John Constantine sat at his table smoking. It was what he did when he didn’t have anything else to do. A pack and a half a day of some awful Chinese cigarettes was his usual. When there was a knock on his door, he paused to light another one before answering it.
Father Hennessy was short, heavy, and bald. He was nervously fingering a medallion around his neck. The white collar around his neck showed subtle sweat stains.
“Hello, John,” he said. “I’ve got something for you.”
“Come in.” John returned to his chair leaving Father Hennessy to close the door.
“Have you ever heard of St. Mary’s Convent in Ilchester, Maryland?” Father Hennessy asked.
“Massacre in ‘72,” John said. He took a long drag on his cigarette and blew out a stream of smoke. “They say the priest went insane and killed the nuns in the chapel.”
“Right. It just blew up and took most of the town with it, but there aren’t any bodies. Sounds demonic, right?”
“Could be,” John said. He smoked for a few seconds. “Who’s the client?”
“The Washington diocese,” Father Hennessy replied. “They don’t know what to make of it, but they want it taken care of quietly.”
“No more bad press.” John smirked. “I’ll need transportation.”
“You leave on the train tonight. It’s three days to Washington. You’ll be met.”
“It’s a smoking car,” Father Hennessy said. He handed John a ticket. “They’ll discuss price when you arrive.”
The train journey was uneventful. John had only one kind of suit he wore and his bag of working gear. A man with a sign and a priest met him on the other end of the trip. John lit up a cigarette before they were even out of the station.
“I’m Father Smith,” said the priest. “The Archbishop has authorized a payment of $10,000. Is the amount acceptable?”
“Yeah,” said John.
“Very well. The car and driver are at your disposal for the length of your stay.”
“Good. Can I get to the scene today?”
“I think so. It’s not very far at all,” Father Smith judged.
“Let’s go,” John said to the driver.