowed in the confessional. The dark wood shrouded her in forbidding shadow as she waited in expectant silence. She’d never had to wait for so long after confessing her sins, although she’d worked really hard at them for this occasion.

Eventually the priest’s stern voice filtered through the latticed divider.

“You have sinned against the church, sinned against your family and most importantly, you have sinned against yourself. Your penance will be most severe.”

The penitent smiled.

“Will it hurt Father?”

And then in a more plaintive tone.

“Will it hurt just a little?”

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