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Inside The Church, No People




Matt DeBenedictis





They all laughed as the stain glass windows shattered under the heat from the fire. The brightly tinted Jesus that was carved into the glass had been transformed to being minute pieces melting inside of the flames. The steeple was long gone by now, and in only a matter of minutes the whole church would be just piles of ashes and charred wood.


The nuns, the priests and the janitor all ran around the enflamed church. Every spark that bounced off the fire brought them new smiles and more laughter to scream out. This is what it is to be as a child: pure excitement, all abandonment. No one muttered the overused and misunderstood word freedom though any of this. They just knew all of this was beauty, as they had never experienced.


“In the mind we set the locks up for our hearts, and a locked heart can’t truly experience joy,” the janitor harked as he rummaged through the bags they took from the day care room before they bathed it in flammable fluids. He must have left the marshmallows in the kitchen.


They all cheered when the green smoke began to flow out of the blazing roof. That smoke could have only come from the carpet from the youth room. The elders had lost sleep and called too many meetings over their fears of that expensive investment getting stains on it. It was just toxic fumes now. One nun stood behind them all. She was to herself and shaking. She wondered what was this mess that her life had become.


It was a small ember of a thought that started this fire. Though this image of the church suffocating under hands of flames will be a statue within their memories; there will be many questions they will have to face sooner than later such as- If God wasn’t actually in that building then where was he? And would God be lost without their prayers and supplications to guide Him?


By sunrise the church was just ash with little drops of smoke bubbling up from it. Not a single leader of the community could find a nun, pastor, or a certain godly janitor anywhere.

©2008 Matt DeBenedictis




BIO: MATT DEBENEDICTIS says he is not Greek. "I know my last name just screams Greek with that "i" and "s" at the end. But you see the truth is my grandfather was an Italian who jumped ship to Boston and changed his name for nefarious reasons."

Matt lives in Atlanta and has a chapbook out on 174 Publishing and blogs at 


"Overall my motivation for each work is to tell a story that not only challenges myself, but  also
through the formation and the words challenges the reader with a new story as well.

For Inside The Church, No People the idea was born out of a folk song's melody that made me imagine a burning church."