“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” Matt said, as he removed his glasses in the darkness of the confessional box. “It's been four days since my last confession.”
“Oh, wow!” an excited voice came from behind the screen. “You must really like it here, eh?”
Matt frowned. Whoever it was on the other side of the partition sounded young, and had an unmistakably Irish accent. “Excuse me, but where is Father Lantom?”
“Er, home. Or something. He got called away,” the young priest said. “Ted. Ted would normally take confessions, but he can't do it today on account of being punched by a pimp this morning.”
“Punched by a pimp?” Matt gasped.
“Yeah. Bit of a misunderstanding,” the priest said. “Did you know that the word 'fag' means a completely different thing here than it does back home?”
“You're Irish?” Matt asked. “Are you here permanently or is Father Lantom coming back?”
“How did you know I was Irish?” the priest asked excitedly.
“Y-your accent,” Matt stumbled.
“I have an accent? Oh wow!”
Matt sighed, and asked again, “Is Father Lantom coming back?”
“He is, yeah. Me, Ted and Jack got sent over here by Bishop Brennan after Ted kicked him up the arse.”
“He kicked a Bishop?”
“Up the arse, yeah,” the priest said, and then brightly added, “So, confession. That's where you tell me everything you've done wrong and I tell you not to worry about it?
“It's a little more complicated than that,” Matt said.
Matt let out a frustrated sigh, and said, “I'm sorry. I think I'd feel more comfortable waiting for Father Lantom to come back.”
“I don't think he's going to be back for a few months. Are you sure you won't like, burst or something, if you wait?”
Matt pressed his lips together, wondering if he could trust this person, but he was a priest, and he knew that his secrets would be safe, even if he was a stranger.
“Ah, come on now,” the priest said. “I can't very well forgive you for something I don't know about.”
Matt leaned closer to the screen and quietly said, “That thing, two nights ago that's been all over the news, with the Russian human traffickers. That was me.”
“Really?” the priest asked. “You don't sound Russian.”
“No,” Matt replied, scrubbing his hand across his face in frustration. “I was the other guy. The one who brought them down.
“What? Spider-Man had nothing to do with this! I'm Daredevil!” Matt exclaimed, and then he realised he could hear the faint sound of his own voice echoing round the church, and he prayed no one was waiting outside.
“You're Daredevil?” the priest asked excitedly.
“Yes,” Matt replied.
“Oh wow! I can't wait to tell Ted about this!”
“What?” Matt asked desperately. “You can't tell anyone about this. It'd break the seal of the confessional.”
“The what now?” the priest asked.
“T-the seal... Are you sure you're a priest?” Matt asked.
Matt heard the young man on the other side of the panel run his fingers over the stiff material of the clerical collar around his neck, then he enthusiastically announced, “I am a priest!”
Matt bowed his head, as said, “Oh My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you, whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with the help of your grace, to do penance, to sin no more and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us. In His Name, O Lord, have mercy.”
“Wow,” the priest replied. “Did you just read that from a book?”
“It's the act of contrition,” Matt sighed.
“Oh wow, and you know the whole thing?”
Matt waited in silence for a moment, then turned towards the partition, and asked, “Shouldn't you do the absolution now?”
“Oh, yeah,” The priest said, as Matt heard him pick up a piece of paper. “God the Father of mercies, through the death and res... resurr resurrection, oh yeah, of His Son, has rec... recon reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins, which is grand. I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
"Amen," Matt replied.
"Dougal," The priest said.
"My name's Dougal, not Eamon."
Matt opened the door to the confessional booth and bolted out as fast as he could.
“Foggy. Foggy. Foggy,” Matt's phone chirped, as he sat in the darkened office, running his fingers over the case notes for their latest client.
Matt swept his finger over the screen, and was immediately greeted by an extremely happy sounding Foggy, “Matt, buddy where are you?”
“I'm at the office catching up on the notes for the Smithson case.”
“At 10 o'clock on a Friday night?” Foggy asked incredulously.
“We're in court first thing Monday.”
“Matt, you gotta take the rest of the night off and come down to Josie's! I met the greatest guy and if you don't hurry up I'm gonna make him my new wingman. Come on!”
Matt went to speak again, but was cut off by Foggy. “I mean it, Murdock. Get your ass down here now or I'm replacing you!”
The line went dead, and with a weary sigh he began to pack away his notes.
Matt was almost a block away from Josie's when he first heard it.
“Feck!” someone shouted.“Girlllsssssssssss!”
“Yes, girls!” Foggy replied, laughing.
“Oh no,” Matt groaned to himself.
“Drink!” the voice came again, as Matt paused outside the bar.
“Yes!” Foggy shouted. “More drinks!”
“I think you've had enough, Nelson,” Josie said, as Matt finally pulled the door open, and entered. Josie looked over at him. “Murdock, get this one home before I kick him out.”
“Matt!” Foggy shouted excitedly. “Come meet my new friend. He's a priest. You're gonna love him!”
Matt moved over to where they sat at the bar, curling his lip slightly at the overpowering odour of what smelled like urine mixed with Whiskey and... Paint Stripper?
“Matt Murdock, this is Father Jack Hackett,” Foggy said.
“It's nice to meet you, Father,” Matt said.
Father Jack grumbled to himself, then turned back to the bar.
“He's a priest, Matt. A catholic priest, over from Ireland,” Foggy said.
“Ireland?” Matt asked, but before he could say anything else the door to the bar slammed open.
“THERE you are, Father Jack. We've been out looking for you all night and we've been terribly worried,” a new Irish accented voice said.
“Feck off,” Father Jack grumbled.
Two sets of footsteps crossed the room, and Matt could hear two heartbeats. One was older, and the other belonged to the young priest who Matt had met at confessional.
“It's you!” Father Dougal exclaimed.
“Who is it now?” the older priest asked.
“Ted, this is that Daredevil lad I was telling you about.”
“What?” Matt asked loudly.
“The Russian lad?” Ted asked.
“I-I'm not Russian,” Matt stammered. “I'm not Daredevil either.”
Foggy let out a drunken snort. “Don't you go to hell for lying to a priest, Matt?”
“I'm not lying,” Matt hissed.
Matt could practically hear Foggy roll his eyes, as he said, “Lies, on top of lies... You goin' to hell, Murdock!”
“Shut up, Foggy,” Matt growled.
Ted turned to Dougal, and said, “Are you telling lies again, Father?”
“I'm not lying,” he replied in a petulant, almost child like voice.
“You know what the bible says happens to people who lie, don't you Dougal?” Ted admonished.
“Santa doesn't bring them any presents at Christmas,” Dougal said quietly.
“That's right,” Ted said. “So if you want Santa to bring that pair for Heelys for Christmas, you should apologise to this nice gentleman.”
“I'm sorry for lying about you, Mr Daredevil,” Dougal said.
“Well done, Dougal,” Ted said, then he turned to Matt and asked, “It's nice to meet you, Mr?”
“Murdock. Matthew Murdock.” Matt said. “Do you know when Father Lantom will be back?”
“I believe he's off doing charity work for a month, and Bishop Brennan asked us to come here and look after his church while he was away. Terribly run down area, in need of a lot of help, so I hope we can do some good while we're here.”
“Murder capitol of New York, Len called it,” Dougal added.
“Dougal,” Father Ted warned, “What have I said to you about calling Bishop Brennan that?”
“Are you ready to leave, Father Jack?” Ted asked.
“Feck off,” Jack grumbled back, as he stood from his stool, and grabbed something from the bar, sloshing some of the whiskey over the wooden surface.
“Are you leaving?” Foggy asked.
“We are leaving,” Matt replied.
“Party pooper,” Foggy mumbled.
They set out as a group, dropping off Foggy at his apartment on the way to the Church, and Matt had already sprinted across one road to coral a fleeing Father Jack.
Matt settled in, walking next to Father Dougal, in the rather vague hope of getting them home safely. The streets of Hell's Kitchen at Midnight were no place for three priests to be walking alone and unprotected.
“Why are you wearing sunglasses at night?” Dougal asked.
“I'm blind,” Matt replied, swinging his cane in front of him.
“Oh,” Dougal said. “I thought you were a rock star or something.”
Matt let out a snorting laugh. “Nope. Not a rock star. Not Russian either.”
“But you are Spider-Man?”
“I'm Daredevil,” Matt corrected, then loudly exclaimed, “Dammit!”
“Oh!” Dougal said. “Santa won't bring you any presents either if you swear!”
“Sorry,” Matt apologised. “Anyway, I think the swearing is the least of my worries.”
“Daredevil is a good lad though,” Dougal said.
“You think?” Matt asked. “What about all the sins I- he's committed? He hurts people.”
“Ah, I'm sure that if there is a God, he wouldn't mind about Daredevil punching a few pimps.”
“Like the pimp who punched Ted?”
“That pimp punched a priest. I've read in stories that God likes to get revenge for things, like that time he made it rain for ages and ages. That was revenge for all the people doing bad stuff and the like.”
“Hmm,” Matt replied, tilting his head and thinking.
“I'm sure if God wasn't busy rearranging his furniture to make thunder storms, he'd be on the first cloud down here to punch that pimp himself,” Dougal said.
“So you think Daredevil punching a pimp would be God's work, not the Devil's?”
“Oh yeah, God loves revenge,” Dougal said.
“Interesting,” Matt said thoughtfully.
As Matt crouched on the roof listening to the sounds of Hell's Kitchen, he smiled when a slight breeze washed over him, and blew the scent of the pimp's blood up from his glove and towards his nose. He replayed the satisfying crunch of his knuckles breaking cartilage over and over in his head, safe in knowledge that if God existed he would be smiling down from heaven tonight.
And somewhere in the distance a quiet shout echoed throughout the alleyways of the city.