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It was to be a cold day in hell, young Esther's father whispered loudly, as they buried a nun.

He was blameless... it wasn't his fault.

At least, that's what his father told him, he who had named him after his dearly departed wife, Queen of Persia.

And, Pa was always right.

"We gather here today to commend this child to the Lord, Jesus Christ Our Savior..."

They, her mourning men and women decked out in black, bowed there heads in prayer.

Esther cast muddled eyes up at the unforgiving blue-gray sky.

"Why did Mercy-O-Mine have'ta die...?"

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